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Male Shaming Our Military

Ian Ironwood
May 25, 2013
One of the most frustrating and infuriating things about the on-going Gender War is the wholesale male-shaming that occurs when a feminist gets a bee in her bra about something -- anything -- and then tells a man (or, usually, all men) to grow up.  Case in point: this morning's CNN Opinion piece by Pepper Schwartz entitled, condescendingly enough, Can Men Evolve? in the teaser and Soldiers and Sex: Can Men Grow Up? in the article.

The very title is an attempt at wholesale male-shaming, and while the subject matter is very, very serious -- sexual harassment and rape in the military -- the perspective and attitudes Dr. Schwarz espouses show both a stunning naivete about the function and nature of the military and an appalling and misandrist opinion about men and masculinity in general.

Let's start with the issue of shaming: Any time a woman tells a man to "grow up", unless the woman in question gave birth to the man in question this directive is the moral and semantic equivalent of saying "stop being such a bitch" to a woman.  It is openly disrespectful, makes dramatic and erroneous assumptions about the nature of men and masculinity, and more often than not demonstrates the ignorance and evident unsophistication of the woman in question.


Men, that is, mature men who have assumed adult responsibilities (like, say, carrying an M-16 and killing people on behalf of the US Government for a living) should be accorded a level of respect commiserate with that responsibility.  When a woman says "grow up", she is deliberately trying to shame and disrespect a man by assuming a superior moral posture . . . when upon close inspection, that posture is rarely deserved. 

 "Grow Up" implies that the woman in question has a right to judge the actions and behaviors of men -- and in this case, men in a male-originated, male-dominated, and male-oriented profession.  The idea that Dr. Schwarz, for all of her journalistic street cred, is somehow by nature of her gender entitled to judge male maturity without considering the context of the complaint paints the misandrist, sanctimonious condemnations of my daughter's 11-year old friends, not a thoughtful adult perspective.

I'm not denying that the sexual harassment and rape of our women warriors is a tragic and unacceptable situation; it was also quite predictable.  Feminists in particular and women in general see our vast military as just another civil-service job with a really strict dress code, not the organized and institutionalized tool of projecting violence and death anywhere in the world at need that it is and must be.  Minor but important difference.  We take young men who barely know how to eat with a fork and knife and turn them into killing machines . . . so that feminists can have the freedom to condemn them wholesale.

The military is a uniquely male-dominated field for obvious reasons.  Men banded together for mutual defense and to protect their mutual holdings since the Paleolithic, and after agriculture that tribal warrior culture blossomed into the sophisticated and regulated -- and highly efficient -- military system we have inherited today.  Remember 300?  Have you read Anabaxis?  Do you know who Alexander the Great, Sun Tzu and Julius Caesar are?  They are the roots of the modern military culture.  And the needs and necessities of military life - brutal efficiency and absolute discipline - have given similar form to the institution of the military regardless of whether it sprung from the Mediterranean Basin, the Indus Valley, or the Yangzte.  When men organize to kill other men and destroy property, there's a right way to do it.  The ARMY  (or NAVY) way.


Notable exceptions aside, women do not fight in armies or navies, and women do not form armies of women.  There's a reason for that.  Men who are trained to overcome their socially-conditioned hesitation to take a human life, and then be able to do it upon command and live with the psychological aftermath, can only do so through a very strict regime of conditioning their natural aggression into a highly-controlled tool.  That process is military training, in which not just women, but all human beings are by necessity objectified.  If a terrorist in Fallujah can be a woman, then assuming special exceptions to that rule in some misguided application of chivalry is a ticket to a dead soldier . . . and that's not the ARMY way.

Objectification is a requirement for the military, a psychological requirement.  Not just of the Enemy, but of your subordinates, your superiors, and your peers.  If you attempt to subjectify the military experience more than absolutely necessary, the psychological protections military training instilled in you falter.   You cannot -- cannot -- see female soldiers any differently than male soldiers, despite the obvious disconnect implicit with that statement.  The idea that some "girls are special" course is going to work -- or that we'd be happy with the results if it did -- is ludicrous and naive.

Of course, there have always been problems with that process, because men are individuals and the military works best when individuality has been de-emphasized.  Some individuals are just not psychologically capable of accepting that process, and some are perfectly fine until the extreme stress of military life causes a mental switch to flip.  If the most basic human prohibition -- do not kill other people -- can be so summarily removed by the process, there is a natural danger that some will consider this all the psychological rationalization their subconscious needs to abandon others.  Switch flipped.  In some cases, that switch, unfortunately, leads to sexual assault on fellow soldiers or sailors.

images+%252822%2529.jpgThis, too, has been a problem that has been around since the Paleolithic.  And it did not start being a problem when women were allowed into the military.  The tie between sex, aggression, domination and submission is well-known, if not well-understood.  The military, by necessity, controls aggression and uses domination and submission implicitly in its organization and culture.  But you can't ignore the sexual component of the equation, like Dr. Schwarz wants to do, or gloss over it with "That's disrespectful!" . . . just because the soldier or sailor who was the victim of the assault happened to be female this time.

It's easy to look at all the fancy equipment, the drones, the planes, the artillery and tanks and all the other ways we've made mass destruction efficient and impersonal and decide that modern military life doesn't need more character or discipline to carry off than, say, that needed to design and produce a video game.  But that mistakes the nature of the military and its job, and glosses over the ugly reality: all of those fancy toys are still just the spear in the hand of one man who is about to slay another . . . and who himself may be slain in turn at any moment.
That kind of constant existential crisis needs release, or tragedy beyond the planned tragedy of war occurs.  Traditionally, wise military commanders made certain that ample camp followers or prostitutes were available to keep this relief at hand.  But even then, when sex was easy, cheap or free, still the mix of aggression, domination, and submission led to abuses.  In the final analysis, the gender of the victims matters less than the issue of sexual abuse over-all; where were Dr. Schwarz's cries for "men to grow up" when an Army sergeant in Korea abuses young men for years before getting caught?  Only when women's virtue is at stake is Dr.Schwarz bothered.  Only when women's lives are affected does Dr. Schwarz see a problem.  Our young men can get butt-raped by their peers and superiors all day long, and Dr. Schwarz and her equivalents are silent, more preoccupied by issues of diversity and equality and finding the perfect match than righteous rage at such offences.

What Dr. Schwarz is doing here is similar to what almost all feminists (with a few gallant exceptions) and most modern women do when it comes to considering the military: they don't hesitate to take advantage of the aggression of our young men when there are Bad Guys around, but otherwise they treat the men who have sworn to protect her First Amendment rights to disrespect them to the death, if necessary, and classed them all as rapists and discriminatory thugs.  She has, like almost all feminists today, exploited the idea that young men are disposable in our society, and she treats them accordingly.


I make frequent exception here because I know many women soldiers who don't feel a bunch of "girls are special!" classes are the answer to the problem.  Indeed, there are many who feel this approach is precisely the wrong way to fix the problem, and since they have more direct experience with it than Dr. Schwartz, I think I'd trust their judgement more.  Coincidentally, NONE of these brave women warriors (some of whom were rape victims themselves) ever made the childish and irresponsible demand that "Men just grow up!".  Because they understand men and the military a whole lot better than Dr. Schwartz does, apparently.

They know that the basis of this behavior isn't a lack of role models, proper instruction, or sufficient diversity training classes.  The men who assault (and despite Dr. Schwarz's contention female perpetrators of sexual assault are "rare, and not systemic in any institution", I would venture to say that it is actually far less rare and simply far more under-reported, due to a number of factors, based on anecdotal evidence) are not "immature", they are not being "puerile", they are not "boys being boys" . . . the men who commit these crimes are under herculean pressures, inadequately supported, and frequently under-supervised.  While rape and sexual assault are tragic results of this problem, they are mere symptoms.

images+%252824%2529.jpgDr. Schwarz's snit over sexual assault seems trivial and trite when one looks at the suicide statistics for our active military and returning veterans. In 2012, there were 349 suicides among our active-duty military, and around 22 a day among our veterans -- that's around 8,000 suicides last year.  And the vast, vast majority of those suicides were men.

According to the Pentagon's own stats, that means that there were about two and a half rapes for every suicide in 2012.  I suppose depending how you valued the two issues, one could make the argument that
sexual assault on serving female military personnel VASTLY outweighs the petty little problem of our returning veterans chewing on their guns.  At least, that's the argument Dr. Schwarz seems to be making.

images+%252823%2529.jpgI would remind her that for the majority of the history of our republic, much less the histories of other nations, for centuries our young men were subjected to these outrages and indignities without their original consent to even join the military, subject to conscription due to their gender alone.  As tragic as the stories of military rape survivors are, they chose to join the military of their own free will, a luxury generations of young men before them did not have.  Once again feminism overlooks conscription as incidental to the male-female equation, devaluing the lives and free will of men by dismissing an inequity that outlasted slavery and male-only voting rights.  It's bad enough to volunteer to fight and get raped.  To be conscripted against your will to fight, and then get raped, is a horror piled upon a tragedy.  Not a single American woman can complain of that.

Some of the conclusions she makes are correct.  We cannot go back to an all-male military, despite the number of problems we are going to have.  We can't even go back to an all-straight military.  But you
cannot attempt to fundamentally alter a process of psychological conditioning developed over 10,000 years with a couple "girls are special!" classes.  The process of finding a comfortable balance between the necessary aggression needed to fight and win a war and the socio-sexual reality of the mixing of the genders is going to be long, tedious, and fraught with difficulties.  But just as we have (eventually) managed to establish a base-line of behavior in the workplace, it will happen with the military . . . eventually.

Beyond the foolishness of "girls are special!" classes, the notion that male sexuality needs "instruction" from any quarter is offensive.  Do women need "special instruction" about their sexual values, or would Dr. Schwarz see that as a paternalistic attempt to control the sexual lives of women?  Would they be required to challenge and confront whatever ridiculous notions of sexuality they had when they signed their enlistment, and perhaps be forced to change their beliefs and practices to "fit in" with everyone else's?

Somehow I think if the Pentagon started telling women that they needed to be considering what kind of housewives they needed to be after their term of service was up, some folks might get upset.  Telling a young man that he has to be a "gentleman" (without defining the term) or "evolved" (when there is no logical basis equity feminist should be justly angry about.
images+%252827%2529.jpgfor the idea that such a change in belief would indeed be an "evolution", and not a "devolution") is an unfair and unacceptable attempt to re-program his sexuality, something any

Part of the problem, ironically, is the very code that once kept such things from occurring in abundance, the Code of Honor or Chivalry commonly adopted by all men in the West over the last few centuries, was sufficiently trashed in the eyes of most men by feminism as to have little or no power, now.  It was a "tool of the patriarchy", and therefore a fair target of feminists over the years.  Now that they have brought down a deluge of disdain and disrespect for the masculine codes of honor, they complain that they are no longer protected by it . . . but apparently Dr. Schwarz considers a couple of classes and some shaming language is sufficient to replace a millenia-old masculine code of conduct.  Indeed, the military is one of the last refuges of such thinking . . . and Dr. Schwarz and her feminist allies seem determined to eradicate it even there.

images+%252821%2529.jpgOf course feminists can't invoke honor or chivalry - because that would empower men to be better men.  And that would be sexist.  Feminism cannot abide anything that empowers men.  Instead of appealing to our better nature and attempting to raise us with respect and admiration by invoking our honor and chivlary, the way her foremothers did, Dr. Schwarz seeks to castigate, demean, and denigrate the masculine impulse toward a warrior code and favors replacing it with an H.R. lecture.  Just the thing to inspire a man to die for
his country.

The idea that men need to "grow up" -- the same men Dr. Schwarz depends upon to defend her -- is inherently disrespectful toward our gender and our military men in particular.  While she states her goal is to turn men into "safer colleagues and partners" -- that is, more useful to women --  one would think that someone with a doctorate in sociology would recognize the inherent problem with attempting to make our highly-trained trained killers "safer".  Her stated desire to "change the hearts and minds" of men in the military -- ALL men -- is condescending and disrespectful to the memory of what we all owe to that institution.

7d1b8d26b4c6b88fe948f1e69208182f.jpgFinally, the most galling thing about Dr. Schwarz's proposal is that it assumes that changing men is even within her purview.  Does she likewise favor any male proposals to "change women"?  Or is she operating from the basic operating principal -- like so many feminists -- that men are inherently broken because we aren't just like women? 

That men are the problem just because we are men?  She bandies about the idea that our sexuality and aggression are tied into dominance and submission, and perhaps someone with a greater background in psychology wouldn't be so naive, but the fact of the post-feminism world is that feminism broke the bonds of gender expectations . . . of both genders.

You can no longer "expect" us to be "gentlemen" anymore than we can "expect" women to be "warm, friendly, and faithful".  Just as women got busted out of their awful gender role of domestic drudgery, men were liberated from the expectation of going and dying on some beach because of some girl back home.  Or treating everything with a vagina as worthy of protection.  And you can expect that the next time you suddenly want to see a lot of young, strong, disposable males ready to line up and keep harm at bay . . . you can send your daughters to face the threat instead.

With this kind of insulting and demeaning attitude prevalent among feminism and women in general, there's just not a lot of reason our boys should pick up a rifle and die to protect the very people who treat him like a retarded child while he does so.  And if that seems somehow unfair, that men would shirk their responsibility to kill and die on your behalf, Dr. Schwarz . . . Welcome to the Manosphere, Cupcake.



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