(Diagram from here)
e·mas·cu·lat·ed, e·mas·cu·lat·ing, adjective
verb (used with object)1.to castrate.2.to deprive of strength or vigor; weaken.adjective3.deprived of or lacking strength or vigor; effeminate.Synonyms
1. debilitate, undermine, devitalize, soften.
Related Words for : emasculate
I was listening to Ani’s latest great blog talk radio interview today, and the subject of “emasculation” came up. The common usage of this word has always blown me away. Emasculation in the physical sense is really not something that men have to fear in our society. Emasculation tends to always be used in the figurative sense.
And what IS the figurative sense of emasculation? Basically, that a man will become less than a man, effeminate, a sissy. Those poor men, if they fall one centimeter beneath the absolutely lowest level of “masculinity”, they become like a woman! Because of course, women are BENEATH men, second class, inferior, “less than”. This hierarchical ordering of the genders is certainly tied very strongly to patriarchy, but flowing from that is the long-indoctrinated belief in both genders that women and men are two totally different creatures. If you were to imagine a Venn-type diagram, our circles just don’t meet!
And that’s just ridiculous. We are more alike than we are different, but those differences have been exaggerated and blown up so that we’re taught and reinforced for viewing ourselves as very different – even opposite – and in a hierarchical arrangement!
We’re all born with the ability to show empathy, to be strong, to be courageous, to be nurturant, to be goal driven, to put a toilet seat down! We can all learn to change diapers, to be the higher earner in the family, to be the person who stays home with the kids. Yet all of these HUMAN abilities were long ago split up into gender categories – so that now if a man develops more of his HUMAN abilities, becomes more actualized as a HUMAN, he’s becoming like a woman and “losing rank” – and this is a terrible, terrible fate for the poor big strong man. He’s so “strong”, he’s terrified of evolving past the little gender box he was raised to be in. And remember again, we’re not talking about physical castration – we’re just talking about expanding their human abilities!
If a woman does something to a man, she is said to be “emasculating” the man. She’s a ball-breaker! Women LIVE just to emasculate men! Mothers strive hard to emasculate their sons, and then when the sons get married, the wives take over! It’s a PLOT! You can TELL this guy is NO LONGER a man – he has an APRON on!!!! Everyone knows god said men cannot wear aprons!!! If he wears an apron, his penis and testicles FALL OFF and he grows breasts and ovaries!!!! There has historically been SUCH a pushback from men from stepping outside of the MAN box, that these genital transitions must literally happen!
And just WHAT are these horrendous acts that women do that pull the poor big strong men down below the acceptable level of “manliness”? Oh, let’s think of some examples:
Making more money than her boyfriend.
Asking her boyfriend to carry her purse for a block.
Expecting her husband to help change the baby’s diapers.
Sharing the dinner cooking responsibilities, even when both spouses work
Letting a woman drive the car while the man sits in the passenger seat (this one is going away, but still exists in the older crowd! But it was a HUGE no-no for half of my life!)
Being better at a sport than the man is (even if he is better than the woman at others! He must be best in ALL!)
Being a better plumber than her husband is.
So, apparently, when a woman is equal to a man, she is emasculating him and making him slip down into inferior feminine land! He must be superior or he is not a man. He can not be equal and be a real man. If men could accept that they’re equal and not base their identity on some presumed sense of superiority to women, a lot of the rest of this crap would disappear. And there would be no such thing as (figurative) “emasculation”.
Basically, I believe that the person closest to the door may hold the door for the person behind them. I believe that a person’s nurturance should come out because there is a baby crying. I believe that a person’s bravery should come out because a deaf dog is lying in the street and you have time to dash out and pull it out of the way of the oncoming car. I didn’t have to mention gender in any of those examples! In other words, our gender shouldn’t determine our reactions to events in our lives – the events themselves should determine our reactions!
If we could get to the SENSIBLE place where people exhibit their HUMAN emotions based on events in front of them (or internal), then men would be free to expand their horizons without feeling emasculated, and without thinking they have some superior perch to protect! A man could be a really tough prosecuting attorney by day, but go home and be a sweet, loving caregiver to his child – and maybe even put on an apron and help his wife, who also just got home from work, get the dinner ready!!!
Otherwise, we’re stuck with this:
Likewise, there wouldn’t have been all the jabs at Hillary, the huge conundrum of how such a cold, too-strong woman could CRY! In a better world, we would understand that Hillary is strong in situations that require it, reserved in situations that need it, and emotional in situations that evoke it.
In a reasonable world, Hillary’s tearing up would have meant exactly what it did – that she is someone who cares deeply about the country, and she was very worried that we were going to go backwards. A deeply felt love, and a deeply felt concern. A true, hardworking public servant would have these feelings. But hey, it’s way more fun to be sexist and give her grief when she is strong and shows her “masculine” side, and give her grief when she shows her “feminine” side and gets teary. Yes, way more fun to attack her from every angle, because she doesn’t neatly fit the little gender role box she was assigned. What an Uppity Woman – what nerve she must have to develop her whole human potential!!! Arrrgghhh!
I just get so tired of this whole “emasculating” thing. Men, you are not superior to us, and you don’t “become” us, or less of a man, for meeting us in the middle. You’ve had centuries and centuries. Time to get over it! Seriously, if men could accept the fact that they are equal to us, they wouldn’t be worried about losing ground and becoming like 2nd class citizens, because there would be NO second class citizens!
This completes my rant! And now for something more uplifting!
If you haven’t had a chance to catch all of Ani’s great interviews for her new book Dirty Words on Clean Skin, I’ve listed the links below for your easy listening pleasure! The first one listed is the most recent.