Friday, September 24, 2004

Bush and Faux Masculinity

DAVE FORD, SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE - War is both a reality and a metaphor. When it comes to decoding American manhood, war's realities -- missiles, tank-mounted long-barreled guns, rifles (some with bayonets) and aspects of penetration and domination -- suggest metaphors that might have made Freud chuckle.

Alas, the father of modern psychoanalysis is not with us. But Bay Area psychologist and author Dr. Stephen J. Ducat is. His book "The Wimp Factor: Gender Gaps, Holy Wars and the Politics of Anxious Masculinity", released this month, looks at the sometimes debilitating effects on U.S. politics and foreign policy of a "femiphobic" masculinity -- one split off from all things "feminine."...

"The Wimp Factor" suggests that American hyper-masculinity - as seen in, but not limited to, the Bush administration, Christian fundamentalism and right-wing U.S. policy - has created a contentious political landscape in which more and more men are becoming conservative. In campaign battles, politicians, meanwhile, "feminize" their opponents to establish macho credibility and call into question their opponents' manhood...

Ducat said that men with the extreme type of masculinity afraid of characteristics traditionally considered feminine -- self-reflection, attunement to others, appreciation for human interrelatedness -- may become sociopaths: those possessed of a guilt-free capacity to hurt others for personal gain.

"The Bush administration is the most sociopathic American administration in my lifetime," Ducat said, citing the administration's unilateral assault on Iraq and, leading up to it, apparent falsehoods about weapons of mass destruction and Iraqi ties to al Qaeda...

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