June 18, 2017

Men Like Donald J. Trump Need to Give Up Toxic and Fragile Masculinity

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This column may contain strong language, sexual content, adult humor, and other themes that may not be suitable for minors. Parental guidance is strongly advised.

So who’s your daddy?

There they were, self-styled masters of the universe, one-percenters in their tailored dark suits and silk twill ties, each one the top dog in his chosen industry, the undisputed boss man at work and at home, paying homage to their Dear Leader.

Such a scenario would be typical of any tin pot dictatorship or faux democracy where a narcissistic, sociopathic, adulation-obsessed and morally oblivious leader delights in puffing out his chest in a grandiose display of his largely imagined greatness and uber-masculinity, while at the same time extracting the obsequious loyalty of the men who surround him.

But this is not North Korea which revels in the cult of the glorified leader. Nor is it an African nation headed by an overstaying undemocratically elected head of state. Neither is it the Philippines where men aplenty seem to have lost their balls while polishing their tongues licking the ass of their own proclaimed dear leader.

This is America under Donald J. Trump, a man who has always believed that life is one big d*ck contest; the presidency has merely expanded his platform and made the world his stage. And because this is a d*ck contest for him, and he is one of the most insecure men in the universe, to master it, he must be the biggest d*ck of all, every single time.

The novelist and journalist Tom Wolfe popularized the term “master of the universe” in his 1987 novel The Bonfire of the Vanities. It referred to a Wall Street giant, as personified by the central character Sherman McCoy, a bond trader with an excessive lifestyle. But its real inspiration was a set of cheap plastic disposable action figure toys.

Yet unlike the toys, McCoy believed he was a Master of the Universe who deserved to have it all—money, a family, and a mistress.

However, Wolfe noted in a 2008 article in The New York Times, after the credit crisis of 2008, investment banking and bond trading were no longer sexy, in large part due to the fact that investment banks that doled out millions in performance bonuses like Salomon Brothers, Lehman Brothers and Bear, Stearns no longer existed. “American investment banking, the entire industry, sank without a trace in the last few days.”

In one fell swoop, in effect, the masters of the universe had become the eunuchs of the universe.

Which is pretty much an accurate description for the erstwhile alpha males who suddenly lost their collective balls during that excruciating cabinet meeting that was televised the other day, praising Trump to high heavens. It was excruciating to watch them gush all over Trump, who reveled in the attention for the most part.

As late night TV host Stephen Colbert remarked, “But personally, I cannot get over these fawning Cabinet members. These are adults, some of them billionaires, and they’re just happy to have their leashes yanked as cameras roll for the dear leader. I did not know that Trump has a strict ‘Please check your balls at the door’ policy.”

The men may have done it for political expediency. The irony is that Trump saw their praise at his bidding as building him up, reinforcing what he believed was his Big D*ckness but in reality,  it exposed him as an insecure, emotionally frail man in need of constant validation.

But we all know that. The hyperbolic declarations, the willful alteration of facts to suit a narrative distorted to declare him the winner of every conceivable competition—inauguration crowds, net worth, the number of women bedded, the number of laws passed, the number of jobs created—they serve a purpose: to make a small man feel big.

But what about the men who willingly prostrate themselves at his feet in what Colbert called “an unprecedented public stroke-fest for an emotionally frail man?” How do men who have no qualms about defunding Planned Parenthood and severely impacting women’s health care options, even smiling and high-fiving each other after the executive order is signed like the masters of the universe they believe themselves to be turn into the eunuchs of the universe, effectively castrated as they flatter and praise the orange one?

The same thing happens here, too, all the time. Even when a woman is president.

Neither behavior holds up well as a blueprint for masculinity in today’s world. One kind represents the toxic masculinity, a paean to alpha-maleness in its last gasps, oblivious to everyone else’s needs but their own, desperate for relevance and attention. The other demonstrates just how easily this masculinity—not to mention any semblance of principles—is eroded, and publicly at that, but for what purpose? Political accommodation? Economic favors? Job security?

And then they return to the comfort of their homes, masters of the universe once again, chests puffed up, shoulders erect, order in their world restored.

Till they’re made to grovel again.

Is that the kind of man you want your sons to be?

B. Wiser is the author of Making Love in Spanish, a novel published by Anvil Publishing and available in National Book Store and Powerbooks, as well as online. When not assuming her Sasha Fierce alter-ego, she takes on the role of serious journalist and media consultant. 

 For comments and questions, e-mail b.wiser.ph@gmail.com.

 Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Preen.ph, or any other entity of the Inquirer Group of Companies.

 

Art by Dorothy Guya

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B. Wiser, culture, Donald Trump, Father's Day, Masculinity, Preen, Preen.ph, Sex & Sensibility



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