I read a well-written article today that, while it didn't tell me anything I didn't already know, did return my mind to a topic that everyone seems to be trying to forget about: our nation is still embroiled in a thankless war. http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/09/27/no_army_for_young_men?page=0,0
The overwhelming majority of military recruits are young and male, and the majority of that section is white. With our military still being entirely voluntary, this says a lot about the state of our society. As my readers know, I recently had to change my blog address after a vicious barrage of personal attacks I received due to a post on feminism that I have since taken down but plan to restore soon. These attacks in essence confirmed my argument, but I didn't want to deal with the sheer amount of hatred being spewed. However, feminist sentiments - specifically, the stronger and more meaningful first and second waves of feminism - have strong meaning here as well.
Feminism stands against patriarchy, but as my Women's Studies instructor in college - herself a veteran of the Civil Rights era - said, feminism isn't working anymore because it's becoming too isolationist. Just as the black rights movement abandoned the feminists that helped them gain momentum and offered unwavering support, so too is feminism now abandoning disenfranchised men as we all suffer beneath the tyranny of patriarchy.
Patriarchy is the root cause of many issues in America. It is an outdated system of beliefs and values that have no place in the modern world. Patriarchy treasures aggression and intolerance, an alpha-male mindset that allows those educated and privileged to follow the example of this world's Romneys and Roves, obliterating businesses and communities for even a modicum of personal gain and increase of power. For those without education or privilege, patriarchal sentiments instead lend themselves to shows of violence and undue aggression. In minority communities this more often leads to gang activities, the most brutal or cunning people gathering like-minded sycophants to enforce their will and spread influence. In poor white communities, where xenophobia runs high, joining the military to prove your strength and kill people who look and talk different is often the apex of one's aspirations.
The reason why older and more mature people don't join the military as readily as grunts fresh out of high school (or freshly 18 after having dropped out of school) is very simple: they are older and more mature. They have an understanding of life, don't want to lose theirs, and don't want to contribute to the taking of lives in a pointless war with no clear goal. People who are older and more mature who still want to join the military in this climate often have a skewed concept of patriotism.
To whit, the article above gets one thing wrong: the military isn't recruiting kids because of misguided ideals in the recruiters' department. The military is recruiting kids because they're often the only ones who'll join.
What many people don't realize - or don't want to acknowledge - is that the patriarchal ideals aren't actually based on male superiority. They're based on the traits of aggression, exploitation, dominance and intolerance, regardless of who espouses them. It's actually to the benefit of patriarchal society that the genders continue to duel with one another, as it fosters those very sentiments and traits.
When half the men are raised to believe that they deserve power based on physical strength or a hot temper; when half the women are told that they must be subservient or else must grow dominant and enforce those same values; when the other half of women are raised on warped concepts of feminism that espouse inequality in favor of women and focus on the physical and material instead of the sociological; when the other half of men are told they're inferior by male and female society alike for any number of reasons from lack of aggression to possession of a Y chromosome, turning them into resentful cretins... All this leads to is continued conflict, emotional trauma, and the perpetuation of the aggression and divisiveness that patriarchal society so treasures.
To sum up that rant, we need to change society at the fundamental level before we can reach true equality, and that means no more gender dueling. Men must stop treating women as possessions, walking sex toys or challenges to be beaten or avoided. Women must stop treating men as antagonists or objects of impossible physical and mental fantasies. Only when we set aside our animalistic tendencies can our society truly come together and shed the psychotic aggression that permeates our youth.