Perhaps they seek a world as described in the book of Peter:
1 Likewise, you wives should be subordinate to your husbands so that, even if some disobey the word, they may be won over without a word by their wives' conduct
when they observe your reverent and chaste behavior.
Your adornment should not be an external one: braiding the hair, wearing gold jewelry, or dressing in fine clothes,
but rather the hidden character of the heart, expressed in the imperishable beauty of a gentle and calm disposition, which is precious in the sight of God.
For this is also how the holy women who hoped in God once used to adorn themselves and were subordinate to their husbands;
thus Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him "lord." You are her children when you do what is good and fear no intimidation.
Likewise, you husbands should live with your wives in understanding, showing honor to the weaker female sex, since we are joint heirs of the gift of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. 2
Steven Ozment wrote, in When Fathers Ruled, that one of the things the Protestant Reformation did was to give power to men within their families. By making the patriarch of the family responsible for his family's spiritual health, and taking that power away from Catholic priests, social and political order was strengthened because women and children understood their relationship to power through their relationships with husband and father.
So, part of the ideals of masculinity that I see in the rightwing is the notion of a father who instills order within his family. Order is based on notions of discipline meted out by the father, and an understanding that power is not shared: it's a top-down thing.
Secondly, I continue to wonder about the legacy of Viet Nam. Did it have an impact on how men in this country regarded themselves?
Did the bombing of the Pentagon and World Trade Center have a similar impact? Was the patria injured by the attack? Is the resurgence of a certain "I'll kick your ass" type of patriotism a reassertion of masculine warrior ideals?
I don't have the answers to these questions. I'm posing them, and not just for rhetorical purposes. Here's where I'm going with this. If there is some sense of "wounded masculinity" out there, and the right has been masterful at exploiting that with their attacks on women and gays, what notion of masculinity do progressives offer back? How can we bring those men--whatever you want to call them, NASCAR dads, for example--what do we offer them as an alternative to bragadaccio and misogyny?
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