AKA Conservatives and the Woman Problem
While the problem of male identification is sadly all too real among liberal and conservative women alike, it’s especially a problem for conservative women, as they are supposedly promoters and privilegers of primarily feminine domains. So being unable to understand that a feminine conception of the world is possible means they can’t be fully effective in the very spheres they claim to support. It’s own-goaling all the way down.
Being male-identified doesn’t mean “liking men”. It means that one’s worldview is shaped through the masculine, with no room for a feminine conception of reality. You may know that women are there, you may even be a woman, but all your assumptions are masculine. Not all men are male-identified. It’s not essential to being a man. People tend to dismiss the problem of male-identification because among inter-feminist flamewars, it’s used to mean “likes men” when that isn’t really what it’s about. Many male-identified women don’t really like men much, they just can’t view the world through womanly lenses. But the shorthand has leaked out and makes the topic difficult to discuss.
Some examples of male identification are when a woman argues that all-female spaces of any kind (such as ladies’ Bible studies) should never be permitted, or when a woman thinks it’s normal for her husband to micromanage the domestic sphere. Or when a woman argues that sex-identification is solely female. Or statements like “Men just aren’t vain about their looks/stingy with donating money/interested in home decor, that’s just a female thing.” The behavior examples are more often found among women in American culture, but they are still much more than occasionally found in men. It’s taking 60/40 or 70/30 sex-splits on a behavior and treating them as 100/0 due to identifying so strongly with maleness as primarily positive. It’s when women think there is only being as close to a (small, inferior) man as possible or being attractive to men. And conservative women have being a man off the table, so that leaves hypersexualized pursuit of sexual appeal to men. Bad, bad, bad.
Male identification also leads women to marry men who refuse to provide. And to marry men they don’t respect or consider adult. These aren’t things a woman does nearly as frequently if she is either neutral or female-identified (in the latter case, there’s a lot of simply not marrying at all). I don’t mean androgynous when I say neutral, but something closer to ordinary or average. Normal, though, in American society is very obviously male-identified.
This male identification is part of why conservatives have so little to offer women, even though they possess the supposed trump card of advocating for what women mostly would do anyway if left to their own devices. Another way male identification manifests is in not barring the door when men pontificate about female topics. Most of what I blog about is not contested by other conservative women in general terms. They tend to agree that yes, women are often isolated and yes, a lot of other historical periods had more women doing household stuff. At worst the average conservative woman’s rebuttal is “my grandma worked hard and didn’t complain!” or “well if you follow a 293 point organization plan and/or pray harder it can work!”
But conservative men routinely stomp into such discussions about these female matters and overwhelmingly not only dispute the plain facts, they argue that it’s easy and even fun to live a modern housewife’s life and that further, SAHMs have always had it easy and never had to do anything strenuous. And instead of conservative women shooing such men out, they tend to accept such remarks from men as normative portrayals of female life and behavior through time.