Thoughts on the self-defeating quality in the post-WWII American male – the coming of the ‘nothing male’

Here’s a thought that came to me:

Way back in the 1980’s I was often struck by a particular quality in the post WWII male.  Basically, they had what appeared to me as a self-defeating quality.  They naturally ‘handed’ this attitude down to the next generation, often teaching us this same perspective.   I often heard the older generation tell us guys how ‘bad’ we were and that we were incompetent.  Naturally, I was bewildered by all this.  I described one incidence of this in an article in this blog called “My introduction to the working world . . . ” where my own drafting teacher at college told us that we guys were outdated.  Mentalities like this I often still see today, though not with the same frequency.

Oddly, this tendency often went hand-in-hand with a ‘tough male’ image, often creating a weird irony.  Mr. Tough would brag how powerful he is one minute and then cut himself down the next minute.  This used to bewilder me.  It gave many males this quality of being self-defeating or even self-destructive.  Sometimes this attitude was not necessarily in the Mr. Tough mould but was often more suttle.  A good example of this is probably found in the song “Margaritaville” by Jimmy Buffet.  In it he describes how he has had problems with a female saying “I know it’s nobodies fault” then slowly concludes at the end that “I know it’s my own damn fault”.  It starts off as “he’s OK” and ends with “he’s not OK”, one extreme to the other.  I used to see this type of stuff all the time.  I don’t see it as much as the generation that did it is mostly retired now.

This type of stuff really made me look down on the older generation as I always thought they were supposed to be people I should be looking up to.  I found, unfortunately, that they generally weren’t people to look up to nor were they much of a role model, for that matter.  

In addition to this, they offered so little to the latter generations of males.  I, myself, put great effort to “know” the older generation (more than any other person I am aware of).  While many boys were rebelling against authority and the older generation I supported and followed them.   I sought their help and advice.  I looked up to them.  What I confronted, though, was a brick wall.  No example was given.  No directions.  No meaning.  No advice.  The older generations of males (the post WWII males) were, to be frank, almost worthless.  The “absence” of example from the older generation created, for me, a crisis in my twenties.  I needed and sought the older generations help but there was “nobody” there.  And so . . . I quite looking in their direction . . . it was clear I was going to get nothing from them.

As time went on, I began to see that they had a “nothing” attitude, an attitude of self-defeatism, that turned them into a “nothing”.  Many older males (particularly those brought up in the 1950’s and 1960’s) practically oozed it and ‘preached’ it.  I began to see that these attitudes were destructive to the male and, in the end, has caused the creation of the ‘nothing male’, which is so prevalent today.

What is ironic and odd about all this is that this is the group of males who have had some of the greatest achievements and accomplishments perhaps in history!  These are the generations who, really, created the modern world.  They created all the weaponry and means to win WWII.  They created the weaponry and other things used in the Cold War.  They created the economic machine of post-WWII America.  They sent a man to the moon.  They created the consumer products, gadgets, and so on that has defined the past 50 years.  They created all the know-how and knowledge that has blossomed since WWII.  This stuff, really, is unprecedented in history.

How, then, could the guys who did all this become so self-defeating?  How could the guys who did all this become such poor role models and examples? How could the guys who did all this offer so little to the guys following them?  How could the guys who did all this create a ‘nothing male’? 

This is one of the things that has often mystified me. 

This self-defeating attitude seems to be localized in the post WWII generation.  It appears to primarily consist of males born possibly in the 1930’s but especially in the 1940’s, 50’s, 60’s, and even into the 70’s.  The males born after that, I think, have become ‘victims’ of this mentality.  They have become the ‘nothing males’.

I often feel that this is one of the main conflicts affecting the American male nowadays. 

HOW MALES ARE UNDERMINING THEMSELVES

There are many ways that the post-WWII male undermined themselves (and later generations).  Some of the things they did include:

  • Many had poor views of themselves as people. 
  • They often degraded and belittled themselves, often under Christian-like premises, saying they “deserved it” and so on.   
  • The poor views of themselves were often projected onto other people causing great contempt and dislike for other people, which is usually needless.
  • Many had poor views of males in general, often making us out as these immoral violent type of people.
  • I’ve heard many males preach that the male is useless and worthless and may soon ‘disappear’ one day.  There have even been discussions about this at various Universities.
  • Many had a contempt and lack of respect for the ‘male role’ in society which has caused many of them to be poor fathers and husbands and to grow up to be irresponsible and immature guys.  This is often ‘taught’ to the younger generations.
  • Many had poor views of authority and leadership.  In fact, many did nothing but complain about ANY authority there was.
  • Many had poor views of life in general, often teaching that it is miserable. 
  • Much of this poor attitude would subsequently be put into the drinking and partying scene which, for many males, became the ‘only-male scene’ available in life which just further increased these attitudes.
  • Often, this poor view of themselves would as if be “counteracted” by a false image of how great they were.  In some males it created a weird arrogance or Mr. Tough or a ‘macho man’.  This tended to create a tendency in the male to view himself as something that he is not . . . sort of a self-delusion.

ON HOW MANY MALES HAVE CONTRIBUTED TO THIS PROBLEM

I tend to feel that the American male, as a whole, has undermined themselves with this tendency over the years.  They have degraded themselves, and allowed degradation, of their own accord.  As a result, it has made many males do things that are actually against him and have undermined the male over the years.  This includes things such as this:

  • Many males in law and politics have allowed and permitted things that undermined the male and even make him powerless and worthless.   They’ve permitted many laws, rulings, and such, that have done nothing but degrade the male. 
  • These self-defeating attitudes are dominant attitudes in their life, affecting and coloring much of their life. 
  • These attitudes are supported by their behaviour.
  • Much of this self-defeatism was taught to the younger generations as well.
  • Many males do not even uphold their dignity or self-respect anymore.  In fact, I’ve seen very few males uphold their dignity in this country.  Very few will say or do anything if there is any belittling or degradation, at least from what I’ve seen.

ON HOW IT IS UNSEEN

A lot of this self-defeating quality went by almost unseen and unnoticed by people. It always amazed me how the male seems to be turning into a ‘nothing’ and nobody even seemed to even notice.   It’s almost like there is a taboo to even think that there is anything like this that exists at all, no less talk about it.  People just pass it off as nothing.  In many cases, people just got used to these attitudes, as its often hidden behind swearing, cursing, drinking, and other things that are quite common in many males nowadays. 

A lot of this mentality is also very ‘suttle’ and ‘quiet-like’, making it hard to see.  In some respects, it has been ‘covered over’ by all the events and things that has appeared recently.  As a result, it gives self-defeatism this quality of something that “sneeks up on a person unaware” . . . and that’s sort of what happened.  The male, in this country, has found himself made into a ‘nothing’ and young boys have found themselves with nothing to belong to . . . and what does adulthood offer? . . . very little.  The effects of self-defeatism has been so quiet that people are only now starting to notice its effects . . . as they see the males in trouble . . . but usually they have no idea why.

Because of this, the self-defeating quality is accredited to other things, such as:

  • It’s societies fault.
  • It’s the legal systems fault.
  • It’s the political systems fault.
  • It’s the fault of the times.
  • They may blame it on another group of people.  A common group to blame are the feminists.  I tend to feel, though, that there is something of a myth about the feminists in particular.  It’s true that they have anti-male viewpoints and have done everything in their power to degrade and villanize the male but they don’t seem to be the ones who are actually responsible for a lot of things becoming anti-male.  It seems to me that feminists may have started a lot of anti-male things but the male, such as in law and politics, are the ones who passed and allowed things to make it happen.  In other words, the self-defeating male sort of “gave” the feminists anti-male campaign power!

THE BURDEN OF THE MALE:  THE EFFECTS OF DEMOCRACY

During WWII and the Cold War, American values and ideals were greatly emphasized as a matter of national pride.  The success of WWII made it particularly potent and serious.  This would further be increased during the Cold War when we were supposed to be fighting the Communists, the “enemy of freedom and all things American”.  As a result, Democratic ideas, individualism, etc. were greatly emphasized.  But, in actuality, most of these values were never really put into practice before.  They were just an ideal.  The wars made them all-of-a-sudden very real and necessary, something that “had” to be implemented and practiced.  The problem is that these ideals, put into practice, placed all the responsibility and burden on the common everyday male.  The welfare of the country and community, defending the country and its ideals, fighting the ‘bad’ in the world, etc. were all layed on “Tom, Dick, and Harry’s” shoulders.  And probably worse, this was done with him only as a ‘citizen’, or ‘individual’, a ‘commoner’.  That is to say, he had no real actual power or influence.  But, yet, democratic ideals made it so that he was “supposed” to have power and influence.  As a result, he became a ‘powerless person pretending that he has power’.  

Most of these guys were just everyday people living everyday lives . . . nothing special.  But we were all “supposed” to be special, at least according to the ideal.  I can still remember this feeling . . . I still see it today . . . of how the ‘burden rests on us’ . . .  and deep down we’re all going “huh, what?”  This is a commonly seen sense with white American males.  It often is especially apparent when you compare them with foreign guys, who don’t have this ‘burden’.  You can see the strain it causes on many American males . . . the ‘strain of democratic responsibility’ . . . a strain seldom mentioned or acknowledged.  And this strain was put on the guys who stock shelves, drive trucks, lay concrete, or other everyday things, and who know nothing about responsibility, handling great burden, and leadership.  But, to satisfy the democratic ideal, the burden was put on them whether they wanted it or not. 

Frankly, the fact is that many males shunned away from this burden and responsibility.  This is what they still do today!  Many did not want the weight of responsibility on their shoulders nor did they know what to do with it or how to deal with it . . . they were common everyday males, remember, and were not brought up for this type of stuff.  This shows that many males were simply not prepared or willing for the burden that was placed on their shoulders after WWII

As a result, many males would avoid this responsibility and burden.  In some ways, it created a ‘general attitude of avoidance’ in the American male . . . the avoidance of any responsibility, the avoidance of having meaning, of maintaining themselves, and so on.  Many males today do not want ANY responsibility at all, and spend a life avoiding it.  It’s created a very strong “irresponsible streak” in the American male.

In addition, it forced many males to ‘turn away’ from the society that put so much unnecessary burden on them.  There became a feeling of not wanting to be part of the society or participate in it.  This is an attitude that continues down to today, and seems to become more prevalent.  I sometimes speak of this as the ‘male exodus’  (I wrote an article in this blog about this called, “Thoughts on “failing” boys and males “dropping out”:  “the male exodus” . . . another account of the fight against dehumanization???”).  This seems to be one of the reasons why many males did not want to participate in the ‘establishment’ and, subsequently, rebelled against it in the 1960’s.  

Before WWII, the society had always been hierarchical.  The burden was never on the common everyday male but on the leaders . . . that’s what they were there for.  The leaders had the means, the principles, the experience, the know-how, and the power to take on the burden.  Not only that, the leaders had the ‘mystique’ of ‘leadership powers’ which often had an almost superhuman quality (as seen in the mystique of the “king” or “president”).  The common everyday male, of course, had none of that.  But, after WWII, this all changed.  The democratic ideal placed it all on the common everyday males head and it was done suddenly, almost overnight.  The common everyday male was now “supposed” to be like the leaders of the past . . .

In addition to this, the original pre-WWII Victorian society, being hierarchical, had a leader to look up to and follow.  In actuality, this is the basis for much of ‘male society’ all over the world.  The new democratic principles, which were being emphasized after WWII, did not allow for a ‘leader’ as the ‘people’ are supposed to rule.  Because of this, a new ‘headless’ society was created, something never before seen . . . post WWII American society.  A society without a leader, without social hierarchy, in which the ‘people’ theoretically rule.  This, basically, contradicted the culture, the belief system, and the society, eventually undermining it.  As a result, the post-WWII democracy, which was put into practice, actually ended up undermining the male and male society by taking away the social principles that have been there for centuries, namely leadership and social hierarchy The male found himself undermined.  All the beliefs and the culture that he was brought up with all came to nothing.  He found himself alienated and uprooted.  It’s really no surprise that the society, as a whole, deteriorated after this.

In a way, this undermining set the stage . . .

THE INFLUENCE OF CHRISTIANITY:  BLIND CHRISTIANITY

Another thing that became apparent to me is that the Christian influence is very high in this condition.  It was Christianity that taught things like self-denial and penance.  Because Christianity had such an influence in Europe for centuries many of its ways and customs would be ingrained into the customs and attitudes of the people.  But when Christianity began to deteriorate, especially after WWII, many of the customs and attitudes would remain . . . but without the belief.  As a result, there developed a “Christianity without Christianity”, so to speak.  I call this ‘Blind Christianity’.  In this, they continue many practices and points-of-view of Christianity but without any belief in what it means.  As a result, without belief the practices and points-of-view of Christianity tend to go off in other directions which Christianity did not intend it to go.  My observation is that Blind Christianity has a lot to do with the self-defeatism of the male.

PENANCE – Making things difficult

I could tell almost intuitively that much of the males undermining of themselves has a quality of a ‘penance’, as if they were punishing themselves.  I saw many males practice this ‘penance’ with no idea what it was or what it meant.  Interestingly, this was often done by males who were immoral and had no religious inclinations whatsoever showing how detached it had become from Christianity . . . they were taught it so they just did it without a thought as to its meaning!  As a result, it had this quality of people just ‘whipping themselves’ for no apparent reason.  A good example of this is the ‘work ethic’ where I saw much of this generation “kill” themselves at work, and having to work hard, generally making things more difficult than they have to be, and stressing themselves to no end.  With the ‘work ethic’ you could see that they were “intent” on making things hard and difficult, whether it was or wasn’t.  If it wasn’t hard they’d turn it into something hard (I watched this many times).  Some would even purposely makes things unnecessarily difficult for other people as well, all to satisfy the ‘penance’ of work.   At one point I used to joke that “if the older generation walked across the street they’d moan and groan about the work it takes and say, ” . . . oh, the misery . . . it’s so hard . . . it’s so hard”.” What all this shows is how this generation would create attitudes that would make things, and life, difficult in order to create the ‘penance’ of their Blind Christianity.      

Often, this blind penance made it so that many males would create conditions for themselves that they simply could not win.  In other words, it put many males on the road to failure.  Sometimes things were done with the intent of failing . . . then they could whip themselves for being a failure.  It also made it so that many of them ‘bit off more than they can chew’.  As a result, they viewed themselves as failures . . . all part of the ‘penance’. 

The seeking of ‘penance’ also put many males on the road to living nothing but a painful and difficult life.  Looking at life as nothing but blind difficulty and blind penance, in which a person cannot escape, it made them look at life in this way.  I saw many males talk of how miserable life was.  It didn’t take a genius to see that this point of view originated from the “Christian hell and damnation” point of view. They viewed the world as horrible.  As a result, it made many males have a more difficult life than they really had. 

In the end, blind penance only turned the male into a ‘miserable wretch’ who ‘whipped’ himself with his own hands . . . the beginning of self-defeatism.

SELF-DENIAL – The creation of self-effacement

The self-denial quality of Christianity helped develop a self-effacing quality.  This created a tendency, in many males, of viewing themselves as “nothing” or as having no value.  I’ve heard many males even tell me that we are “nothing” and really aren’t worth anything.  This self-effacement created a tendency of becoming a ‘nobody’ or a ‘blur’.  Again, the work ethic is another example of this self-effacing quality.  Here many males deliberately saw themselves as a ‘number’.  They would work themselves to death, in blind self-denial, often without cause or reason. 

After listening to the older generation as a child I always thought the older generation “had it hard”.  They talked like life was horrible and wretched . . . like it was amazing they survived at all!  But, as I began to look more into it I became stunned how much they had.  In many ways, they had so much more than many of us have today.  For example, they always told us how hard school was and getting a job “in their day”.  But, when I looked at it, I found things that contradicted what they claimed.  I was stunned to find that they had so much more opportunity than I ever had.  They were accepting people into medical school, in the 1950’s, with a C average . . . I was told I needed to hold a 3.8!  A person could get a job in many fields with almost no experience . . . when I was layed off in 2003 it took over 120 resume’s, and 7 months, to find a job . . . and this is with 10 years experience! 

They were having a “hard time”??? 

But, the self-denial of Christianity taught them to see things that way.  Many of these people weren’t having problems, but to satisfy Christian principles they created a “hard time”, whether it existed or not. 

Not only was this a penance but it was a self-effacement as it made the male not acknowledge what he has done and what he had.  By continually seeing a “hard time” in everything, and seeing their contributions as nothing, they performed a self-effacement.  With this attitude it’s no wonder that these generations did not see any of what they had done in life, nor all the contributions and achievements they had performed. 

And so, with blind self-effacement, the generations who have done some of the greatest accomplishments and achievements in history never realized it! . . .

THE CREATION OF LOW SELF-ESTEEM:  self-defeatism

A lot of the effect of Blind Christianity, with its blind penance and blind self-denial, was to create a low self-esteem.  Without the belief to support the acts of Blind Christianity, the acts they performed had no real meaning, not being substantiated in belief.  As a result, the acts themselves, by their harsh nature, created a condition where one belittled oneself and saw oneself as low.  The effect was to create it so the males had a low view of themselves and what they were . . . a low self-esteem.  And since the acts of Blind Christianity was so belittling to the person it made it so that not only the acts but the attitudes and points-of-views of Blind Christianity would be self-defeating.  That is to say, it was working against you, to do nothing but bring you down.  In Christian belief the acts of penance and self-denial, though it brought you down, also raised you up, but it raised you up in belief . . . something Blind Christianity did not have.  Because of this, the effects of Blind Christianity brought you low and kept you there . . . there was nothing to bring you back up again.  As a result, many guys practiced attitudes and points-of-view whose only effect was to bring them low and undermine them . . . it was self-defeating. 

The males were not the only ones effected by the low self-esteem created by Blind Christianity.  This same tendency helped to create low self-esteem in the females as well.  This often created points of views and philosophies in the females that reflected these facts.  One such philosophy is called feminism which preaches how ‘miserable’ the female is all through history . . . another example of the Christian ‘penitant’ . . . they are the ‘oppressed’, the ‘enslaved’, the ‘victims’ of the world.  In many ways, the male self-defeating quality and feminism are male and female versions of the same tendency that Blind Christianity created!  They both developed self-defeating attitudes whose only effects were to undermine themselves . . . and this is what both did.

Another interesting way the males reflected low self-esteem is by putting the female on a pedestal.  When they did this, many would sit and grovel at their feet, pissing and moaning on how ‘bad’ or worthless they are . . . Christian ‘penance’.  They’d put the female into this almost holy plane of existence while they, the worthless ones, were in the mud with the salamanders.  As a result of this, this really became just another way they degraded and destroyed themselves.  This self-degradation-before-the-purity-of-the-female seems particularly prevalent with guys brought up in the 1950’s and 1960’s.  I was often stunned when I saw it.

This attitude became so prevalent that it has created what is often called a ‘pussy whipped’ mentality in the male.  In fact, it’s now so prevalent that it’s a common trait in the American male now.  It’s gotten so bad that the ‘groveling male’ has “allowed” the female to do practically anything they want.  For some guys, all a female has to do is complain and he will do whatever she wants, bending over backwards even, or degrading himself. 

The political and legal system have even followed this path.  Many male politicians and lawyers won’t even lift a finger against claims the female makes, even though they know it’s wrong (and I’ve heard them say that too).  Not only that, they have allowed stupid policies and ruling to take place, in both politics and law, because the ‘female wants it’, despite it being wise, good, or not. 

In addition, it’s made it so the male will not oppose the female even though the female is dead wrong . . . and this is often with stuff that is often accusing the male of things he didn’t do.  Because of this attitude very few males, in this country, will oppose the female.  How many times have I seen guys do absolutely nothing and then, secretly to themselves, complain about how ridiculous the females claims are . . . but none will say this out loud! 

CHRISTIANITY VERSUS CONSUMERISM

After WWII the rise of consumerism put the male in something of a crisis.  This is because the basic effects of consumerism contradicted Christian teachings, which was the basis of male society.  In fact, the consumer life was at odds with Christian beliefs and teachings in general.  In many ways, consumerism put Christianity under question and, in a way, is not compatible with it . . . it’s either consumerism or Christianity!  It’s probably no surprise that when consumerism began to become prevalent that Christianity deteriorated.  Some of the issues that come about as a result of this include:

  • The seeking of pleasure.
  • Being lazy.
  • Not following moral values.
  • Being materialistic.

As time went on, though, consumerism gained more and more power, slowly eating away at Christianity and its ideals til they practically disappeared.  The conflict this caused, in my opinion, went on quite extensively and is a major unseen crisis with the male.  But few people noticed it because it is hidden behind many other things (such as pop-culture and the appeal of consumer products).  I still see males refer to this conflict today from time to time.  Its made many males, especially the older generations, have a contempt for consumer products.

But, in some ways, the winning of consumerism helped destroy the male This is because consumerism, being opposed to Christian values, and in which much of the male identity was based in, did not offer much to the male.  Basically, the male went from a world of purpose, based in Christian values, to the world of consumerism with no purpose and with no values.  And, so, consumerism practically usurped Christianity . . . and, subsequently, the male. 

But we must remember that consumerism is just products and services.  That is to say, it’s not a way of life.  Christianity, though, was a way of life.  What consumerism did is create a condition where a way of life was overcome by something that is not a way of life.  Because of this, life no longer became a way of life . . . it was just following consumerism.  As a result, the absence of a way of life left the society “empty” and “void”.  Along with this, it left the male “empty” and “void” as well.  It became a contributing element to the ‘nothing male’. 

THE DUALITY OF THE ‘MALE AS HERO’ AND SELF-DEFEATISM:  THE COMING OF REBELLION

The 1950’s seems to see a particular duality in the male.  There was actually great glorification of the male as a ‘hero’ of WWII and democracy during this time.  But, oddly, together with this was the self-defeatism which began to grow and grow and grow over the years.  They were almost like contraries, opposites, that resided side-by-side . . . but both reflected a growing crisis in the male.

For a while the ‘male as hero’ would be prevalent, most especially with the WWII generation and the one that followed.  The Cold War would further entrench and further this belief.  But, alongside this, came a growing self-defeatism in the 1950’s.  Just like consumerism (and probably going along with it) the self-defeatism slowly gained the ascendency and, in the end, won out.

This would become quite apparent in the 1960’s when a new generation began to appear in which WWII was a distant memory.  The new generation did not see WWII and the ‘male as hero’.  As a result, the self-defeatism began to win over more and more.  And it won out by rebellion . . .

This rebellion was created by the ‘new self-defeatist’ male.  Beginning in the 1950’s it climaxed in the 1960’s and 1970’s.  Rock’n Roll, long hair, LSD, peace and love, protesting, etc., etc., all were representative of this rebellion. 

Sure, the male rebelled, but into what?  In reality, he went from something to nothing.  In that sense, the rebellion in the 1960-70’s only offered the male a ‘nothing world’ for he was not rebelling for any world or belief . . . none was created!  He rebelled and created nothing new, an empty blind rebellion.  He sought the death of the existing system and society but offered none in its place.  It, in a way, only further the deterioration and destruction of the male (and society for that matter).  In this way, the rebellion of the 1960-70’s was a sign of the new males self-destructive quality:  destroy what he has been, destroy who he is, destroy what he is, and the result . . . nothing.  After the rebellion, the ‘male crisis’ truly began, and the male lost his meaning . . . the ‘nothing male’ has arrived.

TRYING TO BE MR. TOUGH

One of the ‘counteractions’ to the male self-defeating tendency was the creation of the image of Mr. Tough.  This seemed to begin to become prominent in the 1970’s.  In many ways, Mr. Tough American Male is a continuation of the ‘male as hero’ that developed after WWII, but without reference to WWII or democracy.  It was like an attempt at making the ‘nothing male’ into a someone.  In a way, it was a last-ditch effort at trying to be someone in a reality that was eating him up.

One of the effects of this is that it made it so that many males had this weird warped view of what a male is that continues to this day.  It created this stupid and nonsensical image that the male is this tough, insensitive, aggressive guy who can’t show emotions, and certainly can’t show caring to anyone.  This was made a big deal out of even when I was a kid . . . I still hear about it even today.  I remember everyone speaking of the male as unemotional and “can’t show his emotions” and such.  This, of course, is not at all an accurate portrayal of the male.

The self-defeating quality made many males literally ‘hide’ behind this image of a “tough male” as if to protect themselves from it . . . it was either being a ‘nothing’ or being ‘tough’ (I can even remember guys saying that too).  This is a reaction of a later generation that was ‘taught’ the self-defeatist ways of the WWII generation AND the ‘male as hero’ image.  They had to choose which image they wanted . . . the legacy of the post WWII generation.   Many males, to avoid the ‘nothing male’, made themselves out as ‘tough’, something many of them weren’t.   Many held on to this image with great zeal and effort.  Why?  Because many males saw the ‘nothing male’ as a threat.  This fact shows that the self-defeatist quality was often perceived as a ‘threat’ to many males of later generations, as it debased them, requiring a defense  

THE MALE AS WAR-MONGER AND VIOLENT PERSON:  SOME EFFECTS OF WWII AND THE COLD WAR

One of the effects of WWII is that it created an image of the male as a ‘war-monger’ and violent person.  This became even more intensive during the cold war with the threat of nuclear annihilation.   It created this image that the male was violent, aggressive, and a war-monger.  As a child, I used to hear this all the time as it was continually being referred to. 

Unfortunately, this image, for some, gave cause to degrade the male even more, especially male authority figures.  This became very prevalent during the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal.  I saw many males even use these things to debase themselves, almost as if to say “we’re bad people”.  There is a lot in the ‘hippi movement’ that was actually geared to this purpose.  Many people even went so far as to say that humanity, as a whole, was bad and corrupt.  Basically, the WWII and the Cold War started a belief that humanity, and particularly the male, was ‘bad’, wanting and desiring war and the oppression of their fellow human beings.  In actuality, this mentality has a lot of origins in Christian belief which preaches the ‘sin’ and evil nature of mankind.  The “sulking” of this situation became a significant element in the self-defeatist mentality.  Again we see the strong Christian influence in creating the self-defeatist points of view. 

THE INFLUENCE OF MASS MEDIA

The mass media seemed to help this mentality grow and become more widespread.  In addition, it hid it behind all these other “pop-culture” images, often making it seem non-existent.  But, in its own way, it taught and proliferated these attitudes making them even more widespread and prevalent.  In fact, the mass media was probably instrumental in the ‘indoctrination’ of male defeatism and why it eventually won out.  I’m under the impression that this is why this originally ‘minor’ thing became so big and commonplace.  Normally, something like this would have disappeared after a while but, yet, we’re seeing grow and grow.  It’s being passed from generation to generation practically, like some hereditary trait. 

THE COMING OF AN ANTI-MALE ATTITUDE – MISANDRY AND THE ‘MALE VACUUM’

It seems that the self-defeating tendency in the male has caused an increasingly anti-male feelings in society nowadays.  In some ways, society just followed the males own self-defeatism along, almost like a ‘follow the leader’ type of thing.  As a result, we are now seeing many anti-male views and hatred of the male appearing.  We’re seeing it in many aspects of life, from the legal system down to the treatment of young boys. 

This shows that male self-defeatism ends up being translated into an anti-male attitude by the people around them.  In other words, male self-defeatism seems to make people take anti-male viewpoints.  It seems to breed a contempt.  Even in myself, I found that I had something of a contempt for guys who have self-defeatist attitudes.  When I look at why I felt this I described it in an interesting way.  I said that it seems to me that self-defeatism runs counter to and contradicts the natural male character.  It makes it null and void and worthless.  Because of this, it creates something like a sense of a ‘vacuum’ with the person.  This ‘vacuum’ causes a sense of contempt and the development of anti-feelings.   

This reveals a certain aspect about the male character.  In particular, it refers to the element in the male character which I often call ‘standing in the world’.  If we look at the ‘male life’ all over the world we see a common theme, of ‘confronting and dealing with the world and reality’.  Much of the ‘male world’ is based in this theme alone.  Life is directed to confronting the reality of the world and living in it.   In many ways, it defines the male.  It gives the male a number of qualities which include:

  • A purpose.  In ‘standing in the world’ the male has a reason for being, a meaning.  It makes him directed and focused.
  • An authority.   This is because he is associated with the world and its power.  As a result, the male ‘standing in the world’ is often perceived, socially, as great authority.  Many people look up to it all over the world and depend on it.

The self-defeatist attitude runs counter to these natural tendencies.  In a way, it eats it up.  Purpose is destroyed.  Authority is destroyed.  What’s left?  A big vacuum, a vacuum that sucks up people’s contempt and hatred:  misandry.  Many people are expecting the male to be “there” but find that he is not.  As a result, they grow to despise him.  I speak of this condition as the ‘male vacuum’.  It consists of these failures:

  • The failure of the image of the male.  In almost every society the image of authority is the image of the male, in one form or another.  People look up to and depend on this image.
  • The disappointment of people’s expectations.  This refers to what the people expect from the image of authority:  safety, security, etc.
  • The fact that the male not there.  This refers to the absence of the image of authority.

A lot of the ‘male vacuum’ is because people’s expectations, based on the male image, does not materialize.  When this happens people become disappointed and upset, causing all sorts of feelings such as contempt and hatred.  It has a quality of a ‘let-down’ and causes a lot of misandry.  This shows that, deep within us, the image of the male is very much bound up with society.  It’s one of the reasons why the fall of society has followed the fall of the male . . . for, as the male deteriorated, so did society.

ALIENATION

The dehumanization and alienation created by the modern world also put the male into doubt, as well as his function in society.  Many males developed identity problems and great uncertainty of their place in the world.  These did nothing but help in the self-defeatism of the male.  In addition, the slow degradation of society caused the loss of hierarchy and social structure which, in effect, displaced the male.  The effect of this is to further the males self-defeatist mentalities. 

I often feel that much of the sense of alienation in the male is actually the self-defeatest attitude.  Many males are more self-defeating than alienated, in my opinion.  In other words, their attitude makes them alienated.  This would mean that many males are living a ‘pseudo-alienation’ . . . it seems like alienation but it’s not.  This is one of the reasons why I feel that the ‘nothing male’ is not as severe, in actuality, than it seems

What the males are needing is a ‘something’ to bring them out of the self-defeatist attitude and the ‘nothing male’ reality.

Many males, in my opinion, are sitting there waiting for it . . . but nothing comes.  Living in a modern society where everything is done for you, I think, has had terrible consequences for guys.  It does not allow them to ‘stand in the world’.  Many younger males are experiencing, and living, this problem as a reality.  There is nothing forcing or requiring them to do anything . . . and so they sit in apathy.

THE COMING OF APATHY – THE CREATION OF THE ‘NOTHING MALE’

It seems to me that the generations that have followed the post WWII male have developed a tendency to become apathetic.  In a way, male apathy is the sum product of everything following WWII.  It is a conclusion of everything that has happened. 

The end result of this is the creation of what I call the ‘nothing male’.  This is a male who has become a nobody as a result of:

  • Examples set down by the generations before them.
  • Conditions of the times, such as alienation, blind Christianity, etc.
  • Behaviour that has guaranteed him to become a nothing. 

I see this in many young males nowadays.  I see this as a crisis for the younger generations nowadays.  In fact, it defines their life. 

The ‘nothing male’ has a quality of apathy, of someone who does nothing or, at least, nothing productive and constructive.  They seem to have no enthusiasm, no drive, no desire to do anything oftentimes.  Their life becomes engrossed in trivialities.  Their priorities are often out-of-whack (such as spending money on a new computer game when it should be put on their rent).  They seem to avoid responsibilities.  they often can’t be relied upon.  In many ways, the ‘nothing male’ looks devastated, a has-been. 

One of the effects of the ‘nothing male’ attitude is the creation of males who are very irresponsible and basically immature.  Typically, they develop no character of their own.  This, in many ways, is almost an epidemic in the U.S. 

The ‘nothing male’ attitude offers absolutely nothing for the male.  As a result, there is no growth and development.  In many ways, a condition is created where the male has nothing to be and nothing to go to.  This is really nothing but the stagnation and apathy of the ‘nothing male’ that we see nowadays.  It’s like many males are so apathetic that they can’t even develop a character!

THE ‘NOTHING MALE’ ATTITUDE

It almost seems like this whole thing is an attitude, a certain frame of mind that has developed over the years.  It is not something that is ‘forced’ upon the male.  It seems more a result of learning and conditions than anything else.   

It seems to me that this ‘nothing male’ attitude has made the male go into something like a rut, a rut he can’t seem to get out of.  In some ways, he’s fallen into a great abyss, a great emptiness, where there is nothing to grab hold of anymore. 

In some ways, this abyss has a weird mesmerizing effect on the male.  It almost seems to transfix many males.  Like a tractor-beam it takes hold and pulls them in uncontrollably.  It almost seems as if they have an attraction to this abyss.  Many males will have to fight to get out of it, which many aren’t going to do.  First of all, they have nothing to fight for and nothing to support them.  They are as if, thrown out, abandoned in a way.  This shows that sad fact that there is now no longer a need, really, for the male in the modern world.  As a result, there’s no reason for a ‘male’ to appear.  Because of this, the male remains a ‘nothing’.  He is as if “stuck” in it.  Without the need there’s nothing to inspire the ‘male’ to appear anymore.

A PROGRESSION THROUGH THE GENERATIONS???

It appears that there seems to be a progression that has happened in the generations following the WWII male, each displaying a particular quality:

  • 1940’S (WWII generation): the beginning – self-defeating tendency begins.
  • 1950-60’S:  Rebellion –  long hair, rock’n roll, drinking, swearing, etc.
  • 1970’s-80’s:  Reaction – the ‘nothing male’ appears or being Mr. tough.  
  • 1990’s on:  Result – Apathy.

Of course, these reflect only a quality of each era and they are not definite or defined that sharply.  But it seems to show a gradual progression through the decades and show hows each era contributed its effects to this problem.

But if we look even closer it appears that there are two main phases:

  1. The establishment of self-defeatism – probably up to the 1980’s-90’s.
  2. The effects of self-defeatism – probably 1980’s-90’s on.

In other words, there is first the creation and proliferation of self-defeatism in the male population.  Then, once it has been established, there are the effects of it on the following younger male population.  In some respects, the latter phase are really victims of the former phase. 

It seems these latter generations are feeling it deeply.  Ever since the 1990’s I have always had a weird pity for the young boys growing up.  I’ve found that this is not an uncommon feeling as many other guys have mentioned it as well.  The little boys now seem to have nothing to look forward to or have.  The father is gone.  The male roles are gone.  Their only prospect in life, and this is being taught in the schools quite heavily, is to go to college and get a job . . . that’s it!  That’s just another way of saying “you’re to become a machine”.   When I was a kid there was a life beyond work.  Their only means of being somebody is by playing computer games or something like that.  It seems to me that these latter generations of boys have become victims.

What has been left to the males of the more recent generations is very little.  In many ways, it was like a slow ‘taking away’ of the male to the point that the male has become very little, a fragment of what they used to be, a shadow, a ‘nothing male’.

EFFECTS OF THE ‘NOTHING MALE’

The effects of the ‘nothing male’ has created something like an authority vacuum in the U.S.  There have been many attempts at trying to fill this vacuum but nothing has so far worked.  Consumerism, technology, political systems, females, minorities, etc. all have tried and failed.  This seems to show that the image of the male as authority is something ingrained in our culture.  It also shows that we are needing it.  In fact, we seem to be starving for it.  We have become a society that has a vacuum-as-authority.  But, yet, no authority has appeared.  The image has not materialized.  I doubt if it will.  The reason why is that this society has created beliefs and ways that, by its nature, will only make the ‘nothing male’ persist and grow.  It has  been that way for around 50 years . . . I don’t think its going to change.  In many ways, the ‘nothing male’ is a sign of the “American disease”, the ailment of American thinking and ways.  It seems that only a change in American thinking and ways will alter this condition.   I don’t think that’s going to happen soon.

This entry was posted in Dehumanization and alienation, Historical stuff, Modern life and society, Psychology and psychoanalysis, The male and female, The U.S. and American society and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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