Thursday, November 12, 2009

Mancession. Feminism and New Voices

I recently complained about the fact that so many poets are ignoring the current situation and that they continue on their self absorbed way to irrelevance and separation from reality.

The reality of the Great Recession is that Men are being effected disproportionately. The reality presents a problem for the man as oppressor/woman as oppressed paradigm. It challenges assumptions that many have had for the past 40 years. Sure men in industrial jobs have been losing jobs for years by now so are the elite and this is a new thing for those who thought that they were "immune".

Most male poets are careful when it comes to gender conversations. In fact most male poets are more apt to be neutered when it comes to interactions within poetry circles. Better to not be seen as Sexist but I have have shied away from some direct talk. I have learned over time that gender is really central to everything- and I learned this from Feminist friends whom I love and respect.

My gender happens to be male and so this Recession is sitting upon us as males in a way that makes hope less of a reality. The Mancession is slowly bleeding many of us dry and we need to find a voice that we are not accustomed to using. We are not able as Men to talk about what it means to be marginalized because unfortunately we have never been marginal.

Perhaps now we can empathize with the Black man who is pulled over for no reason, or the woman who is ogled on the street or the transgender person who is humiliated and made fun of because now our gender and our group is becoming marginal.

Hetero-Sexual Men have never been comfortable looking at the world through a gender lense. We have always thought of ourselves as the bosses, professors, fathers, uncles, and leaders. Now, that our gender's best and brightest are being pushed to the margins we need a new language to talk about our reality.

I recently read the wonderful book by Emma Bee Bernstein and Nona Aronowitz, Girldrive. The work was haunting and led me to think why don't we have more exposure of real people's realities like this?

In reading Girldrive I was struck by the impact of a book like this in many ways it is a companion piece to Mark Nowak's Coal Mountain exposes something that we do not normally see or experience about miners. There are few writers who use their great gifts to bring to light these types of stories.

As a person who is concerned about what is happening to my Gender in this Recession Aronowitz and Bernstein show us a way to try to understand what is happening to us and perhaps gives us a new language. For those of us new to the margins they are eye opening works of art.


ab said...

Some notable ways the "mancessions" increases the violence toward women:

from that link: it's "not uncommon for abusers to keep victims economically enslaved, seizing paychecks and denying all access to money. When that income shrinks during hard times, the victim becomes even easier to control."

Women were often already working several part time jobs, working in service industries, working for less money. The men who were hit were among the last "middle class" people left. I've already seen people identifying signs of anti-feminist anti-woman backlash, which is pretty typical during a recession when resources and opportunities for white males grow scarce.

Anonymous said...