Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

More on Doofus Dads

As I indicated below, I have not yet seen the movie Spanglish but much that is being said about it, makes it sound like it is bucking the trend of portraying men and fathers as loveable idiots or "doofus dads" as Maggie Gallagher called them. So maybe I’ll see it.

But what I’m really interested in is what is at the root of the trend to portray men in such a negative light. It used to just be good fun to pull down the father or figure of authority for a good joke or two--to prove he’s got a softer side and can laugh at himself. But there was still an air of respect. Today, it has gone too far. If men are not sheer evil, then they must be morons. There is hardly ever a portrayal of a truly admirable or John Wayne type of man. Why? I think I have an idea.

I think it comes from something feminism has done to our culture. It has left women so de-feminized that they feel incredibly insecure. And this is understandable because only a truly feminine woman who is comfortable in her own skin can handle a real man. Thus, women of today, by and large, find real men distasteful (or, as they might say, "arrogant") because they don’t know what to do with them. A whole generation of women has grown up without the armor necessary to feel secure around these men. So the portrayal of men as "doofuses" and "loveable idiots" is something akin to nervous laughter. If we cannot actually tame men, we have to find a way to make light of the situation. But this leaves so many women feeling incredibly unfulfilled. And they are! There is a hole in their soul where the love and comfort of a man should be. Who really wants to be loved by a doofus?! It may be better than nothing, but it’s not incredibly empowering!

Unfortunately for many women of my generation, they are going to find that nervous laughter and making light of serious situations is only a stop-gap measure. Eventually they will have to confront the sad situation that they are creating in their homes and in their lives and they may--like the Tea Leone character described by Mr. Moser from Spanglish find that their insecurity and lack of self-esteem is just "good common sense." One can only hope that the men treated in this manner react as the Sandler character does and not in the more mortal way which would give these women something real to fear.

Discussions - 10 Comments

Ok, I think I’m following your idea here somewhat, and might agree, but so far your definition of a "real man" only seems to be a male who isn’t a "doofus." Seems sorta vague - can you expand on that a bit, please??

"And this is understandable because only a truly feminine woman who is comfortable in her own skin can handle a real man."

Jesus Christ, can you be more mysterious? What does constitute a truly feminine woman? What does constitute a real man? The shortcuts you make Mrs. Ponzi are quite pathetic.

And it amazes me that you can make such general concusions about feminism and women based on one lousy movie that you did not bother to see.

Go watch an old romantic movie or talk to your grandmothers--as long as they weren’t feminists. You will see men acting like men--i.e., patriarchs in the fullest sense and not ashamed of it. You will see women acting like women--loving, fulfilled, proud of their men--but by no means doormats. You will not see women insecure with "place in the world" or searching for themselves. You will not see men floundering about and acting like morons in order to gain affection. A great illustration of the problem we now face is Katherine Hepburn’s Woman of the Year. The solution she comes to in that film is exactly the example we should follow today.

OK, thank you for clarification. Atticus Finch comes to my mind as the best example of somebody from an old movie that must meet your definition of the real man. However, I do not think that it was his gender that made him so awesome. He was just an amazing person. And it looked like he was raising his daughter to be a self-confident individual, capable of the same things that he was and able to face the same challenges.

As for my grandmothers - they both were married to "real men." My grannies were no feminists. They lived in Eastern Europe in a very traditional society. WWII took their youth, so they did not have the luxury of worrying about their place in the world. Grandma number one was married to a real man, who was paranoid about the power of her beauty, and accused her of cheating. My other granny, who is now 90, was married to a man 20 years older than her who loved her but did not really want her to present her opinions in public. So much for my truly feminine grannies and their feeling secure around their men [I’m not trashing my grandfathers as bad people here; they behaved typically and acceptably for their times, and from what I can tell, were decent fellows on the whole]. Critics of the feminist movement tend to forget that there were times when not being a doormat was not an option.

It’s neither non-feminist nor anti-feminist for women to be loving, fulfilled, proud of their men. I’ve found plenty of room for all of that in the feminism that I live. At the same time, feminism has a lot to do with the fact that there ARE 2 (maybe 3?) out of 22 posters to this blog (connected with/working for the Ashbrook Ctr.). But the fact that there are ONLY 2 or 3 women indicates to me that there might be more progress to be made - assuming women can be drawn to careers in right-leaning academics.

Merry Christmas! (seriously!)
-Ania

(Also, let me apologize for my initial harsh tone in my first comment. I’m sorry.)

Don’t apologize to us. Apologize the the real man that you insulted in your first posting and then paid homage to your your last.

The apology was given to Mrs. Ponzi, as my comments were directed to her, not to blog comment readers generally.
Any pleas for forgiveness that I issue to God will not come from Christmas Day-chastising (!!!) from some self-righteous reader.

No one (including my husband) who knows me would ever call me a door mat. I do not advocate door-mattism. See the Hepburn movie and you will see what I mean. Life is too short to be angry all the time. Feminism is too angry. These things are really private matters and involve so much nuance and detail that it is almost impossible to hash them out in public. But generalities have some value. Truly feminine women and truly masculine men are neither door-mats nor bullies. What they really are is loving people who are sensitive to each others needs and aware of their differences--so much so that they put them ahead of their own. What we really need is more love all around. I mean merely to suggest that women have been especially guilty--since the emergence of feminism--of not holding up their ends of the bargain.

J. Ponzi said "Life is too short to be angry all the time." I completely agree, but can’t help noticing that you seem to be venting plenty of anger on this very blog (Anger at the "happy holidays" folks, Hollywood, public schools, seculars, liberals, etc.). Not feminist rage, but (what looks to be) rage all the same.

Here’s to a HAPPY New Year for everyone at No Left Turns!

Yeah, I have to agree with John. I consider myself to be a "feminist," and funny, but I don’t find myself to be "angry" all the time. Nor do I detect a flurry of fury in my little feminist circles. Of course, I am looking at this from a completely different perspective from the ones found more commonly at the Asbrook Center, but I see a great deal of anger, venting, rage, and a heightened tenor from the righteous right. Many of us "happy holiday" wishing, inclusive, wishers of peace and prosperity for all, and advocates of women participating in the public sphere (i.e., feminism) are certainly NOT filled with rage. And who wrote those Hollywood scripts? I grew up watching Flippo the Clown telecast those flicks (Clark Gable is a personal fav) and I seem to remember LOTS of men meandering around acting goofy in the name of securing a women’s affections. I do suggest that concerted observation and study replace wild generalizations....

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