Sunday, November 18, 2007

The Shadow Side of Maleness

Shlomo Carlebach was a charismatic "singing rabbi" who had a large following among some Orthodox Jews such as my brother. Particularly after his death, various women discovered that they were not alone in having been seduced by him during his travels (which was clearly outside of bounds for his purported religious beliefs).

Within the Pro-Feminist Men's Movement some years ago a well known musician and leader was outed in a similar way.

Among "liberal" (and not quite as "liberal") male politicians such as Senators Ted Kennedy, Robert Packwood and Daniel Inouye (see: issues of sexual harassment seem to arise fairly regularly.

It seems as though our male drive towards power and recognition seems to correlate for far too many of us with a need for either female (sexual based) approval or for power over individual women (through harassment).

I would think that particularly amongst male leaders of the left that some of them would find much more inner peace as well as more effective long-term (inner based) success (as well as ethical "goodness"), if they were more grounded in their sexual and general personal identities. I would hope that a rooted, deeply ingrained Feminist consciousness might help some of these men.



annaham said...

Interesting post. I'm still at a total loss for why this sort of thing occurs--it seems to me, though, that there seems to be an increasing disconnect between public behavior (ie: standing up for traditionally "liberal" ideals, which include equality) and so-called "private" behavior (which, if one is involved in politics, isn't ever really private for long!).

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I appreciate this post, and the questions you've raised, and also your blog.

geo said...

Thanks for your comments! Is there an increasing disconnect because of the examples set by some in terms of their corruption in office? Does cynicism develop which serves as self-justification for sexist behavior? Do we have less "community" on the left which leads us to treat others with less respect?

I don't have answers and you may not either. I appreciate you reading and supporting me in my writing and thinking and feeling.

It also may be that we simply have more awareness now of private behavior and that it always was there.

It seems to me though that generally Us Men are "badder" and more consistently "bad". The examples of women "doing wrong" often seem different than amongst men.

Obviously among politicians - there are different expectations among women, than men. A "manizer" ("womanizer") might be seen as a loser by much of the public, while a similar man might have his behavior more readily accepted.

I don't know!