I’m going to be doing a series on hypoagency and hyperagency. Typhonblue identified these as the core of the gender system we find so problematic and the more I look at them the more that analysis is confirmed.
Because this is series, I am soliciting examples of both.
Female hypoagency is what we call the cultural tendency to deny that women have agency. We are talking about imputed rather than real lack of agency. This means that when a woman does something, her agency in that act is denied, so that if that act is something bad, she will be immune from blame.
A necessary corollary of female hypoagency is male hyperagency. Under male hyperagency men are held responsible for all the things women are not.
I hope the sexism is obvious enough not to need further explanation and that the misogyny and misandry of this system is obvious too. One common form this takes is projecting women’s inaction, failures or the negative consequences of their actions onto men, as a culturral norm.
So in this first look at female hypoagency we are going to look at female immunity and how it works both in the general culture and in feminism, which claims to criticize and analyze that general culture. This is basically a list of things as they come to mind, nothing comprehensive or exhaustive, and I encourage readers to nominate other material.
Here we go:
WAR – This is the claim that “men start wars” and that war is a male problem that men foist off onto innocent civilian bystanders. This relies on a completely uninformed and naïve understanding of war as some kind of sport that all those rough boys go off and do and the stray rounds fall on peace-loving innocent bystanders – in other words a complete denial of the benefits that women and others on the winning side derive from war, and a denial of women’s role in sending men to war.
POLITICS – This is the claim that men have all the power because they hold the majority of political office, despite the fact that women outnumber men as voters, so are responsible for all these male politicians being voted in. This ignores the troublesome fact that women make up the majority of voters. The engrained belief in hypoagency is what makes this denialism possible.
BENEVOLENT SEXISM – Every time women enjoy any kind of advantage due to gender – “privilege” – that has to be spun as being due to male action, or else it has to be spun as some kind of disadvantage. Labeling an advantage “benevolent sexism” accomplishes that.
This is not to deny that benevolent sexism is a fair way to describe what’s going on. For one thing, it damned sure is sexism – sexist against men, and we don’t experience it as particularly benevolent, not in the least. But on the other hand the Golden Cage is also harmful to women. Well, that’s just one more reason to identify and destroy all forms of female privilege.
These are the big, umbrella categories. Help with specific examples.