Here’s a story that illustrates how deep male disposability can go.
Last weekend we drove up to IKEA in Renton. The rain was really heavy. One the way home coming south along Hwy 167 the road was still quite wet. We were driving along about 60 mph when a small black car of some kind went whizzing past. It cut in and out between cars and then a little while later my partner said in surprise “Look up there, he’s flipped over!”
When we got up to the black car, it hadn’t just flipped over, it had flipped over and flown upside down across the median strip, coming to rest against the guard rail, which had in fact kept it from sliding into oncoming traffic. I called the accident in. There was a small crowd of people around the car and they had pulled the kid out – not the best thing to do, but an understandable impulse.
The next day a state trooper called and asked if I would be willing to testify. Yes I would; if that were my kid I would want him of the road for a while because he would almost certainly not survive the next time. Had I seen a small silver Subaru he was racing? No, but the way he was driving was completely consistent with racing. Around here we have a pattern of young guys racing small Toyotas ad Nissans, so these cars are called “rice rockets.”
The young man is being charged with two driving-related felonies, it’s likely that the car was totaled, and it’s quite likely it was uninsured. Those are all hard lessons and yet he is a very lucky guy.
1. Risk-taking behavior is a basic part of life. It is a survival strategy. It involves first a calculation of the odds the risk involves, and then a cost befit analysis.
2. When someone risks his life for a temporary adrenaline rush, he is either in denial over the likelihood of death or else just rates that rush over his life.
3. This kid was young and stupid but not so stupid as not to know how likely he was to die. People die around here doing this all the time. “It won’t happen to me” is real – it is horribly easy to whip young men that age into a frenzy of heroism and run them right into machine gun fire – but there is enough conventional wisdom around this that if anything the knowledge of the likelihood of death just added to the buzz.
1. This kid was ready to play his life away for a thrill.
2. No woman was egging him on to do it. No woman was standing over him shaming him into doing it. No male authority figure was whipping this kid into this stupidity.
3. This kid was doing this based on his value system, and the way he valued his life in that value system.
When we talk about a misandrist culture, this is part of it. When a culture teaches little boys to grow into young men who become their own executioners, that is misandry.
Culture works just like language. It is impersonal – no one controls it, no one administers it – and it is indoctrinated at so young an age that it forms your sense of who you are as a person, and it takes huge effort to notice it much less really question it. If you grew up speaking English, the reason you cannot distinguish between the tones of Vietnamese or the sounds “k” versus “q”, or produce them accurately, it’s not because someone is jamming cotton in your ears or holding your tongue so you can’t move it right, it’s that when you were two years old you noticed that those differences made no difference in anyone’s speech and you could safely ignore them. This is what shaped your accent and pronunciation and perception of the sounds of human speech. Do you want to know how baked in the cake this stuff is? Try teaching a Chinese speaker how to accurately and correctly use English verb tenses.
It is idle to try to blame anyone for this kid’s stupidity in risking his life. Just as victimhood is central to a lot of women’s female gender identity and they cling to it like an oxygen mask, male disposability is a fundamental part of a lot of men’s male gender identity. What is important is to recognize these patterns and find ways to tame or change them so that the good of risk-taking remains without the waste.
EDIT: A couple of commenters, Clarence and TDOM, have raised some good points. i wanted to address them here:
“Unlike language, which is learned at a particular stage of human development, something like this cannot be called misandry unless and until we can identify it as cultural rather than biological. Male risk-taking behavior seems to be more prevalent across cultures than is female risk-taking behavior.”
That fact that a behavior shows up in all cultures does not perforce mean that it is biologically-based, just that it is common to humans generally. Cooking is certainly a cultural practice, it is certainly not biologically determined, but it is found across all cultures.
Also it is a fallacy to see biology and culture as two unconnected influences in competition with each other. The example above of cooking is apposite. Human dentition is very reduced from what is necessary to process raw food in adequate amounts for basic nutrition. Cooking substantially drops the digestion cost of food and has probably licensed the reduction we see in human dentition – a cultural practice that over a very long time has produced biological effects. Another example of this is the rapid spread of the most comon kind of lactase persistence, long after people started cattle pastoralism.
“Your articles overall point is spot-on, but you’ve chosen a rather crappy example.
I’d chalk this incident up to boredom + biology + lack of wisdom or self-control(and often drugs as well).
I’m aware of no culture ever in which young males are considered the cautious ones while those foolish old guys are always risking their life.
In short very weak link (if any) to misandrist parts of culture here. The only real link is probably lack of a strong father figure – we don’t know this kids personal history.”
Biology is certainly involved. That’s why I mentioned risk-taking as a survival strategy in the post. Girls engage in risk-taking behaviors too, as I mentioned in the post. The difference is that they don’t engage in life-threatening risk-taking behaviors anywhere nearly as much.
The fact that it 1)gendered, affecting males, 2) deadly, not just risky but lethally risky, and 3) not purely or probably even mostly biological are the reasons I consider this cultural misandry.
And the other main piont is that this misandry is completely internalized.