For a very long time now, all the women I know — every single one — who’ve lived in both places, say exactly the same thing: you don’t know how utterly badly you’re demeaned, abused, and devalued as a woman in America until you’ve lived in a society which isn’t America. Until then, the abuse, harm, and dehumanization you suffer is often almost invisible. And that strikes me as 100% true — because it was true for me, too, as a frail, sickly, bookish guy who wasn’t quite like the typical American bro.
Frats have been so successful at reorienting university life around the central motive of male desire that it’s astonishing to anyone not American.
already [the American male] has been socialized to believe he is entitled to dominion over women’s bodies — either in the explicitly abusive sense, “this belongs to me, and I can take it any way I want”, or in the implicitly abusive one, “I’m a nice guy! This belongs to me, because I can save it.” Entitlement, having been socialized into him again and again, leads to the following sets of beliefs. Women don’t really have inner lives. Women’s wishes do not matter much. Women say one thing — and mean another.
Now it’s time to grow up. Our proud young man, who has joined a fine fraternity, maybe assaulted a woman or two, without ever really knowing it, graduates, and gets a job. But where does he work? Well, he probably goes to work for a corporation — because unlike in Europe, most of the American economy is capitalist. But corporations — unlike, say socialist healthcare systems — are explicitly patriarchal structures. Their history is intimately tied up with fathers passing them down to sons
So the [American] male, entering this world, is right at home — especially the one who is already entitled to the fulfillment of his desire. He is perfectly happy using his powers to abuse society, the economy, the poor, and so on — he does not see it as abuse at all, but only as taking what is his. Hence, American corporate culture is rife with workplace abuse in a way that is truly unique in the world — because it is a remnant of American patriarchy, yet another band of brothers, whose sole purpose is to expand its
dominion,and satisfy its desire.
Either bands of brothers can hold dominion over everything in a society — as in America — or people can be genuine equals, investing in one another, for everyone’s shared benefit. But both of these things cannot be true. In this way, America has always been struggling to become civilized, has never really gotten civilized, and is now failing before it even really got close — the bands of brothers won, and everyone else, really, lost. But that is a zero, maybe a negative, sum game.
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