Event Type: 
Session A: Friday June 28th, 5:00pm - 7:00 pm
Event Organizer: 
Description/Abstract of your Event: 

The various shootings at schools, workplaces, and/or public gatherings, etc. have become so commonplace as to become blasé. At the same time, the election of Trump, and the surge of various forms of racial, ethnic and/or gender based aggression, and extremely patriarchal legislative proposals can be seen as intense expressions of a toxic, hostile expression masculinity facing contestation. One could argue, that this particular expression of “phallic aggressive” masculinity, has long been an aspect of American character clearly seen in the early Puritan colonies, the genocidal policies toward the Native American populations, the highly aggressive means to “control” slaves, the Westward expansion of the American frontier, and imperialism that was especially evident since the Spanish-American war. The consequence of this history has been the fostering of a particularly aggressive expression of masculinity that has been called “American tough,” long celebrated in history and cultural mythology, especially various “kick ass” heroes of popular culture. Notwithstanding the feminist/suffragette movements, this version of masculinity was relatively unchallenged until World War II, when “Rosie” the riveter replaced men building weapons, munitions, and even flying multi engine bombers across the oceans. But when the men returned from the front, Rosie, after having felt agency, empowerment and dignity in work, many women found traditional women’s roles stifling, the “birds in gilded cages” fell the discontent that would be labeled the “feminine mystique.” In the 1960s, as more educated women entered the workforce second wave feminism began to systematically critique the patriarchy of toxic masculinity- a struggle that has not only continued to this very day, but has actually begun to “turn the tide” following the Me Too# and TimesUp# movements along with shifting the balance of women’s political power shown in the 2018 midterm elections. At this point we see the convergence of a stagnant yet unequal, capitalist economy, social movements and depth psychology in which traditional patriarchal identities and values are challenged and undermined, hence the defenders, anxious over the loss of economic, political and cultural power, vigorously defend heretofore “privileged” identities and the values that sustain them. At times of social change, what Gramsci called the interregnum, we are especially likely to see “morbid symptoms” in such myriad forms of the ascent of aggression as racism, sexism, ethnocentrism, bullying, and most of all conservative, if not reactionary politicians and misogynist agendas. This panel will attempt to bring together a number of historical, political, sociological and psychodynamic aspects to try to explain the nature and origin of toxic masculinity, understand its current nature and future trajectory. We will suggest, however, that the intensity of this current toxicity marks the intense, but final resistance to a waning phase of that masculinity in face of an emerging growing, alternative view of a more egalitarian, more democratic, and perhaps indeed more socialist society, especially among younger cohorts. This demise of toxic masculinity can be seen as representing a major shifting of the tectonic plates of American culture and character.


Book: How America Became Capitalist: Imperial Expansion and the Conquest of the West. Pluto Press: London

Bio James Parisot...

Read more

Dr. Harriet Fraad is a Mental health Counselor and Hypno-therapist in private practice in New York City. She speaks regularly and writes about the intersecting crises in US relationships personal life, politics and economics. She was a founding member of the Second Wave women’s movement and has...

Read more

Prof. Langman is a cofounder of the Global studies Association North America has a long history of research and publications on global justice movements