A French philosopher and sociologist examines femininity as constructed by the dominant and destructive “Weinsteinian masculinity that still remains dominant.”
Liogier, who teaches philosophy in Paris, reflects on how “archaic [masculinity has] focused on the mastery of the [female] other while blinding [itself] with the fantasy of the transcendence of the [male] self.” He writes from the perspective of a white male heterosexual disgusted by the actions of other white heterosexual men like Harvey Weinstein who is also aware of the misogyny embedded in how he has been “conditioned to view and desire women.” The global #MeToo movement, he writes, was not simply an example of the mobilizing power of the internet, but a historic groundswell that signaled recognition of a “transcendental subjectivity” that transformed women from objects of male desire to subjects demanding equality before the law. Liogier then deconstructs the myth of “Prince Charming.” Based on a 14th-century folktale about a princess raped in her sleep by a king, the myth suggests that rape is not only a “blessing,” but the means by which the princess is “enabled to awaken to her true life” as a woman. Such stories are only reflections of a capitalist Western culture in which females have been denied the enjoyment of their own corporeality. Women are valuable only for the wealth, power, and/or status they bring to men. Such modern developments as the internet now allow females to not only express themselves en masse; they also permit women to undermine masculine control of their bodies as they pursue their own pleasure and self-empowerment. This new situation, writes the author, leaves heterosexual men forced to redefine their “ambitions as men, our fantasies as men, our behavior as men, our desires as men.” While Liogier’s work does not offer new insights into gender, it is still important for what it reveals about how modern gender movements have impacted the way respectful heterosexual men perceive themselves and their relationship to women.
A brief but thoughtful, topical read.