The Obama/ Buttigieg Difference: On the Appeal of a Post-Patriarchal Masculinity

Why so many Americans like what we see…and need it.

But, I think there’s another reason why Buttigieg reassures us. Of all the candidates, he has something Obama had that’s essential to our future and yet that’s rare among men in leadership today: what I would describe as a post-patriarchal masculinity.

The “Last Gasp of Patriarchy”

Given the amount of ink that’s been (well) spent over the last fifty years sharing the shape of new voices on the other side of oppression — for women, LBGTQs and people of color — the dearth of writing about what post-patriarchal men look like, their values, their more authentic sense of themselves, their voice, is telling.

My journey as a feminist has had many chapters — all of them have involved seeing through something I was raised with and coming more fully into who I am. Men can do this too, and they need to be doing it more — for all of us. We also need to be recognizing the men who are doing it. Men who are changing.

What Makes a Post-Patriarchal Man?

Buttigieg, like Obama, has a way of communicating that clarifies his confidence, but it’s a confidence as a different kind of man, one who doesn’t define himself around his fight against an old order he clearly sees as empty.

In saying a respect for the feminine, I’m referring to what I call elsewhere in my writing the “deep feminine”, or the “human-feminine,” those qualities that Trump is so eager to eradicate in himself or diminish in others — inter-dependence, vulnerability, sensitivity, connection, embodiment and tenderness.

These men offer the collaborating, partnering role models for a new masculinity and a post-patriarchal future — a future we all need to be able to craft and live in together.

But haven’t we had enough of men?

We need to start actively seeing that there’s a difference between patriarchal men and post-patriarchal men. Figure out what we see when we see it and name it.

Besides, too many men still have their hand on the trigger (literally) and no house of power will fall without enough of the very people who hold the house up getting on board with the effort to bring it down.

Beyond “post-Trump”, the task of creating a post-patriarchal future.

Today’s problems may be the most complex we have ever faced as a democracy; they exemplify a dangerous heightening (and quickening) of the very problems that have dogged us as a nation from the days of our founding. We don’t solve those problems just with more power for more people, and we don’t solve them with re-instituting an idyllic bi-gone era, we need a new and viable version of (and for) (white) masculinity. …Among the many challenges, then, is the one that asks us not to throw in the towel on the value of a good man.

Writer/student of the truth. Lives at the intersection of philosophy, the gender (r)evolution, politics, psychology and art of parenting.

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