Women's Liberation Part 2
This does not mean American Women are cruel. Women are never cruel to their men; men are usually not important enough to be tortured. Only in movies do women ruin their men intentionally. This simply means that American women, more than other women, fail to consider men as fellow human beings. Perhaps the many dangers of the pioneering days caused American men to be evaluated by their usefulness to women. After all, that period in history is not that far gone.
And American men prefer to see themselves in the role: a man’s salary is the yardstick of his worth. America is the only place where a badly paid professor is a bad professor and an unsuccessful writer is a bad writer. For the Latin American male, masculinity is still associated with sexual potency. For the American male, however, the association is directly with money. American literature, from Edward Albee to Jacquelin Susann, revolves around this question: whether or not a male is a man if he cannon provide appropriately for the woman in his life. Of course he is not.
The American man knows: happiness comes only through women, and women are expensive. He is ready to pay that price. As a young adult young adult he pays in advance, as a grown-up he pays in installments and as a corpse he is cashed in for a fortune. A man from another country realizes this as soon as he sees a flourishing divorce paradise like Reno, or thousands of fellow men sitting in jail for overdue alimony payments. On the other hand, the American man vies this as confirmation of his superiority. Is he not the privileged one, as he has enough money to pay for it all? Is he not the competent one, since he goes to work? Would his wife have taken on his family and surname were he not the master? Only recently a poll showed that more American men than women believe that women are suppressed and fifty-one percent of American men believe that the situation of the American white woman is as bad as that of the American black man.
The American man is grateful to his wife for letting him go to work, because work to him is a male privilege. The woman for whom he provides has made sure that he never doubts it, and he feels sorry for her in spite of the unequivocal differences between his situation and hers. She has made sure that he sees a sacrifice in her waiver of work. He, more than any other man, mistakes his wife’s lack of intellectual ambition for modesty, her stupidity for exceptional femininity, her giving up responsibilities for love. More than any other man, he is able to close his eyes to clear the evidence of his own exploitation.
In the US man is manipulated with much less inhibition than in other countries: hence women should be even easier to unmask. But the American man does not want to see or know. It seems appropriate to him that in the TV show his children are watching, the father is portrayed as a fool, the mother as a star. Wasn’t his own mother superb? That a Mafia of women’s groups controls all cultural life seems unavoidable to him. Somebody has to take care of culture. That American women (and no other women in the rest of the world) run around in public with curlers in their hair is charming American folklore to him. The fact that a majority of psychiatric patients are women, while men have a higher rate of suicide, is his evidence for the value of psychoanalysis. He thinks it fair that for generations men have become crippled war veterans, while generations of women do not even know what a hand grenade looks like. Man is stronger and the stronger one goes to war.
Though the slavery of the American man is humiliating and nerve-racking, he does not want to see, of course, that his is the worst bargain: he has ended up with the most made-up, constantly recoloured, the most conspicuously masked woman of all, in short, with the most unreal woman. But to this he closes his eyes.