The Man Card, a film from the Media Education Foundation https://www.mediaed.org/ will be streaming FREE for the next 12 days - only through Election Day. https://bit.ly/35opH4T
I thought the question posed at the end of The Man Card was excellent:
“Will our vision of the American Presidency continue to be constrained by outmoded ideas about gender and power or will we finally embrace new models of strength and leadership capable of meeting the unprecedented challenges that lie ahead?”
I urge you to watch this important film that lays out how the conservative movement in America, over the last five decades, has harnessed, exploited and reinforced white males’ perceived loss of power and identity and fueled their uncertainties.
From Nixon’s campaign for the presidency to Trump’s 2016 campaign, the right has identified and utilized dominant ideas about what it is to be a “real man,” played into their fears of our changing times and turned white working-class men away from the Democratic Party, making them believe that the Republican Party was the party of real men.
Many see the growth of the Black Lives Matter movement, the feminist and MeToo movements, the LGBTQ movement, the Immigration and Indigenous Peoples movements as the very populations and people that have affected their status and standing. They see their patriarchal world view fading and they cannot yet see their place in the future.
To effectively use the “real man” stereotypes, the right developed and orchestrated a strategy to frame liberals and the Democrats, specifically those running for the presidency, as soft and weak, i.e. not manly and strong.
How did this play out, when in 2016, we had the first woman nominated on a major party’s presidential ticket? In our country’s 244-year history we have never had a woman president. I believe there is a reason for this beyond the fact that white women were not able to vote until 1920 and many minority women not being able to vote until the passage of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. The reason is patriarchy and the long-standing beliefs of the dominant power group - white men - of what a president should look, act and sound like.
This system of stereotypical beliefs is exactly what the right-wing conservatives, now dominating the Republican party, have exploited over the last half century. Patriarchy knows it is dying. We are in a transformational time in our history. We need leaders who will guide us, who will paint a picture of a future that includes everyone equally - a picture of what the future can and will be.
As a society, there is much we have to do to face the challenges ahead of us. To begin, it is important to understand how we got here. Naming the dilemma we face makes it more real. Once it is in our consciousness we can better recognize it in our daily lives. That awareness gives us the ability to act and meet the challenges ahead.
For many women this film will be an affirmation. For some men, who never fit the “real man” paradigm, it will also be an affirmation. For others, it may help make sense of the contradictions and conflicts they have felt and give them permission to dismantle stereotypes that have held them down and back.
This film is the ground floor of what we need to know to make change and a common meeting point to frame our expectations of our government going forward. In the end, I have no doubt we will prevail but, it won’t come without work - without people being informed and taking action.
The Man Card was directed by Peter Hutchison and Lucas Sabean, and is based on Jackson Katz’s book Man Enough? Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton & the Politics of Presidential Masculinity (Interlink Books, 2016).
Watch The Man Card for free through November 3, 2020. After that, for a fun and inspiring read check out my memoir Persistence: The Power to Make Change (Big Hat Press, 2019) about my journey to activism at www.patbakalian.com
Then, I would love to know what you think about where we are at and our journey going forward.