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Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
9 months ago

But Lionel Shriner and Ben Shapiro are absolutely correct in this case. Identity politics has done serious damage to the global image of the West. By indulging in it, we have effectively neutered our best and most brilliant in order to make way for our most naive and arrogant. Heck, our colleges are producing graduates that can’t work out the difference between a man and a woman. If I were a brutal dictator I would probably choose this moment to start a war too.

Richard Parker
Richard Parker
9 months ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Thank heavens someone else sees this! I couldn’t agree more.
It’s not as though I’m arguing for the resurrection of the Spartan state but we could try to remember that “a house divided against itself cannot stand”. Putting every stone of our cultural foundations up for grabs to the loudest shouter doesn’t do much for our external security, I would suggest.

Rasmus Fogh
Rasmus Fogh
9 months ago

Many sensible arguments, but the whole thing is clearly by a person marinated in a left-wing hyperfocus on everything that is wrong with our societies. Hence she quite likes the smear term ‘toxic masculinity’, even if she thinks it is not well applied to Putin. I suppose it is good that even ultraprogressives can notice the limits of identity politics, but this is too far out to be of interest to people outside the in-group.

Last edited 9 months ago by Rasmus Fogh
Richard Pearse
Richard Pearse
9 months ago
Reply to  Rasmus Fogh

Excellent Observation. It’s as if she was using a trumped-up beef with “toxic masculinity” as cover to attack everyone and everything from Brett Kavanaugh (hinting that he was guilty as charged – which is just plain ridiculous), pro-lifers, etc.

David Lewis
David Lewis
9 months ago

How strange must the world look through the feminist prism! How bizarre to focus on the issues above amidst the chaos and misery that we see unfolding in Ukraine.
Nowhere have I seen feminist outrage expressed that women are being discriminated against by NOT being forced to remain in the country to fight and die. After all, why does it take a Y-chromosome to pull the trigger on a Kalashnikov or launch an anti-tank missile? Surely, equality of opportunity by total integration of women into the military forces of most progressive western nations is self-evidently a good thing, so why should they not be fully integrated into the defence of Ukraine?
Imagine the treatment of a chap who turns up at Ukrainian border control and claims the right to flee: “Because I am transgender and identify as a woman.’
It takes only a small degradation in the fabric of society for ‘toxic masculinity’ to be urgently rehabilitated into ‘courageous manliness’.
Most forms of wokeism can only survive and prosper in the abnormally oxygen-rich atmosphere of 21st century liberal democracy. The tiniest fracture in the bell jar sees a rapid return of oxygen levels to normal, when most of the ‘….isms’ rapidly become irrelevant

Richard Pearse
Richard Pearse
9 months ago
Reply to  David Lewis

Excellent comment!

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
9 months ago

There is no such thing as toxic masculinity.

Martin Logan
Martin Logan
9 months ago

Once again, strawman arguments.
Putin’s world view is informed by hyper-nationalism, not toxic masculinity, or “western hypocrisy.” And there are quite a few Russian women that hold views just as dangerous.
Hyper-nationalism is a very common trait in many nations that feel aggrieved about the post-Cold War world order. The term “toxic masculinity” lacks intellectual rigour, since it can–and is–applied to any male who does things we don’t like.
But “western hypocrisy” is even less rigorous. One can be against the Iraq War (which I was) without seeing it as somehow a greenlight for failed strongmen to make one last throw of the dice.
Introducing meaningless terms about situations that are already well defined shows how low our current intellectual standards have sunk.
Western culture for the last 1500 years has always been based on the idea that humans are very imperfect beings. Hence human societies are also. That a few slogans– based on very questionable social science–will somehow change the human condition is ludicrous.
And toxic.

Dominic A
Dominic A
9 months ago

the Russian President is so insecure about his sense of manly virility that he had to start a war to prove himself.

Swap out, ‘his sense manly virility’ with, ‘his sense of Russia’s virility’, and you paraphrase Putin’s own words.
Add to this the ample evidence that Putin has reached that inevitable stage of despotism where the leader’s sense of self and nation are fused, and it is clear that the proposition is sound (albeit one factor amongst several).
To acknowledge this is not to accept a point of identity politics, but of psychology. Confusingly it is the author who overreaches the identity politics:

Israel, she points out, is hardly the only nation to use identity politics to cloak its less progressive reforms. The United States celebrated gay marriage while conducting drone warfare in Yemen

The US used gay marriage to cloak drone warfare? Now that is a hilariously ill-informed, decadent and frivolous opinion.

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
9 months ago

Meanwhile, in the real world, when war started Ukraine called upon *men* aged 16-60, full of toxic masculinity, to fight for the country.
As Bill Burr said in one of his comedy routines, there are no feminists in a house fire.

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
9 months ago

Correct me if I am wrong but I thought the origin of the term “toxic masculinity” emerged from the mythopoetic men’s movement of the 1980s?
Further, perhaps approaching men’s method’s of acting in the world from a feminine perspective may lead to pathologising male behaviours in particular, rather than seeing such behaviours as those found in both men and women – arguably, perhaps, more often in men. Hence
… certain masculine traits once heralded as beneficial — chivalry, strength, competitiveness — could be potentially oppressive, especially when they metastasise into violent behaviour against women and other vulnerable communities.
It can be argued these so-called certain masculine traits are also found in women, but viewing such traits as particular to men allows for the pathologising of ‘masculinity’ through an inappropriate reduction to only men.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
9 months ago

Yes indeed. Masculinity in men is to be discouraged, while in women it needs to be celebrated. I think that this may also be a contributing factor to male-to-female transitions. As women become more man-like, men searching for feminine beauty and sexual ideals attempt to recreate it in themselves.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
9 months ago

I commented in a similar “this is too big to look at from an identity politics perspective” on the Julie Burchill article in todays Unherd.

Not even in moderation anymore, it seems, just banned.

Last edited 9 months ago by Martin Bollis
David Morley
David Morley
9 months ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Bindel. My comments are vanishing too.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
9 months ago
Reply to  David Morley

Thanks, keep making that mistake – similar people, as well as names.

Perry de Havilland
Perry de Havilland
9 months ago

I am not an unqualified admirer of Ben Shapiro, but he is pretty much correct about how the ‘west’ (in particular the Anglosphere) looks when viewed from the east. Add a semi-senile (verging on undead) POTUS to the absurdity of wokesters, and it is not hard to see why Putin might have decided he was not going to face serious geopolitical opposition. Frankly I can’t blame him for thinking that, although I am delighted he turned out to be wrong.

Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
9 months ago

Is this a desperate attempt to get acknowledgement of the me!me!me! nature of identity politics into discussions about this war?
How appropriate, the exhibitionists trying to get some attention.

Tommy Abdy
Tommy Abdy
9 months ago

Putin comes from a humble background. He has fought his way to Presidency through foul or other means. Like many before him, he has been in ‘power’ for far too long. This always results in them becoming power crazy and surrounded by pathetic sycophants and they loose touch with the real world. In Putin’s case Covid came along and reinforced his isolation. Then he was diagnosed with terminal illness and is now stuffed with steroids which have exacerbated his problems. IMHO NATO should make a swift and overwhelming strike on his forces surrounding Ukraine and instantly retire back to base. So overwhelming and successful that it strikes the fear of God into all his forces and it must kill as many Senior Officers as possible so as to ‘turn’ all others.

Kiat Huang
Kiat Huang
8 months ago

“Toxic masculinity” is a shameful exploitation of society’s mental weakness. Masculinity, feminity, childhood, being at parent, a worker, an artist, a soldier, a nurse…..none if these things are inherently toxic or bad or good.

Journalists and publications paying excessive attention to the terminology created by social warriors is counter productive for society. It’s appeasing or pandering to a cultural terrorism. And public figures are terrified saying things in public these days, least it is misconstrued now or at any point in the future.

Better to focus on plain, non-divisive language that minimises the use of labels. Drop the PC sycophancy. There have been unhinged, murderous despots and warmongers for millennia and quite a few of them were women. There would be more women involved at the sharp end, but patriarchal societies have surpressed female involvement. There really is nothing inherently good or bad about being a man or a woman or being masculine or feminine.