Looking at the world today, it’s not hard to find examples of angry, adrift men shaping public discourse. On this episode of the podcast, the brother-sister duo of Daniel Goldwater and Samantha Goldwater-Adler look at what place masculinity has in modern society, and in politics. As manufacturing and labour jobs slip into the past, the siblings explore whether the male tropes of a previous generation still hold up, or whether a new image of men is taking hold.
In their exploration of masculinity, the siblings agreed that men had a way to menace others with threats of violence in a way that women generally can’t.
“My experience when I was a young woman, and still to an extent now, was marked by an approach-withdrawal relationship with men. Where I…still found guys appealing and attractive and I wanted to date and explore that. But there was also a very real and, for me, extremely conscious fear that went along with that,” Goldwater-Adler said.
Daniel saw some of that ability to be menacing in himself, at least in part because of the cultural context of masculinity.
“If I had to define what I think makes a man, it’s to be aware of that potential in every man—And I’m only speaking for myself, I can’t speak for all men,” Daniel Goldwater said. “That within me, at any time I’m biologically and culturally positioned to engage in a lot of physical violence or abuse of other people. Often women. And to be aware of that, and to do what I can to rein it in.”
• Samantha Goldwater-Adler: The Weaponized Loser, by Stephen T. Asma — “I find it really has a very interesting exploration of how frustrated male desire, and frustrated male achievement, kind of feed into a lot of aggression and violence,” Goldwater-Adler said. The way the theory is presented is quite compelling, she said, and very much worth a read.
• Daniel Goldwater: In the Company of Men — “What I love about this film, and why I think it’s important for people to see, it’s something we didn’t really talk about in this podcast, is the one-upmanship that goes on between men when women are not around,” Goldwater said. The film follows two men in a corporate setting who keep raising the stakes by playing vicious pranks on their female co-workers. He said the film is worth watching to see how some aspects of male bonding can turn ugly.
Anne-France Goldwater will return to the podcast later this summer, after a period of reflection on whether she wants to enter politics.
PHOTO CREDIT: Kheel Center/Flickr