Note: This essay is long, so it is organized into three parts. Future posts will address questions that some readers will have upon reading it, such as why women collaborate with and enable authoritarians, how the new crop of female leaders complicates this gender politics, and how to strike back at this model of brutal male leadership.
Regarding the pervasive and dangerous effects of Hypermasculinity, Dr. Erich Fromm said that
"The purely Matriarchal society stands in the way of the full development of the individual, thus preventing technical, rational, artistic progress. The purely Patriarchal society cares nothing for love and equality; it is only concerned with manmade laws, the state, abstract principles, obedience. It is beautifully described in Sophocles’ Antigone in the person and system of Creon, the prototype of a fascist leader. When the Patriarchal and Matriarchal principles form a synthesis, however, each of the two principles is colored by the other: motherly love by justice and rationality, and fatherly love by mercy and equality. Today the fight against Patriarchal authority seems to be destroying the Patriarchal principle, suggesting a return to a Matriarchal principle in a regressive and non-dialectic way. A viable and progressive solution lies only in a new synthesis of the opposites, one in which the opposition between mercy and justice is replaced by a union of the two on a higher level"
From his book, "The Crisis of Psychoanalysis: Essays on Freud, Marx and Social Psychology
Are you following the fascist philosopher Bronze Age pervert? He espouses the same concept as George, in the previous comment, notes. He uses the term “longhouse” for, I think, the smothering intrusive effect of supposedly feminine collective rule.
How would you classify a female, authoritarian leader, such as Indira Gandhi in India. She went so far as to implement, forced sterilization for women and men and declared a “state of emergency” in order to maintain her authoritarian rule.
There’s always been something about ‘those men’ that sets my teeth ajar. And I have to say just a bare few women have hit me that way.
My flags just ‘go up’. Interesting....the why, huh?
Very well said. I also think that hypermasculinity, misogyny and homophobia hide behind and use religion to justify their actions. Modern organized religions have never viewed women as equals - watch what they do, not what they say. The Catholic Church (ex-Catholic here) in the 21st century still does not recognize the equality of women, changed its stance on abortion time limits once women gained more social and economic power in the '60s, is against birth control, and makes those in the LGBTQ+ communities unequal. The cherry-picking and choosing of lines from the Bible to support the positions you discuss makes it clear that religion is only useful when it can be used to oppress others. The scene in The West Wing says it all https://youtu.be/3CPjWd4MUXs?si=rSe1VrlfRqXI2juK (Sorry, I can't figure out how to make it a real link on Substack).
It occurred to me during my read that Republicans are now the “Incel party”. Not just that Incels support them (shared misogyny), but because both groups are deeply offended that they can’t attract women/voters, but rather than change to be more attractive, they complain and try to change the rules.
As always, an excellent analysis of core dimensions of authoritarianism.
Thanks Ruth for pointing out how DeSantis copycats Orban.
Orban takes advantage of Hungary being a member of the EU. His regime would flop miserably if he wasn’t in the EU.
Perfect assessment of the fascist movement in the world. It appears that weak and/or unaware people are more susceptible to it! The manipulation of people is the strength of fascism. The US voters must awaken before it’s too late! Trump must not be allowed near the presidency again!
This was powerful and clear. Thanks, Ruth
This analysis brings to mind aspects of Wilhelm Reich's The Mass Psychology of Fascism (2nd edition, 1945). Here are a few sentences from a lengthy, densely written tome:
". . . .It was not until relatively late <in cultural development>, with the establishment of an authoritarian patriarchy and the beginning of the division of the classes, that suppression of sexuality begins to make its appearance. . . . .In short, morality's aim is to produce acquiescent subjects who, despite distress and humiliation, are adjusted to the authoritarian order. . . .There is good reason for all this when seen from the perspective of the now-thriving exploitation of human labor. . . .
I've been thinking about this essay since I read it yesterday. As I therapist, my question is which comes first, the misogynistic authoritarian leader or the rise of a level of comfort in a society that allows for diversification regarding the status of women and gender diversity? I think of the Weimar Republic and the United States before the ascendance of Trump, for example. Then come the great intellectual depression and social represssion of the Nazis and MAGA. It seems to be a cycle as old as humanity itself, because you can see similar patterns in ancient Athens and Rome.
The marginalization of certain groups in society is very much in keeping with fascist social Darwinism. Fascism is all about dominance and submission. Women and LGBTQ individuals are considered inferior in the social Darwinist pecking order. Sociopathic fascist leaders view themselves as demigods, and this self image leads to the marginalization of others surrounding them. Sociopathic thinking is very "dominance and submisson" oriented, and therefore so is fascist thinking.
The women's Equal Rights Amendment has long been seen as a danger to our fascist leaning politicians' self image of superiority. This attitude seems to be right out of the Middle Ages.
The more I read about the events surrounding authoritarianism in recent history and see the repetition by current autocrats, wannabes included, the more I wonder who is doing all the planning, speech writing, etc. I know there's the adage about history repeating, but is some cases the repetition is literal.