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The War Against Masculinity: Dave Chappelle, The Kardashians and Jay Z

Alright so take this in, there’s a war going on outside. And no it’s not the one against China, this ones more sinister. This one is way bigger and its impacts will be unprecedented. This one is a war against masculinity. I hope I don’t sound like one of those “menninist” guys and I’d like to preface this by saying that I definitely understand why the war was supported by a lot of men and women. For millennia dickhead men have oppressed the planet. Men have raped and pillaged entire nations and really fucked this place up. Men, specifically white men, created a system where they benefit the most. And that meant oppressing everyone underneath them and that hierarchical system placed straight white men at the head of power. And for centuries that system of social governance controlled the world until many oppressed groups around the world started rising up and taking back their power. And to this day many oppressed groups are still dealing with that systemic oppression.

And that’s why this war against masculinity is welcomed by so many people. The term toxic masculinity was something I heard during my latter years of high school. I graduated in 2016 and around grade 11 I started hearing girls using the term that they saw on tumblr. Tumblr was the hub for creatives and minorities so many temperamentally left wing people were attracted to the site. And many ideas started growing from there. Many of them were very good ideas like inclusivity, creativity and tolerance. Those are all things that you can’t argue against as a person. That site gave rise to so many dope artists visually, film wise and even music artists like ASAP MOB and ODD Future. Barack Obama was the president of the United States and he was the first black president. It was the building blocks of a generation of kids that was against racism, homophobia and any type of intolerance in the world. The internet made it possible so people could see the horrifying realities of police brutality in America and the fall of oppressive regimes around the world. The early to mid 2010's looked like the world heading into a utopia. And then those kids grew up. The internet started exposing a lot of the cracks within our infrastructure that are systemic.

Things like racism and sexism are deep rooted in our infrastructure and it’s more than just one person perpetuating it. And that made a lot of us angry. And that anger gave corporations an opportunity to do what they always do, capitalize. Those corporations saw an opportunity to get rid of a threat so they are now actively perpetuating a war against masculinity as a concept. With the help of radical white feminist twitter and the unfortunate ‘Me Too’ movement, masculinity has now developed a negative connotation. It’s been pushed out of the way as expendable attributes as opposed to a necessary energy. Masculinity is almost a synonym for aggression or sexual abuse. Toxic masculinity does definitely exist but that doesn’t mean all the qualities and attributes that are attributed to men are negative. What a man is to me is someone who is a protector, someone who provides, someone who is courageous. Men are historically usually the ones to rise up and overthrow oppressive regimes. And a lot of that just comes from our competitive nature.

Kings have overthrown other kings and peasants have created armies to dethrone empires, it’s all happened and it’s usually happening either with a man at the helm or men in the army. So let me start my speculation and you tell me if it makes sense to you. Our system of control in this world is run by a small number of business interests with vast amounts of control over most of the land and resources. The majority of us are in the working class. We are what is known as consumers. We work at various corporations and then use the money to buy products and services from those corporations.

There is a small percentage of people hoarding a vast majority of the wealth while there are people starving. And that’s what a free market allows for. Free markets are subject to manipulation, misinformation, asymmetries of power & knowledge, and foster wealth inequality. They allow for monopolies and business interests to take hold of all aspects of power. That allows the top 1 percent of the wealthiest people to be wealthier than 99 percent of the people. And the 99 percent are made to consume. We consume food, products and information all controlled by the 1 percent. That means the media, schools and governments are all somehow influenced by business interests.

Even the way our public school systems are designed are literally to create factory workers. That’s why we had the bells and the 15 minute breaks. And capitalism inherently allows for the exploitation of people for the sake of profit. And historically we know that when people feel exploited and oppressed they revolt and that wouldn’t be beneficial to the power structure that is in place. So people have been bought off with products, food and media. And usually it would be men that would lead the charges of the revolution but our concept of masculinity no longer exists. Corporations have actively used propaganda to make us associate masculinity with negativity so they can continue to control the masses.

Dave Chappelle once went on Oprah and explained how while filming a movie he was strongly urged by the writers, director and producers to wear a dress on television. He told them he was uncomfortable with it and they pressured him by telling him all the comedy greats had done it but they came back with a new script once they saw he was adamantly against it. He said he was against it because he felt it was strange how all of these strong black celebrities in entertainment end up wearing a dress when that was strongly frowned upon where they came from. He felt like they were abandoning their morals and integrity while spreading an agenda just for the sake of monetary compensation. And when I looked it up it was uncanny.

Most of my favourite black entertainers have worn a dress. To my generation that’s a completely regular occurrence and it’s even frowned upon to bring it up as a strange situation. We grew up watching Young Thug, Madea and Lil Uzi, all of whom I’m a fan of. But it’s more than just the dress, it’s what the dress represents and the subliminal message the dress is sending. The "Torches of Freedom" was an advertising campaign used to encourage women's smoking by exploiting women's aspirations for a better life during the early twentieth century first-wave feminism in the United States. Cigarettes were described as symbols of emancipation and equality with men. The term was first used by psychoanalyst A. A. Brill when describing the natural desire for women to smoke and was used by Edward Bernays to encourage women to smoke in public despite social taboos.

Bernays hired women to march while smoking their "torches of freedom" in the Easter Sunday Parade of 1929, which was a significant moment for fighting social barriers for women smokers. Bernays worked closely with psychoanalysts like Sigmund Freud and realized that the cigarette would subconsciously have to represent male genitalia and women taking back their power in order to capitalize on women's need for liberation. These billion dollar studios, record labels and advertisers are very aware of the image they are perpetuating and what message they are subliminally sending by having straight black men wearing dresses. Men grow up with a distorted image of what it is to be a man for many reasons.

Capitalism incentivizes households where children are unsupervised. Be it because the parents are at work, divorced or funneled to jails. Especially in the black community in the United States. The rapid expansion of the US inmate population is due to the political influence of private prison companies and businesses that supply goods and services to government prison agencies for profit. In the words of Huey Freeman “The prison industrial complex is a system situated at the intersection of government and private interests. It uses prisons as a solution to social, political, and economic problems. It includes human rights violations, the death penalty, slave labor, policing, courts, the media, political prisoners, and the elimination of dissent.” The US has the highest population of prisoners anywhere in the world due to private prisons. And the media perpetuates this behaviour by using influential people to promote criminal behaviours that could land them in prison.

So many men are in prison or are unable to actively be in their sons lives for various reasons, so those kids pay attention to the media. And so the media creates role models because capitalism also incentivizes celebrity worship. In the 20th century with the advances in technology and the creation of television, many movie stars and musicians created a new form of celebrity. The “rock star” and the “pop group”, epitomized by Elvis Presley and the Beatles, respectively. John Lennon once said "We're more popular than Jesus now," That gives an insight into both the adulation and notoriety that fame can bring. When Jesus was alive he was not nearly as famous as the Beatles in their peak. Our Public fascination goes way beyond the on-screen exploits of celebrities and their private lives became headline news. People idolize celebrities. They worship them.

Corporate media’s agenda is to sell advertisements rather than quality media to inform and entertain the public. And a lot of times you have to look at who owns the outlet, who funds the outlet, where do they get their information from and what their agenda is. There are people who pay millions of dollars to surgically change their physical features to look like Kim Kardashian. There are people who live and die by Jay Z's lyrics. Stan culture is celebrity worship. With the disappearance of organized religion from communities people began to worship celebrities. It’s because the celebrity represents the lavish lifestyle the working class aspire to have. It’s designed to show the glamour of a lifestyle and keep us aspiring to be them.

Celebrity life is shown to be glamorous because it’s designed to advertise us products. Because celebrity has become its own class and everything they wear becomes a status symbol. If Jay Z wears a Rolex, we all start buying Rolexes because of what that watch represents. It’s a lavish lifestyle. If Michael Jackson drinks Pepsi we all drink Pepsi. These people hold a significant influential slot in the social structure. And that’s where the agendas come in. Because of how influential celebrities are they are used to spread various brands, products and agendas. And I believe one of those agendas in recent memory is to destroy the concept of masculinity. Masculinity is made to seem like useless aggression, sexual lusting and just toxic behaviour. There’s an anti men movement because of how powerful real men are. Real men are able to speak and make changes and protect their communities. Real men in my personal experience are providers, honourable and conduct themselves with respect.

I know it’s corny to say “not all men are trash” but for real not all men are trash. Yeah, we fuck up but we fuck up like a person fucks up. We’re supposed to motivate our men to be better humans, not make them kill themselves and each other. Men are more likely to successfully kill themselves than women. We’re subconsciously placing a self hatred within men that shows itself in how we treat other men and women. We wanna harm each other and those around us because of how we feel about ourselves. Toxic masculinity does exist but it affects men more than anyone. Men die earlier from strokes and heart attacks because we don’t think it’s cool to express ourselves and shit like that. But a lot of that is because we’re insecure about ourselves to begin with. And honestly that’s why a lot of these little kids are going up shooting up schools and shooting at each other. There's a lot of insecurity about their place in the world as a man. You’re in a culture that treats you like you’re a villain since birth and tries to tame you yet also forces you to have to be “tough” and not express any emotions and makes you aggressive, competitive and have to stake your claim. So these crazy kids with multiple conflicting messages in their heads about themselves go and shoot up schools. And it’s partially because that’s what being a man is advertised as.

A man in the media is advertised as everything that is fundamentally wrong with society. Men fuck up but that doesn’t mean masculinity as a concept is negative. Not all masculinity is toxic. There are masculine traits that are necessary and beneficial. Instead of throwing the baby out with the bath water, how about we try to refurbish the idea of masculinity? How about we update it? How about we empower little boys into becoming wholesome adults instead of teaching them to feel like shit about themselves? But like I said earlier the problem isn’t individual. The problem is institutional. It’s a systemic issue and it’s deep rooted. All our divisions from race to gender to religion are all a distraction perpetuated by corporations so we can’t see that there’s a vast economic disparity and unfair monopolization of the world by business interests. So not all men are trash, but a lot of your favourite rich niggas are.

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