Jesus was the greatest emasculator of men the western world has ever known. Or he would have been, if he had been allowed to succeed. He was shut up and shut down pdq. He continues to be shut down by those men who pretend to follow him. No POP (Person of Power) has ever followed Jesus.
The message that Jesus repeatedly gave to the men of his culture was to cultivate and embrace those qualities his culture called “feminine”. “Turn the other cheek,” the bible reports him as saying. To do so, a man would have to cultivate pacifism, forgiveness, submission, acceptance, humility – all attributes that POP has assigned to women, all attributes that would undermine POP culture. “Love your neighbour as you love yourself”, he is further reported to have said. That’s the ultimate equality. It requires that men cultivate generosity, non-competitiveness, cooperation – all qualities that have been assigned to women, and all qualities that would undermine POP culture. “Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth”: when I first heard that I thought he was saying that women would ultimately emerge on top. The only meek people I knew were women.
When Christianity was made the state religion and became a political tool rather than a spiritual path, the church fathers were quick to do to Jesus what masculine training taught them to do: make him a hero, put him on a pedestal, let him be the sacrifice that lets other men off the hook. And so they made him the son of God, one with God (the ultimate POP). They made him a symbol of emasculation so that they wouldn’t have to emasculate themselves, and restored his masculinity in merging him with God the POP. Then they merrily continued the POP cultures of the Romans and the Jews.
It’s no wonder that “POP Christians” are big on Jehovah and give short shrift to Jesus, preferring an eye for an eye rather than turning the other cheek. Those men who really want to change and to be part of the change that the world needs if humanity is to survive need to emasculate themselves in the ways that Jesus suggested. They need to deconstruct their masculinity in a process similar to the “consciousness raising” that early feminists underwent in the 1960’s and 70’s, when groups of women would get together to learn from each other how they were perpetuating their own domination by POP, how they were participating in their own oppression, how they had swallowed the messages of POP and become the enforcers of their own inferiority.
“Emasculate” is, of course, the wrong word. “De-masculate” with its connotation of taking apart or undoing is better. Women do not need men to join the feminist movement; one suspects such men of wanting to be heroes, protectors of (weaker) women and children, which is what POP culture teaches them to be. Women in consciousness-raising groups learned to “de-feminize” themselves, and what greater symbol of that than the burning of the bra, an apparatus that simultaneously bound and highlighted the most obvious part of a woman’s anatomy. Men need to learn from each other the ways in which they have swallowed the messages of POP, the ways in which they perform oppression, aggression, and domination daily.
To know your enemy is half the battle. Men who want to end oppression must come to recognize their own oppressive behaviours.