The Obama/ Buttigieg Difference: On the Appeal of a Post-Patriarchal Masculinity

Amidst the rapidly growing pool of candidates for the democratic ticket in 2020, the relatively un-known, Pete Buttigieg, is making an un-expectedly big splash. “Mayor Pete” distinguishes himself in many ways — he’s the youngest candidate, an outside the beltway democrat from a red-state and, of course… he’s gay. People are also impressed with his grounded rhetoric — a down-home, reasoned and whip-smart common sense. Likened by more than a few to Barack Obama, Chris Cillizza writes: “Don’t look now, but (another) skinny kid with a funny name is turning heads in the presidential race.”

Like Obama, Buttigieg does have that remarkable ability to focus his sizable intelligence, (he’s a Rhodes scholar with a philosopher’s reflective interest in all-things-civic), on our complex political reality in readily, relatable ways. Also like Obama, he has that unflappable capacity to sound reassuring with every answer he offers, coming off cool no matter the curve ball.

But, I think there’s another reason why Buttigieg reassures us. Of all the candidates, he has something Obama had that’s essential to our future and yet that’s rare among men in leadership today: what I would describe as a post-patriarchal masculinity.

Continue reading “The Obama/ Buttigieg Difference: On the Appeal of a Post-Patriarchal Masculinity”

Kissing Patriarchy Goodbye

The last time I spoke to my father, he was dead.  The OPPORTUNITY changed my life.

It’s been six years, now, since I last spoke to my father. Mid-summer, July 15th, 2014. It was in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and he was lying on a gurney at a funeral home — dead as a doornail. To hide the incisions of his autopsy, the back of his head and throat were carefully wrapped over with portions of the white sheet that bundled the rest of his body. He was propped up at an angle, his face available for viewing and the area where the sheet was raised over his arm, exposed the solid, stubborn fingers on his right hand. Continue reading “Kissing Patriarchy Goodbye”

Dragon Queen Woman

There are those who will tell you to doubt yourself
and you will heed them
because you love them
(or because your life began depending on them?)
and take in their guidance to your core.

You will turn all you know to be true upside down
and you will live —  inside out —half-mad
a frail misunderstanding of yourself.

They will tell you God is not real,
or that God is something you know not
or that their God in the sky is it and nothing more.
They will tell you that the sun is not magnificent
for rising in the east each morning
and that the earth is simply there for the taking.
Continue reading “Dragon Queen Woman”

When Gillette asks men “Is This the Best a Man Can Get?”, what happens next?

Following in the footsteps of Nike’s Colin Kappernick commercial, Gillette recently released a two-minute ad that, recieving wide viewership, calls on men to step forward into manhood in a new way. A friend who knows I write about gender and social change sent it to me. Tears welled up as I watched something happen on a screen that offered a much longed for window into how our broken culture may yet be able to offer a pathway forward for my twin, 9 year old boys. Finally.

For a mother concerned not just with the modeling my sons are getting from the White House, but with the abounding crisis of masculinity largely responsible for Trump’s election and the alarming (and related, to my mind) climate change denial, it is hard not to fear for my children and the world they are inheriting.

The election of Donald Trump created — or perhaps highlighted — a man-shaped-hole at the core of our country. Trump’s election, described by some as the “last gasp of patriarchy”, begs a question I have been asking almost from the day after he got elected: What kind of new man might fill that hole? What does post-patriarchal masculinity look like?

Continue reading “When Gillette asks men “Is This the Best a Man Can Get?”, what happens next?”