In backing Liz Warren and Amy Klobuchar, the New York Times rejected toxic masculinity — as we all should

It's not about women or men — it's about a feminine way of approaching politics that politicians of all stripes have shown, including Andrew Yang

Lauren Duca
New York
Tuesday 21 January 2020 20:29 GMT
In a rare move, the Times backed both Warren and Klobuchar — one for the progressive wing of the party and the other for the moderate
In a rare move, the Times backed both Warren and Klobuchar — one for the progressive wing of the party and the other for the moderate

On Tuesday, the New York Times editorial board released an op-ed titled “Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren Are Democrats’ Top Choices for President.” The unusual choice seemed more an endorsement for women in general than either one of them in particular. I’ve chosen to accept this as mainstream media’s acknowledgement of the rise of the divine feminine.

Gender is, of course, a social construct. The divine feminine is beyond that binary, best understood as the energetic force of nurturing. Plenty of male-identifying individuals are in touch with this force, although women tend to be more likely to find their strength in the divine feminine, in part because of the way society commodifies the stereotypical responsibilities of sitcom motherhood, such as cooking, always being the one to remember when to buy toilet paper, and giving birth.

America, as it stands, is not even pretending to be a free country. We are living in an oligarchy structured by the hierarchy of the white, supremacist patriarchy, and this is where toxic masculinity has led us: into the greedy depths of a ruthless individualism that only benefits those at the top. Ten per cent of United States citizens control 76 per cent of the country’s wealth, the six wealthiest people in the country own as much the bottom 50 per cent, and CEOs from the 350 biggest corporations make 271 times more than the typical worker. You don’t have to have the dystopian greatest hits memorized to assert that it is completely insane that there are billionaires ruling over kingdoms of yachts and beach houses while the public at large endures an eternal slap-fight over who gets to eat the s**t in the sandbox.

The most important way to see our deep need for the divine feminine is in the shape of our economic and justice systems. American greed is sustained by corruption and enforced by punishment. The United States has allocated about $989 billion on military spending this year. It costs between $31,000 and $68,000 to house an inmate. And yet, there is supposedly a reasonable argument at the Democratic primary debates over whether considering healthcare as a human right might be too expensive. What’s at stake is not cost, but prioritization of the military and prison industrial complexes over basic things people need to thrive. The inescapable fact is that we live in a country that is more willing to pay to send young black and brown people to jail than to college.

The shift to policies guided by unconditional love for the collective are also on offer from Bernie Sanders, and in Andrew Yang’s insistence on public policy aimed at developing happiness. I have made it clear that my heart beats for Elizabeth Warren, although I think both Warren and Sanders insist on equitable public power in a way that can further inspire the political-awakening movement. (For any self-identified Bernie Bros reading this: I would note that I would be excited to support either Warren or Sanders in the general election. PS Please don’t harass me.)

That said, I think it makes a difference if the person at the helm of this transformation is a woman, because of the lessons learned by anyone who has a female perspective on our crisis of toxic masculinity. The same could be more extensively discussed in terms of race in this election, if the Democratic party weren’t embarrassing themselves with not even a single black or brown candidate on the most recent debate stage.

Clip of Elizabeth Warren's first ever TV interview resurfaces

It’s ridiculous to assert that gender and race don’t matter in a society that is defined by its systematic oppression of those characteristics. As Brittney Cooper wrote in regard to Bernie Sanders’s identity, “Being progressive doesn’t mean that one’s race or gender ceases to matter in one’s leadership style and prerogatives, especially not in a world where gender and race are always presumed to matter for how women and people of color will govern.”

Representation is not everything, obviously. I don’t know that I can thank Margaret Thatcher for anything other than Sir Elton John’s production of Billy Elliot. And to be clear, many of the select handful of female leaders rule in the style of the toxically masculine. In order to get to the top, they often squeeze into the aesthetics of Brooks Brothers, working to hide their feminine traits as if they were a shameful secret. Kirsten Gillibrand’s primary campaign was revolutionary in that she made a case for the presidency built on her strengths as a woman. Far too often, the few women who get to the top have the strengths associated with femininity bludgeoned out of them, for fear they will be received as weaknesses.

As the daughter of a father, I feel compelled to honor the divine masculine. I am closely in touch with mine. The divine masculine is best understood as an energetic force that is assertive and pragmatic. The divine masculine protects you and gets s**t done.

Elizabeth Warren has tons of that energy.

The problem with masculinity is when it occurs as its shadow part. Toxic masculinity looks like this ongoing death rattle of the white supremacist patriarchy clinging to power. And, of course, we see the most grotesque manifestation of this sickness in the form of that demonic sweet potato who keeps us on the verge of World War Three because he cannot handle his own insecurity — which would be embarrassing, if our lives weren’t at stake.

I think a woman is our best bet at beating that. I think using feminine pronouns for the most powerful person in the world could help correct our overriding tendency toward the toxic masculine. The rugged individualism brought to you by capitalism means we are often moved by the self-interest of greed instead of investing in love for ourselves and, therefore, the collective. We need a push toward nurturing and caretaking to move our society out of a shared hell defined by precariousness. We need to prioritize public health and happiness, to building abundance for the majority, instead of sending our people into war, debt, and prison so that billionaires can continue to compensate for something.

In my humble opinion, the divine feminine will continue to rise and ultimately defeat the white supremacist patriarchy no matter what — but it would certainly help the process along if our transformation is led by our first chance at the concept of a “Madame President.”

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