Spoiler Alert: Don’t read any further if you want to avoid plot spoilers for the new Star Wars movie.
Mark Judge complains that weak men are screwing his Star Wars feminism up in ‘Star Wars’ and the Crisis of Masculinity (H/T Instapundit). Judge postulates that the problem both in the movie and in real life is a lack of a male initiation ritual. There may be something to this, but there is a much more obvious problem in both Star Wars and the western world which Judge trips over while making his case for meaningful initiation rituals of manhood (emphasis mine):
Yet young men who are not properly initiated can suffer from psychic dissonance, depression, rage, and a lifelong inability to handle relationships. In other words, they become like Kylo Ren. This is why the questions about Ren’s parentage are so fascinating. His parents, Han Solo and General Leia, are both strong warriors, yet their son seeks to test himself against a grandfather he never met. What went wrong?
Of course his mother and father are both strong warriors. This is western fiction; all princesses are now warriors. It is mandatory. Women have coveted the status of men, including their status as protectors. For the most part women don’t actually want to take on the role, but they want to deny men of any sense of manly pride which might come with having such a defined obligation. This is why all parts of our military need to be open to women, even the most elite and physically demanding roles.
The fundamental problem is not that we don’t have initiation rituals for men, but the reason why we can’t have them. Initiation rituals are about defining manhood, especially the noble qualities of manhood. This is something women en mass in the western world have demanded that we no longer do, because defining noble manhood confers the very manly pride women covet.
Judge gets tantalizingly close to recognizing the problem via a quote he offers from James Hollis:
What the modern man suffers from, then, is the wounding without the transformation . . . He is asked to be a man when no on can define it except in the most trivial of terms.
The real problem is not in the fictional universe of Star Wars, but in our own modern societies. When we encourage young men to imagine themselves fighting to protect a woman, he must imagine that once he arrives to save the day he will be met with feminist snark “What took you so long?”
What sane young man is going to dream of fighting to be yet another punchline in our feminist society? Good men who do heroic things are suckers and buffoons in our culture.
The problem isn’t just that feminists have managed to destroy our ability to even imagine noble masculinity, but that our conservatives are stuck living in a fantasy world where feminist rebellion isn’t happening. As a result of this crippling conservative delusion, our most conservative institutions are focused not on encouraging a vision of respectable manhood but on destroying the idea of respectable manhood. Who needs feminists to destroy our sense of manhood when we have Christian conservatives?
In this sense Judge’s near miss analysis is emblematic of the very masculine malaise he is analyzing. Judge cheers on Leia’s transformation from a princess to a bad ass general while seeking to find the explanation for the loss of the concept of noble manhood. All he can see is the possibility that individual fathers are failing by not providing a ritual which would embody a forbidden concept:
The Force Awakens is a weakly written script so we never find out what precisely motivates Ren, but judging by his behavior, his hostility and confusion might stem from the lack of male initiation. That is to say, Han Solo may have been hyper driving around the galaxy when he should have been raising his son.
Go girlpower! Why are weak men screwing feminism up?
Edit: Welcome Instapundit readers.