Ecotopia is about a utopian land established in the American North-West. It portrays a society built around the beliefs of social equality and ecofeminism (Ahhahahaha!).
Or, at least, that’s what it claims to do. While Ecotopia is a very pleasant little nation, fairly portrayed with both good and bad aspects, it is also a prime example of a social mindset which dictates that men and women are equal, but women are more equal.
To put this ‘idea’ more clearly: the genders should be treated as equal (egalitarianism), but women have special ‘needs’ and ‘skills’ above men(traditionally called matriarchalism or female-chauvinism, but those are just details). Apparently these extra benefits don’t count in the race for equality.
For example, in this supposedly equal world, women have various powers which men lack:
- Political: The primary political party in Ecotopia is primarily composed of women, including the nation’s president, and women are encouraged to pursue politics.
- Relationships: Women are obviously in control of relationships, from start to finish. There even seems to be some remaining ideas of chivalry (ie, ‘he shouldn’t hit a girl’).
- Family: In Ecotopia, it seems everyone just calmly accepts the ‘fact’ that mothers are the masters of child rearing. They also seem to have more or less total control over the conception of children (paternity fraud?).
But surely men must have some niche in this world! And yes, they do. In Ecotopia, men are in charge of:
Yep, that’s right. Human blood sports. In Ecotopia, young men take part in ‘war games’ where someone is always injured (days in the hospital) and, on average, about one seems to die a week.
To say the least, this is an unfairly negative portrayal of male identity and societal function.
As I have said before, I believe that men have a natural (or at least deeply rooted) ‘warrior instinct’ not possessed by women. However, Roman-style blood-sports are not about being warriors. They are not fighting for anything real, except maybe a night with a random woman. Seriously, that seems to be the only reason for the Ecotopian war games. Where I come from, a woman who likes to sleep with a murderous brute is usually considered unhealthy.
The Ecotopian ‘war games’ don’t even serve any political function. They aren’t part of endemic warfare, as has evolved in some human cultures as a way of maintaining power balance. Nor are they used as a means of personal conflict resolution (like duels). They seem to have no function except as displays and for personal pride, which leaves only one reason for them: the men want to fight because they are inherently violent.
This idea seems to pop up disturbingly often in feminist media as a reason for increased female power, but it is usually unfounded. The fact that women have not commonly made war does not mean they will not make war. I think the truth is that men don’t have a stronger ‘urge’ for battle than women, but rather a stronger willingness and understanding for the need of battle. If you ask any war veteran, combat isn’t fun. No normal person really wants it, not if they actually understand it.
The overall message wrongly paints men as violent and generally uncivilized, and the story’s ecofeminist (Ahhahahaha!) side not-so-subtly blames men for the earth’s ecological problems.
For a story of a supposedly equal society, there seem to be a lot of inequalities. To ‘be a man’ you have to enter mortal combat. To ‘be a woman’ you just have to sleep around.
Now, it is important to look at Ecotopia in the context of its own time. In 1975, many of these ‘advances’ in the goals of feminism and ecofeminism (Ahhahahaha!) had not yet happened, but by today many of them have. At least in terms of human relationships, Ecotopia has actually turned out to be somewhat predictive.
That means we should be due to see gladiator combat (all male) in the Olympics by 2020.
I’ll bring the sponge.
Here comes the holiday cheer!
With it also comes a less-than-healthy dose of advertising.
I love Christmas. It is my favorite holiday. I eagerly await the start of the Christmas music and I wear my Santa hat through all of the month of December. What I do not like is the exploitation of Christmas for consumerism.
What I like even less is the degradation of men/fathers in these same commercials. Here is a prime example of the matriarchal consumerist society that is building up around us:
It seems like a fairly typical commercial. Tree, parents, 2.4 kids. All the trimmings. Then we see mom unwrapping ‘the big one’. A new TV!
But wait! Dad does not approve. It seems this happy couple had planned on not spending too much. He protests justly, but the Mrs. is not to be challenged. She tries to cover-up the argument by claiming that the TV came from Santa. Sorry, lady, kids ain’t that dumb. Neither is the dog.
Then the dastardly naredowell (husband) complains again, mentioning the recession. Yet again, the wife refuses to recognize his complaint and begins to grow angry and hostile. The next time he tries to comment, she cuts him off while staring him down.
Translation? My pleasure:
Shut the *** up, I can buy what I want and I know how to do it better than you.
The commercial ends on that happy note.
Hmm, what’s wrong with this image? Let me check my list…
- The man is ‘left out in the cold’, receiving no remorse, even though his partner went around his back and went against their plans. I don’t care how cheap Target is, a TV is a major purchase. She shows no sign of apologizing, even though he probably made most of the money being spent on the TV.
- His complaints are met with demeaning responses which do not recognize him as an equal adult. He eventually even gets cut off.
- He is shown as completely submissive, unable to even launch a real complaint. He just walks away weakly. If you look closely, he never even looks at his wife steadily, except at the end as he is left silent by her stonewalling.
- She makes no attempt to explain how she got the TV while staying within budget.
So what does all this leave us with?
The idea which so permeates American consumerism: women know how to shop and their command over finances should not be questioned.
No matter that men make most of the money. Obviously they do so by oppressing women, so that doesn’t count.
This idea is not portrayed only in this commercial. Look at advertising in general. Women are the shoppers, and men have a few roles they always play:
- They are the absent wallet. The woman does all the shopping.
- They are the silent helper, eagerly following his wife’s commands while at the store.
- They are the dumbfounded idiot, awestruck by his wife’s abilities to find great deals.
We don’t usually see a man opposing female-spending at all, but when we do we get a chance to see just how deeply they try to control it. At least she didn’t turn violent. And thank goodness they didn’t go so far as having the husband apologizing.
Enjoy your holiday shopping.