That generation – the one populated with a surplus, it seems, of angry, aging, white men attempting to cling to a sense of long-past-its-use-by-date supremacy. Even after the Trump election victory in the USA I somehow still thought of such men as “the older generation”. Not, to be honest, that I consciously thought about it – it just seemed that way.
I read many of the published letters of daughters to their Dads/parents expressing their concern over the parents’ voting choice. Even though I knew these daughters were young enough to be my daughters, somehow I still saw their fathers as not my generation. I did not see the same number of letters to mothers – which surprised me, given the percentage of white women (that actually voted) that voted for Trump. I did see an interesting analysis; it still doesn’t help me understand that particular demographic.
It wasn’t until I had a conversation with a man I’ve known for many years that the reality of my generation was brought home to me. In response to something I said, he kindly suggested I read a column in that day’s Herald Sun. The sub-text proposed I would be enlightened – or have my views “corrected”. On the basis of “keep your friends close, your enemies closer” I do sometimes find myself reading the tabloid and always end up in a grumpy mood. In this case I chose not to subject myself to such an irritation.
Driving to school later that day, I was still puzzling why the conversation had taken the turn it had. The light dawned. Then an even bigger light blazed through my consciousness. HE IS YOUNGER THAN I AM. Oh my God, I thought to myself, these men are MY generation!
I have enough men of my generation as followers on Facebook and Twitter to know not all men of my generation fall into this category. Thankfully, otherwise I’d be rather distraught. Perhaps their existence has cushioned me from the reality. Men of the other variety don’t follow me – or I them. I was interacting with like minds, not seeing the wider picture. I also know there are many men of younger generations who are caught up in the ideology of regaining white male supremacy but I do
think hope the ratio is lower. It is men of my generation and slightly younger that are in power: they worry me more.
As a society, we have made important progress in challenging men’s illegitimate authority in the past century. But the Trump campaign made it painfully obvious that men’s sexual exploitation of women, possible only in a society in which men believe themselves to be naturally dominant over women, remains deeply entrenched. The ease with which so many men embraced Trump’s celebration of sexual exploitation, and so many women were willing to excuse it, is evidence of the strength of patriarchal values and norms.
The above article was written about the USA, clearly, but how applicable is the content to Australia? More so than I would have thought, despite the evidence of Abbott’s behaviour (and others of his ilk). Those are men I don’t know personally: somewhere in my sub-conscious I still viewed them as, well, rather odd. Not the norm. That was too scary. It wasn’t until someone I knew, someone of my own generation and cultural background, led me to my light bulb moment.
How, at my age, could I think all these patriarchal types were an older generation? I suspect it comes from my father. I recall my mother disagreeing with my father involving me in what my mother saw as “male stuff” on the farm. I drove tractors, worked in the shearing shed, delivered lambs, marked lambs (for city readers, marking is removing tails and testicles) and gave mouth-to-nose resuscitation to a calf. I never remember seeing my mother on a horse. I have a faint recollection of her steering (not driving, steering) a tractor once. I suppose I grew up more as a boy than a girl, per “traditional” roles. My father never treated me as if I was “the fairer sex” so why would men younger than my father treat women differently? Not just treat women differently, but minorities as well. My father, if he was still alive, would be 95. So men like Trump, only 25 years junior, I could still sub-consciously put in that “soon they’ll all be gone” category.
I can’t put men my own age in the “soon they’ll all be gone” category, for that means I have to include myself and I’m not planning on “going soon”. What I failed to acknowledge was Trump’s age in relation to my own. Selective reasoning on my part.
We have generations to still battle this societal problem. Fathers of my generation are still influencing their children and grandchildren, male and female. It is going to be tough being a parent in the USA for the next few years: yet is Australia really all that different? Just less “out there” perhaps, at least in relation to sexism although racism is particularly rampant at this time.
Now, as the reality of a Trump presidency sets in, concerned parents face a new slew of questions about raising their children in a time of collective change and uncertainty ― not to mention bad behavior being modeled by our highest elected official. Seventy-five percent of Americans with kids under the age of 18 say Trump is not a good role model for children, according to a HuffPost/YouGov poll.
With kids being more exposed to arguments from adults around them and in the media, it’s important to teach them how to disagree and have their own opinions without attacking or undermining those who hold different views.
Source: Huffington Post – Advice From Psychologists On Raising Kids Well In Trump’s America
Now I have to adjust to being a member of THAT generation. I don’t like it already.