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The Wimp Factor
Gender Gaps, Holy Wars, and the Politics of Anxious Masculinity
By Stephen J. Ducat
Beacon Press
HC, 304 pgs. US$25
ISBN: 0-8070-4344-3

The anti-male gimp factor

By Bernard Chapin
web posted January 3, 2005

The Wimp Factor: Gender Gaps, Holy Wars, and the Politics of Anxious MasculinityWhile browsing through my local Borders, I happened to come across a book by Stephan J. Ducat called The Wimp Factor: Gender Gaps, Holy Wars, and the Politics of Anxious Masculinity. I read the back cover, along with the chapter titles, and felt utter revulsion. Yet, in the spirit of knowing one's enemies, I begrudgingly further enriched the wealthy psychoanalyst author by purchasing it for the purposes of review and refutation. I lament to report that the quality of this work is quite poor. To adapt a quote of Gertrude Stein's, "there's no there there."

The Wimp Factor offers nothing new and is a rank bouillabaisse of cliché and dogma. It's stock is boiled from political correctness and within it swirl chunks of radical feminism, socialism, and anti-white racism. It cannot be recommended as Ducat's positions are so stereotyped and unoriginal that they are entirely devoid of educational value. On the very first page of his Preface, the narrator lets his readers know that his voice will be a polemical one as he describes a politician's need to be seen hunting as a way of letting the "male electorate" know that "he still likes to kill things."

Not only is the author a peddler of hackneyed emotion, he is also a very poor psychologist. No insight on men is offered that could not be cut and pasted from the clipboards of Katha Pollitt or Barbara Enhrenreich. Ducat is a jargon-enriched Michael Moore who is devoid of the filmmaker's creativity. The analysis here is strictly Manichean. Ducat views women, gays, people of color, and Democrats as being good while all white heterosexual males, and Republicans in general, are evil. It's really quite tiresome. The only new thing presented is a vast expanse of psychological gobbledygook that is smeared upon everyone with a differing opinion. The extensive morass of pseudo-intellectual constructs are land mines on the page and make this thin book seem the length of War and Peace.

The reader will not be surprised to discover that Ducat is an instructor at a leftist escarpment known as New College of California; where the motto is "Education for a just, sacred and sustainable world." There one can get a B.A. in a concentration area like "EcoDwelling, Activism and Social Change or Holistic Nutrition." At such a place, The Wimp Factor, should quickly put Ducat on the fast track to department chair.

The most notable experience one has while reading this long list of accusations against men is the inescapable sensation that this author knows, not only, nothing about his principal subject, but also is wholly ignorant concering women, conservatives, the United States of America, and human beings on the whole. Every conversation or act is evaluated through the lens of a poisonous ideology and not by what actually is. For Ducat, nothing can be taken at face value. He would be wise to recall the words of Oscar Wilde, "It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible."

In my opinion, this book should have been titled, "My Personal War on Men and Masculinity", as I have yet to encounter any work, outside of radical feminism, where men are held with such abominable contempt. Ducat is an individual who seems to hate everything about his own gender. We find that men, and our politician's need to appeal to them, is the causation behind most of America's problems. The reader is often treated to strangely Dworkinesque rhetoric like "Politics for these authoritarian priests of patriarchy" and "while male privilege cannot be explained as simply an attempt to induce envy in women, it can often serve that function." His view of women is as inaccurate as it is cliched: "The new link between women's goodness and the issues of charity, education, and social reform led to an unprecedented gendering of political issues, and, correspondingly, to florid expressions of femiphobia." Women's goodness? Are all women inherently good? Of course not. It seems that Ducat has never mixed with the general population. Some women are good and others are not. That's always the case when one examines the personalities of a sample size that, in this world, exceeds three billion souls. Assertions to the contrary illustrate how little leftists know about human behavior.

This author refers to our culture as one "that disparages the feminine." Does it? In my mind, far more evidence suggests that we celebrate the feminine. Television is awash with talk shows dedicated to the processing of emotional issues that were once treated by stoicism alone, and independent cable channels are available which are dedicated specifically to the proclivities of a female audience. Furthermore, it is common in daily conversation to hear phrases such as "a man expressing their feminine side" even though nothing I've ever read or seen suggests that such gender rotating halves exist. What about the pink ribbon? A crusade has been initiated to end breast cancer but no such grand social movement started up to end prostate cancer–a disease which claims far more lives. By this point in our new millennium, half of society actually believes inanities like "a women would never lie about rape." Yet would they believe that there is anything under the sun a man would not lie about? Has Ducat not heard of affirmative action or the horrors of the Sexual Harassment Industry? The only way that this author could realistically regard this nation as being biased in favor of men is if he had spent the last 365 days in a Bronx madrassah.

The Wimp Factor provides political correctness with a new ism and phobia for its ever-increasing lexicon through its coining of the word, "femiphobia." This is something that Ducat diagnoses in all men who don't want to be women, act like them, and resent being called a sissy. Contrarily, if a woman is perfectly happy being a woman and has no interest in being a man or compared to a man then she is [you guessed it] absolutely normal. I suppose that if one already buys spurious concepts like "homophobia" then such additional notions like femiphobia are easily accepted.

In the spirit of taking a hyper-verbal machine gun to everything that is masculine, Ducat turns on our grand national appreciation of American football. This wonderful, exuberant, game is not what it seems. It is, in fact, "an unconsciously, but transparently, homoerotic game of territorial conquest in which an important goal is to ‘penetrate the opponent's end zone.'" Also, "it is hard to avoid the impression that football is a form of ritual combat, unconsciously symbolized as homoerotic rape intended to feminize the loser, who is commonly described as having got ‘creamed.'"

Such lies and hallucinations really do take one's breath away. Where to begin? Football is not about sex or rape, it is a game of tremendous tactical skill and strategic vision that is so complex that even the most physically skilled have a severe challenge in playing it at its highest level (witness Eli Manning). Ducat's notions are further defeated when it is pointed out that high levels of adrenaline and fury are mutually exclusive with maintaining an erection. The fact that Ducat would be so obtuse as to confuse sublime physical exertion with pulsations emanating from a glory hole suggests that it is our author, and not heterosexual men in general, who is obsessed with anal sex and rape. Yet, Ducat does not let his intellectually buggery stop merely with the NFL as he reads sodomy in every situation in which men are brought together:

Behind his superficial jocularity with fellow males lies a homophobic avoidance of tenderness and a preoccupation with dominance struggles. With male enemies his sometimes conscious and at other times unconscious metaphor for inducing submission is anal rape [Yawn]. Thus, he threatened ‘you're a-- is mine,' and in turn fears being 'f***** over.'"

This is absolutely laughable. In my 35 years such a subtext has never been a part of any conversations I've ever had with my brothers and I have no doubt that the same can be said by practically every other male that reads this. Although Ducat's views on the subject of males, on the aggregate, is slightly nuanced. He makes a dichotomy between certain types of men. The author has no problem with homosexual men or those with higher levels of pigmentation in their skin. It is only the white man that Ducat categorically hates. Here we get a taste of his racism:

It also [the third George H. W. Bush Revolving Door ad from 1988] confirms the worst fear that the femiphobic white men seem to have about the black rapist scenario. He, the white male, will be symbolically emasculated, not only by having his sexual property defiled by the stronger and more potent black man, but by his failure to protect his woman from the assault.

For most members of the population, murder and theft are great evils and we don't need contextual threats to apocryphal "sexual property" to desire politicians who deter societal violence and mayhem, but such common sense is completely absent from the accusations of our analyst.

It must be admitted that Ducat has provided a great service by unearthing misogyny and support for his arguments from a Smithsonian of quality sources such as HUP: The Comic for Modern Guys, confessions from his patients, lyrics from a Tom Waits song, and the medieval Malleus Maleficarum. Ducat then takes some of these offensive quotations and tries to pin them to the backs of the rest of us. Certainly, it is true that some men have been misogynistic but you could also easily point out that many women have expressed misandry towards men. The over-published works of radical feminists are one long epic of man-hating and their animosity is very easy to locate on the internet. Would that mean that all women are misandric? Absolutely not. Besides, if such misogyny were so pervasive in modern males then how did our university professor manage to escape it?

Ducat lies about any nearly every Republican he mentions. Unbeknownst to history, we discover that Ronald Reagan conducted a "long and continuing jihad against welfare and other social programs." Did he? What programs did he eliminate? Ducat does not say. He also claims that Reagan hurt working class Americans even though he created 19 million new jobs, lowered unemployment, interest rates and inflation. Once again, the chic leftist lie about the Bush tax cuts benefiting the rich is brought forth; although, it is an undeniable fact that every citizen's tax bracket was lowered as base tax rates were cut from 15 percent to 10. This writer's ignorance of political reality is astounding.

My review could go on and on as there are reams that could be written refuting Ducat's misassumptions about conservatives, Hillary Clinton [it seems she's a moderate], and why men dislike being dominated by women. In the final analysis, however, the most cathartic way with which to deal with this politically correct, man-hating bully is ridicule him and there's no better way to do so than imagining how he would have interpreted your reviewer's most recent Sunday afternoon:

Subject inviting me for video observation undoubtedly due to knowledge that I was an analyst [read: ANAL-ist]. Notice the way in which he "unscrews" the cap off his soda and forcefully tips its phallic shape into his glass. Chapin has arranged the ice cubes in a perilous sequence within the cup making a treacherous "vagina dentata" that the seminal Diet Coke must penetrate. As he reheats his pizza, consider its crescent, ovular shape and his method of "devouring it." It is no accident that in the process he, this cultural footnote, has recreated the male act of dominating women. His "reclines" on his couch and "receives" the signal from Directv. He then insists on watching the Detroit Lions even though he knows that the game will result in a ritualistic"raping" at the hands of the Vikings. A raping which he visually submits himself to twice a year. His screams, "Cut Az-Hakim! Put him on the waiver wire" are an act of insecure boyish violence…

Bernard Chapin is a writer living in Chicago. He can be reached at bchapafl@hotmail.com.

Buy The Wimp Factor: Gender Gaps, Holy Wars, and the Politics of Anxious Masculinity at Amazon.com for $16.50 (34% off)


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