How I Became a Mensch
July 10, 2010
After Feminism Stole My Identity
(My first Internet article, from Aug. 2000, revised. It shows how I developed my ideas on heterosexuality. "Mensch is Yiddish for a real man. It means 'human' in German.)
When I was 21 years old, and living in Israel, I received a letter from my mother. She had taken my savings and invested in a town house.
"Now, you are a mensch," she said.
I wondered what she meant.
How did owning a house make me "a man?"
I came of age at a time when youth was "looking for identity." I was searching for it in Israel. Later, I became a Canadian nationalist. In each case, I didn't find identity in "community."
I had a strong patriarchal father, an excellent role model. He built a successful career, and supported a family.
"Work is the backbone of a man," he would tell me. "It's the most important decision a man makes. A wife is the second."
But for some reason, his example didn't register. Why not?
For centuries, men defined themselves in terms of masculinity. Why was I so clueless?
I was a feminist.
ATTACK ON GENDER AND FAMILY
I grew up in an era that bought the feminist lie that men and women are identical. In our culture, women are encouraged to be "equal" -- do everything men do, and vice versa. "Equal" became "identical." This retarded my personal development by 25 years. I doubt if I am alone.
"Identical" made me look for for myself in a mate. I was literally attracted to lithe young women with cropped boyish haircuts: my own persona.
I put a woman on a pedestal because she had my identity. She could give it back to me. Some women were immediately repelled. Others enjoyed the adulation for a while, but eventually lost respect.
What I needed was someone quite different from me, my feminine complement.
Eventually feminism will be recognized for what it is: a virulently anti-social, anti-women, lesbian ideology that achieved power by pretending to champion "women's rights." By taking power, feminism has been able to emasculate men and masculinize women. In other words, women have usurped the masculine identity, and in the process, both sexes have lost their own.
Incredibly, the destruction of heterosexuality is the hidden agenda of feminists, who think gender difference is the source of all injustice.
Most people don't realize that the feminist movement literally is Communist in origin.Most of the leading feminist thinkers, including Betty Friedan and Simone de Beauvoir, were Marxists, and many also were lesbians.
Feminism is about power not choice. "No women should be authorized to stay at home and raise her children," said feminist founder Simone de Beauvoir. "Women should not have that choice, because if there is such a choice, too many women will make that one" (Saturday Review, June 14, 1975).
If feminism were really about choices, it would not indoctrinate women to enter the work force and become "independent." It would not demonize men and heterosexual love. It would not ostracize feminists who marry and start families.
The breakdown in the traditional family caused by feminism is the main reason for our social, personal and existential problems. People have always derived meaning and purpose from familial roles (e.g. daughter, wife, and mother) and from life-cycle rituals, (marriage, birth and death). Indeed, marriage and family are a God-given path to achieve love and personal fulfilment.
We do not find wholeness by incorporating masculine and feminine in ourselves but by uniting with our opposite. Heterosexual love is the attraction of opposites. Indeed, as heterosexuals we define ourselves in terms of these differences. If we are male, we are not female, and vice-versa, like dark and light. Because I denied these differences, I didn't know who I was. I didn't understand women, and I didn't know how to approach them.
I was almost 50-years-old before I solved the riddle. A book The Flight from Woman (1964) by Karl Stern, a Canadian psychiatrist, confirmed what my instincts were saying. My mother had been right all along. A man makes the house; the woman makes the home.
According to Stern, masculinity is defined by "power" over the natural and social environment. Men provide the physical and cultural context for the domestic world. They are do'ers: adventurers and builders, protectors and providers.
Femininity is defined by "love." Feminine psychology is founded on nurturing and loving husbands and children, and thereby being needed and loved. Women are the engines of love, acting much like the heart in the body. The family is the fundamental building block of society and foundry of the future.Women are its foundation.
Men define themselves by deeds; women simply are love: beauty, grace, faith and goodness. Men tend to be rational and objective; women subjective, intuitive and emotional. Distinctions like these need not constrict us. They are a theme upon which to play our own variations. For example, my wife mows the lawn; I do all the shopping and cooking. But without the theme, there is confusion and chaos.
The feminist gospel that traditional sex roles are "oppressive" is wrong. For many people, a flexible interpretation of traditional roles are essential for happiness and fulfilment.
I extrapolated from Karl Stern's distinctions. If man is motivated by power and woman by love, heterosexual love must be an exchange of the two.
A woman surrenders her power, in trust. This is how a woman expresses her love. By trusting. In this way, women actually empower men. If a man betrays this trust, he loses his power.
In return for her power, a woman gets what she really wants: a man's power expressed as his intense, undivided love.
He includes her in his sphere of self-interest: this is how two people become one. Her happiness is his happiness. He can't hurt her without hurting himself.
Teaching women to seek masculine power prevents them from getting what they really want. Women want to be possessed by a man's love.
God's love of Creation is mirrored in a man's love of a woman. A man channels God's love to a woman by making her a wife and mother. Women want masculine power, but it must be in a man.
A girlfriend once told me, "I want to be used." The same girlfriend also said that without a man, she feels "like a rudderless boat." Similarly, a man without a woman is a rudder without a boat.
A man cannot love a woman who is competing with him for power. Relationships between so-called "equals" are like mergers, or roommates.
Psychiatrist, Irene Claremont de Castillejo, calls them "brother-sister" marriages (Knowing Women: A Feminine Psychology, 1973).
They cannot achieve the intimacy as when a woman surrenders her will to a man, and a man returns this trust with his wholehearted love. Some psychiatrists say a woman's sexual satisfaction is also linked to her ability to trust and surrender.
Feminine women are creatures of God. In love, they sacrifice their "selves" for love, which in many religions is the key to transcendence. Helen Deutsch remarked on this"masochist-narcissist" syndrome (sacrifice for love) in her The Psychology of Women: A Psychoanalytic Interpretation (1944). The majority of women only achieve fulfilment as wives and mothers. In their hearts, they know it.
Nor can women love men with whom they compete. Women are hypergamous which means they seek men of higher status than themselves. Even the most ardent heterosexual feminist only can love someone more powerful than she.
The struggle for power is poisoning male-female relations. It is the death of love. Men cannot give up their defining characteristic (power) and expect to be men. Women cannot criticize and challenge men and expect to be loved.
When I comprehended this, I felt liberated. I established a healthy relationship with a woman who is my female complement, and married her.
The universal complaint is that men don't know how to be men; women don't know how to be women. It helps to see heterosexual love as a mystical dance. The male leads; the female follows. You can't have a graceful dance without each partner playing his part.
The dance is based on love. The male is always considering his mate's wishes because he loves her. In some cases, he will ask her to lead.
As in a ballroom dance, who can say which role is more important? Both partners are of equal value. The dance requires both the leadership and dynamism of the male; and the beauty, love and grace of the female.
In the dance of love, two people become one, and the fruit of this mystical union, is often a child.
Comments for "How I Became a Mensch"
Henry Makow received his Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Toronto in 1982. He welcomes your comments at