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By Deal W. Hudson,Ph.D

1/5/2014 (3 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

In spite of Camille Paglia's obvious differences with the Catholic Church, her cultural criticism, extending from the fine arts to popular culture, is worthy of study by Catholics who want to practice cultural apologetics

The present culture is robbing men of their masculinity, according to feminist scholar Camille Paglia in a recent interview. As a result, "What you're seeing is how a civilization commits suicide."  Anyone who has been around the academy in the past 30 years will have noticed the deep roots put down by feminist and gay theorists.  Their complaints about the dominance of men and the normativity of heterosexuality have permeated every part of academic culture, so much so that it has seeped into primary and secondary education as well. 

Deal W. Hudson is president of the Morley Institute of Church and Culture, Senior Editor at Catholic Online, and former publisher and editor of Crisis Magazine.This column and subsequent contributions are an excerpt from a forthcoming book. Dr. Hudson's new radio show, Church and Culture, will begin broadcasting in February on the Ave Maria Radio Network.

Deal W. Hudson is president of the Morley Institute of Church and Culture, Senior Editor at Catholic Online, and former publisher and editor of Crisis Magazine.This column and subsequent contributions are an excerpt from a forthcoming book. Dr. Hudson's new radio show, Church and Culture, will begin broadcasting in February on the Ave Maria Radio Network.

Article Highlights

By Deal W. Hudson,Ph.D

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

1/5/2014 (3 months ago)

Published in U.S.

Keywords: Deal W. Hudson, faith and culture, gay, lesbian, evangelizing culture, church and culture, arts, music, politics, education, television, literature, entertainment, conversion, evangelization, missionary, internet, masculinity, male, men and women, gender, male psychology, Camil



WASHINGTON,DC (Catholic Online) - The present culture is robbing men of their masculinity, according to feminist scholar Camille Paglia in a recent interview. As a result, "What you're seeing is how a civilization commits suicide."  Anyone who has been around the academy in the past 30 years will have noticed the deep roots put down by feminist and gay theorists.  Their complaints about the dominance of men and the normativity of heterosexuality have permeated every part of academic culture, so much so that it has seeped into primary and secondary education as well. 

Paglia is herself a leading feminist scholar and a self-professed lesbian, but she will have nothing to do with the enforced denigration of traditional masculine traits: "Primary-school education is a crock, basically. It's oppressive to anyone with physical energy, especially guys," she says. "With schools eliminating recess,"  she argues, "they're making a toxic environment for boys. Primary education does everything in its power to turn boys into neuters."  This is bad news for the future. As Paglia famously said in her book, Sexual Personae (1990), "If civilization had been left in female hands," she wrote, "we would still be living in grass huts."

Such opinions have branded Paglia a maverick in the academy. She's seen as a feminist who does not follow the politically correct party lines such as looking down upon traditional male role models as, say, that of a soldier. "Military service is no longer revered by the general public," she points out. As a consequence, very few of the men and women who wield serious corporate and financial power have military experience, as they would have had in previous generations.  This lack of experience has civilizational consequences: "These people don't think in military ways, so there's this illusion out there that people are basically nice, people are basically kind, if we're just nice and benevolent to everyone they'll be nice too. They literally don't have any sense of evil or criminality."

Indeed, what military service teaches is that human nature is such that every person should be in a "protective mode at all times."  The impact of this naiveté is being felt throughout society, such as in politics where politicians "lack practical skills of analysis and construction, to women on the street who dress provocatively as if they weren't at all vulnerable to violence."  At the core of this academic denial of masculinity is a refusal to acknowledge a real biological difference, a hormonal difference, between men and women. Feminists view all gender differences as social constructs, nurture as it were, not the product of nature. 
 
In other words, the world is a dangerous place, but the promulgation of "female values" of sensitivity and cooperation, rather than the traditional male values of strength and leadership, have made men susceptible to intimidation and a lack of honesty about issues such as sexuality. That is why so many men have retreated to the fantasies they can stream on their laptops.  And women have suffered too: "Our culture doesn't allow women to know how to be womanly," and, according to Paglia, "like men, women are turning to the easily accessed Internet pornography."

The one place where Paglia finds the refreshing presence of old fashioned manliness is sports radio, of which she is an avid listener: "If we had to go to war," the callers "are the men that would save the nation."

For all her criticism, Paglia has not forsaken her allegiance to feminism, but hers is a feminism that doesn't teach the nonsense of -- no gender differences - making false promises - women can "have it all" -- or denigrate the women who stay at home raising children. The women's movement, according to Paglia, should start putting its energy in confronting issues such as rape in India and Muslim honor killing rather than fume over "some woman going on a date on the Brown University campus."

In spite of Camille Paglia's obvious differences with the Catholic Church, her cultural criticism, extending from the fine arts to popular culture, is worthy of study by Catholics who want to practice cultural apologetics.

SUMMARY:

1. Camille Paglia, a feminist scholar, is an outstanding example of cultural criticism unfettered by the rigid ideology of her colleagues.

2. Paglia explains how educational institutions, at all levels, are stripping their male students of a traditional masculinity and denigrate previously accepted exemplars of manhood, such as those who serve in the military.

3. Paglia rejects the foundation of this assault on masculinity - the assumption that there is no biological/hormonal difference between men and women, that traditional differences were socially constructed rather than a product of nature.

© Deal W. Hudson, Ph.D

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Deal W. Hudson is president of the Morley Institute of Church and Culture, Senior Editor at Catholic Online, and former publisher and editor of Crisis Magazine.This column and subsequent contributions are an excerpt from a forthcoming book. Dr. Hudson's new radio show, Church and Culture, will begin broadcasting in February on the Ave Maria Radio Network.

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Pope Francis calls for your 'Prayer and Action'


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Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2014
Respect for Women:
That all cultures may respect the rights and dignity of women.
Vocations: That many young people may accept the Lord’s invitation to consecrate their lives to proclaiming the Gospel.



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