The Emperor Reversed: Post Patriarchal Depression

Post patriarchal depression. I don’t know if it’s a real syndrome. I just liked the phrase so much I wanted to include it in my blog post tonight.

According to an article in the New York Times (so it must be true) post-patriarchal depression is the reason white guys sometimes go on mass shooting sprees. What the? Sounds like an excuse for unexcusable behaviour to me. But I take the point. You can understand that it’s hard for young men to know how to be a man these days when many of their own father’s behaviours are no longer considered acceptable. The New York Times correspondent suggested that there is an entire generation of young men who hate themselves. Lost boys who don’t know their place in the world.

Which makes me think of this card…

The Emperor R

The Emperor Reversed: Not knowing where to set boundaries or how to exert your authority. Not knowing how to be a man.

Personally, I don’t think the emergence of this syndrome is a trumpet call to return to the gender politics of the 1950s of anything. As a teacher I can be authoritative in the classroom without raising my voice like Miss Honey in the Roald Dahl book ‘Matilda’ (she’s my role model). But it does require men to model positive ways of being authoritative in the wider community. And unfortunately we seem to lack these kinds of role models. Our politicians and business leaders come across as very old school. In Australia at least. And apart from that what is there? The violent antics of male leads in movies and video games. No wonder guns become seen as an essential component of the male tool kit.

Do you think young men are suffering from post patriarchal depression?

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