My Facebook feed has been filling up with posts referencing Clint Eastwood’s recent interview with Esquire magazine in which he slammed political correctness and referred to this as “the Pussy Generation”. Despite his best efforts, and being totally wrong, Mr. Eastwood accidentally slipped a little bit of truth in there. You see, he is treating the phrase like an insult, but what if you flip it around and look at it from the other side?
You see, “the Pussy Generation” is all about sensitivity, compassion, helping those in need, environmental responsibility, equality of opportunity, respect for everyone, and ensuring the strong don’t trample the weak. In short, political correctness. Traditionally, these ideas are all more or less anathema to our traditional, patriarchal society. For many years now, anyone who embraced these “feninine” leanings could expect to collect the pejorative label “pussy”. But that’s only a bad thing if you’re a slave to patriarchal fashion. Let me explain.
“Pussy” is used as a slang term to refer to female genitalia. To refer to a male as a “pussy” was to imply that he was acting like a woman and that this was a bad thing. It’s only bad if you drank your daily dose of patriarchal kool-aid. Once you realize that all of these feminine behaviours have been run down to build up the hyper-masculine values our society was built on, you can understand that their negative connotation is a deliberate construct.
For time out of mind, our society has been run by a male dominated, misogynistic, hyper-masculinized patriarchy. Before anyone points out the usual list of female rulers let me just point out that every single one of them succeeded by playing the men’s game by the men’s rules. None of them were noted for bringing an especially feminine sensibility to the halls of power.
If this is indeed “the Pussy Generation” then what about all those that have come before? Well, let’s take a look at that for a moment. If someone is rude, abusive, insensitive, hurtful, bossy, negative, bullying etc, we would likely say that they are being “a Dick”. As the counterpoint to “Pussy”, “Dick” is the negative pejorative associated with male genitalia. As such, it is associated with all the traditionally male behaviours.
With all this in mind, it quickly becomes apparent that our society, and indeed much of the world has been run for thousands of years by successive “Dick Generations”. Look at what that has gotten us and you can start to understand why I don’t see “the Pussy Generation” as a such a bad thing. Given the history of war, bigotry, oppression, suppression, hatred, greed and general abuse of anyone who doesn’t think/look/talk/act/believe/behave/whatever the same as us, maybe it’s time the “Dicks” took a rest and let the “Pussies” have a crack at it. Maybe it’s time for a little compassion, sensitivity and nurturing. Maybe it’s time to try to understand the other person’s point of view/culture/way of life instead of just assuming ours is better.
Maybe it’s time for us to understand that “Political Correctness” is good for something more than the punchline in a tired stand-up comedy routine. It’s time to see the value in embracing someone in a hug rather than a head-lock. Understanding is better than blind obedience. Accepting people’s differences is better than forcing a false conformity. Women aren’t the same as men, but they are every bit as valuable as people and deserve full equality of opportunity and the right to live their lives free from the institutionalized abuses of patriarchy and misogyny.
So long “Dick Generations”… Welcome to “The Pussy Generation”!