Would Lyotard eat quiche?
According to this article, quiche isn’t manly enough for men to prefer, but women don’t have the same pressure and feel more free to choose whatever it is they actually want to eat. (Similarly, I’ve realized that I like being female because — in a North American context — I can make my own space to be sensitive as well as strong, sweet as well as assertive. On a symbolic material level, I can choose to wear pants or skirts, whereas a male me could not.) If this is true, then this proves Lyotard’s claim that postmodern feminism has served to liberate women from gender role constraints but not men from theirs.
In the United States, women have already exceed men as the majority of workforce. Women are favoured for the kinds of jobs that are growing now. When adopting children, couples choose girls. Things are looking up for women, though in no way are the issues done being addressed. But Lyotard’s point is an apt one, and I can’t imagine what it must be like to be a man in a society that wants men to be both competent and unpatriarchal, strong but accepting of a woman’s strength. I don’t think these are antithetical to each other, but I do think it would be difficult to unravel oneself as a man in the midst of so many diverging forces and ideas today. How should men interact with women? Is chivalry paternalistic? How can they be respected by other men if they drop the macho line? Women have feminism to draw on for new models and types of liberated women they can emulate; it’s high time alternatives existed for boys and men, along with new corresponding values and ideas. If feminism challenged male domination, now males and masculinity must develop in response to this.
In the meantime, we can start with quiche.