There is only so far an assumed identity, let alone one that transgresses gendered cultural norms, can take you.
How little the line between ‘ironic’ and ‘actual’ misogyny matters. Joy at the denigration of somebody else is, after all, one of the few emotions acceptable within a hypermasculine state of mind.
In ‘micro expressions’ of masculinity, the role or the perception of ‘effort’ is important. The paragon, the most masculine, is the man who can enact himself upon the world without even trying. As such, to even admit to thinking about masculinity in this way feels on some level like weakness, as though if I was a real man I wouldn’t have to.
For the progressives who have been rocked by the Trump election, who thought that this version of white privilege and proto-masculinity was buried, the past is present. It is ugly and furious, and for the first time in a long time, it feels like it’s in control.
Intellectually, I understand that it’s healthy to express emotion. I’ve read Brené Brown. I’ve watched Inside Out. I get it. But it’s hard to express emotion when I’m barely conscious of feeling it.
Phoebe’s Fall, and the emerging genre it is part of, raises questions about the public who feast on the undeniably gripping stories, and the voices we cannot hear in these podcasts—those of the victims, mostly women, most likely killed by men.
Jimmy is, of course, fictional, but as a character he reflects (albeit sometimes exaggeratedly) a broader cultural problem. That we don’t know what to do with male vulnerability.