Excerpted from Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man, by Susan Faludi. Emphasis added.
[T]he oldest American male myth, the original protection racket, [is] the captivity narrative. In that formative genre, conceived in the pre-colonial days and enshrined in American literature, a basic script pertains: a young woman is “captured” by raiding Indians who attempt to strip her of her whiteness. The pioneersman’s mission is to search out and rescue her before she “goes native,” which is to say, before she has sex with an Indian…. Certainly by the close of the twentieth century, the [captivity] narrative was painfully threadbare as a workable masculine drama. Few women, even the most conservative, were interested in exchanging independence for protection.
Men who were determined to keep the fantasy going had to range far to find a viable pretext, which may be one explanation for the remarkably consistent correlation between militia membership and anti-abortion zealotry. Both “movements” are about protection -- and the silent fetus, unlike the unpredictable modern woman, is one captive who can’t reject a protection offer. No wonder that fetuses in anti-abortion literature are most often depicted as little girls…. But even rescuing the captive fetus has its problems. The fetus’s captor, after all, is a woman. Even here, then, the men found themselves back in battle with their true nemesis: the independent woman.
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