“Man Caves” and the Imperialist White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy

2015-04-20 12.43.19

Photo taken by Andrew Joseph Pegoda, April 20, 2015, Lake Jackson, Texas

Innocent fun? Think again.

This sign perfectly embodies what bell hooks calls the Imperialist White Supremacist Capitalist Patriarchy, which is basically the status quo.

This sign not only (incorrectly) paints all men as fitting these descriptors, it also condones them as being good and only for men, unless a woman brings food. (I’ll save my comments about “male” and “female” being mere social constructions as either sexes or genders for another day.) Sexism is overflowing in this sign in other ways, e.g., “whining.” Patriarchy is promoted by classifying the “man cave” as a place of total male dominance where selfishness and one-sidedness wins. 

$29.95 was the list price. I could easily make a sign about like this for probably less than $5 if you give me an hour. Capitalism is present in that people are willing to pay this much for such a sign and that money will be almost pure profit for business owners. Capitalism is further promoted through extreme celebrations of beer, junk food, television–all which have been monetized and commoditized.

Classism is also present given the costs of these items and the implied (and very real) importance of maintaining strong capitalistic economies. Far too few people have access to wealth needed to have leisure time, especially those racialized as non-White, statistically speaking.   

The rhetorics which surround us are powerful!