Don’t Mess with Masculinity

Anybody here a Blacklist fan? We are finishing up season 8, and I’m being visited by a terrible suspicion that the show is going in the direction of telling us that Raymond Reddington had a sex-change operation. This would be a huge letdown because I didn’t watch five million seasons of a show about the most masculine guy in the history of television to discover he’s supposed to be a chick. The entire show is nothing but a pretext for James Spader to demonstrate a glorious, unfettered masculinity. I very much hope nobody is planning to mess with that.

Talking about masculinity, isn’t it funny how when Spader was young, fit and acted in porn movies he didn’t come off as manly at all while in his sixties and overweight, he’s doing it effortlessly.

17 thoughts on “Don’t Mess with Masculinity

  1. Wow, you seem to have ruffled a few feathers there… Three down votes. Something that makes me wonder the whole non-binary and gender fluidity charade is why heterosexual white women seem to be among the most enthusiastic supporters of the craze. Why? Can someone explain?


    1. Middle-class women in the US have not been permitted sexual reticence or privacy for decades. Feminist activism opened the way to everything. We can be anything!

      Except virgins. That’s not allowed unless you want to be a total freak. Don’t want to “date” a bunch of men you’re not really into, but would rather wait around for just one guy you can devote your whole heart to? What are you, some kind of religious fruitcake? If you don’t want to have no-strings sex starting in high school, there is probably something wrong with you. Perhaps you should be medicated to get over your hangups.

      I think the modern LGBTQ+++ advocacy scene is where “you’re a pariah if you don’t put out” takes us. If I’d forced my way through the college dating scene just to fit in (as an introverted, sensitive, youngster with poor social skills), I’d probably be a huge advocate of castration too. It wouldn’t be conscious, but it’d be appealing.

      +And before the sexual libertines among you get your panties in a twist: Yes, there are some women who are well-suited to the promiscuous lifestyle. I’m not one of them, and neither are a lot of other women (not that we’re allowed to say that in public), and it is psychologically damaging for us to be funneled into your lifestyle. Women should be able to draw their sexual boundaries wherever they need them, and have those boundaries respected. I deserved that freedom to be celibate, and you deserved the freedom to be however non-celibate you needed to be. We don’t have to be a threat to each other. I didn’t go around my college campus telling other women they needed to keep their pants on: that was none of my business. I only wish they could have returned the favor! Why do proudly promiscuous women so often see the voluntarily celibate as a personal threat/insult? At 19, the only thing that finally got other women to leave me the hell alone about it, was to shave my head and start dressing in men’s clothes. Then, they decided I was a lesbian and dropped it. I wasn’t, but since that was none of their business, I didn’t disabuse them 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Unwanted yet consensual sex is a gigantic issue in women’s lives today. Anybody who denies it is an idiot. My first serious relationship that culminated in a marriage was like that. I was too young / ignorant to understand that I didn’t want sex. I thought I was supposed to want it. I had to take a long celibate break in my twenties to figure out what it was I wanted because I was completely unequipped to just know. I’m very happy that I did finally figure it out but it was a long and often unpleasant journey.


        1. Exactly. “Choice” is purely theoretical for most girls now. The choice is to do the things you are supposed to do, and supposed to enjoy (even if you don’t), or be treated like a freak. I opted to be a freak, and I am really happy with that decision now. But it was no picnic at the time, and I was treated poorly by other women for it. Everybody wants to give you contraceptives. Nobody wants to hang out with you if you’re not using them.


        2. ….and that lack of choice, that mass of women being pressured into sexual relationships they’d rather not be having, pressured by girl-friends as much as by men… Dude, how does that NOT set the scene for a massive unconscious hatred of men and everything masculine?? How many women out there are “supportive” of men taking estrogen and getting their balls removed because on some unconscious level, they just hate men. They’ve had too much contact with too many men, that they didn’t really want. They convinced themselves it was OK and normal and everybody does it and this is what you have to do to be accepted/loved… but.

          So where do you go when you can’t admit to yourself that you slept with a bunch of selfish bastards you didn’t really like (or who didn’t give two hoots about you), but instead have to keep loudly affirming your sex-positivity, and your tolerance, and your openness to experience and relationships? Well, possibly you go and very enthusiastically support the mutilation and chemical castration of pubescent boys who haven’t had a chance to inflict themselves on girls yet. Just a hunch.


  2. “demonstrate a glorious, unfettered masculinity”

    By way of contrast I recently saw a half dozen episodes of Tajny gospozhi Kirsanovoj (Тайны госпожи Кирсановой) a Russian cozy mystery set in 1878 in a provincial town.

    Predictably the men are all either clowns, ineffectual and/or stupid and the women are coldly rational, ruthless and any one of them shows more willpower than all the men combined.
    The closest thing to a positive male character is a young clown (son of a school headmistress) who allows himself to be bossed around by the title character and shows no slightest bit of independent judgement.

    If Americans could be convinced to read subtitles (or if it could be skillyfully dubbed) it could find an audience in the US as being about ‘strong women’ challenging the patriarchy…. as is, knowing what you’ve written about masculinity in former Soviet spaces…. it’s just kind of sad….


  3. What??… I am a big fan* and just started on Season 8.

    *I watch the show entirely because of Reddington and James Spader’s brilliant portrayal of it.

    I know there is s season 9, so this may just be a (decidedly weird) red herring not a conclusion… hopefully!


    1. I think they are strongly hinting that Reddington is Katarina Rostova. I hope I’m mistaken and paranoid.

      Spader is magnificent. I think they could fire the rest of the actors and leave him to perform. Such great acting.


      1. Whoa… quite a twist!

        Absolutely agree on Spader. I tolerate others on screen, especially his daughter**, waiting for the time when he reclaims the screen and enthralls us with yet another piece of his acting.

        **What a terrible and unlovable character — I have heard that she dies by the end of season 8, so that is a silver lining.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I agree that Elizabeth is the most unsympathetic character in existence. A total narcissist and a crybaby. I hate this kind of people.

          And the FBI director guy is such a wuss, it’s not even funny. The guy is a doormat of major proportions. But given it’s the FBI this might actually be a realistic portrayal.


          1. OMG yes! The FBI director guy’s “dooty” starts and stops at making excuses for the loser Elizabeth. So intolerable, I feel like punching him in his face every time he opens his mouth.

            I would any day prefer to spend time watching/meeting people like Reddington’s associates — like his lawyer friend Marvin or the tracker friend Glen, instead of the characters forming the regular FBI task force.


    1. I watched it solely for the scenes with Spader and Shatner. Blacklist is like a development of that character that Spader played on Boston Legal and he gets the starring role. The plot is stupid but who cares. Spader is magnificent.


  4. “strongly hinting that Reddington is Katarina Rostova”

    Don’t know the show or the characters but… given that the wokey world view does not, cannot distinguish between art-entertainment and real life* I could easily imagine them surprising the audience with the ‘twist’ of an extremely masculine character being retconned as a woma…… AFAB

    “Take that transphobes! That person you thought was so masculine is a trans man!”

    *hence their longing to make real life as racially diverse and unified in world view as the casts of popular tv… shows…

    Liked by 1 person

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