Mondays, Men and the Masculine – Part 5
This morning I went walking with my camera as usual to the centre of Corozal in order to buy some fresh vegetables and fruit as it was supposed to be the busiest of farmer market days. According to the gringos I have met so far, the best day to do such shopping because the Mennonites set up their stalls at the market and when they were at the market, they were the competition in terms of quality of produce and for some, even price. Once I had taken my photos of the area, I then wandered through a number of the surrounding grocery stores which are all owned and operated by Chinese merchants. At two of these stores I saw Mennonites were making deliveries to these stores as well. At their market stalls, and in the stores, the Mennonites were easy to identify because of their clothing. Another thing I noted, all of the Mennonites to be seen in Corozal were men.
There is a hardness to these Belizean Mennonite men, a hardness of purpose that doesn’t allow for waffling about what it is to be a man. Their approach to life is all about business and a very conservative fundamentalism. And like all fundamentalists, there are problems when it comes to toleration and respect for others, and even the environment. The last thing that would be welcome is the idea that all are individuals with individual needs and life journeys. For them, it is about foregoing the individual in favour of the collective. All questions that haunt, all urgings from the personal and collective shadow are denied.
“If individuation or confrontation with the unconscious, is courted, men will have to face whatever actually does emerge from the unconscious – whether or not it fits in with . . . ‘spiritual’ ideology or popular expectations and tastes.” [Tacey, Remaking Men, p. 13]
Perhaps then, the benefit of identifying with a group is worth much for a man who never wants to deal with his own shadow. But of course, even for fundamentalists which must include Mennonites, denying the personal shadow causes a bigger problem, the shadow being lived out by the community in relation to others outside the fundamentalist collective and with the earth. When one looks to the fundamental beliefs of fundamentalist Christians including Mennonites, or those who are still waiting for the Messiah such as Jehovah’s Witnesses, one can understand their unwavering hardness in relation to the earth and all on it – after all God said that man was to rule over all of it:
“26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.
27 So God created mankind in his own image in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
29 Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food.
30 And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.” [Genesis 1:26-30]
And with the fundamentalism come the roots and seeds of patriarchal abuse.