My interest in writing about the feminine, or more specifically about the feminization of the world, resides paradoxically on the masculine. We have observed a contemporary trend spreading worldwide centered on masculinity: men attempting to meet what they imagine to be the aspects of the masculine, something that could somehow guarantee them the position of being seen as manly.

This is a curious fact, since we assumed the male was well settled on the phallic jouissance. Be a man! An imperative often said or heard when a subject demonstrates weakness. But what we see are men trying to define themselves as males through images of gladiators, hunters, muscular and tattooed bodies: an image not unlike the “Viking” from January’s newspapers, the man that stormed the Capitol with a horned helmet, a coat of bison fur, his face painted with the colors of the American flag. This is not an isolated case, it is rather a typical representation of a masculinist movement that advocates a return to what they claim to be the manly man, which they believe lost amidst the emergence of science, feminists, LGBTQ+ groups. This masculinist movement is close to the ideology of flat-Earthers, in opposition to gender theory, even to the news industry that they consider to be some kind of spokesperson of Satan. This is a growing movement, especially in the United States, according to anthropologist Rosana Pinheiro-Machado,[1] rooted in hatred towards women and a cult of the masculine image. But these are not gay men, whom they consider to be weak, although they brutally maintain sexual relations with men. Women must be hunted and only serve the purpose of procreation.

Sociologists and anthropologists have been investigating the growth of this so-called masculinist movement, particularly in Brazil following the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff. Some call the movement “predatory masculinity”, since they share the hatred towards women and construct an identity around the “white-Christian-heterosexual-prosperous-man.”[2] These are men that, beyond hatred and disgust towards women, extend these feelings to all minorities, openly embracing racism and a desire for power to overwhelm minorities, even to exterminate them. They also advocate for a primitive use of weapons as representation of strength and power.

What does it mean to be a man? Lacan responds, “the man, the male, the manly as we know it, is a creation of discourse […] The same cannot be said of a woman.”[3] To be an effect of discourse is a condition of all speaking beings. The feminine question, different from the masculine, is interested in truth. So what is happening with these masculinist men? They are aiming to achieve masculinity via the real of the body. They dress in Roman, Spartan, and indigenous clothing, and celebrate hunting from the era of cavemen. This imaginary assures them that they are returning to the man on the side of the universal, touthomme. Although they despise homosexuality, many engage in sexual relationships with other men. Thus, the root of this movement is a rejection of femininity, different from that of machismo, which takes women as objects of the drive.

This refusal of women, except for their function in procreation, is similar to the Schreberian push-to-The-woman. Feminine jouissance, as the Other’s jouissance, is a threat to their desired virility. These men do not attack women out of a rejection of this unspeakable jouissance in themselves, but because women are real signs of this otherness of jouissance that they cannot partialize. Woman does not exist, they appear to be saying. In a way, they have access to this truth, just like Schreber, and they intend, albeit paradoxically, to make it exist by attacking it. The strength of this impossibility of being, of the real that is stamped on women, incites them to violence, and they demand to turn the body into Being without the One, making them a-social. They repudiate laws and civilization, despise emotion, and attack science and knowledge. Like Schreber, they want to be The woman that God lacks, the inexistent being they believe was lost to a world without the Father, and they believe that by devoting to an aesthetic of the masculine body they will finally reach her, and through her, the Universal.

Marie-Hélène Brousse[4] asks what would occupy the place of the universal in times of the parlêtre. She answers with the Lacanian writing of the LOM.[5] What sustains the Universal is no longer the Name of the Father but having a body. Masculinists do not have a body: they are the body; devoting a primary love to the body, they adore it. Eric Laurent[6] cites a passage from a lesson by Jacques-Alain Miller from June 2005, in which he highlights a difference made by Lacan about the primary love for one’s own body. This love for one’s own body is defined as a mentality, whereas thought, on the other hand, would lead to an adoration of another body, a reference to the sexual encounter.

We have here the mark of the masculinists, in a time without the Name of the Father. These men make of their manly bodies a universal, intending to remove femininity from these bodies, be it as a cause of desire or as otherness. They maintain sexual relationships with other men but deny being homosexual. Their subjectivity has the mark of a “mentality” and they do not reach “thought” as reference to the sexual.

Let us not forget Lacan’s warning in Seminar 19: “[…] what is on the rise, the ultimate consequences of which we have still not seen, and which is rooted in the body, in the fraternity of bodies, is racism.”[7]


[1] Interview given by Rosana Pinheiro Machado to Ricardo Senra, reporter for BBC News-Brazil. London, January 1st, 2021. See also R. Pinheiro-Machado. Pensador da Extrema Direita, Jack Donovan, radicaliza o machismo.

[2] Oliveira, E., Silva, G., (2018).

[3] Lacan, J., The Other Side of Psychoanalysis: The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book XVII (1969-1970). Edited by Jacques-Alain Miller. Translated by Russell Grigg. New York/London: Norton, 2007.

[4] Brousse, M.-H., Mulheres e discursos [Women and Discourses], Opção Lacaniana 15, Rio de Janeiro: Contra Capa, 2019.

[5] LOM in French is homophonic with “l’homme”: man / the male. Cf. Lacan, J., ‘Joyce the Symptom’ in The Seminar Book XXIII, The Sinthome, 1975-1976, Cambridge: Polity, 2016, p. 145, where Lacan spells it ‘LOM’, thus condensing the noun ‘man’ with its definite article. See also the written version of ‘Joyce the Symptom’ in The Lacanian Review, Issue 2, 2016.

[6] Laurent, E., L’Envers de la biopolitique [The Other Side of Biopolitics], Navarin, 2016.

[7] Lacan, J., … Or Worse: The Seminar of Jacques Lacan, Book XIX (1971-1972). Edited by Jacques-Alain Miller. Translated by A. R. Price. Cambridge: Polity, 2018.