Author Topic: "There's something about men."  (Read 12694 times)

Mandos

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"There's something about men."
« on: October 22, 2006, 01:53:14 PM »
A group of feminist bloggers take on the topic of what one feels to be a crisis among American men that may end up sabotaging feminism.

http://dneiwert.blogspot.com/2006/10/th ... t-men.html
http://pandagon.net/2006/10/22/reaction ... about-men/
http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/ ... -they.html

Sara Robinson at the first link and at the Shakes link holds the position that perhaps biology does matter, and apparently believes that testosterone predisposes many men to search for ritual/hierarchy/conformity that she feels that liberal America has suppressed for a bent towards androgyny and seeing the differences between men and women as naught but social constructions, aside from the mechanics of birth.

Others comment that most primitive societies have coming of age rituals for young men and that even historically one sees disorderly gangs occurring in situations where such does not exist/satisfy.  

My own take on it is that one needn't appeal to hormones but merely the mechanics of birth and reproduction.

arborman

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« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2006, 07:00:21 PM »
Oh god help us all.  Testosterone of all things.  Sigh.

Women don't need men telling them what's wrong with them and what they do any more than the reverse.  It shouldn't be OK to make such absurd links between a hormone and a socio-cultural phenomenon unless you have a damn clue what testosterone actually does.

Sigh.  I wouldn't dream of suggesting that estrogen makes people passive or weak.  Why is it ok to say that testosterone makes people crave heirarchy?  Hell, it doesn't even make people aggressive, despite the pop-cultural myth to the contrary.
The pleasures of the table are for every man, of every land, and no matter what place in history or society; they can be a part of all his other pleasures, and they last the longest, to console him when he has outlived the rest.

Mandos

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"There's something about men."
« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2006, 07:03:49 PM »
Sara Robinson claims in the comments that there are studies that show that testosterone levels correlate very well with hierarchy-seeking behaviours.  I didn't look them up myself.

She claims that she achieved this epiphany from a short bout of low-level testosterone therapy which she believes had analogous effects on her behaviour.

arborman

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« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2006, 08:31:34 PM »
Good for her.  I can't say that it reflects my experience.

Testosterone is more related to affection and sex than aggression.  It peaks (for men) in the spring - when a young fella's thoughts turn to love.  It is at its all time annual low point in the fall, when thoughts turn to hockey, and firewood.

No idea what that means, but it isn't what makes us violent.
The pleasures of the table are for every man, of every land, and no matter what place in history or society; they can be a part of all his other pleasures, and they last the longest, to console him when he has outlived the rest.

brebis noire

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Re: "There's something about men."
« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2006, 09:17:49 PM »
Quote
Others comment that most primitive societies have coming of age rituals for young men and that even historically one sees disorderly gangs occurring in situations where such does not exist/satisfy.  

My own take on it is that one needn't appeal to hormones but merely the mechanics of birth and reproduction.

I think this is an issue that women, especially feminists, should participate in wholeheartedly and generously, for all kinds of reasons. My most pressing reason is that I have boy children, and I care deeply about their presents and futures. The weeks of school shooting and threats that we've been through have caused me a lot of anxiety. Sometimes I wonder how I will cope with the teenage years, but since I have a couple of really good single mother models who have raised wonderful pro-feminist young men, I think I'll be OK - as long as I keep paying attention.

But I only vaguely understand what you're referring to with regard to the mechanics of birth and reproduction. Is this another way of saying "men have womb envy"? Or: "women are involved in life-giving  activities and men take care of the activities of death" - ?

If it is, that really doesn't do it for me. You don't need to be sans utérus to feel existential despair or self-worthlessness. Women, even ones who've had children, can feel it too, and can be every bit as destructive about it - though it might play out in subtler ways.

Just as an example, I caught an article about cosmetic surgery in the NYTimes yesterday, and the last few paragraphs carried a pretty good explanation as to why a woman would submit her body to all kinds of unnecessary and damaging surgeries.


Quote
At its most extreme, this craze for plastic surgery is more than a display of culturally conditioned self-hatred. It is, rather, a current manifestation of female masochism — a sister compulsion to anorexia, bulimia, cutting and excessive tattooing and piercing. Here ritual, aesthetics, theatrics and exhibitionism are ceremonious enactments of self-annihilation in the hope of transcendence (if you’re a romantic) or escape (if you’re a realist). These are death and resurrection exercises. Self-loathing, on the other hand, keeps you firmly in the eternal hell of the here and now.

*snip*

Asked if she ever considered a career, Mrs. X, the film-colony wife, replies: “No, because I was never going to be that good at anything. Or at least I was never going to be so good at anything that I would have made a difference.” The disguise of a woman who has sewn, injected and scraped her surface into a masked carapace is only a distraction from her profound, perhaps unconscious sadness. Here the pathos in the Bride of Frankenstein’s agonized cinematic scream finds a brand-new face.



Link

I apologize to have brought this around to women's experience even in this forum, but my intent is to show that we have more in common than what divides us.

When I see my son going through stuff in school and then trying to work it out in his head, I often think 'oh god, I can totally understand why you feel the way you do, and I can remember feeling just as frustrated and powerless." I get to see some different dynamics (or maybe the same dynamics from a different perspective) because he is a boy, but the feelings and motivations are essentially the same ones I felt at his age.

marzo

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« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2006, 09:30:07 PM »
How can these researchers be sure that all-female groups don't have conformity and hierarchy-seeking behaviours? I don't have any evidence or statistics handy but I can think of female groups I have seen or heard about that have such behaviours.
For a short time I was a volunteer with an organization that was mainly female-oriented and mostly staffed by women. They were a conservative bunch, and I saw lots of conformist behaviour, strutting about proclaiming their status, and assertions of hierarchy.
Groups of nuns are certainly conformist and hierarchical, but I supose one could say that their structure and hierarchy is imposed by a patriarchal organization.
Speaking about myself as a man, I am probably less hierarchical and conformist than most people, either male or female. This could have something to do with the fact that I never had any siblings and I learned to mistrust authority figures at a young age.
Seeking truth about why disturbed young men act the way they do is important, but when reading those blogs I felt that there were simplistic generalizations that were not consistent with my experience and observations.

steffie

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« Reply #6 on: October 23, 2006, 10:53:51 AM »
Quote
...most primitive societies have coming of age rituals for young men and that even historically one sees disorderly gangs occurring in situations where such does not exist/satisfy.


As I see it, this is the important component, not testosterone.  Young men need to be valued as they take their place in society.  And the same goes for young women.  Which brings up another inadequacy: we need more places in society for everyone!  Is this view too simplistic?
Let the beauty of what you love be what you do - Rumi

Herr Magoo

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« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2006, 01:38:50 PM »
Quote
we need more places in society for everyone!


Is it that there aren't enough places, or that not enough of them are "First Place"?

Seems to me that people used to derive much more satisfaction from buying a home, raising a family, enjoying their hobbies, having a social network, etc.

Now, if you're not a millionaire rock star, a millionaire movie star, or a millionaire sports star, it's assumed that you're a nobody.  Nothing can possibly make up for the agony and shame of not being richer, thinner and more important than everyone else.

I think we all had goals, of a sort, when we were younger, and certainly we had a few "blue sky" goals that we knew we'd probably never reach ("I'm going to play in the NHL, and beat Gretzky's record!") but it seems like these days it's world fame and millions or dollars or nothing.  Where did that come from?
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steffie

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« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2006, 01:13:41 PM »
Quote from: Herr Magoo
but it seems like these days it's world fame and millions or dollars or nothing.  Where did that come from?


Consumerism.  In order for one to be a good citizen, one must consume at least at the rate that it's being shoveled into us by the MSM.  To consume at that ever-increasing rate, one must make much money. In order to make much money in the increasingly-competitive career realm, one must be "better" than all or most of the others.  What pressure!  No wonder kids are killing/cutting/starving themselves.   :cry:
Let the beauty of what you love be what you do - Rumi

aRoused

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« Reply #9 on: December 14, 2006, 03:16:02 AM »
Quote
but it seems like these days it's world fame and millions or dollars or nothing. Where did that come from?

The Middle Ages?
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Toedancer

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"There's something about men."
« Reply #10 on: June 01, 2007, 07:45:20 PM »
What is it about men and fishing? I like it well enough, but the men who love to fish JUST LOVE TO FISH! And as we all know people who fish also lie.

Sweetie has been away fishing. He sends me one e-mail a day full of fish news, lottsa pickerel, some pike, mostly pickerel. How many, approximate weights, even about the ones he threw back  :roll:  There was a short in the ignition system and the battery was dead or something, which meant he has to help his friend get the boat repaired immediately for their morning fish. OR it could mean to prolong for another day, who knows.

Ritual and bonding, is that it?
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lagatta

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"There's something about men."
« Reply #11 on: June 01, 2007, 07:51:45 PM »
Given his health condition, it is probably an ego-boost for him, and a wee holiday from it for you.

My uncle helped quadraplegics and other seriously-disabled people on boats on the Ottawa/Outaouais* between Ottawa and Gatineau. For some it was their only thrill, and genuinely death-defying. Better than just sitting there, waiting to die.

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*I would like to know how the Aboriginal people pronounced the name of the river.
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Toedancer

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« Reply #12 on: June 01, 2007, 07:59:46 PM »
Indeed an ego boost and time to share with an old friend. But I bet they didn't use sunblock, dam fools.

I have made him a rhubarb cake for his B-day; that means cream, yum. I scarfed the rhubarb from a garden gone to hell.
"Democracy is not the law of the majority, it's the protection of the minority." -Albert Camus 1913-1960

skdadl

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"There's something about men."
« Reply #13 on: June 02, 2007, 08:57:44 AM »
I quite like fishing. I quite like men. I quite like rhubarb.

But girls and cats are forever.   :wink:

Boom Boom

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« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2007, 09:08:09 AM »
I've never liked fishing. About thirty years ago I paid a bundle for a good supply of fishing gear, and I think two years later I sold it all for less than half of what I paid. I just don't enjoy the experience. My two older brothers used to love fishing and tried to get me involved - this is about 45 years ago - and I hated it back then, too. I just don't see the point of the exercise. I'd rather be gardening.

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"There's something about men."
« Reply #14 on: June 02, 2007, 09:08:09 AM »

 

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