Author Topic: Juju  (Read 14019 times)

Mandos

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Juju
« on: June 10, 2006, 04:12:57 PM »
This forum's got no posts (partly because there ain't too many guys around here), so I thought I'd fill it with something I thought interesting.

Elsewhere on the Internet I got involved in a lengthy discussion on the roots of male dominance, and in particular the purpose of patriarchy and rape as an enforcement mechanism/protection racket for patriarchy.  The conclusion we came to, after looking at some anthropological examples, was that a lot of it has to do with "de-peripheralizing" men.

What does that mean?  Well, for the most part, especially in societies untouched by modern trends, the woman/child duality is really all that's needed for a coherent society.  Men are potentially useful second providers, but there are actually many societies and circumstances in which women by themselves can do just fine.  The only thing males are really needed for is to provide that extra, um, reproductive squirt.

It's apparently the case that there are tribal hunter-gatherer societies still extant in which males and females enjoy nearly equal status in material things and wherein rape is rare.  However, these tend to give males special "juju"---like secret magic rituals that ONLY MEN MUST DO to prevent the world from ending or something.  This got me thinking: how much of male dominance came into being in order to ensure that men weren't otherwise socially peripheral?

skdadl

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Juju
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2006, 04:56:05 PM »
I take it, Mandos, that this is not a MO thread? Please tell me to shut up if you like.  

I don't mean to discount the real problem of domestic violence, but for some years now, what has puzzled me most -- and for some reason, frightened me most, even though there is little reason for me to fear it in my own life any time soon -- is the (I am given to understand) next-to-universal phenomenon of rape in wartime.

What explains that? Soviet troops are understandably enraged at the massacres committed on their own people by the Nazis, and furthermore they have just triumphed in battle, and what do they do? They rape every German woman in sight. Scratch German: every woman in sight.

Why?

To me, that feels like an inescapable, irreducible truth, and a terrifying fact about life. I know that it will happen tonight, all over the world, just because it can, because men can do that and will do it, wherever life is disrupted. It is a huge nightmare to me.

Mandos

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Juju
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2006, 04:59:35 PM »
THIS thread isn't Men Only.

Actually, to tell you the truth, I am contemplating a temporarily MO thread on rape, but there aren't enough regular male posters here to make it work, I think.  This thread isn't specifically about rape, though.

skdadl

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Juju
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2006, 05:23:09 PM »
Ok, but so, like: how irrelevant was what I just wrote?

It was the truest I could think of.

deBeauxOs

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Juju
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2006, 05:29:09 PM »
skdadl wrote:
Quote
... for some years now, what has puzzled me most -- and for some reason, frightened me most, even though there is little reason for me to fear it in my own life any time soon -- is the (I am given to understand) next-to-universal phenomenon of rape in wartime. ... To me, that feels like an inescapable, irreducible truth, and a terrifying fact about life. I know that it will happen tonight, all over the world, just because it can, because men can do that and will do it, wherever life is disrupted. It is a huge nightmare to me.
 Probably a nightmare too for many men who do not associate that part of their anatomy with weaponry.  But it happens, I suspect for physiological, emotional and ideological reasons, all entangled.  First, does not rage sometimes trigger a reflexive erection? Thus field commanders facilitate or encourage the defusion of both physical and emotional agression through rape, as it would also serve a purpose of extending "defeat" on home ground.  If you look at the manner that soldiers are programmed into killing machines, the association between penis and gun, the de-humanization of the 'enemy'.  Robin Morgan addresses this, the sexuality of terrorism,  in "The Demon Lover", I believe.

Also to add - when sexual assault in warfare is not accomplished or possible with an erect penis, a replacement is easily found; I won't list the objects since that phenomenon is well documented.  As any study been done, since women are now in combat positions, if this strategy infects them also, say at Abu Ghraib?

Mandos

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Juju
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2006, 05:46:39 PM »
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Ok, but so, like: how irrelevant was what I just wrote?


So what I wanted to talk about was, really, not the "breakdown" cases of rape, but rather the ultimate purpose and benefit to men of the systems of patriarchy under normal nonwartime conditions.  The idea being the role of rape AND other forms of violence, down to simple discrimination, in the construction of men's position in society.

Let me give you an example.  As part of my occasionally dabblings in applied anthropology here in the United States, I let a bunch of guys I barely knew (who happen to share a house) take me home with them one evening---an important evening, the SuperBowl.  Much of what I saw I expected, but I was struck by one thing I didn't totally expect: the other guys would jeer every time a female commentator or interviewer appeared on screen.

I started to radiate some uncomfortable/disapproving vibes, and one of the guys said to me "We HATE female commentators at the SuperBowl."  Because, you see, the SuperBowl is the Man's Night in the USA.

These are professional guys, mostly, who work with women, and sometimes as subordinates to women, and appear to do so without difficulty.  But they jealously guard this relatively innocuous thing---it's not rape, after all---as a symbol of their place as males.  Women have baby showers (though men are joining that in increasing numbers)---baby showers are associated with something important.  Men have the SuperBowl, and construct it in a way to reject women yet make it central to American cultural life.  It's that sort of thing that I'm talking about.

Mandos

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Juju
« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2006, 05:50:15 PM »
The other way of looking at what I'm thinking of is the primal "need to be needed".  Women, most women, women-as-a-class are by biological necessity one step closer to satisfying that then men are.

skdadl

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Juju
« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2006, 05:51:21 PM »
Mandos, that still leaves me scared.

Women at baby showers do not express hostility towards men. They do not jeer men. If men appeared, they would not only accommodate them but probably flutter all over them. Well: some would.

Jeer, you say. See: that scares me.

fern hill

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Juju
« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2006, 05:52:39 PM »
I suggest we let Mandos or someone start a thread specifically on sexual assault and war. This one, I think, is intended to discuss the origins of patriarchy.

A lot of work has been done on this. One by a woman I respect a lot, Gerda Lerner. Here's a bit of bio on her:

http://www.nwhp.org/tlp/biographies/lerner/lerner_bio.html

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In 1971 she wrote The Grimke Sisters, the story of two, white, privileged, Southern women who went North to fight against slavery. Her writings address the need eliminate the invisibility of women and her books fill in the omissions. In 1986 The Creation of Patriarchy and in 1993 The Creation of Feminist Consciousness were published. Her current best seller is Why History Matters. Gerda Lerner's brilliant scholarship and teaching demands that students and readers reexamine old ideas about who women are and what women have accomplished. In April, she will publish her autobiography, Fireweed. In all, she has written 10 books and mentored generations of historians.


And here's an interview with her: http://www.intuition.org/txt/lerner2.htm (I haven't read it yet.)

Mandos

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Juju
« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2006, 05:55:59 PM »
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Women at baby showers do not express hostility towards men. They do not jeer men. If men appeared, they would not only accommodate them but probably flutter all over them. Well: some would.


Well, that's my point.  Women at baby showers have an object, a presence and purpose for the event that obviates most of any putative need to direct anger at men.  Men's events, however, have a comparative emptiness to them that seems to require (think strippers at stag parties, and so many other exmaples) that one of the objects of the gathering be differentiation from women.

I admit I too was surprised when confronted with it personally, because I have myself never done any "male-bonding" activities.  I was never into team sports for instance, and that takes away about 75% of all male-bonding activity opportunities.  Most of the things I did as a child, while they didn't always involve females, weren't socially constructed to exclude them.

deBeauxOs

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Juju
« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2006, 05:58:02 PM »
Quote
The other way of looking at what I'm thinking of is the primal "need to be needed".  Women, most women, women-as-a-class are by biological necessity one step closer to satisfying that then men are.
Women need to be needed by men?  Men need to be needed by women?

Well, on the basis of your premise, I would observe that women who complete their so-called biological imperative, that is, produce a child, no longer need to be needed by men since they are now needed by their children.  

But does that mean that men are doomed by biology to need to be needed by women?  And if that is so, why does that make them aggressive rather than submissive?

Mandos

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Juju
« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2006, 06:00:46 PM »
I haven't read Lerner but people have explained to me some of her ideas.  I have read some Marilyn French on this, though.

But more than just merely the origin of patriarchy is what I want to discuss.  I want to discuss what in the Collective Hive Mind of men-as-a-class patriarchy happens to satisfy, when perhaps we could guarantee material plenty without it.

Mandos

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Juju
« Reply #12 on: June 10, 2006, 06:04:31 PM »
I'm thinking more, "need to be needed" by the community or the overall group to which they belong.  The fact that the overwhelming majority of women have the biological capacity---which they usually fulfill---of continuing the community is the significant detail here.  

Of course, men have that capacity, but by and large it's a very small contribution to reproduction itself.  A community can survive with men at the peripheries or with a very low population of men.  It can't with women that way.  Very few mammals (or any other species) have wandering spinster females and groups of males with children.  Very many mammalians species have the reverse.  And this makes a certain amount of sense.  But when you create a social animal which can ask "Why am I on the outside?", then we start getting into the interesting issues.

Mandos

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Juju
« Reply #13 on: June 10, 2006, 06:17:24 PM »
I don't think I'd start the thread on rape and war, since I don't think there's much that a men's forum can accomplish on this topic without men who've been involved directly with war, and not many people here fit that bill.  

As I mentioned before, I was thinking of a temporarily male-only topic, related, I think, profoundly to this thread: men and the psychological reaction to sexual rejection.  But there's no point in starting it until there are enough men interested in responding to it.

Holly Stick

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Juju
« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2006, 06:25:20 PM »
Last night I was watching some of the features on my Pirates of the Caribbean DVD, and there was this 1968 film about the opening of the original attraction.  It shows the pirates having a battle, then running rampant, drinking, firing their pistols and chasing women; all in jolly good fun, you know, but still...

Some things were changed in the 1990s:
http://themeparks.about.com/cs/disneyparks/fr/potc_2.htm

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...Traveling on, guests see woman with rolling pins and brooms chasing pirates in an endless circle. Originally, the pirates chased the women, but in the politically correct 1990s, Disney altered the scene. I guess it's still OK to portray public drunkenness, looting, prostitution, and arson, however..
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