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The Transience of ManhoodFollow

#1 May 03 2012 at 8:43 AM Rating: Excellent
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At one point in life I was studying to be a counselor, and while I never finished that, human behavior has always intrigued me. After sitting through a rough few days in court with a lot of violence of all types, I flashed back to my Gender & Violence course. Two of the concepts that have resonated with me over the years are related to the concept of manhood, and its connection with violent behavior.

1. Manhood, unlike womanhood, is earned and not permanent. That is, a girl will inevitably become a woman, but a boy may not always be expected to become a man. This status can be withdrawn and withheld by others in his social group as punishment or threat.

2. The threat, implied or implicit, of withdrawing manhood is often enough by itself to precipitate violence.

This interests me not only because I have seen it play out, but because I am raising sons. How do you communicate that their manhood does not have to be earned? Do you think it does? If you are a man, do you feel you earned yours, and how, if you feel comfortable sharing?
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#2 May 03 2012 at 8:54 AM Rating: Good
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On one hand, I've killed and been blown up so I guess by some standards I've attained manhood. On the other I have a wife, and a daughter that I watch My Little Pony with, so any Man Cred™ I've built up has been crapped all over and flushed down the toilet years ago.
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#3 May 03 2012 at 8:58 AM Rating: Good
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Atomicflea wrote:
1. Manhood, unlike womanhood, is earned and not permanent...This status can be withdrawn and withheld by others in his social group as punishment or threat.

2. The threat, implied or implicit, of withdrawing manhood is often enough by itself to precipitate violence.


I'm probably missing something here, but I don't really follow. How is someone's manhood "revoked" exactly?
#4 May 03 2012 at 9:11 AM Rating: Excellent
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I can imagine situations where someone's peer group metaphorically "emasculates" them. "Dude, you let her do that to you? You're a fuckin' pussy, dude."

I don't know if it has to be earned but I guess I equate it more with taking care of business. Being able to get a handle on a situation and have some measure of control of it or steer it somewhere. Arguably, this is the same thing as plain ole being an adult except that, as the OP sort of alludes to, I think women can get away with failing to develop these traits because it's still an option for a "man" to take care of her. When a male fails to develop these traits, he's a loser man-child.

Towards that end, I guess I'll put my own "earning" at the point where I knocked some broad up (not that action, of course) and took control of it with getting a place for us, making various sacrifices and trying to legitimately make the best of it for everyone. I had my own place and a job, etc prior to that but that was the first real crisis that I took ownership of.

Edited, May 3rd 2012 10:11am by Jophiel
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#5 May 03 2012 at 9:16 AM Rating: Excellent
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There was a time I think I cared a lot about doing things on my own, being self-sufficient and what not. Sometime around when I got out of college. But that's about as close as I remember being to really being into the whole manly thing. I mean I was the 7 year old boy running around and playing ponies with all the girls on the playground anyway. I suppose I was never very manly. Maybe I never really understood the whole 'being a man' thing. From what I could tell as a kid it was mostly just peer pressure to do stupid things. Not participating did cause problems though. I remember getting bullied by one kid for a while because of stuff like that. Then I slammed him up against a locker, squeezed my hand around his throat and pretty much scared the living crap out of him.

Who says violence doesn't solve anything? Smiley: rolleyes

It's been a while though, and really haven't thought about anything like that in years I guess. I'm more in lolgaxe's boat really. Wife and 2 daughters means you kind of have to give that stuff up.
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#6 May 03 2012 at 9:23 AM Rating: Excellent
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lolgaxe wrote:
On one hand, I've killed and been blown up so I guess by some standards I've attained manhood. On the other I have a wife, and a daughter that I watch My Little Pony with, so any Man Cred™ I've built up has been crapped all over and flushed down the toilet years ago.

When did you attain it by your standards? When did you first feel like a man, or like that was threatened or taken away?
(I guess the answer to #2 is every time My Little Pony comes on, but there is an argument that can be made that being a good father is also reaffirming manhood.)
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#7 May 03 2012 at 9:26 AM Rating: Excellent
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Eske Esquire wrote:
Atomicflea wrote:
1. Manhood, unlike womanhood, is earned and not permanent...This status can be withdrawn and withheld by others in his social group as punishment or threat.

2. The threat, implied or implicit, of withdrawing manhood is often enough by itself to precipitate violence.


I'm probably missing something here, but I don't really follow. How is someone's manhood "revoked" exactly?
When your father calls you a *****, when your wife tells you you're a piece of crap, when your boss uses a high-pitched tone to mock the moment you choked during a presentation... Sadly, it's any time you are made to feel female more so than childish. There's the assumption that boys may express emotion and indecision, but MEN don't.

Women don't have their chick card so easily impugned, unless you are a **** mother, then we'll let you have it.
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#8 May 03 2012 at 9:27 AM Rating: Good
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Jophiel wrote:
I can imagine situations where someone's peer group metaphorically "emasculates" them. "Dude, you let her do that to you? You're a fuckin' pussy, dude."


That's what I was guessing, but it just doesn't seem that significant to me. Situations like that seem more like one-off occurrences or remarks, not a full evisceration of someone's man-ness. I've said stuff of that sort to people before, but I don't think it's ever truly meant "That guy is not a man."

I see it being used as a catch-all for someone's confidence and empowerment. It's couched in terms of gender, but it isn't really about gender on any meaningful level, to me. It's not the same for women, but I think there are parallel versions. They might not couch it in the same terms, but the attack on traditional feminine traits are there.

I do think that both cases are getting less pronounced, as women aren't expected to hold to traditional "ladylike" types as much, and it's much less of a problem for a guy to not be butch.


But what do I know, I'm a chick. Smiley: tongue


Edited, May 3rd 2012 11:30am by Eske
#9 May 03 2012 at 9:29 AM Rating: Excellent
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Jophiel wrote:
I can imagine situations where someone's peer group metaphorically "emasculates" them. "Dude, you let her do that to you? You're a fuckin' pussy, dude."

I don't know if it has to be earned but I guess I equate it more with taking care of business. Being able to get a handle on a situation and have some measure of control of it or steer it somewhere. Arguably, this is the same thing as plain ole being an adult except that, as the OP sort of alludes to, I think women can get away with failing to develop these traits because it's still an option for a "man" to take care of her. When a male fails to develop these traits, he's a loser man-child.
Yep to all of this. Women WILL turn on a woman who exhibit behavior they feel is immature and demeaning to the whole, (a la calling out Zooey Deschanel) but there is no real precedent for denying a woman's womanhood. The act of becoming an adult is a physiological one, irreversible. It doesn't seem to be as cut and dry for men.
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#10 May 03 2012 at 9:31 AM Rating: Excellent
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Atomicflea wrote:
(I guess the answer to #2 is every time My Little Pony comes on, but there is an argument that can be made that being a good father is also reaffirming manhood.)

He'd be watching it anyway. Because he's a girlie-man.
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Belkira wrote:
Wow. Regular ol' Joph fan club in here.
#11 May 03 2012 at 9:31 AM Rating: Excellent
I don't know that I identify manhood as something that other people can give or take away from me, although I do see that in popular culture. I see manhood for me as more of a measure if I'm living up to the standards I set for myself.
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#12 May 03 2012 at 9:31 AM Rating: Excellent
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someproteinguy wrote:
There was a time I think I cared a lot about doing things on my own, being self-sufficient and what not. Sometime around when I got out of college. But that's about as close as I remember being to really being into the whole manly thing. I mean I was the 7 year old boy running around and playing ponies with all the girls on the playground anyway. I suppose I was never very manly. Maybe I never really understood the whole 'being a man' thing. From what I could tell as a kid it was mostly just peer pressure to do stupid things. Not participating did cause problems though. I remember getting bullied by one kid for a while because of stuff like that. Then I slammed him up against a locker, squeezed my hand around his throat and pretty much scared the living crap out of him.

Who says violence doesn't solve anything? Smiley: rolleyes

It's been a while though, and really haven't thought about anything like that in years I guess. I'm more in lolgaxe's boat really. Wife and 2 daughters means you kind of have to give that stuff up.

Feel free to not answer, but I'm curious as to your male role model growing up. Traditional? Not present?
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That's the kind of dude
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#13 May 03 2012 at 9:33 AM Rating: Good
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I sit alone with my giant *****. The ***** reaffirms my manhood and the solitude means no peer groups can socially emasculate me.

I've got it all figured out.
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Belkira wrote:
Wow. Regular ol' Joph fan club in here.
#14 May 03 2012 at 9:37 AM Rating: Excellent
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Atomicflea wrote:
Feel free to not answer, but I'm curious as to your male role model growing up. Traditional? Not present?


It's no probs. Smiley: grin

Very traditional. Ex military dad who did mostly blue-collar jobs in small town and rural America.
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#15 May 03 2012 at 9:38 AM Rating: Excellent
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Jophiel wrote:
I sit alone with my giant *****. The ***** reaffirms my manhood and the solitude means no peer groups can socially emasculate me.

I've got it all figured out.


♫i'm a man
i'm real proud of my manhood
i like to smoke
ten thousand cigarillos
eight ball
i could climb any fountain
i never cry
i only bawl when i'm losing
and i've never been wrong
never been wrong
i'm looking so good
looking so good
got a big gold gun
got a big gold bullet
and i guess you could say
i'm real full of it
i'm real full of it
i'm real straight
you wanna see my peccadillos
hot dog 7:30 every morning
and i'm big into war
big into war
big into war
i am a *****
i am a *****
got a big gold gun
i shave with gillette
shave with gillette
and i'm patting my back
patting my back
got a big gold bullet ♫
#16 May 03 2012 at 9:41 AM Rating: Excellent
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Eske Esquire wrote:
That's what I was guessing, but it just doesn't seem that significant to me. Situations like that seem more like one-off occurrences or remarks, not a full evisceration of someone's man-ness. I've said stuff of that sort to people before, but I don't think it's ever truly meant "That guy is not a man."
Certainly you could have never been in a situation that evoked this for you. The researcher who came up with this theory did research mostly among the gang and prison populations, if I remember correctly. If the entire concept holds no weight for you because of the nature or culture of your peer group, it's possible. I do wonder what would happen to you among a prison or gang population, though.

Quote:
I see it being used as a catch-all for someone's confidence and empowerment. It's couched in terms of gender, but it isn't really about gender on any meaningful level, to me. It's not the same for women, but I think there are parallel versions. They might not couch it in the same terms, but the attack on traditional feminine traits are there.
Not to any comparable extent. Confidence and empowerment are pretty much non-issues for femaleness when it comes to their womanhood. You get a period, you're a woman. Congrats.

Quote:
I do think that both cases are getting less pronounced, as women aren't expected to hold to traditional "ladylike" types as much, and it's much less of a problem for a guy to not be butch.
Again, depends on the peer group. As I said before, few things will get other women riled up like a woman who doesn't espouse the role of motherhood, which is very traditional.
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That's the kind of dude
I was lookin' for
And yes you'll get slapped
if you're lookin', ho

#17 May 03 2012 at 9:43 AM Rating: Excellent
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Jophiel wrote:
Atomicflea wrote:
(I guess the answer to #2 is every time My Little Pony comes on, but there is an argument that can be made that being a good father is also reaffirming manhood.)

He'd be watching it anyway. Because he's a girlie-man.
See? Like that!!!

Again, it's not that someone DOES take it away, it's that threatening to do so prompts violence more reliably than anything else.
____________________________
That's the kind of dude
I was lookin' for
And yes you'll get slapped
if you're lookin', ho

#18 May 03 2012 at 9:48 AM Rating: Excellent
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Sir Xsarus wrote:
I don't know that I identify manhood as something that other people can give or take away from me, although I do see that in popular culture. I see manhood for me as more of a measure if I'm living up to the standards I set for myself.
I'm not sure it's conscious, but bully you if this is the case. Also, this sounds awesome when I imagine Blondie saying it.
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That's the kind of dude
I was lookin' for
And yes you'll get slapped
if you're lookin', ho

#19 May 03 2012 at 9:48 AM Rating: Excellent
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Atomicflea wrote:
See? Like that!!!

Again, it's not that someone DOES take it away, it's that threatening to do so prompts violence more reliably than anything else.


I get the feeling female deer must be like this too: What the heck? They're smashing heads together again? Someone is going to break an antler. Why do they do that? How does that even solve anything? Ooo look clover! Om nom nom...
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#20 May 03 2012 at 9:49 AM Rating: Excellent
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Atomicflea wrote:
You get a period, you're a woman. Congrats.

What if you're not a girl, but not yet a woman?
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Belkira wrote:
Wow. Regular ol' Joph fan club in here.
#21 May 03 2012 at 9:50 AM Rating: Excellent
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Atomicflea wrote:
Also, this sounds awesome when I imagine Blondie saying it.

Debbie Harry Blondie or Mrs. Bumsted Blondie?
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Belkira wrote:
Wow. Regular ol' Joph fan club in here.
#22 May 03 2012 at 9:57 AM Rating: Excellent
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Jophiel wrote:
I sit alone with my giant *****. The ***** reaffirms my manhood and the solitude means no peer groups can socially emasculate me.

I've got it all figured out.
You've got two sons. Just give it time.
____________________________
That's the kind of dude
I was lookin' for
And yes you'll get slapped
if you're lookin', ho

#23 May 03 2012 at 10:03 AM Rating: Excellent
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Atomicflea wrote:
When did you attain it by your standards? When did you first feel like a man, or like that was threatened or taken away?
I guess a few years ago I'd say when I first became a Marine and got deployed was when I first felt like a man, but as the years passed it's hard to consider that when it's such an easy accomplishment. Now I say it was when I didn't pass out like in Generic Relationship Comedy Movie #65 during my daughter's birth. Weird mix of pride and fear I'm going to personally and directly responsible for someone's life. The realization that every situation I put myself in, and every decision I make is going to directly affect a life that can't exactly mitigate the damage for itself.

It was a fleeting moment, as being easily manipulated by a little girl is highly emasculating.
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#24 May 03 2012 at 10:06 AM Rating: Good
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Atomicflea wrote:
Eske Esquire wrote:
That's what I was guessing, but it just doesn't seem that significant to me. Situations like that seem more like one-off occurrences or remarks, not a full evisceration of someone's man-ness. I've said stuff of that sort to people before, but I don't think it's ever truly meant "That guy is not a man."
Certainly you could have never been in a situation that evoked this for you. The researcher who came up with this theory did research mostly among the gang and prison populations, if I remember correctly. If the entire concept holds no weight for you because of the nature or culture of your peer group, it's possible. I do wonder what would happen to you among a prison or gang population, though.


Mmm, that's interesting. I had forgotten about prison scenarios. I think I still feel like in that case, manhood is being used metaphorically (for confidence, assertiveness, strength, etc.); that it's not a unique feature of a person.

Atomicflea wrote:
Eske Esquire wrote:
I see it being used as a catch-all for someone's confidence and empowerment. It's couched in terms of gender, but it isn't really about gender on any meaningful level, to me. It's not the same for women, but I think there are parallel versions. They might not couch it in the same terms, but the attack on traditional feminine traits are there.
Not to any comparable extent. Confidence and empowerment are pretty much non-issues for femaleness when it comes to their womanhood. You get a period, you're a woman. Congrats.


Right, that's what I was saying: there are parallels, not in attacks on confidence or empowerment, but say, perhaps, in desirability.

Edited, May 3rd 2012 12:07pm by Eske
#25 May 03 2012 at 10:07 AM Rating: Excellent
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Atomicflea wrote:
You've got two sons. Just give it time.

Don't think I won't bust the giant ***** out to make my points for me. Or to use as a pointer.
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Belkira wrote:
Wow. Regular ol' Joph fan club in here.
#26 May 03 2012 at 10:09 AM Rating: Good
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And for the record, I figure I'll get my revenge on her when she starts bringing boys around and I start pointing shotguns at them and emasculating them.

It's my long term plan that gets me through walking down the Barbie aisle every time we go shopping.
____________________________
George Carlin wrote:
I think it’s the duty of the comedian to find out where the line is drawn and cross it deliberately.
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