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May 01, 2006


David Thompson

I reaffirm my masculinity every time I take a leak. That's all the proof I need, and apparently everyone else is too dumb to figure it out from that.


Your intro is fabulous. I am an ethical atheist Jewish Democrat ENTJ Capricorn science geek fire eater and rape survivor. There are a few other descriptors.

I was raped almost 20 years ago by a US Marine proving his masculinity just days out of a grueling boot camp experience. I'm sure it seemed OK for him. I was 17 and it changed my life. It wasn't a gang rape but others could hear it occurring. Thankfully, one of them stepped in, eventually. I don't know what gave him the balls to do it but I'm grateful.

All men are not rapists, some men are. Some men prove their masculinity by doing something braver than fucking a 17 year old against her will.


My sympathies to you, Faith, even though you may not need or wish for them.

The sooner we drop this infatuation we have with so-called "femininity" and "masculinity," the better.


Hugo, it rather weakens your point to use as a major prop for your thesis an event which didn't happen.

The thrill of the gang bang -- or gang rape, which is different -- is not the sex: it's the audience

What's the difference?


Well, the gang bang involves a consenting woman, gang rape doesn't. Rare, but not inconceivable.


"'Masculinity is something that has to be proven,' she said. "It is not innate or natural. It’s something young men have to establish, and they have to establish it publicly."

Is masculinity studies just English essays about whatever you think? Because I can quote a wealth of psychological literature showing that perceptions of masculinity are partially established by physical appearance. Tall muscular guys with big chins have a natural edge and usually don't need to establish it.

I would agree with you guys more if you just didn't make stuff up by citing people with a personal opinion and no data to support it. You guys are studying English, not psychology, and while phenomological descriptions are essential to consider for any psychological theory, they're fundamentally useless without scientific data to support them (see Freud).


Some random thoughts:

Many societies have rituals for transition to puberty and adulthood. We do not have rites of passage, or not very much. Add to this the prolongation of adolescence in consumer societies and perhaps there is a societal disfunction here.

Mass rape has to be pretty low on the "proving" it scale. I'd think the pecking order is:

Guy who is a babe magnet

Guy who deals with sex workers

Guy who "gets lucky"

Guy who doesn't even bother to try

But I have ever yet to meet a guy who thought that raping anyone was proof of manhood.

Women "prove" themselves in different ways. I know many women who see marriage as their rite (or perhaps, "right") of passage. Which is why weddings in "chick flicks" are the culmination of the plot. Compare this to male-oriented action movies, where the payoff is in car chases, explosions, and general mayhem (which, come to think of it, sounds like the outcome of a lot of marriages!).

Question I would raise is if we dump the rites of passage, with what do we replace them?


You said use scientific data and then went "Freud". You have now outed you as satirically ironical, or more likely, an idiot.

Freud's theories were untestable, therefore, not scientfic. QED.


I think the culimination of an action movie, the guy gets the trophy girl, so end of "chick flicks" (which I hate anyway) the prize is "marriage". The end of "action flicks" the prize is a woman. (And normally a hot one).

I don't think we should dump rites of passage, I think we should have rites of passage that are more goal-orientated (and hopefully gender-nuetral). Getting your first driver's liceance, getting drunk on your 21st, graduating from high school, et cetera. Those should be the rites.


Antigone - Freud is an example of the unscientific untestable theories. Read harder next time, the sentence only makes sense one way.


"Question I would raise is if we dump the rites of passage, with what do we replace them?"

Nothing. As someone who prefers the childlike to the "mature" -- a word I'm using loosely -- I've never seen the point to most of the things people consider rites of passage. They range from the merely pointless to the downright harmful: losing your virginity, drinking alcohol, "smoking your first joint," getting arrested...I don't care for the Ramones, but if that's what being an adult means, then I Don't Wanna Grow Up.


I don't think it's correct to say that Freud's theories can't be tested. For example, his claim that paranoia is caused by repressed homosexuality could certainly be tested. The real issue is two-fold, and is explained well in "The Foundations of Psychoanalysis" by Adolf Grunbaum. First, when the adherents of psychoanalysis see results that could falsify their theories they tend to create some sort of ad hoc explanation as to why the new evidence actually supports their theory. This being said, the behavior of individuals who hold a particular theory doesn't logically imply anything about its truth or falsity, or its testability. The second issue is that psychoanalysts claim that because of the nature of psychoanalysis, it shouldn't be subjected to randomized clinical trials. The claim is somewhat similar to the one made by Kuhn in "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions," where he claims that standards of evidence are particular to each discipline. This second claim I think is just transparently ridiculous. There is such a huge amount of evidence that randomized clinical trials are the best method for proving the efficacy of any treatment.

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