injured man being tended by medic in battlefield

The male body and the masculinity police – part II

We live in a culture where violence against men is prevalent, normalized, excused, and celebrated by the media and in popular culture. Laugh if you want, but the best humor is practically indistinguishable from tragedy. The best comedians understand suffering. The best jokes are lamentations.

We have multi-billion dollar “sports” industries (e.g., the NFL and UFC) that glorify this violence against men. Families gather on Sundays to celebrate this violence. Corporations make billions on the cultural normalization of this violence against men–making the male body the most culturally acceptable locus of violence. All the while, folks scream that “CONSENT” is freely given by the men being violated, failing to understand how these cultural norms influence consent, failing to understand that freedom itself is not the perpetuation of violence against men, failing to understand that consent does not change the underlying fact of violence committed against men. Freedom is not two men beating each other unconscious for entertainment or some false idea of sportsmanship and competition. If you believe such types of violence are freedom and sportsmanship, you have an impoverished sense of both and you are likely perpetuating a culture that glorifies violence against men.

We have a war machine that keeps turning – making billions more in profits off this exploitation, destruction, mutilation, and expendability of the male body. There is no end to it. It never stops because our culture demands it. We defend our freedom by consenting to violence against the male body. We are proud of our “heroes.” We celebrate them. We love them for subjecting their bodies and the bodies of other men to violence.

If we learn to hate this violence against men and speak out against it, we are told to “shut the fuck up.” If we learn that all war is anti-male because all war is violence against men, our masculinity is policed and threatened because we must be “weak bitches” to complain about male suffering. Even feminists who claim to be working on male issues mock such complaints about male suffering as “man feelz.” Some of these feminists insist that male suffering is actually male privilege. Anything else is “assholery.”

AssholeryThere is real “assholery”: our prison systems. They are monstrosities of prison guard unions, corporations, legal institutions, and law enforcement agencies that are partially sustained by our war on drugs. It is a war that throws men into cages and commits violence against them for non-violent drug “crimes.” Instead of rehabilitation, we punish these men with prison rape and other violence. Instead of recognizing our sick culture, we blame the drug addict for wanting to escape. As Krishnamurti said, ”It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” While the “right” wags their finger of shame and screams for harsher punishments and more violence against these men, the “left” wags their finger of shame and clamors about “rehabilitating” these men to a profoundly sick culture that demands their submission, failing to recognize that our culture may need more rehab than do these men. Culture may need rehabilitating because it fails to recognize that these men are not dominating and that such violence against them is not male privilege and neither is it a privileging of masculinity. Many are blind to this fact, and some even make the bizarre claim that the suffering of men somehow represents a devaluation of women.

Yes, in our sick culture of male submission, the suffering of men is caused by a society that doesn’t value women. In fact, it is claimed, that violence against men is actually the oppression of women. That’s what makes sense in our sick culture because the obvious truth is “assholery.” If a man learns to say that men suffer violence because men are systematically devalued in our culture—that man speaks pure misogynistic truth.

Male suffering is caused by the devaluation of women

Only in a profoundly sick culture would violence against men be interpreted primarily as the devaluation of women, rather than the obvious–the devaluation and oppression of men. Only in a profoundly sick culture would violence against men be seen as the overvaluing and privileging of men and masculinity.

Fuck that and all you folks who fail to recognize that the male body is the most culturally acceptable locus of violence. Violence against one man is a “degradation, terror, and limitation to all” men. Most men and boys limit their behavior because of the existence of potential violence against them. Most men and boys box their emotions away to create a front of stolidity, an avoidance of the crushing reality that our culture demands their submission, obedience, oppression, and acquiescence to a culture that doesn’t value them, considers them cannon-fodder, expendable capital, human resources, objects-of-utility.

My dad is 76 years old. I had the “freedom” of watching him break into tears a few weeks ago as he recounted some of the horrors that he saw while in the Army. This is a man who never shed a tear or spoke a word about his suffering and the suffering of his Army buddies until he was no longer strong enough to “be a man.” At 76, he’s no longer strong enough to keep that shit boxed in. It was an emotional prison for him. There is nothing heroic about it. PTSDsurvivor’s guilt, and being used as human cannon-fodder is not and should not be celebrated as awesome heroics of willpower. It’s a prison for men. It isn’t male privilege and it isn’t male domination. Such things are male submission. Such things are what my father did and experienced in submission to a culture that demanded it of him. Such things are what men do in submission to a culture that doesn’t value them.

This is our culture. This is violence against men. It is prevalent, normalized, excused, celebrated, glamorized, and glorified. If you speak out against it, you will be subjected to further ridicule, shame, aggression, and oppression by the masculinity and language police. You will be accused of misappropriating words that are reserved for women because there is no such thing as violence against men. It’s not a real thing. It’s just plain old violence. Laugh if you want. It’s funny how that works–how tragedy becomes comedy, how the best jokes are lamentations, how the suffering of men makes for the best punchlines.

VAM Don't Real II (Large) (2)

Editor’s note: feature image by Jessica Patterson

About Jason Gregory

These are the words of a retired gigolo, small business owner, and philosopher who mashes together some Nietzsche, Kant, Sartre, pragmatism, and rum. Holler, bitches!

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  • Frederick Nerkinstien

    Its the same in family court.

    If a man is concerned about his own children after not being able to see them, at all, for a few months or more, after he may have fed the children for the last decade, took them to school and practice, drew pictures with them every night and has hobbies with, he’s considered a creep. Why does he want to know so much about children?

    If he’s smart, or thinks he’s being smart, and backs off a bit, he becomes an unconcerned parent and a deadbeat.

    If he, rightly about now, gets angry with this no-win-possible-for-the-man system, he’s immediately labeled dangerous.

    Soon after this he gives up, resigns to maybe seeing the kids when they’re older, usually on the advice of the “the systems” advocates, he then becomes a typical sperm donor.

    The system gives men these three options: First up you may choose to have violence, if you don’t like that you can always choose the second option, violence. If you’re fussy, and want the third option, you may have violence as well.

    • captive

      The entire male experience is defined by differing levels of violence against the male, whether it is through neglect or through direct physical violence. We still charge animal abusers for starving their animals, we have a crime called a Holodomor. The feminist “autocracy” in league with the classic traditionalist “patriarchy” is dependent completely on the devaluing of the male as individual and the reduction of him to object and the dissemination of propaganda which regards him as such.

      Feminists complain that women are objects because they are revered as people being worthy of sexual attraction. Even most males don’t have this to fall back on. The objectification of men is his disposable nature – a consumerist object to be used and thrown out when it is no longer conveniently useful whether that is to the economic system in place or to the home and family life.

      The feminist theory of female objectification falls short of “object” because all objects are disposable and females are seldom regarded as such by western culture. Even the Bible proscribes strict rules regarding the treatment of widows, a woman presumably both past her fertility, unable to engage in major labor, and unlikely to marry. There is no such equivalent proscription for males in western scripture because they have always been considered disposable objects. Feminists have appropriated this tendency in society to their advantage, drastically increasing the devaluation of the male to possibly systemically criminal levels.

      Nowhere is the inherent view in females of male disposability more apparent as in the willful ordering of lynchings in the American South for minor violations of social order – a much more prominent example than, perhaps, Adria Richards – but still a stark reminder of the inextricable view of male disposability from the bigotry of female thought.

  • http://www.deanesmay.com Dean Esmay

    Although I didn’t comment on Part I of this article, I have to say, some years ago I began refusing to watch either Professional Boxing or American-style Football for this very reason. I liked Mixed Martial Arts when it began back in the Joyce Gracie days because Joyce was so impressive about taking out his opponents while barely leaving a scratch or a bruise, and I found that amazing to watch. Now when I watch I see it’s basically people seriously damaging each other for money and status, and I’m revolted. American Football is an extraordinarily violent game, and I don’t care if people say “they’re doing it voluntarily.” Uhm, sure, and so what? That makes it OK? Many gladiators who stepped into the ancient Roman coliseums to slaughter each other were doing it voluntarily for prizes and status–so what? You especially get these kids from extremely economically marginal communities whose apparent only way out is on a football scholarship where they get “an education” in exchange for giving themselves permanent injuries–brain damage, knee injuries, back injuries, shoulder injuries, and, I cannot emphasize this enough, brain damage, much of it permanent. And we cheer and yell and wildly applaud them for all this, without thinking “Is there anything not so damaging this kid could have done with his life?”

    I don’t buy the “it’s voluntary so it’s OK” argument at all. I’m not going to tell people they can’t do this, but I’m not going to participate.

    Ditto boxing, by which I mean professional boxing with 15 rounds and no headgear. I have far, far less objection to the Olympic and collegiate boxing sport, which typically (last I checked) goes only 3 rounds and involves more protective gear. But professional boxing? I’m sorry, you’re paying to watch young men destroy their bodies, and that’s all you’re doing. You are normalizing a culture of violence against young men.

    To be clear, I don’t object to sport. “Football” as understood by most of the world outside of the US and Canada (what we call soccer) is not a violent sport; injuries occur but watching the players hurt each other is not the central focus of the game. Basketball, baseball, etc. hell even competitive dancing or skating, these are all athletic events that occasionally involve injury but none are based around hurting people as a central focus.

    Of course it’s not just in sports, it’s in video games, movies, TV shows: violence against men is culturally normative.

    Now once again I do not propose banning these things, or imposing censorship on these things, but I do think being more aware what we’re really doing with this shit is a good thing. And I thank you, Jason, for bringing them up.

  • Jay Boppana

    Excellent article. I notice how you also notice the glorification of violence against males in our culture in a similar way to the brilliant Warren Farrell book “The Myth of Male Power”. More than 20 years since that was published, and all we have seen is our society become increasingly indifferent towards male happiness.

  • toothless

    One thing about sport tho i find is used often as example of male disposability.
    I will use hockey for example, each game there is a surgery room with the hospital best surgeon reserved in case of injuries.The best medial staff with at least 2 very good doctor available on the side of the ice to intervene immediately. An ambulance placed right at the door of the player entrance ready to leave at a moment notice to the previously stated ready to operate upon arrival and the best treatment our modern medicine has to offer to put them back good as new , some of it not even easily available to the public.,not the say the millions of dollar they are paid as well..

    Then lets compare it to a construction worker that get his arm crushed by a piece of heavy machinery , good chance it will take at least 20 min for the paramedic to show up. Once at the hospital he will then be put trough triage and will be seen by an actual doctor if he is in bad enough shape that they cant have him wait. Will have to wait for a surgeon to be available to operate him if surgery is needed.

    look at both case who is the most disposable?
    here is the list of all hockey player who died due to their injuries since 1930
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_ice_hockey_players_who_died_during_their_playing_career
    compare that to the list of construction worker who died only this year.
    I am not saying sport is not violent but that compared to places where men actually die on a daily basis just to make end meet sport is not a good example of male disposability.

    • J Galt

      Really?…..I’ve worked on lots of job sites where safety is all but ignored. Any time I’ve pointed it out I’ve been told I’m not a “team” player. So why the reference to “team” when the real issue is profit at the expense of workers. Fuck team profit I’m playing on team survival.

      I think sports stands as an excellent example of the indoctrination process into violence and self harm. It’s all about the team. Team profit; profit for them and not for you.

    • Bombay

      So a man is more likely to die/be seriously injured on many jobs. Good observation.

    • Mr. J

      .
      I’ll never forget about the 3 guys killed about 20 years ago in Milwaukee when the construction company made them go up in the crane basket in heavy winds when regulations and all common sense were against it…They went up for fear of being “fired”…….Now they’re dead…..It was in constructing that stupid sports stadium.
      .

      • billiekent82

        “it is claimed, that violence against men is actually the oppression of women.”

        As counter-intuitive as that claim is, I think it has some validity as illustrated by the Italian Castrati. Church choirs needed singers that could hit high music notes. Women naturally have higher voices than men but the church was dead set against allowing those sinful daughters of Eve to sing for the glory of God. Their solution? To mutilate young boys. These Castrati were highly valued for their musical abilities but that doesn’t make the violence performed on their bodies OK.
        The problem is that men are under-valued and over-valued at the same time coming from different angles. That is to say, men’s contributions to society are over-valued to the point where the man making the contribution is overshadowed and rendered insignificant. Women, on the other hand have been traditionally valued just for existing, as vessels of creation and desire. When men have been admonished to look after us, it is because we were perceived as unable to do so for ourselves. In the past, our contributions have been undervalued and looked down on. Just look at a bio of oh say, Florence Nightingale and read about the trouble she was given for doing a job that frankly no one else wanted to do, aka, taking care of men who had been both glorified by and allowed to be mutilated by their society.
        The good feminism has actually done was to push for women’s contributions to be valued. Where feminism has failed is to address where we are over-valued which is also a part of patriarchy. And much like Bob Dylan addressed the other side of racism in “Only a Pawn in their Game” it is time for feminism to address the other side of patriarchy, the part that discourages a man from thinking clearly about “the shape that he’s in” as he continues to let society brutalize him in the name of his own supposed superiority. But this means an honest stepping down from the pedestal for women. It means pushing for a society in which we are valued and protected no less than men. It means pushing for a society in which people are valued first as human beings no matter who or what they are and further respect is added based on their contributions.
        Basically, no one should be put on a pedestal just for existing and no one should have their entire worth be based on what they can do.

  • Duke

    I hypothesize the reason the white gender-feminist community don’t like sports, Is because sports teams and players are taking the spotlight away from being on gender-feminism…… “All the time”. There are really some simple jealousy issues at play.

    • Mr. J

      .
      Birds-of-a-feather…….Mostly elitists who aspire to money and care about little but getting more of it for themselves, just like most politicians.
      .
      .

  • Duke

    Like Kurt Voneguts “Harrison bergeron”, the white gender-feminist community are not going to be happy until all healthy “Able bodies” are weighted down with weights.

  • roeboat72

    In many ways American football had only gotten worse in this aspect. In the early days of football the game was slower and more emphasis was in wrapping tackles. Now everything is faster and focused on the big hit.
    If you get a big hit and knock the other player out you keep him from helping his team win, and big hits look great on tv so you will become famous too. But with the big hit comes worse injuries and in some cases even full on paralysis. Yet few people call for less big hits, most of the average American Football fans love them.

    • Mr. J

      .
      In other words, more *intelligence* was involved in the game in years past…Now, it’s just gotten dumb, just like everything else.
      .
      .

  • http://blog.StudioBrule.com Steve Brulé

    Check this out. Olympic Hockey, a sport with a significant risk of injury, probably more so for the men since they are faster, stronger, face harder hits and faster pucks. The Olympic rules mandate certain safety equipment.

    Women MUST wear a full face guard
    Men are only required to wear a partial eye guard.

    “Male players born after 31 December 1974 must wear, at the very least, a visor that meets approved international standards. All women players must wear full face masks.”

    http://www.olympic.org/ice-hockey-equipment-and-history

    Obviously society is more concerned that women might be injured. Male injury is secondary

  • sondjata

    Unfortunately this article is part and parcel of the “masculinity police” in it’s blanket condemnation of certain organized sports. If one does not like boxing, MMA or full contact American football, for whatever reason, then simply say so and move the fuck on.

    Boxing is an organized sport which involves not even 1% of 1% of 1% of the male population. About the only problem with boxing, long term is that the participants may not know of the long term consequences to being hit repeatedly in various parts of the body including the head. Even if they did, it would still be voluntary and not a single one of us here has the right to pass judgement on what those “men” choose to do with their bodies.

    Similarly with football. Football is played by less than 1% of 1% of 1% of the American male population (including territories). If those men choose to run around a 100 yard field where other men try to knock them down, more power to them. If there are women who are turned on by that and desire to have babies with them because they do so, more power to them as well. As with boxing, the only problem is whether those men are fully cognizant of the potential long term health risks with their given occupation. But it is their decision to make and their business and none of us here have a right to condemn their free choices as men.

    Also MMA is done by less than 1% of 1% of 1% of the male population (and an even lesser number of females). How anyone can honestly spend their time typing up a piece that compares the free will choices of those men to engage in fighting (with rules that prohibit some very deadly moves) to wars is a ridiculous waste of time an energy

    To compare these sporting events to modern politically motivated warfare is beyond stupid. The wars prior to the 80’s were fought by men who were drafted and had no choices. Show up and fight or be imprisoned. Todays US military is a volunteer military. For whatever reason men and women volunteer to be fodder for political elites and corporations.

    The discussions of sport here is no different from the man shaming and claims of so called “hyper-masculinity” that I strongly objected to when feminists had my ear. I don’t care to see it here. Not at all. What a man chooses to do with his body is his business and his alone. So long as I am not forced to participate I have nothing to say

    All this sports as locus of male violence sounds very very much like when feminists complain about men acting in ways they don’t approve of. If only those men woudn’t beat on each other…….

    • Bombay

      I think you missed the point. What percent of the population watches? What percent of the males grow up to accept violence upon them due to watching these activities.

    • http://funkymunkyluvn.wordpress.com/ Jason Gregory

      “All this sports as locus of male violence…” –sondjata

      If I were you, I’d try reading it again, try reading to comprehend it. The male body is the most culturally acceptable locus of violence, not “sports.” Also, when you rant about CONSENT (something that I address in the article) you further make my points for me. Read the article for comprehension and then tell me all about how you think that I am the one policing masculinity.

      I swear. Who knew that speaking out about violence against men would be so controversial? Even to mra types? It’s like a second bitter “red-pill” that folks don’t wanna take. I expected resistance from feminists, like the ones on Twitter and documented in the article, but it’s amazing to me how far men go to defend their own enslavement to violence–even calling it freedom of choice, freedom to consent to subject their bodies and the bodies of other men to violence. It’s an Orwellian bizarre.

  • tallwheel

    In at least the audio book version of The Myth of Male Power, Warren Farrell refers to American football as “smashface”.

  • Fredrik

    I have mixed feelings. Growing up out in the country, I rode around in the hills on my bicycle, pushing the limits of what I could jump until I fell. I got very good at tucking and rolling, since the alternative was to not have fun.

    I love my body’s fast reflexes. I love its durability. All the crazy stuff I did, never broke a single bone. I love how strong I am for my size — being more on the compact and agile end — frequently surprising people by lifting and moving things with ease, when I don’t look like I could.

    In short, I love being a man. At the same time, I finally caved and started wearing a bike helmet in my thirties, after reading stuff by Dr. Amen with brain science and nuclear imaging. I can either deny physics, or admit that I’m not actually invulnerable, even though I feel that way.

    I resent how violence against men is seen as acceptable, not even rating an eyeblink. At the same time, I despise how wussy our culture has become, clothing kids in metaphorical bubble wrap, eliminating entire categories of playground equipment just because some clumsy doofus might hurt themselves.

    So, I’m torn. I’ll grant everything else, but when it comes to sports, the most I can say is that I’ll think about it.

    • http://funkymunkyluvn.wordpress.com/ Jason Gregory

      I’m with you, Fredrik. I love sports. I grew up mowing lawns all summer, headphones on, listening to Harry Caray announce the Chicago Cubs ball games. I loved my little “mongoose” pit-bike and doing tricks. I cracked my skull more than once due to broken chains and other accidents.

      Bubble-wrapping boys/children isn’t something that I’m about. Accidents are always going to happen, but accidents are a different form of harm. They are a different form of violence. You get ejected from baseball for being violent. A pitcher gets ejected from a game for throwing a wild pitch and hitting a batter. However, you get glory in football and in the UFC for being violent. You get glory for putting a big hit on a quarterback and knocking him unconscious. You get glory in the UFC for making a guy see stars by cracking his skull with a leg kick.

      Somehow, violence has become confused for “sport” over the past few decades. I think it’s a sickness and part of the sickness is rooted in the fact that our culture devalues men. In fact, men often don’t value themselves or other men.

      • Fredrik

        I need to go to bed, so I’m not at my most coherent (to say the least). I just have this inchoate thought that maybe a consensus could coalesce around permanent problems like brain injuries. Like how I finally started wearing a bike helmet. But otherwise, if someone wants to get his kicks from kicking and getting kicked, then it isn’t so different from falling off a bike with a good tuck and roll.

  • sondjata

    My reading comprehension works quite fine thank you very much. Your position is contradictory and totally misunderstands sport. Sadly to many folks here suffer from the same delusions. For example:

    “Bubble-wrapping boys/children isn’t something that I’m about. Accidents are always going to happen, but accidents are a different form of harm. They are a different form of violence. You get ejected from baseball for being violent. A pitcher gets ejected from a game for throwing a wild pitch and hitting a batter. However, you get glory in football and in the UFC for being violent. You get glory for putting a big hit on a quarterback and knocking him unconscious. You get glory in the UFC for making a guy see stars by cracking his skull with a leg kick.”

    See here’s the problem with this paragraph: In baseball contact is NOT a part of the sport (possibly excepting dives to the bases). Therefore since fighting is not a part of the definition of baseball, it is a contradiction to the rules. Therefore you get ejected.

    See. Not that hard.

    Football (US and UK) is defined in part by “aggressive” contact. THAT is a part of the game therefore of course you don’t get tossed out for doing what you are SUPPOSED to do. But even within these sports certain types of contact are against the rules. For example you may not brutally sack a quarterback because he is not really a “combatant”.
    You also may not hit a player after a play is done.

    Of course for people like yourself the rules against what they consider excessive violence don’t matter. You just don’t like it. Well that’s your business.

    In UFC once again, the POINT is a fight. See you don’t like fights and aggressive contact. That’s your right and your business but you don’t get to hang your hangups on other people’s choices. Seriously, it’s not your place at all. This is what you fail to understand and it puts you directly in the camp with the feminists. You’re just too blinded by your own belief to see it.

    Oh and to the person who said the silly thing about sports being more violent in the past few decades, might want to go over the history of martial arts in China. You might want to consider that Lacross was the invention of Native Americans for the specific purpose of allowing young men a means of dealing with their aggressions and conflicts in such a way that did not lead to death. West Africans have a long tradition of wrestling competitions for similar means.

    But yeah.let me wrap up so the downvoting can continue. Cause you know we mens are agency free and when we participate in these “violent” sports we are just puppets of the matriarchy. Clearly if we knew better we’d do more MRA approved activities like bike riding.

    *eye roll*