Mixed martial artists fighting - punching

The male body and the masculinity police

The most culturally acceptable locus of violence is the male body. The policing of masculinity assures this fact. Call this policing and violence whatever you want. Call these things The Patriarchy™ if you want, but neither of these things are male privilege and neither of these things are male domination. I prefer to call these things the lived-experiences of men.

I generally dislike “The Good Men Project” because most of their articles are milquetoast and because they try to understand the lived-experiences of men through the lens of feminism(s). This is problematic because ALL feminism(s) assume The Patriarchy™ (so far as I can tell) and proceed from that problematic assumption to make what are often wrong-headed assumptions about masculinity and men. However, I will give credit where it is due. Beth Leyba wrote this article the other day, “I Hate the Broncos: Daring to Question Whether Football is Worth It.”

In her “daring” article, Leyba gets a few things right. She writes. “Football is a brutal sport that sometimes ends up destroying the lives of those who play it.” She says that she was never a fan of football, but that her apathy about this sort of violence against men “morphed into moral opposition” because of the costliness of the sport.

She notes the physical damage done to men via multiple concussions and relates this to her own experiences with an injury that she suffered on a swing-set. She writes about football being a sport that “literally chews people up and spits them out.” I agree with her, but swing-sets, unlike football, don’t generally chew people up and spit them out. Note how it takes a remotely similar and personal experience of injury before she is willing to toss out her apathy regarding this sort of violence against men. I really want to give her the benefit of the doubt and be kind here because we have similar conclusions about violence against men; though we arrive at these conclusions through very different routes. From her feminist lens, a swing-set accident “has helped to crystallize” her feelings about the grotesque amounts of violence against men that exist in our culture.

I’m not sure that she understands the depths of this violence that permeates our culture, considering how it took the traumatic swing-set accident to cause her to shed her apathy, but she can see that our culture celebrates this violence against men. She notes that “football brings people together” for tailgate parties, for thanksgiving tradition, and etc. Hell, if not for this culturally accepted violence against men, most sports bars would probably not exist.

I just finished watching “Super Bowl XLVIII,” where millions of people all across our country and throughout sports bars tuned in to cheer about this violence against men. I’m not going to link to the tweets, but there were assholes celebrating the fact that Richard Sherman (a player for the Seahawks) suffered an ankle injury during the game.

There is also human cock-fighting, better known as the “UFC.” Yeah, sycophants can dress it up as strategy and as a violent form of chess, but it’s still primarily violence against men. It was only a few weeks ago where millions of people tuned in to watch Anderson Silva kick another man so hard that Silva horrifically broke his own leg.

Look at the suffering of this man. Anybody can see that these sports are a form of violence against men. This fact is so obvious…just look at him.

It shouldn’t take a traumatic swing-set injury for a woman (especially a feminist who is supposed to be knowledgeable about gender issues) to acknowledge this fact and sweep aside her “apathy” about this violence. It shouldn’t take one’s own personal experience with a loosely related concussive injury to bring about the empathy needed to understand such blatant suffering of men.

If you can’t see this suffering, or if you’ve only now begun to see it, perhaps you have been blinded to it because your theories about The Patriarchy™ have blinded you to it. Perhaps you have been so busy in-fighting with other feminists and jockeying for status on various feminist hierarchies of oppression that you have simply failed to see the obvious. These men are not dominating. These men are submitting to a culture that glorifies violence against them. These men are submitting to a culture that demands their suffering through the policing of masculinity.

We live in a culture where violence against men is not only culturally permissible, it is celebrated as heroic. Our president and congress perpetuates this norm. President Obama delivered one of the biggest standing ovations at the SOTU address. (You can watch the ovation here.) The ovation was for Cory Remsburg. It was an ovation to celebrate his heroics—being deployed 10 times by our military, having his body mutilated and sacrificed, paralyzed, blinded. The standing ovation was a policing of masculinity such that men-as-cannon-fodder are praised. Our entire congress cheered about the dehumanization of this man. They cheered that he was put through a meat grinder and spit out as a hero “who never quit.”

“Ahhh…but these are adult men who are well-paid to take these risks and subject their bodies to violence,” say fans and apologists of violent sports and the military. I say rubbish. These men were all conditioned via culture to “be a man.” One of the first questions I was asked when I spoke with military recruiters was whether or not I played high-school football. I don’t think this was any sort of unusual question asked by military recruiters. It makes sense that the military would want boys and young men who have a history of having had their personhood mutilated through violent “sport.” Hell, one of the first things done to young men, when entering the military, is the shaving of their heads—to try and strip young men of individual personhood differences—making new recruits a gaggle of “maggots.”

This conditioning (abusing) starts at a young age. Take, for example, the horrific show, “Friday Night Tykes.” It’s all about the policing of masculinity in boys, making them into violent monsters who are willing to harm other boys, robbing boys of their emotional well-being, robbing boys of their personhood, distorting masculinity into this grotesquery of socio-culturally acceptable violent behavior.

This kind of policing of masculinity ensures that the male body becomes the most socio-culturally acceptable locus of violence. This is not male privilege. This is not male domination. This is male submission. These are the lived-experiences of men.

So, when Ms. Leyba and other feminists write about shedding their apathy toward this violence against men, it’s hard for me to take seriously their often made claims about feminism working on men’s issues–how feminism cares about men, and how The Patriarchy™ hurts men too. If Ms. Leyba had actually cared about men, she would never have had apathy about them in the first place.

Ms. Leyba, take off your feminist goggles for a moment and try to understand the lived-experiences of men. You don’t need to be bonked on the head in one of your swing-set accidents to do this. Simply look around. You will see the policing of masculinity. You will see a culture of male submission. You will see the male body as the locus of culturally acceptable violence. That is not male privilege. That is not male domination. Such things are the lived-experiences of men.

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!

Main Website
View All Posts
  • kronk3

    “If Ms. Leyba had actually cared about men, she would never have had apathy about them in the first place”.

    Bravo!
    Truer words were never spoken…

  • James Huff

    one of the first things done to young men, when entering the military, is the shaving of their heads—to try and strip young men of individual personhood differences

    Sorry, you’ve got this all wrong. The reason it became standard practice to shave the hair off of men in the military, and the reason why men are regulated to keep their hair a short length is because of disease and lice.

    Lice do not fare as well in short hair, and when you have a training environment of eighty men in very close proximity (less than a 10 foot square per man of space), you have to be able to control lice right off the bat.
    So…off with the hair.

    And unlike prisons where the population is kept separate most of the day, these guys are rough and tumble in the training and in a variety of environments…everywhere from the classroom to the middle of a range with dirt and trees all over. They have exposure to potentially dangerous pathogens and then immediately interact with instructors, some of them civilians. Bad enough they interact with each other in such confined spaces.

    • Kimski

      From a historical viewpoint, the shortening/shaving of hair was done to prevent the enemy from grabbing hold of your hair and control you during a one-on-one fight, or simply slit your throat.

      Contrary to popular beliefs, the Vikings did not go into war as the semi-wookies we usually see on tv, (and the same goes for the Spartans because the custom is that old), but preferred to keep it really short as a means of selfdefence. During the time of the Roman Empire it was specifically demanded of everyone, from footsoldier to officers, before they were able to enlist.

      Today, where swords are no longer an issue on the battlefield, I concur with Mr.Huff on the conclusion that’s it’s done for sanitary reasons, and it makes perfect sense in a less than 10 foot square per man environment.
      Just my two cents.

      • J Galt

        I guess that explains why they shave women’s heads also! But it doesn’t explain prison bunks and prison dormitories arranged exactly like barracks.

        • James Huff

          Off course women in the military received the pussy pass when it came to hair. But then again, you don’t find them in the types of combat arms fields requiring field duty six months out of the year.

          And there has NEVER been a unit I have been part of where women did not receive special dispensation for the purposes of personal hygiene. I saw women shipped to the garrison regularly from field work for the express purpose of taking care of themselves while us men were left to rot.

          • J Galt

            I’m pullin your chain brother ……if the hygiene issue is negotiable then it would support a process of dehumanization suggested in the article.

            Lets bear in mind that historically men were paid to fight but also had the benefits of capturing war spoils, slaves, etc. to enhance personal wealth for their own families.

            That process is no longer allowed; you are paid and that’s it. To fight for purely ethical or ideological state sanctioned purposes really does require a dehumanizing indoctrination. IMO

      • OneHundredPercentCotton

        That doesn’t seem to apply to Civil War era Soldiers or Calvary Soldiers. Custer was known for his flowing mane.

        • Kimski

          A lot of things changed during the 15th, 16th & 17th century, when it came to popular hairstyles for males, and continued up until the inter-war years, where short hair had a renaissance. That applied to the military too, with the invention of the gun.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hairstyle#Roman_Empire_and_Middle_Ages

          It’s kind of OT, but there you have it.

    • captive

      That may be true and was probably just a mistake of the author in not thinking the reasons for the hair through. His point was the military obliterates identity – which is relatively necessary given the kind of job that needs to be performed. But not every guy could cut it in the military and some of those are the kinds of men who just aren’t prone to surrendering their will to the level required for proper unit cohesion and safety.

      I grew up a loner – avoiding most fights but few bullyish guys. It’s different for us guys who never get assimilated into a pack which I don’t wear as a badge of honor or shame – our personalities can roam a little more freely which can also be both enlightening and detrimental. I remember a woman I was very much in love with telling me one night when I was crying while talking with her (she had spent several hours crying at one point while talking to me, so I, falsely, assumed I was ok to let my emotions out). She told me quite sternly that I ought to “stop crying and be a man.” Fair enough, I knew, I suppose, that men weren’t supposed to cry – but it was the first time I’d ever have anyone try to enforce that on me. I’ll always resent that attempt to shove me into a box, obliterate a portion of my personality from her. Needless to say, I’d make a bad soldier.

      Strangely, this “hyper-masculine” view of male personalities is a moderately recent development. I studied literature for quite a while and the variety of male emotions present in the history of western thought is quite the plethora compared to the box the media seems to aim for – enough to convince me that someone intentionally deprogrammed it and purposely refitted the hyper-masculine male as the only acceptable norm.

      • Allan

        “Strangely, this “hyper-masculine” view of male personalities is a moderately recent development. ”

        It seems this way to me too and it’s this way feminism has created this while saying the opposite. It’s so full of contradiction. The message that men need to express their feelings, but then feminists shame them as “whiners–your problems are nothing compared to the average woman”.

        Or men are so bad and violent, and yet, women so expect every man to keep them safe with the ability to create or repel violence.

        • captive

          One of the most hurtful comments said to me by a woman was a woman who told me to “stop crying and be a man” – especially since I had spent several hours consoling her a week or so earlier.

          Feminism isn’t behind the hyper-masculinity cult – or – not directly. They really don’t like it for the most part depending on who is exuding it (it’s fine in a police officer or prison guard, but not in someone else). There’s always been hyper-masculine men, but they haven’t always been considered the social ideal. In ancient Greek and Roman culture, the dominating and violent man was regarded as the highest ideal, but that largely subsided in Christian culture, which is probably due to the fact that Jesus was very much not that.

          The hyper-masculine cult is partially a direct result of a failure to culture men and boys – an extension of fatherless households. Hitler showed the power of indoctrinating mass cultures of hyper-masculine men, adopting what could often be characterized as “Spartan” methods of education for men. Until Hitler, the hyper-masculine prototype for men had laid dormant for the most part in history. Certainly there were always soldiers, police, prison guards, and other men who were masculine and needed to be so, but in older literature it wasn’t often the rambo/terminator/Robocop/Judge Dredd masculine which is just, really, the prototype of a fascist’s tool (which is why it’s a desirable to indoctrinate). The compliment to that is the criminal hyper-masculine – best elicited by games like Grand Theft Auto and praised in gangster rap and professional “wrestling” – this is really the same prototype as the fascist masculine, but the allegiance is directed towards either strictly individualistic glorification at the expense of anyone else or to group glorification and advancement with a sense of belonging.

          Regardless, both of these are side-effects of lack of fathering which otherwise can help (obviously depending on the father) ensure that a cultured sense of masculine self emerges.

          East of Eden is one of the best pieces of literature that contrasts hyper-masculinity with other forms. There are two brothers and their father quietly dislikes his son who enjoys violence and loves his son that deplores violence. However, he forces one of his sons into the military, and he picks, very intently, the one who deplores violence, believing him the one that is, therefore, qualified to wield it.

          The book is a glaring difference between the generation that produced General Eisenhower and the generation that produced Abu Ghraib.

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

            You make a very interesting connection between the rise of fascism and the “hyper-masculine.” (I’m not sure that I like that phrase–hyper-masculine, but it’ll do here.) Since getting involved in “pro-male” issues, one of the weirdest things I’ve been called is a “Tyler Durden fascist.”

            At first, I laughed about the ridiculous contradiction of anarchy and fascism, but as I watch Joe Rogan and other UFC sycophants, it makes more sense. We have a generation of boys, raised by mothers and with no real father figures to instill masculine virtues. We have a generation of boys who may believe that their father hates them, like from the movie, “The Fight Club.” As such, these boys grow up to be 30 year old boys who embrace that fascistic “hyper-masculine” embodied in guys like Joe Rogan and the stereotypical UFC fighters.

            When we couple poverty, the stagnating middle-class wages, the rise of single mothers, 9/11 terrorism and war, the practically unbridled corporatism and it’s influence on politics, we do have a situation that is loosely analogous to post WWI Germany and the rise of fascism. Scarey.

          • captive

            Jason Gregory>

            Cormac McCarthy summed up the fascist brand of masculinity well:

          • captive

            Like I said, Cormac McCarthy’s example of fascist masculinity is the exact same as criminal masculinity:

    • The Real Peterman

      But everything said above–rough environments, close proximity with other men–applies to Special Forces who don’t have to cut their hair short.

      • James Huff

        While they are in garrison and not training for a very specific mission requiring that they grow their hair to blend into local populations yo will still find the regulations in full force.

        Special forces are subject to regulatory means for the purposes of cutting the hair otherwise.

      • ChadVader

        I’ve worked in the SOF community and what James Huff is saying is correct. Beards are a sign of masculinity in many Muslim cultures. They do not have respect for grown men who do not have them. So SF soldiers, who have to interact with the locals more often than the conventional forces do, have relaxed grooming standards. It is the result of a cost-benefit analysis. Even so, there are often many conventional forces who are critical of the decision.

        Another factor to consider is that basic trainees come from all sorts of backgrounds. They may not have had acceptable hygiene standards at home. Of course, the drill sergeants will ensure they adopt better hygiene practices, but there it does take a little time and who wants to catch lice in the mean time.

        Finally there is the chemical warfare factor. Ever since World War One we’ve been prepared for this possibility. Long flowing locks and beards get in the way when putting on a protective mask and could prevent a proper seal, which could lead to death. So the military standard is short hair, no beards, and thin neat mustaches (legal but often discouraged) all around.

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

      I’m glad you cleared up the lice issue. Shaving your head because of lice…that’s not dehumanizing at all.

    • MGTOW-man

      You are right about the lice/hair rule. Women do not get lice, do they?

      But let’s assume that this practice DONE ONLY TO MALES (MANDATED) is also being done to strip males of their personal individuality. Why then is this not done to women. They are equal, aren’t they? Just more special preferential treatment for creatures who are supposed to not need any because they are already equal. Now, they wouldn’t be lying or over-feeling, would they?

      Skewed perspectives on reality? Feelings induced?

      Oblivious! What more can I say? Except that their helper cowards-customers are just as oblivious too.

  • captive

    Nice post.

  • comslave

    I think that if women were raised the same way, with confrontation against what society throws at them, you’d end up with something like a Japanese porn flick. Men have to be toughened up to face the violence that nature throws at the human species. Women have to be toughened up to face the challenge of being a reproductive vessel. After all, it takes a “real woman” to get pregnant off a man (not a lab dish) and pop out a kid.

    But it seems we do the opposite. We’re teaching young women to freak out if someone even so much as looks at them. We teach them to worship careers and fear marriage and men.

    Now, quite frankly, I think there are waaay too many humans on the planet, so the fact that we’re disabling out reproductive vessels is fine with me. But I’m amused by the anti-parallel of the situation. Men accepting violence=good. Women accepting sex=bad.

    • captive

      There are way too many people in some places… in other places – we have to purposely massively import people to meet our labor (both skilled and menial) demands.

      I don’t think human rights violations (in the sense of the apartheidic treatment of males) are justified by their desired end of reducing population. The discussion about breeding rates is really something that can’t safely be discussed anywhere. Suffice to say, white people, Jews, and Japanese (the Chinese as well, but that’s by edict) aren’t having many children at this point in history… It is, by no means, a universal phenomenon.

    • The Real Peterman

      “Women have to be toughened up to face the challenge of being a reproductive vessel.”

      But there’s a wide variety of pain-relieving techniques available to pregnant women. A soldier or boxer has to keep his wits about them; a woman giving birth doesn’t. (That’s why I laugh when I hear a feminist say that men couldn’t handle giving birth. Well, neither can women!)

      • comslave

        You’re forgetting the emotional distress that comes from not being able to wear normal sized clothing for a few months. Not to mention the distress of having another life use your body for 9 months. And that other life could be *gasp* a male!

    • Kukla

      “Women have to be toughened up to face the challenge of being a reproductive vessel.”

      Huh? They don’t get ‘toughened up’ for child birth, they just go through it when they’re ready (hopefully ready). “Reproductive vessel”? Really? That’s idiotic, but I’m sure many feminists will applaud you for this one.

      “You’re forgetting the emotional distress that comes from not being able to wear normal sized clothing for a few months.”

      Are you kidding? Toughened up for ‘emotional distress’ of not being able to wear normal sized clothing? That’s just dumb, and it’s silly since I’ve seen plenty of pregnant women who were able wear clothing that was pretty normal sized. You sound like a whining feminist here. Most women likely don’t feel too distressed about clothing, I would assume that’s the last thing they’re worried about at that point.

      “Not to mention the distress of having another life use your body for 9 months.”

      They were made for that though, so I don’t think it would be as distressful as you imagine (or at least not in the same way). Also, there’s plenty of things in the modern world to make that much easier.

      They don’t get “toughened up” for either of those things. They don’t need to.

      • Thanda

        I”ll have to disagree Kukla.

        My wife was recently pregnant and there is a lot of pain, stress and discomfort for a woman throughout the pregnancy (not just at the birth). And yes they feel terrible about the weight gain. Is gaining weight such a bad thing? You may not think so and I don’t think but the fact is they do think so. So it hurts them to see their bodies changing the way it does. The fact that so many women fear the idea of getting pregnant (even when they love the idea of having children) shows that women need to be mentally and emotionally (nature prepares them physically) to go through a pregnancy. A lack of that preparation often leads to women afterwards proclaiming that they will never have another baby.

  • claymore

    I have a feeling that these ‘lived experiences of men’ aren’t nearly as bad for the men living them compared to how Mr. Gregory makes it sound. Minus Cory Remsburg of course, whom he quickly made sure to insult. I also have a feeling that the writer hasn’t really been engaged in many sports, otherwise he might have a different opinion on why people watch, and why society accepts sport, even violent ones like football, rugby, hockey, or MMA. The idea that playing and watching certain sports is just another form of ‘culturally acceptable violence’ towards men is completely asinine to me.

    For instance:

    When Anderson Silva breaks his leg, Gregory sees suffering, ‘human cock fighting’, and culturally acceptable violence against men. I on the other hand, see an inspiring man who has worked his ass off his entire life to be the very best at what he does, finally get defeated by a man who has worked just as hard for the same thing. I see perseverance, what a sycophant I am.

    Last year, during the NHL playoffs, Greg Campbell of the Boston Bruins finished out an entire shift after breaking his leg, even willing to block another shot in order to keep his team in the game. Where Gregory sees ‘policing of masculinity’, I see the indomitability of human willpower and a mans drive to continue even though it would be completely reasonable to quit. Not so much of it is suffering, all of it is beautiful examples of the virtues that all people should strive to uphold.

    Most of all though, Cory Remsburg is not, nor has he ever been cannon fodder. Cory Remsburg is a highly intelligent man who volunteered to do a necessary duty that you most likely didn’t. Cory Remsburg displays by example all of the virtues I talked about above and more, in a much more real way. Cory Remsburg is not getting a standing ovation because we are policing his or each others masculinity, but because he deserves one for being an inspiring man. He got a standing ovation because he is a hero.

    The military does not dehumanize people, and I should elaborate further through my own experience. However the fact that Gregory linked us to a fictional movie in order to prove his point is telling in his knowledge of the subject matter.

    There are many things that point towards a culture of accepted violence towards men. Fortunately for all of us, the military, and sport, aren’t any of them.

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

      There is nothing wrong with sport and competition and camaraderie. It’s called baseball. :-)

      Also, the rise in popularity of these violent sports coincides with the stagnating wages of the middle-class. When we had a booming middle-class (like in the 1950s), baseball was our sport. There is no violence in baseball, aside from the occasional bean-ball (or fielding collision) and ensuing bench-clearing brawl, but that’s not “baseball.” That is an aberration. A brawl isn’t written into the rules of the game as permissible behavior. In fact, you get ejected from the game for being violent.

      Violent sport has been a way out for the poor kid who is talented athletic-wise. Look at all the “great” boxing champs. They came from poverty and displayed that “indomitability of human willpower,” as you call it…and that is a heroic virtue that I support, but I don’t support the mutilated version of heroism whereby being a hero means being violent or being subjected to violence. If these champs didn’t grow up dirt poor, I seriously doubt they’d have spent their lives training themselves to be good at harming other men in the ring. Likewise with many of our soldiers, the recruiter’s wet-dream is a poor, but athletically talented kid who has no other real options out of poverty.

      I understand that a lot of you guys may be sensitive about the military and these sports. It’s OK. I’m writing this to challenge you guys to rethink your ideas about masculinity (and “freedom”) Too often what passes for freedom is an impoverished idea of it. It’s not “freedom” to be so poor that your only real option is “volunteering” for the military or playing football. Sorry…but if you wanna go to college, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice your body on the altar of violence. That’s not freedom…and it’s a distorted version of masculinity.

      My dad is 76. 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 buddies until he was no longer strong enough to “be a man.” At 76, he’s not strong enough to keep that shit boxed in anymore. It was an emotional prison for him. There is nothing heroic about it. So fuck off with distorted masculinity. PTSD, survivor’s guilt, and being used as human cannon-fodder is not awesome heroics of willpower. It’s a prison for men. It isn’t male privilege and it isn’t male domination.

      Rethink what you think “freedom” means. I think you have an impoverished notion of it. That’s why you defend such violence against men.

      • claymore

        I would challenge your assumptions about the income of people engaging in violent sports as well as the military. However I will also submit to you that most of the great athletes in boxing come from poor backgrounds.

        The UFC has many people from poor backgrounds, but not nearly as many as boxing, and many of the current champions come from middle class backgrounds.

        Hockey for instance, has been exceptionally violent from the late 1800’s all the way to present time. In fact, people died from stick swinging incidents early on. It has also been played by people from extremely varying income levels from the beginning to now. It is actually harder for poorer people to get into playing hockey these days due to equipment and league costs. Fighting is an accepted part of the game because it serves a genuine purpose, however there is a slowly growing resistance to it these days.

        While it is true that many people join the military in order to get a free education or a secure job, I think you will find quite a lot more, or at least as many people join for completely different reasons. If we are using our own stories as examples, I myself come from a middle to upper middle class family and have served a combat tour of duty in Afghanistan as an enlisted soldier in the infantry. (Disclaimer: I am Canadian)

        While the story about your dad is very sad and unfortunately not unique, I never said that PTSD is heroic or awesome. What I did say, or mean, is that a person like Cory Remsburg should be praised for his dedication and constant push to improve himself in the face of great adversity. Not derided as ‘cannon-fodder’, which is an extremely derogatory term especially to a soldier. His job is a necessary one unfortunately, and I think that the standing ovation he got, – going to the point of your article – had nothing to do with forcing anyone to man up, praising violence, or policing masculinity.

        I agree that we have a lot of problems with the way masculinity is percieved in our society, I just don’t agree that sport is the cause of them. Sports are a very positive outlet for people of all ages and both genders, even the violent ones. As for the military, there are a lot of issues with men being stigmatized due to PTSD, however awareness around that is changing, and the situation will improve.

        • latebloomer

          I think Remsburg’s story is especially sad because of his permanent disfigurement. He sacrificed his life and probably his happiness. We claim that we praise the type of sacrifice he made in this regard, but it simply isn’t true. It’s all just for show.

          I sincerely doubt that this man will ever be accepted by society, by the people he interacts with on a daily basis after his disfigurement, and that he will ever find happiness with a significant other who can see past it to the true value of the sacrifices he’s made. Like many other men who made this type of sacrifice, he will likely die without anyone ever experiencing romantic love again. It’s just not in the nature of society to truly care, once he’s left the safety and security of people like you, who have lived the same life.

    • B.R. Merrick

      The idea that playing and watching certain sports is just another form of ‘culturally acceptable violence’ towards men is completely asinine to me.

      Not to me. And not because of the bullies at school, or because I have no interest in watching.

      I did, however, have a deep and abiding interest in television growing up, and I can see the cultural transformation. When I was a kid, we all knew who Muhammad Ali was. Boxing was considered a gentlemen’s sport. Ali was credited (or rather blamed) for introducing trash talking and braggadocio into the sporting world. I don’t know if he alone was responsible, but continuing to watch television over the ensuing decades, I saw a devolution of the culture.

      Ultimate Fighting looks to me like a far more violent and boastful form of boxing, which itself devolved when Mike Tyson bit off another man’s ear. It is now routine to hear of professional athletes who are injecting steroids in order to compete. What Ali allegedly started is now routine, and increasingly meaningless.

      I can honestly say that if I did watch sports, I would be a football watcher. That being said, I saw Steve Young at BYU once shortly after he had retired, and as rich and handsome as he is, the look on his face was as if he was in shock from being hit by a bus. It’s murder on a man’s body. It’s also a ton of money, fame, and praise.

      One of the hardest things to do when confronting society’s misperceptions of masculinity is to talk about men in the military, and Jason, in my view, is to be commended for making the attempt. The military does not serve any purpose that benefits society, except prop up their expectations of the modern state and the misperceptions of the modern man. It is unfair to military men to continue to prop up the culture’s lies about that organization, even if they hate a wimpy, never-served fag telling them so. It is inexcusable in the Age of the Internet to not be informed about whom the military is actually serving. Any man, military or non, who claims that the military does not degrade men does not understand cultural misandry:

      1. Men are utilitarian.
      2. Men are disposable.

      If you don’t believe me, there’s always Arlington Cemetary, made perpetually “beautiful” by the state that wants it there to show men what is expected of them. The world will go around and around and around spitting out military boys until men everywhere realize that we are all being had by a sick, degenerative, and death-oriented system of coercion. It doesn’t surprise me that as the empire degenerates, so do professional sports, and so does its military, with more than 1 million people dead in a war that will apparently never end.

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

        Awesome comment!

      • http://sportsdroppingsusa.blogspot.com Ty Henry

        “It is now routine to hear of professional athletes who are injecting steroids in order to compete.”

        Has always been that way.

        The problem with these linear devolution of culture arguments is not that, ipso facto, they cannot be correct. It’s just that the general watershed moment pointed to is usually empirically false in what it proves. As to steroids, Gentlemen, I give you Keith Olbermann. . .

        http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/newsstand/discussion/keith_olbermann_ken_gurnick_is_worlds_worst_person_in_sports

        Regardless of what you think of his politics, Keith Olbermann’s knowledge of baseball history is beyond reproach; he’s a savant..

        It’s also worth noting that baseball is the sport in which cheating is MOST endemic. See amphetamines, spitballs, Black Sox scandal, corked bats, and racial exclusion.

        As for Ali’s boastfulness, B.R., you’re not incorrect to hang that on him(although it’s dubious that he brought “boastfulness” to sport). But you’ll also have to credit him with bringing political activism and civil disobedience to it as well, especially when he chose to go to jail than to kill other “poor people” in SE Asia.

        I’d say that’s a net advancement of the culture, would you not?

        MMA? Elite fighter Demian Maia once said his goal is to “submit my opponent without hurting him.” His specialty is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, a martial art which focuses on placing opponents in holds from which they cannot escape, forcing them to “tap out.” Indeed, if you did watch TV, you’d know these men are generally less bombastic than, say, the flamboyant baseball personalities of the 30s

        • B.R. Merrick

          But you’ll also have to credit him with bringing political activism and civil disobedience to it as well, especially when he chose to go to jail than to kill other “poor people” in SE Asia.

          I’d say that’s a net advancement of the culture, would you not?

          Yes, it is. Thank you for pointing out the human side of a fascinating personality. I still say that I have witnessed a devolution of the entire culture, however. Thankfully, we can see remnants of good sportsmanship in various other places, hopefully right now in Sochi.

      • claymore

        I could be inclined to agree with you, however only if nations having military forces was a completely unnecessary practice. Unfortunately, in times past and present, having a military is completely necessary. The other unfortunate part for some, is that men are by and large better suited to do the job of killing other men than most women are. This is biology, not society. We can argue all day over whether current wars are useless or wrong or whatever, but that will take way too long.

        I am not disputing whether men are seen as more disposable than women, that is a fact that I cannot argue. I am only disputing the articles point of view that sports that have elements of violence are a wholly negative influence on men and society as a whole.

        It is important to remember that less than a percent of a percent of men or women who play sports will ever become professional, or ever even be noticed by a large group of people. Most people play sports for self improvement, an outlet, and the thrill of competition. They do so without the idea of fame or money in their minds, they do so because they have a passion for something that they take great enjoyment out of.

        I would argue that the sporting world is starting to treat men as less disposable than in the past.
        NFL players are probably going to get a settlement in a concussion lawsuit reaching around or over a billion dollars (I’m not sure if Steve Young is part of it, but I don’t think so). NHL players have just filed a suit for similar reasons, and on top of that, there have been large rule changes in hockey in order to protect players from head injury and punish those who do blatantly violent acts. The UFC is much more proactive than boxing was in protecting its fighters from long term injury.

        Going back to the military though, the idea that the only purpose that the military serves is to “prop up […] the misperceptions of the modern man” airs of a crack pot conspiracy akin to of 9/11 conspiracy nuts and people who believe there was a second shooter on the grassy knoll.

        Otherwise thank you for making me think for a moment, and while I continue to respectfully disagree, I have enjoyed reading your guys’ replies so far.

        • B.R. Merrick

          Going back to the military though, the idea that the only purpose that the military serves is to “prop up […] the misperceptions of the modern man” airs of a crack pot conspiracy akin to of 9/11 conspiracy nuts and people who believe there was a second shooter on the grassy knoll.

          Millions of Americans believe the government is lying about 9/11, including me. These are professional people in politics, the military, science, engineering, and the arts, also including first responders (mostly men) who were there on the scene. And consigning JFK’s disturbing assassination to the “grassy knoll” canard is also tiresome.

          • http://sportsdroppingsusa.blogspot.com Ty Henry

            I agree with B.R. on this false comparison. A local rabble rouser here in Tucson named Mark Zepezauer once said that the only thing more irrational often than a conspiracy theory, is coincidence theory. No one’s explained to me how 2 planes can take down 3 buildings and plane can hit the Pentagon or fall into a field with no, well, large plane parts (fuselage, tail section) present. But this does have the danger of getting off topic :-)

          • claymore

            Definitely a danger of getting off topic and I did not intend to derail, however because it was mentioned I will leave this here. There is many other articles and websites that are peer reviewed and use solid sources to debunk each conspiracy theory one by one as well. Draw your own conclusions of course and I would love to argue about this somewhere else.

            http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology/military/news/1227842

        • Allan

          “I could be inclined to agree with you, however only if nations having military forces was a completely unnecessary practice. ”

          As usual, I find good points in both claymore and B.R. Merrick (insightful). The disagreement reflects our ambivalence with violence as both “good” and helpful, and “bad” and “morally wrong”. It is both simultaneously.

          Violence is kind of the prerogative of men. The challenge is to come up with better solutions than what we currently have in our culture, the cost of which, overwhelmingly falls on men.

    • http://sportsdroppingsusa.blogspot.com Ty Henry

      I take bit of a different tack than claymore does in taking exception to Jason’s characteraztion of the freak accident in the Silva Weidman fight, and MMA, (that’s the name of the SPORT, Jason. UFC is an organization. Example: Michael Jordan didn’t play the sport of NBA, he played the sport of basketball, IN the NBA).

      I don’t begrudge people their tastes. Heck, I appreciate soccer, but the structure of the seasons is too Byzantine for me. And 6 years ago, I could have given two shits about MMA-it was actually a tad opaque and the first fight I watched start to finish was pretty dull. But saying people watch MMA for a freak leg break (which, if you were actually paying attention, everyone said they had NEVER seen anything like that) like the one Silva suffered is about as ludicrous as saying people watch ski jumping for wipeouts like Vinko Bogataj’s.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKEDD1i4oGk

      The latter is actually more frequent. Or, to bring the demagoguery into focus, that they watch baseball to see guys get hit in the face by pitches.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UYuoSgj1Lt0

      It’s the same intellectual dishonesty the feminists use when they assert torture porn as emblematic of pornography, as opposed to, say, Rodney Moore’s humorous pro-amateur films.

      Moreover, you sound like you’re reading from conservative-style talking points when you trot out the “human cockfighting” line, which was somewhat more accurate when John McCain said it about the sport 20 years ago. Cockfighting has no rules. MMA has plenty, such as “no knees or kicks to the head of a downed opponent” and anyone who loses via KO cannot have any contact for 60 days

      There are arguments to make against martial sports, particularly class ones (some boxers saw it as their only way out) and coercion (some Thai and Cambodian boys are forced into Muay Thai pits for betting $ like, well, cockfighting. It’s become a big scandal over ther). But the UFC has many men with college degrees, like the greatest LHW champ, Chuck Liddell, who graduated from Cal Poly SLO with an accounting degree (kinda like getting an MIT computer science degree), yet decided he wanted to try fight game. Or former middleweight champ Rich “Ace” Franklin, who holds not one, but TWO math degrees.

      Oh, and did I mention that the greatest rivalry in the sport last year was waged by two WOMEN? Ronda Rousey and Miesha Tate. And the rules are no different for them, as Rousey’s signature move can potentially leave her opponents’ arm ligaments and joints shredded. So MMA is not gendered.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0z8hHvh3o2Y

      I’d be inclined to agree that no one under a certain age should play tackle football. I didn’t play until I was 14. At 16, I stopped. Not because of injuries(I had FAR more serious injuries, including concussions, playing basketball of all things). I just didn’t wanna play anymore.

      Dems my 2 cents, Jason. Criticize sports on their merits and pitfalls if you will (Farrell has argued against football for decades), but please do so honestly.

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

        I’m not gonna bother burning down all your straw men and salting your red herring, liar.

      • claymore

        Great posts Ty, it’s nice to get some backup on the sports side of things, and you have elaborated far better than me why people watch and participate in these sports than I did with my coffee addled mind.

        • http://sportsdroppingsusa.blogspot.com Ty Henry

          Thanks, and now that Jason is going Jessica Valenti on me with the name calling, I will respectfully exit and ignore his further responses. I believe in vigorous debate, but not online food fights, and certainly not “MRA on MRA” violence. Later, gents

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

            Oh please. You’re the one who made the accusation of lying.

  • Duke

    Truth is masculine. The true measure of a man is his capacity to stand behind the truth, even in the face of overwhelming resistance.

    • MGTOW-man

      Couldn’t have said it better myself. To take it one more step, most men these days wouldn’t know what real manhood is if it somehow morphed into a giant obelisk and fell on them. They are hung up on women/kids as the ONLY way to become a man.

      But I know several males who have women/kids that are no where near to being a real man—at all. All real men are not fathers/husbands no more than all fathers/husbands are real men.

      A real man will be honest…about women too, no matter what it costs him. Cowards and customers slink around lying to wowen, hoping more women will like them.

      Change men, change the world.

      • Duke

        Guys that have been seriously harmed by the now perverse and unconstitutional America law enforcement actions, and court systems have two general options…fight or flight.
        Most guys take the flight option, and live out the rest of their lives in a slow simmer of shame and depression, and hiding from the world. I looked at that path of flight, and shame, and said im too young to spend the rest of my life in this meat grinder of shame and depression because of my cowardice.
        So one starts to learn if the fight is an option. One starts to study the beast, how it moves, where it eats,where it sleeps,??
        He learns about the “manufactured statistics Alliances”, he learns and carefully studies the flow of the pork bloating dollars that are the lifeblood of the beast.

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

      I have a feeling that I’m going to be facing “overwhelming resistance” about this article. It’s a blatant fucking truth, though. These sports are god-damned violent…and so was Remsburg’s military career. If guys wanna celebrate such violence as heroic willpower and masculinity, then you guys are simply perpetuating the suffering of men and violence done to them.

      • Mr. J

        .
        I agree with it totally…This idea that sports is this great, all-encompassing “outlet of energy” is such bullshit…..Using the mind is a much better outlet and actually accomplishes something…If one needs to “let off steam”, go swimming or ride a mountain bike to exhaustion or something(chop wood, whatever)…This thing of hitting others in “sport” is just totally stupid and so are the “parents” that encourage it.
        .
        .

        • claymore

          You obviously don’t understand the sports that you are bashing then, because it is clear that you have no idea how much actual thinking goes in to hitting another person, or even more so, avoiding being hit, in pretty well all sports that involve it.

          • Mr. J

            .

            .
            Do tell how a “line” in a football game “avoids” hitting/being hit…they do it with wanton abandon.
            .

        • Kukla

          “I agree with it totally…This idea that sports is this great, all-encompassing “outlet of energy” is such bullshit…..Using the mind is a much better outlet and actually accomplishes something…If one needs to “let off steam”, go swimming or ride a mountain bike to exhaustion or something(chop wood, whatever)…This thing of hitting others in “sport” is just totally stupid and so are the “parents” that encourage it.”

          This is the most moronic comment ever.

        • http://sportsdroppingsusa.blogspot.com Ty Henry

          You two are missing the point. It’s the same the feminists miss when they say porn star and self described feminist Nina Hartley can’t be a feminist because she “fucks on film” and by doing so harms women.

          What we should celebrate is MEN choosing to define their own masculinity, and how they appreciate masculine beauty, for themselves. For B.R., it’s in the movements of “Rites Of Spring” or the lithe jumps of Nuryev. For me, it could be in the whimsical lyrics of the Sherman brothers, the long tight spiral of Dan Marino, the uncompromising principle of Paul Elam, and yes, the elegant and sudden brutality of a Vitor Belfort head kick or the irresistable skill of a well placed Urijah Faber guillotine chocke.

          What we object to, Jason, is the shaming shit-sandwich you’re trying to feed us with your false choices

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

            In regards to shaming shit-sandwiches of false choice:

            Dude, if you feel ashamed for some reason, perhaps it’s because you are defending violence against men. Have you read the words you wrote? You are literally saying that the UFC isn’t so bad because they implemented a rule such that you are no longer allowed to kick a dude in the head while he’s lying on the ground. Seriously.

          • http://sportsdroppingsusa.blogspot.com Ty Henry

            I made no such comment that “I’m ashamed.” Might wanna work on that reading comprehension while boning up on your rhetorical skills. Toodles!

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

            Who are you quoting when you write, “I’m ashamed?” You’re not quoting me. Are you simply trying to build another straw man out of lies to defend your position in support of violence against men?

      • Duke

        Boys willfully take the risk for the glory of being high school football star, what is wrong with this???
        Kurt Vonnegut warned us about “loading weights on the strong”, and dumbing down the smart…
        I think some of what were dealing with here in the US, with all these false rape accusations against football players…Is the white gender-feminist community think that these “football stars” are standing in their spotlight.

        • Duke

          There is some kind of “spotlight jealousy” going on here between white gender-feminists and football players.

  • justman

    About the short hair thing for men: Women demanding that men cut their hair short is just another way for the matriarchy to disallow the average man from deriving any intrinsic value from his body (such as sexual value).

    Women do not want the male body to have sexual value (except for the 1 in a million rock stars and the like). Women want that privilege for themselves. Men are only allowed to derive value from the labor they produce.

    In the 1960s, traditionalist women were aghast at men growing long hair. They wanted then crew cut and back in the coal mines and the foxholes of war. And long hair in men pretty much died by the late 1970s, with minor exceptions.

    • http://gynocentrism.com/2013/07/14/about/ Peter Wright (Tawil)

      @justman: “Women do not want the male body to have sexual value (except for the 1 in a million rock stars and the like). Women want that privilege for themselves. Men are only allowed to derive value from the labor they produce.”

      Right on.

      Long hair was mostly the norm around the world until a certain point in history. Hair has always symbolised sexual power – repunzel, medusa, (etc) and having it cut symbolises a loss of power as with the story of Samson.

      The cultural habit of cutting all men’s hair short goes well beyond the military, which tells us that its not only about lice. The practice is an attack on men’s sexual power, as is male circumcision, both of which have lame excuses for why it should be done.

      Before the middle ages men and women, as far as I can tell, equally saw beauty in each other, were equally attracted to one another, and equally desired the other (read Song of Songs). After the middle ages, culture (yes culture!) developed the idea that only women should be seen as beautiful, and that men should be the ones desiring of that beauty. At that time the idea of the sporting tournament as a means for men to impress beautiful women also arose and remains in place to this day – ie. the best sports heroes get the most beautiful women, over and above, say, an executive earning the same amount of money as the sports hero (sports heroes attack other men’s bodies for her, and put their own body on the line, whereas an executive doesn’t).

      Screw circumcision, screw short hair, screw grey suits, and screw the notion of women having exclusive rights to attractiveness and the power it affords over men. Its a rigged game.

      • justman

        Damn straight! Notice how young girls go through their age 10-13 phase where they really dig boy idols who are seen as pretty, with long hair just as girls.

        Then they turn 14-15 and join the pussy cartel that demands that men’s bodies have no value, as I said earlier, except in rare and exceptional cases. At the same time they start demanding that men only measure their value in terms of what they produce and accomplish.

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

        Screw the neck-tie too. It’s like putting a dog collar on a man. :-)

  • adamthomas91

    You make a lot of good points. I’ve been into boxing from a young age, the main reason being, as you mentioned:

    “Violent sport has been a way out for the poor kid who is talented athletic-wise.”

    This was the same reason I tried for the army a few years ago, but even though I beat everybody in physical tests they wouldn’t allow me in due to suffering with depression.

  • Eizieizz

    5 Years ago i started boxing to relieve anger and frustrations. Soon after that i became very interested in the successfull boxers like Joe Frazier, Larry Holmes and Mike Tyson.
    And after a while of researching and idolizing i stumbled upon a quote from Mike Tyson that
    struck a nerve with me: “They think of you only as entertainment”.
    That is very true and there would be nothing wrong with that, except that many men died or got at least some form of brain damage just for entertaining people (and often enough women).

    Thats when i decided i will never support, less compete in any sport that sacrifies health of men for entertainment. Thats for me as reckless and as misandric a notion imagineable.

    So after 5 years of admiration and training, i am ready to quit the sport alltogether.

  • B.R. Merrick

    I used to look at the girls in gym class with envy. They were free to drop the ball, run slowly, swing and miss, and be pleasantly bored for 45 minutes until the bell rang. Wimps like me were reminded about every 30 seconds that we didn’t measure up. Twice weekly. For about six years.

    It doesn’t surprise me at all that she doesn’t get it. Even truly empathetic women with ties to the men’s movement will never totally get it. The least she could do is openly admit that she doesn’t get it, but then that would mean feminism had failed to teach her something. Can’t have that.

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

      She responded in the comment thread to this article on my blog. She still doesn’t really get it. She tried to make it about female cheerleaders. LOL

      • Kimski

        Female cheerleaders can have a really rough time, and are occasionally known to suffer excruciating pains from broken nails and males staring at them. But at least you didn’t get the usual ramblings about catcalling, Saudi Arabia, or Ze Patriarchee, which must be considered an upgrade.

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

          Hahaha! She gave me some shit about The Patriarchy™, but dude, come on…she was trying to compare cheerleader with soldiers, football players, and ufc fighters. She was trying to empathize with those men via cheerleaders because cheerleaders are volunteers and sometimes suffer broken bones and head trauma too. Feminists like her have a completely impoverished understanding of the lived-experiences of men. They have no idea.

  • Rad

    “These men are submitting to a culture that glorifies violence against them.”

    Speak for yourself. Don’t project your own beliefs onto me.

    I fight because I enjoy it. I compete because I want to grow and be armed in the case that it is necessary to defend myself.

    Some pursuits are physical, including many of those required to survive, and much of being physical is violence. I used to work in a rock quarry and the rock’s violence against my body, in the aggregate, was harsher than any series of punches I ever took.

    Life is short and not doing what is important to you, not pushing yourself has a cost. It is one thing to draw attention to a culture of violence among men, it is another to paint everyone’s motives with the same brush and blank-out human volition.

    If you wish to get a piece of the victimhood pie for men, then that’s your prerogative. But getting those intoxicated by feminist ideology to open their premises to include men, keeps weakness and dependence in the driver’s seat. That “feminism” favors one gender over another is not the primary problem in feminism. Including men would make things worse, not better. The ideology is something that needs to be stamped out, not something that one should fish for empathy from.

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

      “Speak for yourself. Don’t project your own beliefs onto me.”

      I am speaking for myself. I’m saying that if you think human freedom is beating the shit out of other men, you likely have an impoverished view of freedom.

      “I used to work in a rock quarry and the rock’s violence against my body, in the aggregate, was harsher than any series of punches I ever took.”

      Yes, and if you’re pro-male, you might want to consider how those kinds of jobs depend on the expendability of men. Perhaps we should be working to change those conditions for men, not working to try and justify their violence.

      “Life is short and not doing what is important to you, not pushing yourself has a cost.”

      Totally agree with you here, but when pushing yourself means perpetuating violence against men, I disagree. Just because two men “choose” to beat each other doesn’t change the fact that a beating is still violence. Just because two men “choose” to dual and end up shooting each other doesn’t change the fact of their violence done to each other. If you think that such “choices” are freedom, you may have an impoverished notion of freedom.

      “If you wish to get a piece of the victimhood pie for men…”

      As Joe Rogan and other UFC sycophants declare, “we gotta lot of weak bitches out there.” So, I put this question to you. If a man points out how the policing of masculinity oppresses men by perpetuating violence against men, is that man simply a “weak bitch?”

    • teaufoo

      That about summed up how I felt about the article. Actually, this is the first article I felt strongly enough about to make an account and post, and I’ve been reading for near two years.

      The main problem I feel with the argument is that it is attempting to construct a victimhood for men. “Oh noes, teh poor menz are engaging in rough and tumble sports–MATRIARCHY!” Okay, I am exaggerating and mean no offense–but in all honesty, I can see this kind of statement being the next logical step from an article like this. That is my biggest fear. I have respect for the MRM because it is about telling people they have agency in their own lives, not about victim whoring like Feminism, and the absolute worst thing I can imagine happening is the MRM becoming what it hates. This isn’t the first scare I’ve had, either… Anyway

      As a young man who has participated in martial arts and other sports (and most recently eSports), I simply can’t see the popularity of football or the glorification of military heroes as being society’s policing of our masculinity. I also don’t see the dangers inherent in working in a quarry as an ill of society–it’s a workplace hazard that most women don’t want to deal with and more men are comfortable with, just as more men want to be CEOs than women. Like the competitiveness of football, it’s biological. Males of most mammalian species I’m familiar with love to compete, even violently. In fact, competition is necessary to male success in many species–ever watch two bucks fight over a doe?

      How can we then be victims of a society that provides so many outlets for our very natural competitive side? It’s like claiming Patriarchy in a society that granted women suffrage–you’re just biting the hand that feeds.

      Even in the military, as admittedly dehumanizing as the entire system is, one thing that is true is that men in the military are pushed very hard to be the absolute best they can. They need to be the best fighters, they need to be the fastest mechanics, and they need to do it the instant they’re told. These are necessary for a fighting force and, like the dangers of working in a quarry, inherent to the job. You could with equal validity cry that it’s a travesty that women who work with small children are routinely exposed to germs and viruses–it’s just part of the job, and if you didn’t know that going into it it’s your own damn fault.

      If I can distill my point: Two men “choosing” to beat each other is truly violence–however, if both men chose it then they can’t well blame society for the injuries they receive. If two men choose to step into a boxing ring, that is their informed choice (at least in the West). If a football receiver suffers a head injury during a game, it was his own free choice that put him in that position, right up to his choice of positioning on the field. No one made him choose any of those. In fact, when he started his career (and the boxers, too), he was probably thrilled to be competing with arguably the best players of his chosen game in the nation. I seriously doubt he would have been found passed out alone in his hotel room with a 3/4 empty fifth, wallowing in the misery of his lack of freedom to not play football the night before his first game. Men love to compete. Even the ones who aren’t especially competitive, like myself, still crave those moments where it’s clear to all comers that they are superior in some quality to the rest, and the recognition that comes along with such moments.

      It seems a reversal of philosophy to take an inherently masculine thing and use it to demonize society. That is the strategy of feminism. I rejected feminism after a couple years of learning about it because of that strategy. I would reject the MRM for the same reason in a heartbeat.

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

        There is a lot here and I’ll try and get to it at a later time, but part of the problem is that men cannot admit their suffering for fear of being a “weak bitch” and I see a lot of this fear in your words. This fear is a kind of self-policing of masculinity. So, instead of admitting the suffering, we simply invert the suffering and say that it is heroic and that we love it…
        “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” –GO

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

        “The main problem I feel with the argument is that it is attempting to construct a victimhood for men. “Oh noes, teh poor menz are engaging in rough and tumble sports–MATRIARCHY!” Okay, I am exaggerating and mean no offense–but in all honesty, I can see this kind of statement being the next logical step from an article like this. That is my biggest fear.”

        The next logical step for men is the freedom to identify their various sorts of suffering. It seems to me that you may be imprisoned by fear. How can we expect to be pro-male, if we are afraid to call out ways in which we are suffering, exploited, and made disposable? How can we expect to alleviate the suffering of men, if simply identifying various sorts of violence against us makes us “weak bitches?” Do you see the conundrum?

        If you embrace such violence against men as “freedom,” it seems to me that you may have an impoverished sense of freedom. It seems to me that you are saying that freedom is the “choice” to subject your male body to violence. That doesn’t seem like freedom to me. It seems more like a prison in which men are contained…because a “real man” doesn’t bitch about his suffering. He embraces his suffering as freedom. “Freedom is slavery.”

        Choice is a form of freedom, but if you believe that a poor kid from Appalachia has the same freedom (choices) as a wealthy kid from New York, again, you may have an impoverished sense of freedom. If you believe that freedom is the choice between working to death in a coal mine or starvation, you don’t really understand freedom. If that poor Appalachian kid complains about his lack of freedom, do you believe that he is simply playing a victimhood card? If so, how do you ever expect me to believe that you give a damn about men? You wouldn’t seem to be much better than Ms. Leyba in her failure to understand the lived-experiences of men.

        For me, it’s not about “constructing victimhood.” It’s about identifying the factual suffering within the lived-experiences of men. It’s about identifying areas in which men are imprisoned by false/impoverished notions of freedom. It’s about finding solutions to these problems and admitting that we will never find solutions, if we can’t even identify the problems because we are afraid of being “weak bitches,” afraid of being victims, afraid of admitting that we do suffer, afraid to admit that we police our masculinity—from within and from without. If you’re too much of a “coward” to admit that violence against men is pervasive because you’re afraid of being a victim, afraid of seeming like a weak bitch, then men will continue to suffer in silence, just like my dad—an Army Vet who never spoke a word about his suffering until he was no longer strong enough to “be a man.”

        So, I ask you this. Is courage speaking out against suffering, or is courage suffering in silence? Is courage sucking it up and making yourself believe that “freedom” is beating the shit out of another man, or is courage making yourself face the reality of that impoverished sort of freedom?

        “I also don’t see the dangers inherent in working in a quarry as an ill of society–it’s a workplace hazard that most women don’t want to deal with and more men are comfortable with…”

        You recognize the dangers. You recognize that women have the privilege of not dealing with such hazards. However, you fail to see how such jobs exploit the disposability of men? As such, do you believe that male disposability is “freedom?” If you do, then again, I must say that you likely have an impoverished notion of freedom. If you see such things as male privilege, rather than male submission to a culture that demands violence be done do us, then you are no better than the feminist who fails to understand the lived-experiences of men.

        “Two men “choosing” to beat each other is truly violence–however, if both men chose it then they can’t well blame society for the injuries they receive.”

        It seems that you are neglecting the origins of such choices. Why would two men “choose” to perpetuate violence against each other? You gave the example of bucks butting heads over a doe, but men are not deer. If you believe that we are, then again, you may have an impoverished notion of freedom. Perhaps you don’t believe that we are free at all? If we are simply deer butting heads, then you speak gibberish—saying that men are free to choose, but biologically determined, predisposed to be violent, as any feminist may claim. As such, you would be more akin to the feminism(s) that you “rejected.”

        This is a really challenging and even painful discussion for men. I hope that men will be challenged to reflect upon what they believe are “freedoms” and how masculinity is policed by society and the origins of the fear that men may feel about being exploited, being victims, and calling out their suffering as such. It’s the same sort of fear that prevents abused men from calling out their abusive spouse. It’s a shame that originates from the policing of masculinity. This policing of masculinity is, as Nietzsche would say, a shame-morality…and that does not empower men.

        • teaufoo

          The next logical step should be to identify sources of ACTUAL suffering, not constructing them from aspects of masculinity that predate writing. My understanding of the origin of sports in primitive culture was that it was simultaneously a way to improve skills necessary for survival of the group and provide entertainment as all the guys show off their best techniques. Modern sports aren’t really that different in that it’s all a big show of skills that gets people excited. The fact that the sports are inherently dangerous doesn’t change that sports are also very appealing to the competitive aspect of masculinity—which, by the way, I refuse to allow you to conflate with violence. Saying that males are competitive is very different from a feminist saying men are violent.

          You ask why would two men choose violence against one another. What are we, a bunch of pacifists in this species? For practicality, let’s narrow the field to non-threatening encounters where the choice of one man can force the choice of the other (eg by pulling a knife). Why might two men choose to beat the hell out of each other? Believe it or not, some men enjoy the challenge of a physical confrontation, especially if it is non-serious and light-hearted. In martial arts, we call it sparring. It can hurt, but it’s also one of the best forms of entertainment I’ve ever engaged in. Moving away from the non-serious, regardless of the truth in saying that men are not deer, it does happen that men fight over women. Men also fight over resources and even paltry things like a place in a queue. Is this society forcing us to be violent towards each other? Or is it just that we are, in fact, (very smart) animals who are as a species just as prone to violence as lions, tigers, and bears?

          Now, I do not consider a man who never chooses to engage in any form of violence to be “a weak bitch.” He might be a weakling for lack of exercise, but that isn’t a violation of my idea of masculinity. Nor is it a violation to point out, honestly and rationally, when harm has been done. Claiming harm where there is none, however, goes against every philosophical fiber in me. A man who chooses a career in the NFL and is injured has not been harmed in the sense I mean the word. To be harmed implies to be a victim. Who has harmed the injured football player? If you get down to it, it was his own choice that ultimately led to his injury. If Silva broke his leg kicking his opponent, he is not a victim. He’s just someone who should’ve drank more milk, or not kicked so damned hard. Society may eat it up that he did break his leg, but that has been a facet of sports for all of our history (as far as I understand) and cannot be construed as some Male Disposability Racket that forced him to adopt a career where he might break his leg.

          I also would not consider a man who refuses a high-risk job to be less masculine than one who does not. I do not think, however, that the fact that it is almost exclusively men working them is the effect of male disposability. Again, it is a function of men as a sex being the risk takers and the heavy lifters that we dominate those fields. The exploitation occurs when a specialist at rock-breaking receives less pay and fewer benefits than a specialist a lower-risk, lower-demand job (like accounting). Regardless of the fairness of his pay, a man who works in quarries or mines or high seas will enter the job understanding that there is a risk. If we can for a moment assume a stable economy, he would have the choice to pick a lower-risk job if he really didn’t want to deal with it. If he then still chooses that job and is injured, he cannot blame society for victimizing him—I WOULD contend that he should so blame in the case of being denied workman’s comp, though. Don’t misunderstand me: for such high-risk jobs, any and every measure at ensuring safety for workers should be pursued with the same fervor given to getting women into DV shelters. Anything less is an injustice, an exploitation of the idea that men are the risk takers and heavy lifters, or “disposable.”

          Now what is freedom, exactly? I would say that is the latitude to direct your own life to the extent that chance allows. If a man lives in an area where his choices are to work to death in a coal mine or starve, I would remind that man that he has the freedom to leave that area and pursue a different life. Understanding that a young man in Appalachia has different opportunities from one in New York, the one from Appalachia who chooses to be hung up on the things he didn’t have will only hear from me, “Your only limitations are the ones you give yourself.” I myself grew up in a low-income neighborhood, in a backwards church, with some of the lowest educational standards in the state. Those things don’t rule my life; I don’t brood over not receiving a car for my 16th, or that my parents couldn’t afford to buy me whatever video games I wanted or even whatever school supplies I needed. I bucked up, found a way to go to college, and positioned myself to direct the rest of my life how -I- want it to go. So, yes, if a kid from Appalachia complains about all the freedoms he lacked compared to a New York kid, I would feel he is playing a victim card, tell him to get over it, and leave him to sulk with his self-induced misery (or, better, to buck up and grab life by the horns).

          This is the kind of thinking that initially drew me in to AVfM—this emphasis on personal agency and cultivating personal responsibility. When I first came here, every article I read not only spoke to the injustices done on men in the West today, but also to the primary flaw in Feminism itself: the denial that a woman (person) can affect her own life, can choose her own path, or has the power to pursue the life SHE wants for herself. Now, here’s this article saying essentially that men are systematically denied these things, such that we never have them at any point in our lives, and on the basis of what is gender-typical behavior not only across cultures but across SPECIES.

          Males compete. Men compete. Men compete for fun, for money, for fame. Men watch other men compete for fun (and money, if you include the practice of betting). We watch because we admire the ability of the professionals, not because we consider the professionals disposable and want to watch them fizzle in a blaze of glory. Hell, how do you think fans would react if Michael Phelps drowned in a pool? The professionals get famous because their ability becomes legendary, not because we’re rewarding them for being good little disposable boys. We’re not talking about gladiators, here—we’re talking about professional athletes.

          Soldiers are lauded because, as contrary to reality as it may be at present, they are considered our protectors and as such deserve a little gratitude when they put their lives on the line so that we can sit here arguing on the internet in safety. In the case of soldiers, especially, we SHOULD cheer them on for allowing themselves to be made disposable. If they won’t, who will? Women? We’ve already established the ladies are generally disinterested in that line of work. Male disposability can be and usually is exploitative, deplorably so. However, this is one case where it serves a practical and necessary function. If society gives no incentive, like glory, honors, and good pay, who in their right mind WANTS to be disposable? Even the most testosterone driven thugs would rather die older than younger. Of course, if you happen to believe in pacifism, then this becomes a moot point—if your response is that no nation needs standing armies, then there’s no point arguing this.

          The most disempowering thing for a man, or a woman, is to hear that they’re a victim and there ain’t a damn thing can be done about it. If you want to disempower the male readership of AVfM, keep saying that sports are a victimization inflicted on men by society. Keep telling us that the things we enjoy doing naturally are serving some self-destructive purpose when they are not. Instead, point out the real victimization, like when courts systematically deny fathers’ rights or imprison male college students for FUI (fucking under the influence), or when male-dominated businesses don’t provide sufficient safety measures and compensations and colleges favor female applicants over males. Get us riled up over that—THAT is empowering.

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

            I swear. You guys have no moral ground on which to stand to defend your positions in favor of violence against men. As such, you guys are working overtime to construct straw-men. But since you didn’t bother to call me dishonest, I’ll proceed to burn these fuckers down. :-)

            “The next logical step should be to identify sources of ACTUAL suffering, not constructing them from aspects of masculinity that predate writing.”

            The ACTUAL suffering and violence of football players and UFC fighters does not predate writing. This violence is happening right now. Yes, concussions, broken bones, torn ligaments and tendons, violence against men—such things predate writing, but that doesn’t make such things fake suffering. Suffering is suffering. Fake suffering makes little sense, but there are lies. For example, claiming that such things are not “ACTUAL suffering.”

            “The fact that the sports are inherently dangerous doesn’t change that sports are also very appealing to the competitive aspect of masculinity—which, by the way, I refuse to allow you to conflate with violence.”

            So, you are refusing to allow me to conflate sport with violence? Hmmm…that seems to be exactly what you are doing, not me. You are conflating sportsmanship and competition with violence. I’m simply calling you guys out for doing this. Competition and sportsmanship are fantastic aspects of humanity and masculinity. Stop conflating those two things with violence. If one of the main aspects of your “sport” and “competition” is to knock your opponent unconscious by hitting/kicking/smashing/elbowing/plowing/choking him into the ground/mat/ropes/cage—then, it’s violence. You are the one conflating this violence with sport.

            “You ask why would two men choose violence against one another. What are we, a bunch of pacifists in this species… Or is it just that we are, in fact, (very smart) animals who are as a species just as prone to violence as lions, tigers, and bears?”
            This is another straw man—the pacifist accusation. Where have I ever stated anything against self-defense? Also, you seem to be building this straw-man narrative such that men are inherently violent, that we have this long history of violence, that we are prone to violence, that we love violence and are entertained by it. I never said that we aren’t violent. I simply called you guys out for defending this violence against men and for conflating it with sportsmanship and competition.

            “Claiming harm where there is none, however, goes against every philosophical fiber in me…To be harmed implies to be a victim.”

            Another straw-man—where did I ever make a false claim about harm? What sort of “philosophical fiber” allows you to believe that concussions, broken bones, dementia pugilistica (and other related cognitive degenerations), torn ligaments, tendons, and etc. are not harmful? What sort of mental diarrhea must you shit to believe that such things are not harmful? I don’t know.

            My guess is some Randian “philosophy fiber” because you can’t wait to wag your little finger of shame and say that it was all his own fault for being poor, for joining the military, for being too poor to move away from the Appalachian coal mines, for being too poor to afford college. It’s his own fault that he was too poor to pull himself up by his own bootstraps to boots that he doesn’t even own. “He’s just someone who should’ve drank more milk…[and used his]… freedom to leave that area and pursue a different life.”

            Like I wrote—a completely impoverished notion of freedom. You believe that so long as a man understands the risks—he is free. So long as the boy understands the risk of getting black-lung, then getting black-lung is “freedom.” I swear. You Randian types talk about responsibility and freedom all day, but have no clue about it—a completely impoverished notion of human freedom and a completely alienated self with a logical conclusion of atomized loneliness, disconnected from the interrelatedness of humanity—a logical conclusion of selfishness, greed, and a sociopathic lack of empathy that couples together with an overwhelming abundance of magical thinking. In your own words:

            “So, yes, if a kid from Appalachia complains about all the freedoms he lacked compared to a New York kid, I would feel he is playing a victim card, tell him to get over it, and leave him to sulk with his self-induced misery (or, better, to buck up and grab life by the horns).”

            Yes, better to tell him to pull himself up by magical bootstraps to boots that he doesn’t own, rather than bother you or others for help. In fact, it’d probably be better if he was never born, but since he isn’t “free” to change that, you should probably tell him that it’d be better if he simply killed himself…that’d be grabbing “life by the horns,” as you say. Some compassion you have for men and boys!

            There are other wrong-headed things you wrote, but I’m tired of the shit. The fact remains. You have no moral ground on which to stand. You can try and deflect and concoct more bullshit straw-men, but the fact remains. You won’t face my argument head-on. If you love hurting other men in violent “sports,” there’s something morally wrong with you. If you love watching other men hurt each other in violent “sport,” there is something morally wrong with you. If you dress up your fetish for this violence as “competition” and “sportsmanship,” there is something morally wrong with you.

            Joe Rogan talks about this when he talks about his abusive childhood in his latest podcast—JRE #451. His father was abusive to him and that abuse suffered in early childhood influenced the “choices” he made later in life. At about the 52 minute mark, he says, “my zest for fighting was almost entirely based on my childhood. It was based on trying to overcome any feelings of weakness or vulnerability that I had when I was younger…When I was 16, I just wanted to fuck people up. My parents didn’t want me to do martial arts because they were terrified that I was going to be become this angry kid who knew how to fuck people up, whereas before, I was this angry kid who really couldn’t do anything. I wasn’t dangerous. I was 11.”

            This desire to harm other men stems from feelings of disempowerment felt by Joe, when he was a little boy. I suspect these feeling of disempowerment are not unusual. These types of violence-doings are attempts to exercise power—to overcome feelings of powerlessness. That’s not sportsmanship. That’s not competition. That’s not “freedom,” even by your own standards of impoverished freedom. It’s ones’ lack of freedom, the lack of “agency,” the lack of power over ones’ life that creates this distorted masculinity that perpetuates violence against men.

            You are in the position of defending violence against men…and there is no moral ground on which to stand for defending these bloody violent “sports.” There is no moral ground on which to stand for perpetuating violence against men. No matter how many straw-men and deflections you make, the fact remains. You support violence against men, if you support these violent “sports.”

          • Thanda

            Very well said my man. I totally agree with you. I think where the author is getting things wrong is in the “ALL” and “SOME”. He seems to believe that all men in armies and sports and in any kind of violence are there due to societal pressure. He doesn’t understand that while some undoubtedly are, the are also many who are there by unfettered choice.

            And I think he obviously has an extreme dislike for violence which seems to tell him that there can never be a good motive behind a violent act.

            Furthermore, you mentioned competitiveness as a trait inherent in men (It actually also happens to be quite inherent in women also but anyway). This is an important point because the violence one sees in sports should never be separated from the competitiveness of men. If you want a cat to move from your couch you have a number of options. You could tell the cat to go; entice the cat with some treat; shout at the cat; or just pick the cat up and move it. All those approaches accomplish pretty much the same thing but all are different and there is probably a time and a place for each. The competitiveness of men then is pretty much the same. There are many ways in which it is manifest. It could be: in a debating competition (test of verbal skill. You hurt the opponent with words); a chess game ( a test of strategy); a tennis match (a test of hand-eye co-ordination, speed, skill and to a lesser extent strength). Now I want to dwell on the tennis subject a little. Firstly, most tennis players, by the end of their careers will have suffered back and joint problems. Some of those injuries can be quite severe and career ending. The author however doesn’t seem to see any problem in such sports. And yet a game like football is different from tennis in very minor details: Whereas in tennis you hope to hit a ball past your opponent, in football you hope to run the ball past your opponent. So in order to stop the ball from going past him your opponent needs to stop you. It is a natural consequence.

            Now why don’t women engage in such sports. Firstly they do (unless they live in a country that doesn’t allow it but I don’t think America is that country). Secondly women are slower and weaker and so what ever enjoyment one might get from watching women engage in a physical sport, it will always be less than what one would get from watching men. Thirdly, women (being as competitive as men but not in the same way) are more interested in looking good than looking strong.

            All in all my point is 1) Human beings are competitive but men (perhaps more than women) enjoy displaying that competitiveness physically. They are also better at it.
            2) Winning a ball from an opponent through physically grabbing the ball is only as bad or not bad as winning a game of chess through mentally out muscling your opponent. Physicality is not intrinsically evil or inferior. There is a reason we have bodies.

          • teaufoo

            Among the first things I notice in your post is that you selected a different sense of “harm” than the one I stated to be using. That is: to be harmed implies to be a victim. In the active voice, the implication is that one directly and with intent causes suffering to another (and here again can be drawn a further distinction between suffering and pain, as anyone into S&M can tell you, but enough semantics). Silva was injured, but not harmed. The reason I maintain, contrary to your assertion, that you have conflated sports with violence is that sportsman’s conduct is meant to minimize harm. Injury is part of the game, and every athlete knows this. Every decent sportsman should be trying not to injure his fellow players, but everyone also understands that shit happens. It’s actually part of the challenge, i.e. fun. The athlete should be asking himself: how can I meet my goal, without getting hurt, and without harming anyone else. If he’s not asking that, he’s either a terrible sportsman or he’s incredibly bored.

            When you talked about suffering, I mistook it to mean suffering as a result of harm. By your rebuttal, I see you meant any kind of suffering. Silva may not have been harmed, but I won’t deny that he was suffering. I still maintain that if he was not prepared for such an eventuality, he would not have elected MMA as a career path.

            You seem to have been confused by my first paragraph, though: I was not saying that suffering in sports predates writing, as you seem to have taken it–I was saying that the aspect of masculinity which makes sports popular predates writing. From those aspects of masculinity, you are constructing a victim complex by saying, essentially, “men enjoy competition; competition is often violent; violence is victimizing; therefore men are being victimized.” You didn’t think that’s what you were saying, but that’s what you said. It seems that you are trying to assert all but the first premise, granting it only a concession in your most recent reply, and I would also contend the third (that violence is necessarily victimizing; as I said before, sparring is violent, and sometimes leads to injury, but no one who spars is a victim unless their partner is a AAA grade asshat).

            Now, if you’ve been keeping track of how I differentiate between “harm” and “injury,” you’ll have answered your own question by now of how I can consider a career’s worth of broken bones to not be harmful. Actually, if you’d been paying closer attention to my previous post, you wouldn’t have needed to ask in the first place.

            I wasn’t aware that granting to people faith that they are capable of raising themselves up and taking control of their own life was a bad thing. You say “Randian” like it’s a dirty word, and for so doing I have to assume that your concept of Rand’s philosophy is skewed by ignorance. Telling a young man from Appalachia to not be held down by the things he didn’t have is NOT the same as telling him its his own fault for being poor. It IS his fault if he doesn’t seek financial aid for college (seeing as it’s stupidly easy to get $30k from the federal gov’t–I know, I’ve had to do it). I also cannot fathom how a person can be “too poor” to leave a geographic area. I once read a story of a twelve year old who ran away from home after years of being abused, moved half-way across the country, got a job, and made a life for himself. He didn’t have money, or a car. He had his feet and a thumb to hold out, and that’s all anyone needs. If the appalachian kid says he can’t leave because he’s too poor, he’s the only thing holding him back. Go ahead and fabricate some situation where he “can’t leave” due to some abstract family obligation or w/e, but the fact remains that the only limitations we ever have are set by our own thoughts.

            “Yes, better to tell him to pull himself up by magical bootstraps to boots that he doesn’t own, rather than bother you or others for help. In fact, it’d probably be better if he was never born, but since he isn’t “free” to change that, you should probably tell him that it’d be better if he simply killed himself…that’d be grabbing “life by the horns,” as you say. Some compassion you have for men and boys!”

            Yeah, you have no idea what Objectivism is about, do you? I don’t even have words for this pile of shit.

            Your final paragraph reminded me of something, quite strongly. Let’s change a couple words:

            “You support violence against women, if you support pornography.”

            The response is the same to either version: So, because I enjoy a form of entertainment into which the vast majority of workers in the West enter with full knowledge and volition, I support violence against not only the workers but also their entire gender?

            Actually, I don’t even watch football–it bores me to tears. I even find it ridiculous that these guys make millions for smashing into each other and throwing a ball. However, I find it more ridiculous to say that I am pro-violence against men if I am not anti-football. Sports are rough and tumble. They should be–that’s what makes them exciting, both for players and viewers. Even non-contact sports are harsh on the body and, as Thanda eloquently stated, I don’t see you complaining about end-of-career elbow or knee injuries in tennis players. If tennis weren’t fast and physically demanding to all involved, no one would play or watch. What is the thrill of sky-diving or rock-climbing, sports where there isn’t even an opponent, if not the inherent risk to life and limb? It’s as they say: if it were easy, everyone would do it. Because we can’t all be pro athletes, we admire the ability of those who are.

            If we all adopted your view, that these sports are morally degenerate for the toll they take on the bodies of the athletes as a result of the demands of contact and speed, then we should ban them, and also ban horse racing, since race horses usually end their careers with arthritic joints, torn ligaments, broken bones, and even PTSD from the (sometimes too) rigorous training they’re subjected to. t3h horses, though!

            You say that I’m defending violence against men. What I’m actually defending is the distinction between non-harmful (note again: not ‘non-injurious’) violence vis sports and harmful violence such as that done by biased courts, conflict-prone women, sexist universities, or criminals (I guess I could have just said ‘criminals’). You are trying very hard to make us think these are the same, but they are not. No matter how many Silvas break their legs in the ring, or how many quarterbacks get sacked, or how many boxers are forced into retirement by a brain-injury, this is not the same kind of violence. This is a violence which the participants engage in willingly, even enthusiastically. You could say that sports are like consensual sex, and the rest is like rape. Just ’cause you got pregnant unintentionally (injured), doesn’t mean you were forced to have sex (play sports) or that any harm was done to you in the process. You’re not a victim, just unfortunate.

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

            “Let’s put a wig on a straw-man and then split its hairs.” –teaufou

            No thanks.

          • teaufoo

            You’ve had your fair shair of straw men yourself, not to mention putting words in my mouth and blatant ignorance. But, since you seem to hope that by calling my argument a straw man you can get away from confronting it, let’s go back to the original article and I’ll show you exactly when I stopped reading long enough to ask myself, “what in the actual fuck?”

            “These men are submitting to a culture that glorifies violence against them. These men are submitting to a culture that demands their suffering through the policing of masculinity.”

            My entire argument, couched in the philosophy of Objectivism (for which I make no apology), has been that no one is “submitting” by playing sports. You make it sound like we’re given an ultimatum of “accept violence or be cast out!” I’m sure that’s not what you meant; I’m only conveying how I received the text.

            Overall, I agree with you: our culture is less disturbed by violence against men than it is by violence against women. This is wrong, and you are absolutely right to decry it. My disagreement with you is that sport is some kind of submission to this culture. Sports, as I’ve stated, predate Feminism and the MRM, Christianity, and even Sumeria. We’ve been wrestling, throwing round objects about, and chucking long sticks for as long as we could hunt. We have sports because they’re fun, because the exercise is damned healthy (until you get injured, granted), because humans love to be skilled at things, and we love to show off or be impressed.

            Wherein lies the misandry?

            “These men were all conditioned via culture to ‘be a man.’”

            Yes… but, even if our culture were somehow degendered (isn’t that a feminist goal?), it is still gender-typical for males to enjoy physically challenging, somewhat dangerous, competitive activities. Again, we see this across cultures and species (I love repeating myself *sarcasm*). If the phrase “man up” or “don’t be a bitch” never existed, I’m pretty damn sure we would still have violent games like football and hockey. Men would still choose to play them, and the viewing of professionals doing their stuff would still be a huge industry.

            I will give you that within a sports team there is plenty of masculinity policing. I couldn’t have counted if I tried the number of times the varsity football coach told his guys to “stop bitching” or “nut up.” Some of the guys on our team were there because their fathers were assholes who might say “no son of mine don’t play football” or some bullshit. However, most of the guys on the team were there because they liked football, they liked the challenge, and they loved being in a tight knit group of bros. They all knew they could be injured, so they trained and trained to be as indestructible as is possible for a seventeen year old human. None of them (except the few with dickface dads) were forced to be there—each of them could have chosen a different sport, a club, or just sat at home on Friday nights. And they weren’t even being paid! Why would they subject themselves to such a brutal sport without even the incentive of money? It couldn’t be because they enjoyed the game and craved the recognition, could it?

            We wouldn’t even be having this discussion if instead of focusing on typical male behavior (enjoying physically challenging, somewhat dangerous, competitive activities) you had focused on, say, the fact that most male leads in TV shows and movies these days get the snot beat out of them while the female protagonists sit back and laugh or dish out more punishment than even a very skilled man could manage, depending on genre. That is the part of culture and media that is telling men, “Hey, your bodies are worthless punching bags that will provide amusement to audiences when they’re broken.”

            It’s not sports that are the enemy. At least, not so long as every player is free to play them or not—when we start having gladiator games, then sports are the enemy. When players are made to play regardless of their volition, or in spite of failing health, that’s when it becomes the submission you’ve described. As long as the athletes are professionals who play because they love it and they’re good at it, the violent nature of the game is nothing more than part of the game, not some conspiracy to disempower men and devalue their bodies.

          • Maleman

            @ Teaufoo…This is all very confusing for me but I think I get the gist of what you are saying although I got a bit lost along the way. You say men simply ‘like’ to participate in violent sports. And suggest that “accept violence or be cast out!” might be an absurd suggestion.

            I think that maybe “accept violence or be cast out” may not be too far from the truth after all.

            Warren Farrell has given this subject a lot of thought and has spoken about this many times using an analogy (he is so much more articulate than me). Something along the lines of…………..

            A boy at high school looks around. He sees the girls lavished with attention. The girls who get the most attention are the most beautiful girls, the cheerleaders. He would kill for the kind of attention they get. He doesn’t get any attention at all. The cheerleaders are not interested in him. They’re interested in the quarterback. If he wants some attention it would help if he was the quarterback. So he must try-out and ‘compete’. But what happens when the quarterback can no longer play due to injury or he decides to quit as the physicality is too much for him? Another quarterback takes his place. That quarterback is his replaceable part. And the cheerleader cheers for this new ‘part’. The original is forgotten and nobody even remembers the previous quarterbacks. For a boy at school the lesson is very much “accept violence or be cast out’. The boy is rewarded by devaluing and risking his body. Later he will make a good soldier. And we will lavish him with a parade, medals and if he was really good at risking his life (especially if he died), a statue. Any society that didn’t devalue its sons to die in war didn’t survive. And that conditioning began with no anesthetic circumcision, no sympathy ‘man up’ rhetoric, and contact sports. While a man may ‘fight because he enjoys it’ he may not be entirely aware of how that came about.

            I think Farrell can’t be summarily dismissed. He might just be onto something. Apologies to all those who have heard this so many times and didn’t need to hear it again.

            You said it yourself “watch two bucks fighting over a doe”. Who does she choose? The winner of course. Does she police their masculinity? You bet she does.

            As for the rest of it I’ve got no idea what everyone is talking about……..

          • teaufoo

            That comes across much more reasonably… I still maintain that who the cheerleaders are looking at is but one of many forces pushing young men towards or away from contact sports.

            Then the question I have to ask is

            It seems there’s a level of gender policing that is necessary for society to function, and the balance is rather delicate; at what point is it doing more harm than good?

          • B.R. Merrick

            In the case of soldiers, especially, we SHOULD cheer them on for allowing themselves to be made disposable.

            I stopped reading the comment at this point. There it is, right there, staring me in the face: cultural misandry. Thank God this article was written.

  • Andy Bob

    Excellent article, Mr Gregory.

    It has stimulated one of the most interesting and valuable discussions that men can have – individual men asserting their right to define masculinity for themselves. MHRAs are justifiably sensitive to others attempting to police our masculinities and male identities, so it is inevitable that many will vigorously defend their positions on something as culturally pervasive as sport.

    At a recent gathering, a man I didn’t know very well reacted to some comment from a female guest about the traditional gender roles of him and his spouse by generally defining his interpretation of his masculinity. It wasn’t long before he was interrupted by several females who began to explain to him that his interpretation was wrong. Not just sexist and old-fashioned – but wrong.

    I had to point out to the obstreperous women that they were trying to define this man’s masculinity for him, and that they had no right to do so. I asked them how they would respond if either of us tried to define their femininity for them. I was met with silence – exactly. Being a social situation among people I didn’t know very well, I just added that men respected women’s right to define their femininity for themselves and that they should do the same for men in respect to our masculinity.

    I never considered my participation in sport in relation to my masculinity – I just never thought of it that way. It was just something I enjoyed and appreciated for many reasons – mostly because it was exciting. I spent my teenage years so tired, I just didn’t have the energy to get involved in anything I shouldn’t. This is probably why my parents encouraged it – very smart of them actually.

    Avoiding injury was probably the most important skill I had to learn in my two favourite sports. A lot happens under the water during a water polo match, but I always managed to leave the pool unscathed because experience taught me how to block or escape an attack that actually left opponents floundering. Crabbing your oar while riding a wave in a surf boat can cause it to smack you in the head at lightening speed. It only happened to me once. Intense training taught me how to handle my oar so that it never happened again.

    So much of my identity was wrapped up in sport that it took me quite a while to realize who I was away from it. That was a long time ago now, so whatever I achieved in sport is only a tiny part of my self-image. However, I am grateful for all of the benefits it gave me in terms of confidence and pure enjoyment. I am not sure if the athletes, like Anderon Silva, will look upon their exposure to extreme physical punishment in quite the same way. That’s for him to decide.

    Jason Gregory has every right to be disgusted by the blind acceptance that our culture has towards inflicting such pain on men – or women – in order to satisfy our need to provide spectacle for the masses. There is no sense whatsoever that his disgust in any way denies the autonomy of those athletes to choose such dangerous paths. It is directed at those, like Beth Leyba, who fail to comprehend that some men may not be aware that their choices are influenced by those who like to police masculinity. This is a failure that cannot be denied.

    • MGTOW-man

      Beautiful! Just beautiful.

      “I had to point out to the obstreperous women that they were trying to define this man’s masculinity for him, and that they had no right to do so.”

      —Why is it so hard to get women to see, and same goes for the men who stilt them up, that feminism is about women running EVERYTHING—even the emotions, and inner thoughts of men and boys—whatever pleases and revolves around women? This is so easy to see! Why can’t people see this?

      Andybob, If I were there in that forum you spoke of, I would have done the exact same thing. What you said to those girls IS activism. It matters a lot too. Those two will always remember the message…and the men around them will as well.

      Thank you sooo much!

  • eskwillhelp

    I wouldn’t be sorry to see people turn away from watching the violent sports mentioned in this article.

    But I’d like to see people also reject daily-life non-consensual violence against ordinary men. Society seems to be less supportive of male victims than female victims. In particular, violence against men/boys by women/girls seems to be almost accepted, including on TV and in movies.

    Men must take matters into their own hands, by aggressively asserting their legal rights when threatened or attacked. If men become more willing to seek restraining orders and file small claims lawsuits, that will help. If the attack happens at an organized venue, such as a high school, then the victim or his parents should seek to have the attacker expelled from that venue.

    Once word gets out about all the punishment attackers keep experiencing, that will help discourage the idea of the male body as an acceptable target.

  • Astrokid

    Peter,
    1) It amazes me how all these customs you mention are endemic to Western Europe, and are totally absent in my Indian culture. I have always hated suit and tie formal male clothing. At some stage Western culture decided to incrementally remove sexual restraints on women, and has even unleashed it.. possibly to encourage men to fight harder to get a piece of it? Jared Diamond in his Guns Germs and Steel explains how different cultures have had ascendancy at different periods of time. Perhaps this dangling of female-sexuality carrot contributed to Western European male competition and progress?
    2) Women actively cheering on the male knights fighting each other in a tournament fits in with thug-attraction quite well.