Tag Archives: Homophobia

Man up (2)


‘…[a] cynical set of institutional fetishes that rewards unhealthy behavior.’

Is how Grantland staff writer Brian Phillips describes the hyper-masculine culture of  ‘hazing’ – common to competitive sport and the military – that he so eloquently critiques in the above piece. Now, I’ll admit right off the bat that I know dick about Football in general or the NFL in particular. But the kinds of behaviour described, if not the specifics, then in general feel familiar: the toeing of a party line; the adherence to hierarchy; the pain and injustice swallowed by silence; the propensity for dealing with issues ‘in house’ in order to obfuscate wider political ramifications…

(Similar if not identical patterns of behaviour can be observed in other institutions: Phillips mentions the military; one might also bring up the family; schools and universities; corporations… In arenas such as high-level competitive sport and the military, even basically liberal-minded observers can be tempted to swallow the necessity of byzantine codes of ‘discipline’; justify inhumane means in the name of its universally-desirable ends.)

The word ‘gender’ doesn’t crop up until the penultimate paragraph, but that’s exactly what Phillips is interrogating from the start; and whilst it’s very much (hyper)-masculinity under the spotlight, the slippery slope from locker room shenanigans to naked hostility and violence  – ‘hazing creep’, so-called – parallels a process and a template more widely-applicable to systems of hierarchy in general. Whilst reading Phillips‘ piece, a quote from radical environmentalist Lierre Keith sprang to mind:

‘I have spent three decades fighting male violence … I believe that a social system of male domination starts with human beings who are biologically male or female and creates two social classes of people: men and women. Socialization to either group can be a brutal process.

Men are made by socialization to masculinity. Being a man requires a psychology based on emotional numbness and a dichotomy of self and other. This is also the psychology required by soldiers, which is why I don’t think you can be a peace activist without being a feminist.

Female socialization is a process of psychologically constraining and breaking girls—otherwise known as “grooming”—to create a class of compliant victims. Femininity is a set of behaviors that are, in essence, ritualized submission. (my emphases)

The point of extending the quote to describe socialization to femininity serves both as contrast and comparison. Keith alludes to other types of ‘classist’ behaviour in her letter (which you can read in full here) and whilst not precisely equating them, points up commonalities:

‘…my position on race and class[:] … [t]he categories are not natural: they only exist because hierarchical systems of power create them (see, for instance, Audrey Smedley’s book Race in North America). I want a world of justice and equality, where the material conditions that currently create race, class, and gender have been forever overcome…’

It’s part of the class (gender) contract that men ought not only be prepared to wield but also field the ultimate sanction; the administration of violence – don’t dish it out if you can’t take it, as it were – and those that are unable or unwilling are tarred with the same brush and demeaned with slurs which, at least symbolically relegate them to a lower class. It’s not insignificant that Incognito invokes racist and sexist language when he excoriates and humiliates Martin via Twitter. The function of ‘hazing’ within a closed group in some respects resembles the ‘grooming’ that that groups performs on subordinate ones.

Phillips‘ polemic links to Matt Ufford‘s SB Nation piece, which whilst perhaps betraying a certain naïvité – the military’s policies work then? Radical analysts of Keith‘s stripe might well argue that responding to class violence with institutional policy simply replaces noise for silence as a means of obscuring the problem – yielded the following somewhat perceptive comment (from jbacon55)

‘First, anything that is both compulsory and non-beneficial for the present purpose … violates notions of human freedom and dignity we all hold dear.

Second, what may seem trivial to many could be deeply damaging to another. To many, singing in front of the team is fun and builds memories. To others, especially those with something like social anxiety disorder, that can be the stuff of nightmares. Singing karaoke neither makes you a good football player nor is it a test of some requisite skill.

Third, in authority-subordinate relationships permission can be a fiction. The forces of peer pressure among the subordinates combined with the implied or explicit influence of the authorities render it impossible to truly get someone’s permission to do something with any certainty.

Fourth, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, this kind of behavior creates that authority/subordinate relationship among teammates. Surely veterans should be in a place of authority when it comes to football matters, but otherwise it’s best for the team if it’s members are exactly that: teammates. Bonds are formed by shared hardship and mutual respect. Even “light” hazing violates that and can even render it impossible.’  (my emphases)

Reading his/her first and forth comments together one can infer a truth that (male) institutions are perennially loath to admit, to wit; the ‘present purpose’ is to create authority/subordinate relationship(s) [by means of] violating notions of human freedom and dignity. So long as such relationships (in which, as addressed in point three permission can be a fiction) exist, said purpose is forever the present purpose. The substance of jbacon55‘s comment echoes Keith‘s somewhat, even if she/he stops short of denouncing hierarchy as unnatural.

‘Hazing’, incidentally, is a moderately-popular sub-genre in (mostly American) mainstream pornography; notable if only that it highlights the sexual component – by some measure more observable in men – in hierarchical subordination. In popular parlance, pornification, but historically – and to reiterate Phillips – fetish(ising) by any other name: an all too frequently inhuman means to an all too frequently inhuman end.

[An] emotional numbness and a dichotomy of self and other.

Man up.

Woman down.

Man up…


…except don’t 😉

Repeat until sane…

‘How many boys have to kill themselves … how many women have to be abused, how many trans* people have to get assaulted … [2.48] Heartening to hear a man lay the responsibility for sexism at the right front door…

‘…Miller Lite is not the most flavourful brew…’ [1.32] got that rite [sic] 😉

‘Nobody says WOman up [1.55] they just imply it … because being directly ordered around by commercials, magazines and music is dehumanizing … when will men figure that out?’
Now there’s a question…

‘I want to be strong in a way that isn’t about physical dominance or power, MAN UP! …’

Catholic distaste for bad press



From mirror.co.uk: ‘Jimmy Savile and the cardinal…’

Cardinal Keith O’Brien quit just 24 hours before he was due to fly to Rome to help choose the next pope. His resignation followed a series of recent allegations against him dating back to the ’80s by three priests and one former priest regarding inappropriate sexual behaviour. He ‘strongly denied’ those claims, but revelations of a relationship with Savile dating back to the ’70s will undoubtedly bode badly for his chances of being believed.

Another priest at Kilsyth (O’Brien‘s parish) at the time has been suspended following claims of abuse against two young victims. Ironically, it was Cardinal O’Brien who ordered the investigation last September; and when allegations against Savile first broke in the MSM last year, it was the cardinal who called for him to be stripped of his papal knighthood.

Also ironic is the fact that Cardinal O’Brien is known for his strong anti-gay views: he recently criticized the Scottish government’s plans to enshrine same-sex marriage in law by 2015, describing the latter as a “grotesque subversion of a universally accepted human right”. No wonder he was named ‘Bigot of the year‘ by Stonewall Scotland in 2012. His stance on women’s rights is no less forgiving: six years ago he claimed the abortion rate in Scotland was equivalent to “two Dunblane massacres a day”, also describing the implications of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill as akin to “Nazi-style experiments”. In all ways an exemplary Catholic, then.

It’s extraordinary that in the 21st century, an organization of such far-reaching social and political influence can continue to practice discrimination based on sex and sexual orientation with impunity. But the church has a real problem with sex, full stop. It’s clearly learnt it’s lesson from the last few years of public outrage over institutionalized abuse, and their media machine has been quick to swing into action following the O’Brien debacle:

Jack Valero, of lobby group Catholic Voices, said it was right for Cardinal O’Brien to resign.

He said: “I am very happy that this has been taken seriously, that the nuncio – the Pope’s representative in the UK – has written to the four people who have made the allegations to thank them for speaking out, and that the whole thing has been done so quickly.

I think this shows a new spirit.”

O’Brien tendered his resignation November last, and it was officially accepted by the Pope last week, but his sudden departure was unexpected. Was immenent exposure of the Savile connection a factor? New spirit or not, division, and confusion around the issue of priests and sex run deep in the church to this day, in particular the failure to grasp that the distinction between ‘good’ and ‘bad’ sex tilts on consent, not the gender or sexual orientation of the participants. The church’s exception to homosexuality is not ‘homophobia’ per-se, so much as calculated propaganda in the interests of furthering it’s world-dominating, sex-dimorphic agenda. When O’Brien spoke of a ‘human right’ to marriage, it was the right of men to produce (Catholic) offspring he was defending. And who are ‘celibate’ priests to be dispensing this advice, anyway? That the Bible highlights the sinfulness of homosexuality*, yet not of paedophilia is scarcely surprising, given the social context of its time: that the church cleaves to those same standards 2000 years later, and that we give credence to the esoteric beliefs of this homophobic, misogynistic rape cult is the real scandal.

* See ‘Intercourse’Dworkin, Andrea. Ch. 8 ‘Law’ p. 185-211 for a penetrating, nuanced understanding of why homosexuality is such a ‘big deal’ within religious orthodoxy; and why policing men’s behaviour is really all about policing women.