Thursday, May 21, 2009

Men proving themselves to other men is as dangerous as it gets

At Insurgent American, Stan Goff has posted the text of a talk he gave in April at Wake Forest University on militarism, patriarchy, capitalism, and pornography. This is vitally important stuff, required reading in my opinion. Here is but a small portion of it:
Here is the Don’t List for men. Do not dominate. Do not humiliate. Do not retaliate.

That’s a hard don’t list for men, when the culture tells us incessantly and forcefully that to be a man means to dominate, to humiliate, and to retaliate. These are equated with strength; and they are counterposed to all things quote-feminine-unquote. This male norm of masculinity-as-conquest is ruthlessly policed in male culture, which is also a hotbox of probative escalation.

I could ask everyone in this room if you fear unknown men to raise your hand. You see I’m raising mine. Men proving themselves to other men can be the most terrifying thing you’ll ever see. I say that as a military veteran who worked in eight conflict areas, in Vietnam, Latin America, the Caribbean, and Africa. Men proving themselves to other men is as dangerous as it gets. There are people right here in this room who would be alarmed by the sudden sound of multiple male voices laughing nearby, because that sound can be so pregnant with mischief. Males are bonding. Escalations are possible.

This is male culture that idealizes the conquest of women, the conquest of colonies, and the conquest of nature. It is probative conquest, too; and it requires trophies for the other men to whom you are proving yourself, and as proof of masculinity to display for women.

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