Not so long ago, I read about the child sex abuse scandal at Penn State, and the ensuing firing and arrests of men heralded as leaders of a community for decades, and a flurry of news articles like this one at Huffpost about the ongoing ‘Crisis of Masculinity’. Poor dudes.
To be honest, I never thought too much about bloke stuff before, not since that day walking home from school, I found my 15 year old baby brother squared off against a bunch of other boys, all reeking that feral pubescent testosterone gymclass odour after footy training.
Strong enough to peel your nail-polish and melt your mascara. Really. A lot of ballet position postures and gestures, but with snarling, drooling, and bared frothy canines between the bum-fluff. When I asked what was going on, my brother told me to bugger off, as it was “guy stuff”, and not to tell mum if I knew what was good for me.
So of course, being a girl with no idea whats good for me, (other than shoes and cosmetics) I told mum. Who shrugged, sighed heavily, and muttered something about “boys will be boys”, and that she’d better tell dad. My bro came home from hospital later that night – he’d had the crap beaten out of him.
But, as I found out later after another mother-daughter sesh – this apparently meant that he and those other boys were now ‘mates’. They had ‘bonded’. He was now a member of the pack. Passed the initiation test or whatever. In the end, its just a “guy thing” she said – none of us girls’ business really. So being a girl who occasionally listened to her mother (especially when she could get a discount at the department store perfume counter) I just accepted this fact of life about boys.
And watched them bonding on footy ovals, or buried up to their hairy stinky armpits in car guts, or fish guts, or the sandpits on golf courses. Not always in blood and bone, some dudes prefer to beat the crap out of each other more pretend-like, bonding over “things” instead, like cars, bikes, noise-makers, or credit cards, or 2 metre high audiovisual equipment, or great golf swings, all without the hassle of a trip to the local emergency department. Guys are cool when they can beat other guys at doing manly things, such as having the willpower to eat obscenely enormous amounts of oysters or chilli. But I must have missed something, (maybe its like maths or maps, another thing us girls supposedly just can’t get the hang of?). Because, you see – I thought all this guy stuff was just between guys, you know? and like my baby bro said, us girls should just bugger off and leave them to it.
But I “get it” now. Women are also just like cars, or AV systems to men – guys also need us girls to be “things” for them to bond over, to help doods stop beating each other up, so they can all be ‘mates’ and ‘brothers’ again.
But only “bad girls” – I *think* – like all that maths stuff at school where I always got mixed up between those triangles with a straight edge on the left (or was it right?), and the other triangles that flopped over a bit. Obtuse rings a bell, sorta. Anyway, just like those stupid bloody triangles, I also get terribly mixed up between the “bad” and the “good” girls thingy –
Must be a ‘dood thing’ too – how do d00ds figure it out?
Is it like “bad” girls get gang-banged and “good” girls get gang-raped? Or vice-versa? Is it like fords and mazdas? Tooheys and VB? Jack Daniels and Johnny Walker? or is it more like the difference between Tahitian Sunset and Cherry Delight hair colouring? Now *that* is something I can tell apart from 50 metres – and from 10 metres, I can even pick the brand.
While comradeship and team spirit are valuable tools when in competition or conflict, they can become pathological and retardative, as evidenced by gang rape allegations against (football teams) and revelations about the misuse of women as a perverse quasi-bonding exercise……
(can’t these blokes sit by a campfire singing folk songs or form book clubs or something?)–
Darlene Taylor — Ambit Gambit (2004)
I’m with Darlene on this one, but along with singing Kumbaya at the campfire, maybe guys need some girl help on this bonding thing?
They could try some of our Girl-Bonding stuff ? – like bikini-line waxing, and nip-and-tuck surgery for the flabby genitals – but boy-style – I know some terrific guys with their own salon – Anton and Frankie – down at Bondi Junction, who’d be just thrilled to bits, to lend their professional services to football clubs (maybe I could help work bulk club or season discounts for a small commission?)
What is this crisis of masculinity we keep hearing about? (Some) tell us that it’s single-parent families and boys being raised without dads, (some) say that it’s lesbians having sons and the Catholic Church says that it’s a lack of male role models in the classroom.
No, the real crisis in masculinity is the macho male culture of violence and rape … Brian Greig, WA Senator(DEM) Insiders program – 4/4/04
I’m with Brian on this one too – I *think* – But.. most of what I read is feeling sorry for the poor dudes, they just can’t *feel* emotions appropriately, and of course, obviously, its all mum’s fault. I know some other women think the downside of this ‘male culture of violence and rape’ is because we girls aren’t empowered enough, and need to deal with it through embracing our sexuality (ie ‘putting out’) often enough, well …. obviously more often — and often enough to keep the boys happily docile, as in Yes, Means Yes – this means, if us gurls just said Yes more often (and more enthusiastically – and really, really *mean it*)… all that terrible ‘guy stuff’ would go out the window…
Me? I’m not so sure about that …. I think the boys really (really) need some sound fashion advice, (and to learn about shopping). For example – I don’t “get it” about the little catholic boys having no male role model thing. The Pope is a boy isn’t he? Along with all his mates? .. there’s *some* girly-girl in there to form a basis to build on, coz after all, he does wear a dress – but *honey* – frills and lace on hems went out with the flappers. Take my advice sweets – check out the islamic d00ds for dress-sense, you won’t see any lace on *their* hems! Nice ring though, great taste in jewellery and accessories is always a plus. And that Buddha dude – didn’t he wear a really cool low hip-slung wrap-around sarong? Shame about the wobbly beer-gut and boyboobies, but at least he knew how to use colour for a stunning fashion effect for those statues. Then those really cool Jewish dreadlock things, are a fantastic hair fashion complement to the traditional all-black dress.
But guys? you really need to lose those flat sensible grandma heels – I’m sure the top-line menswear stores would carry some great lines in stillettos, if you could just get over your “guy thing” and just *ask*. But one last piece of womanly wisdom – you do need to make sure that they match common accessories like wallets, ties, football clubshirts, (and stubby holders) or those roobars on the utes (pickup trucks).
see you at the mall!
Love & Kisses
Updated from previously published version in FemSpeak E-Zine, as ‘Football, Meat Pies, Kangaroos & Holden Cars..’