|08-15-2006, 07:35 AM||#1 (permalink)|
MSgt USMC Ret
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: San Diego
Are Men the Problem?
Bruce Fleming | August 14, 2006
I guess I don't get out much any more. Otherwise why would I still be chewing over one whole thread of call-ins for a radio show I was on weeks ago? All of the callers in this group were women. All seemed to suggest that “male aggression” had to be stamped out and “macho behavior” given zero tolerance -- at the Naval Academy, that is, where the topic of the hour was the court-martial of the quarterback accused of rape. The problem, I was hearing from callers, is men.
The quarterback was cleared of rape charges, but convicted of “conduct unbecoming” for having had (forbidden) sex on campus. The woman was granted immunity from prosecution even though she too was engaging in sex. (She was also a habitual underage binge drinker.) The man was acquitted of rape because the jury believed his story that the (forbidden) sex, for which he was convicted of “conduct unbecoming,” was consensual. Like many things sexual, this case was a minefield of grays. As I emphasize over and over in my classes, and in these columns, life isn't usually true or false -- it's both. You have to pick the better alternative, not the correct one—because there usually isn't a correct answer.
But what came through loud and clear from the callers was the conviction that testosterone itself was the problem. We had to put a stop to this guy business once and for all. One had heard an apocryphal story that plebe summer companies eliminated the letter “J” from their numbering system because in international radio-language alphabet-speak that stood for “Juliet,” which was girly and undesirable. “They're so macho ,” she said, her voice dripping with sarcasm.
Hello? Macho is a good thing. Testosterone is a good thing. I hear males and females alike at the Naval Academy praise each other constantly for being “ballsy.” Me, I believe in gender equality, so I usually throw in an admiring phrase like “hey, that takes real ovaries!” Still, it's pretty clear to me that everybody knows that what comes from the testicles, the very essence of being for 49% of the human race, pure gold in human form, is what's behind YUT! It's what's behind GET SOME! It's behind NO WHINING. It's behind anything that was every hard to get and nonetheless was got. Even women need testosterone to have a decent sex drive. Women who want to get huge muscles take shots of the stuff.
I love being a guy. And one of my not-so-guilty pleasures at being at the Naval Academy is the pleasure I get at the clouds of testosterone spewed forth by so many of my students. Of course, I also love women, my wife in particular. I'm firmly convinced that being happy about being a guy is a necessary precursor to loving a woman.
The callers were wrong. The problem is not testosterone. Testosterone is the life force. What about male aggression?
That one just makes my jaw drop. You really and truly don't want that in the military? I sure as bejabbers do.
And not just in the military. Fact is, though the man doesn't always have to take the sexual initiative, the human race would die out if he didn't ever, or if that wasn't the dependable default. The hard-charging “I've got this under control” aspect of men is, in my experience, what makes men attractive to women. What woman will go out on a second date with a man so indecisive he can't even suggest an activity, but asks her over and over what she wants to do? And it's always the guy who gets up in the middle of the night to check out that mysterious creaking -- and the one who fixes the toilet.
So what's the problem? The problem is that nobody says to guys what I've just said -- that testosterone is the elixir of the gods -- as a prelude to saying, “And that's why you can't abuse it.” Abusing testosterone is when you use your greater power (and most men are still physically more powerful than most women) to subdue. Abusing testosterone is when you use contemptuous trickery (date rape drugs) to “get your way,” or if you have anything (and I do mean anything) to do with a drunken woman, except dropping her off at her home and handing her over to her roommate. (The quarterback came over in the middle of the night to have sex with a blotto-drunk woman, according to newspaper reports of the trial. Not good.)
The problem is not, repeat: not, male aggression. It's unchanneled male aggression. You channel aggression by educating men and by explaining to them that with power come responsibilities. Sure, most men are physically powerful enough to commit rape, but that's not an expression of power -- it's low and hurtful and cruel: just what a real man doesn't want to be.
Men aren't dolts. We can be reasoned with. But reasoning with us doesn't work well if somebody kicks us first in our beloved balls by saying, for instance, that the problem is testosterone or male aggression. We know that can't be so, because that's what makes us who we are. Me, I believe that God made male and female. Male wasn't a mistake.
Now we get to the hard part: how do you express this forward force -- this YUT! -- in the bedroom? Answer (pay attention, this is subtle): Only a real partner can really appreciate it. That means the woman has to want it. How do you know what she wants (this was Freud's question)? It's not what she says; it's how she reacts. There's no rule book for this -- you just have to pay attention. Is she laughing at your jokes? Is she leaning forward, looking at you intently in the eyes? Is she looking languid? Giggly? Are her eyeballs distended? (And quick time-out for this reality check: Is she still sober? All bets off if answer here is “no.”) Is she acting like a partner in this business, or like a hunted thing? All men know the difference between these two things, but they have to learn to pay attention to the signals. Usually these go way beyond language, so it is technically true that one time in a hundred, “no” can mean “yes.” Men have to be told this is so exceptional they should never, but never, assume this is that case. At least not without overwhelming evidence of this other sort to buttress this conclusion.
Sexuality is like dancing. The man has to offer to take the lead, and be good at it. But he only leads by paying perfect attention to the motions of his partner. You have to treat her like someone who knows what's going on, not like someone you're trying to con. If she objects, you stop. No, there's no rule book for this. But you know what? There's no rule book to life either.
That's what they don't tell you at military academies. I think they should. One day after class (the subject had become this very rape accusation) during which I outlined these things, a female midshipman told me I should be asked to talk to the Brigade. (I've written a book about this stuff, called Sexual Ethics) Fat chance, I told her. That would be to acknowledge that people are having sex, and to talk about the right and the wrong way to do it. It's far easier to simply forbid it and then swoop down in gray-area cases as if you were going to set things right once and for all. Good luck.
|08-15-2006, 07:54 AM||#2 (permalink)|
Civilian First Class
Join Date: Sep 2004
Re: Are Men the Problem?
I dont know, I kind of like guys to be "macho" myself, but he's definitely right about unchanneled aggression and the need for responsibility with power.
|Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)|
|Thread||Thread Starter||Forum||Replies||Last Post|
|Disgust Over IU Problem||USMCRET6391||Veteran Forums General Discussion||0||06-27-2006 06:19 AM|
|Well, there's your problem right there.||Navy6064||Between the Lines!||0||06-22-2006 05:02 AM|
|Hearing loss is a growing problem for veterans||USMCRET6391||Veteran Forums General Discussion||0||01-09-2006 09:06 AM|
|Computer Problem Report Form||Navy6064||The Fouled Anchor||1||05-06-2005 10:33 AM|
|USAF Maintenance Logs||Navy6064||The Fouled Anchor||5||09-07-2004 10:15 PM|
|New To The Site?||Need Information?|