MISANDRY – Isolating Men: Platonic touch and gay-shaming


In its continuing quest to look like it cares about men The Good Man Project had a post decrying the way men are barred for Platonic touch in our culture, and the harm this inflicts on men.

On the Reddit thread where this article was posted dungone made these comments:

[–]dungone 6 points7 points8 points 2 days ago*

Going to call bullshit on this. This has nothing to do with homophobia. Nothing! It starts with mothers refusing to touch their own male babies. The article flat out lies about this. It also flat out lies about sports and other male activities as only offering “aggressive touch”. What bullshit! The historical photos they use of men touching is a cherry picked joke as well – you can find just as many modern photos of men touching. This is all about confirmation bias.

This is not homophobia, this is just plain old misandry, and this article is part of the problem. For those men who are actually affected by this for days or weeks at a time, that’s all there is. No matter what it is that feminists say, there is far more stigma against men touching women than other men. Not allowed to touch children. Not allowed to touch anyone, really, without others seeing it in sexual terms. And conversely, no one will touch men without considering the sexual implications. This article tries to hijack the real pain of these men and blame it on a sensationalized men’s bigotry in order to fit an ideological agenda.

A question came up:

[–]blueoak9 -1 points0 points1 point 1 day ago

“Going to call bullshit on this. This has nothing to do with homophobia. ”

dungone, do you really think gay-shaming is never used to enforce this norm?

Of course there is misandry in this. Homophobia is a subset of misandry.

He responds:

[–]dungone 0 points1 point2 points 1 day ago*

Definitely not the way it’s being misconstrued and blown out of proportion here. At the very least it ignores 2/3 of the problem – women and children.

Stigmatizing male touch causes homophobia, not the other way around. You often see it as both comic relief or perhaps real fear in male sports or the military, where there is already plenty of male bonding and touch. It’s a natural response to male touch being stigmatized and interpreted in sexual terms. Gay-shaming is also used to prod men into making risky initiatives towards women and otherwise overcoming the stigma against male touch.”

I see his point. What he is really referring to is the type of misandry expressed as untouchability.

But back to the business of demonizing male touch as a form of companionship. One effect of homophobia in the culture is to open every form of male companionship to suspicion of Teh Evil Gay. You see this in the way movies about men working as partners are coyly called “bromances”. A man who would rather spend time with his friends gaming instead of pussy-hounding is virgin-shamed and gay-shamed and called a loser. And speaking of gaming, is the all-out assault on the game culture anything but an artillery prep for an attempt to colonize yet another male space, to include calls for making it friendlier to whatever mythical women would be playing there but aren’t, unlike all the women already happily conforming to the gaming culture’s norms.

Laszlo referred to this in a comment about another example of this tendency in the culture:

“You should dig around and see what they are doing to the military. Arguably one of the last bastions for men to stand side-by-side is falling prey to unbridled equality-seeking, and political-correctness. While we are busily making sure we don’t offend anyone – including our enemies, we are gelding the honor and duty right out of an already tenuous military.”

The threat of the prohibition on male touch goes beyond untouchability. It is an attack on human bonding. It is misandry taken as far as it can go, right into actual dehumanization.

Jim Doyle
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<span class="dsq-postid" data-dsqidentifier="3539 http://www.genderratic.com/?p=3539">19 comments</span>

  • Dude, I DON’T WANT other men touching me…

    I like THAT cultural boundary…

    I guess that makes me a proud homophobe…

    anyways, what do I expect from a place that has Jack Don-0-van and Huggs Scumbag as authors….

    If either tried to touch me, I’d kick, punch and bite…

  • I don’t like anyone touching me but then I have issues. I’m probably less offended by the prospect of dehumanizations because I feel so little innate solidarity with humanity at large. It has less to do with gender roles–though there is that–than with having a layer of physical and emotional “personal space” which has grown larger from irritation like a callus.

  • Allow me to clarify my comments on the Reddit thread. Male bonding is a broader topic than male touch, and male also touch involves touching women and children, not just other men. Talking about bromances and video games really doesn’t address it directly because those don’t really involve touch. Sports teams huddling, men patting one another on the back after a success, the occasional hug, etc, is male touch between men. Intimacy with members of the same or opposite sex, hugging children or parents, etc, confer the same physiological and health benefits that hugging another man would and then some. When we talk about touch isolation, we talk about the absence of all of these other things first and foremost.

    It’s important to note that guys playing video games aren’t the ones gay shaming one another for doing so, either. But TGMP blames 100% of male touch isolation on internalized homophobia and treats micro cultures where positive male touch does happen, such as sports, as the enemy. It’s backwards. If we talk about gay shaming of male activities by attention-seeking women and men who pedestalize women, then we are not talking about the same problem as internalized homophobia, but perhaps one of the causes of internalized homhobia. Again, TGMP treats the issue as if it can be solved by engineering softer, kinder, less masculine men, rather than looking at these external factors.

  • I wonder what the rates of introversion/extroversion are for men and women? Some discrepancy could be attributed to this.

    But then, you have other cultural norms pushing men into the “extrovert” role, such as initiating dating encounters. So maybe it comes out as a wash in the end.

  • dungone, those are all valid points and the subject is a lot biger than one post. his aspect of male touch touches on a lot of areas – male bonding, untouchability (women and children you mention) and also on cultural concepts of personal boundaries that the others mention.

    On TGMP:
    ” Again, TGMP treats the issue as if it can be solved by engineering softer, kinder, less masculine men, rather than looking at these external factors.”

    This just goes back to hypergency. Whatever is wrong in men’s lives is their own fault and their own job to fix, except of course that feminism is the answer and men are nothing but auxiliaries in feminism and God forbid a man try to mansplain about his own life and if men do in fact do anyting to make thir lives better, it had better not offend some woman’s feelings or needs, however retrograde those may be. or he’s a macho brute.

  • I know. Sorry I was sick. This damned virus keeps coming back. Supposedly it takes six weeks and I’m in about Week 4.

  • This topic easily winds back around to the way that culture generally smacks and beats healthy expressions of emotion out of men by piling on responsibility, duty and a maze of rules concerning social interaction which are all based on the idea that “a man” is an inherently dangerous beast.

    It goes hand-in-hand with the idea of “manslaining” that Ginkgo brings up because a man’s inner life either 1) doesn’t matter one lick or 2) is instilled by external factors such as family and career. “Mansplaining” is the political-action version of this issue in which, literally, men are not allowed to have their own experiences because they should be focusing 100% of their attention on the emotional lives of those they care and provide for (such as spouse, children, parents, or other family… anyone but their own person).

    But at a base level it’s just about the fact that society desires to “police” men at this juncture of time. It feels as if, in my own experience as a 30 year old guy, my emotional health has been drilled down to an impossible-to-breach stone. I didn’t even see it happening, but the result of years and years of years of being told over and over that my emotional needs are secondary to others’ needs makes it so.

    And just trying to speak is the most difficult part. As soon as I begin to open my mouth I’m bombarded by self-destructive little voices telling me “you’re making a big deal of nothing!” or “she’s crying, you need to fix it!” or “you’re still at work, keep it together!” or simply the constant refrain that “your problems aren’t important!” which is a huge foundation-stone in the current discourse on gender relations for men.

    It all builds up until many men simply stop feeling anything other than a crippling loneliness and bubbling anger. All the frustrations and disappointments just get banished to a place where they slowly simmer and transform into a profoundly lost sense of anger. And who are we to know what we’re feeling is true when we spend our whole lives learning to shut off that part of our brain? I think my case is certainly more extreme, but to an extent I think most men hit this wall eventually. Maybe at the deepest level it’s just the same mess of “gender norms” that has been thrown through the insanely inconsistent blender of modern Social Justice.

  • It’s not misery, just no energy and a righteously stuffed up head. It will pass.

    Crow, you just sketched out the whole emotional dynamic. It happens to be a male thing in our culture but in others women displa the same emotional numbness. In fact this is a good example of how gender roles are a feature of culture.

  • That sums up my marriage quite nicely – I was the workhorse and his APs and Prostitutes were held up as examples of female accomplishment and value. He once told me that his S & M prostitutes were very bright women (the 2 to which he admits) who were doing what they did to put themselves through college. I guess the fact that I attended college and worked in the library didn’t confer the same prestige and allure on me as being a prostitute. Go figure.

  • Dominique, welcome!
    ” I was the workhorse and his APs and Prostitutes were held up as examples of female accomplishment and value.”

    This is another lobe of the same kind of thing. Your spouse was putting you on touch starvation, because, let me guess, he would have exploded if you ever stepped out on him the way he did on you.

    In fact forbidding outside sources of physical contact and then denying it at home as well is a standard dog-in-the-manger control tactic.

    ” I guess the fact that I attended college and worked in the library didn’t confer the same prestige and allure on me as being a prostitute. Go figure.”

    I’m guessing again, but I doubt there was anything you could do to compete with these dalliances. The talk about thier accomplishments was probably just a smoke screen.

    My sympathies for all that, and more so if you are staying for whatever reason.

  • “Most MRA’s are one blowjob away from not being MRA’s….”

    Most straight guys are one blow job from walking on the other side too, or at least straying now and then.

    Gay men and black women are the key to demolishing white feminism’s claims to inclusiveness and moral superiority..

  • I love linking problems with our society to feminism. Unfortunately this problem goes beyond feminism. Gay-shaming is just one of many reason Americans don’t touch.
    Of course I don’t touch people I was raised by TV. And since I have your attention I would like to complain about the lack of warmth radiating from the new Flat screens. Bubble TV’s just provided a worm huge like felling and static electric kisses that were just unbeatable.

  • Welcome, Rob!

    “I love linking problems with our society to feminism. Unfortunately this problem goes beyond feminism. ”

    I totally agree. This goes a lot deeper than feminism. It’s a whole shift in the culture starting in the late 1800s. You see old daguerretypes of men hanging allover each other and as the years go by your see it less and less.

    “Gay-shaming is just one of many reason Americans don’t touch.”

    Probably true. Gay-shaming has nothing to do with the way Americans don’t bow to each other either, which is a pretty basic human responses. OTOH Ameircans will hug a lot sooner than we will bow. Sports figures started hugging about 20 years ago and it spread through the culture, like the fist bump thing. Sports figures, gold-plated masculine icons – so maybe gay-shaming does play some role.

  • As a low status unemployed male, I have been denied female touch. I am nothing to them. My good looks and confidence is totally overlooked. (Had females show interest in me, they try to sniff my status out, once they find out that I am low status, they kill the interaction off. This is true online and in the real world.)

    I had close friendships with men instead. I have men in my life that I love. They take care of me, I take care of them. My mental health has greatly improved because of them. I tried to kill myself once because I was totally alone.

    I refuse to let females decide if I have intimate close relationships.

    I only wish I was gay so I could get regular sex but I can live with it.

  • tamerlane, that’s probably the best accomodation you’re going to be able to make under current cultural conditions. There was a time and not os long ago when men and women married, had regualr (or thereabouts) sex and had all thier primary emotional relationships with other women and men repsectivley.

    The BBC had a show a couple of years back taking a family and putting them inot a period to experience it. they took one family and set them up in an edwardian household servants, shooting parties, teas and all. The wife said she enjoyed the servants and the teas, to an extent, but they cut into her tiem with her husband. He was off shooting with the guys and she was drinking teas with her frends and she missed him. They spent every night together but very little waking time.

    That’s a pretty fundamental cultural change in a pretty short time. Apparently upper-class edwardians expected married people to spend very litle time for each. apparently they expected a person’s primary friendships and emotional ties to members of their own sex, with whom their common life really was. In other words, marriage was marriage and emotional connections were something quite different.

    One married out of duty and of course it helped it one were a gynerast. But although novels of that period may have idealized the married couple who was in love, the evidence from actual manners is that it was not the norm.

By Jim Doyle

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