Vive la Deviance!

Recently I read of an incident that is tragic, but in many way, in my opinion at least, is very illustrative of what is wrong with the contemporary American male gender role, particularly in its southern variant. The episode occurred in Lexington, SC following the University of South Carolina's recent defeat of archrival Clemson University in their annual gridiron showdown.

Two friends--let's call them Junior and Bud--got together for an all-American day of red blooded guy fun. The morning involved deer hunting and the afternoon was spent in pre-game preparations, mainly drinking beer. At gametime, Junior--a die hard USC fan who never attended the school--and his buddy Bud--an equally fanatic Clemson backer, made a $20 wager on the outcome. And they settled in to view the gridiron classic in the comfort of Bud's abode.

The hard fought game resulted in USC's 31-28 victory which prompted Junior to request Bud to pay his debt. Bud refused craftily arguing that since his beloved Clemson Tigers shouldn't have lost, that he was not obligated to pay. Enraged at the slight to his honor and Bud's blatant violation of the sacred beer sotten ballgame betting ethos, Junior stormed out to his Chevy Corsica (one of the finer off road big game hunting sedans) to bring some firepower (his deer hunting rifle) to bear on the situation. At this juncture, Bud made a critical miscalculation with an ultimately fatal attempt at humor when he replied "you can't shoot me, I'm invisible" (no word on whether or not he said this with his eyes closed). Thus further humiliated, Junior cleverly retorted "No you're not!" punctuated by the blast of the deer rifle at close range.

Result: one husband, father and friend dead; another facing murder charges over a $20 football bet and sullied honor.

I didn't make this up; it happened. So why bother repeating this sad tale? It has all the elements of the stereotypical American (or at least southern) male gender role--honor, toughness, pride, camaraderie, individuality, pride, competitiveness and violence, drunkenness, guns, greed and an emphasis on action rather than reason. And crossdressing is considered a deviant behavior that threatens the foundations of our way of life? If the behavior of Bud and Junior is the logical result of "normal" behavior, I'm proud to be a deviant by those standards.

Comments

Jenna said…
I suspect Mr Daniels has something to do with this "slight of honor" and perilous mishap
Re: Vive la Deviance!

Stephanie I understand completely why you'd want to be different from this "norm". Although this is an extreme example, so many common and damaging aspects of male gender peer pressure are highlighted here. For anyone who thinks men don't have a gender issue, this story exemplifies what all men are subjected to in some form or another. To me, this story represents a very real aspect of an old energy, which you and many others are transcending so remarkably.

Much love,
Michele
Alysyn said…
I was having a discussion with my mother very recently regarding the malevolent influence that intoxicants have on the human behavioral pattern. We were entertaining the idea that we, as concious beings, have the choice of whether or not to exhibit some of the base instinctual patterns, prejudices, indiscretions, and uninhibited acts that (to often, in my observation,)have settled into the core of many of our lives. The true test of a person's character is in our ability to rise above those negative and devisive compulsions that we are aware of within themselves. How many of us, in a reactive moment, have expressed, "God! I could just kill them!"? Do we really intend to take that person's life? Chances are, we would realize that it is simply a base reaction to a heinous offense, and our higher self would keep us in check, even to the point of bringing us to admitting that even the simple vocalization of such a desire is detrimental to our well-being.

The innate aggressive nature of the masculine simply facilitates a less thoughtful expressive, sometimes more powerfully compulsive, application of this motivation. Testosterone, while sometimes very attractive when exhibited within a certain context, can also present the opportunity for aggressions that work outside of reason. Useful in the arena of competition and survival, it finds itself outside of it's element in a world where society demands disciplined awareness of others and conscious restraint.

In fact, I believe the conversation with a beloved sister helped me to condense the idea as it applies to modern men: Where sports are necessary to allow the male of our species to expend much of that aggression, not only in it's ability to allow competitive application, but energy expediture, there is a severe lack of opportunity for these same men to balance their lives by understanding their own gender identity within an open framework. The physical is compensated for through aggressive output, but their psychological/emotional framework is boxed into a tightly contained stereotype. This imbalance doesn't allow many men to realize that it is not "girly" or "womanish" to simply apologize for being an ass, or to see that humility is not a weakness. Compassion is considered a primarily feminine trait, not to be applied to a masculine framework, lest a man be diminished in his manhood.

Many times I have heard the word "meekness" derided by men, and even some women. In fact, this word is often misinterpreted as meaning "weak", "timid", "soft"..."cowardly". Yet, if we look at all of the most influential teachers through history, they were defined as meek in nature. Can we look at Jesus or any of the apostles, Moses or the Buddha and apply cowardice to them? Weakness? No. Prior to our culture, history has always described the meek of this earth as "those who exhibited a strength withheld." They were able to contain such absolute power as they knew was in them and expressed it in ways that brought enlightenment to those who would give their attention.
Shari Williams said…
Amen Aly, Amen. I am glad you are on "our side" sis!
Peace and happy holidays
Shari
Stephanie Yates said…
Excellent observations, Alysyn. I found your comments on Jesus and Buddha particularly relevant as I see both as ideal role models for all human beings. In particular, Jesus' comments on turning the other cheek can hardly be seen as cowardice. Nor can dying an excruiating death by crucifixion be seen as weak. And Buddha's advice not to be a slave to one's physical desires demands strength and discipline. It takes considerable courage, wisdom, discipline and fortitude to live a life characterized by trying to benefit others, avoiding selfishness and exhibiting true character. And I'm amazed at how frequently I see these traits exhibited my individuals who born male, choose to express and present themselves, either full or part time, in a manner deemed feminine by our society. The bottom line is that admirable human characteristics are not the province of either social construct known as masculine or feminine.
Alysyn Ayrica said…
Thank you, Steph. In fact, when Jesus instructed to "turn the other cheek" he wasn't merely talking about non-violence, but specifically addressing the persecution one recieves for upholding their ideals. In fact, when one is being abused for their beliefs, it is not the person being fought against, but the belief itself. In such a stance, it truly does take courage, I agree.

The only thing we probably disagree on is that I believe that our feminine/masculine qualities are innate, not influenced. While I admit that there is an fault in my clarity regarding the nature of our pure spiritual essence (is it the full expression of the two genders united, or essentially genderless?) , I do think that those two aspects of our being are merely a duality of creation intended to be in perfect harmony, not in the disharmony we see more often depicted socially right now.
Rosa Raquel Reyes said…
I agree that the most important battle we have is inside ourselves. In fact the Kurukshetra war in the Mahabharata is just a metaphor of that inner conflict.

I think that not just men are tied to stereotypes but also women. Society is a very massive body with a huge inertia dragging as much as it can. Consciousness is our weapon to prevent that and to chose our path. The tricky point is that sometimes consciousness is related to the mind and some times it is not.

The mind is shaped by many things, the context, emotions, feelings, etc. and yes... sometimes like a stone thrown in a peaceful lake, some factors (like stress, drugs, testosterone, etc) make it wild and very difficult to control.

IMHO, having a dual perspective, gives us an advantageous perspective. Having experienced both roles, we can be very aware that the influences are very different depending on the gender. And it is easier to identify what is real and what is an influence of external factors.

In my case, probably the most interesting comparition is my reaction to some influences with and without testosterone. I can say that after 2 years of taking testosterone blockers I find easier to control certain reactions... but the fact, as the Aly's post implies, is that it is my spiritual responsibility to overcome my lower prompts having or not testosterone in my blood.

One day some one asked me "Who do you think you are ascribing you the faculty to choose your gender?"... I just said that I did not choose my gender and that I do not know if someone can really choose it... but the fact is that I can choose how I live my gender and no one can prevent me to do that.

Some people regard that attitud a bit egoistic, but I find that thinking like that they also are being egoistic because they think that what their way of thinking is the best. IMHO expressing ourselves is our duty, not just for the people like us but for society in general because its natural evolution.
Gracee/Greg said…
I'm with ya on that, gender deviant vs "good ol boy". The deviant behavior sounds more normal and considerably more acceptable.
Alexis Rene said…
Anything that differs from the norm is considered deviant by virtue. America is a melting pot of culture, however it is not like we can take all the credit here in the U.S. ;) take a look around at global cultures and the things that make side notes in the news where silliness like this happens regularly. There is always some twist where somebody who didn't order the same thing at lunch as everyone else has become the outcast that should be dragged to the streets & stoned.

I feel the one thing where we all lack in modern day culture is that once we are through our educational journeys, we do not apply the knowledge we have gained to the real world. The educational system has become nothing more than a walk through of the mandated courses, while offering little habitual resonance amongst its peers. One would think that with every generation passing forth there would be a step forward taken in humanity, instead we tend to follow ritualistic methodology and very few seem to break free of the mold. Even if we deviate, many of the other habits taught subconsciously show their face in the conscious mindset.

While I am not religious, I am spiritual and feel that with more people seeking freedom of any spiritual or moral notation that Churches of mainline denomination set forth, the fundamental values that shape our foundation of humanity get lost in how any one of us may transcribes them to fit around our daily life.

Hence the Bud shooting.

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