Saturday, November 10, 2007

Tapping Criticism: Part II (Manhood)

Tapping Criticism: Part II (Manhood)

Warning: In this post I am sort of violating my rule about soap-boxing. However, it’s in the interest of a discussion in tapping, and I feel it warrants attention, and I certainly got riled up when it was happening

I want to mention something that I found was interesting related to our manhood discussion a few weeks ago. I spoke to a friend of mine who goes to tapping, who was very interested in the topic of manhood that we had a few weeks ago, but wasn’t able to attend. She claimed that there were some criticisms of what went on that the discussion when she talked to people, one which was that the discussion was just penis jokes, and the other one which was that the discussion turned into “hippy dippy” feminism, and shied away from the topic of manhood itself. From the looks of the criticisms, and if I remember correctly from what my friend said, I’m assuming the first comment was made by a woman, and the second by a man, and I’d like to actually address both of them:

First point: I thought the genitalia jokes were minimal, and if you thought that they made up the majority of that discussions content, you either just weren’t paying attention or are fixated on the humor of male genitalia. Will I blame you for this? No, it’s not really that serious of a criticism to me, since it doesn’t really have anything to do with the actual content of what was discussed, it’s not really worth an in depth response, as I feel it is a way of dismissing the serious content of what was discussed, which I made a post on earlier when I summarized the discussion. I’m going to chalk this up to a sort of intellectual laziness that concentrates on sound-bites instead of real content. If you think differently, whoever you are, I invite you to respond to this post and tell me how you think my summary was false, how you aren’t an intellectual couch potato, and how we failed to engage anything outside of ball jokes. Defend yourself, if you know I am talking to you, or defend this person if you feel I am being unjust in my criticism.

Second Point: I am a lot more concerned with this point, because it questions the extent to which we engaged the topic on a serious level. In other words, this criticism claims that I conceded ground to what sounds like an outdated ideology in the form of hippy dippy feminism. I’m not exactly sure what hippy dippy feminism is, but if it has to do with Butler’s gender as a performative social construction, than I am willing to concede the point that these ideas of gender were central to our discussion. I like this criticism because it claims in a way, “You made the topic manhood, but instead of actually talking about manhood, you sidestepped it for a discussion of gender and sex.” To be fair, my intention behind the topic was to frame the idea of manhood within the relationship between gender and sex. Also, when I spoke to a certain professor, he claimed that the relationship between gender and sex was to an extent “old news” while philosophical notions of manhood were more intellectually cutting edge.

I was not necessarily aware that there was such a DESIRE to discuss manhood specifically, although I do understand it is something that is not talked about enough in the context of academia, which is why I made the topic in the first place. Therefore, I’d ask this person some questions namely: How can we discuss manhood outside of the context of gender and sex, if its even possible? Did you want me to discuss more specifically how manhood functions in society and what is expected of men today? Did you want us to evaluate manhood morally? I’ll admit we were not very specific in our discussions of manhood regarding positive or negative aspects of it, and only a few were posited. I do think we traced manhood historically, but I’m wondering if you were looking for a more in depth analysis of the modern man, or “what it means to be a man.” That phrase has a sort of connotation to it that to be a man is to have maturity and strength of character, which were aspects that I’m pretty sure were not discussed as being specifically related to manhood in discussion. In other words, we were talking about the differences between male and female gender roles, but maybe you wanted the discussion to be couched more in terms of the difference between boys and men.

While my friend and I were discussing these criticisms, I suggested that she might have wanted to talk about what her ideal man would be, you know, assuming she wanted to be with a man and not a boy. She sort of laughed it off, and said that it might not be an appropriate discussion for tapping philosophy. However, philosophical discussions are all about ideals, and Sean did mention manhood as a set of virtues, that we could perhaps posit separately from notions of masculine gender roles, even though we’d probably have to relate the two anyway.

So, who would be interested in the topic of the ideal man? If there’s enough interest I could write it and we could have manhood part II.

Love and Peace,


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