Home | About | Donate

Groping for Manhood


Groping for Manhood

Robert Lipsyte

It’s time for the bystanders to challenge the bullies.

Journalism, which expends a great deal of energy examining and carping about all forms of popular culture, rarely criticizes jock culture in any fundamental way.


Bravo to Robert!
A very thoughtful, engaging, and almost embarrassingly honest testimony on his own past, maleness, and American cultural expectations of men.(and women). Thank you…I hope your fellow ‘bystanders’ take note.


What a great column. I am particularly struck by the role that economic and social insecurity, reinforced by our employment laws that give almost total power to employers, plays in all this. We are all so terrified of losing our jobs or having our careers nipped in the bud that we are willing to let a minority of people rule our lives. As Mr. Lipsyte shows, in the current system it’s like it is in school; you can’t shut the bully down, you can only try to make yourself and the people close to you harder targets for them, which may or may not work. Let’s hope the Supreme Court finally gives workers some modicum of power to address situations like these together, instead of as isolated individuals, standing by helplessly and wondering if we’ll be next.


Gratitude for your insightful post. It is so true that we all have been bystanders in one way or the other for so much of our lives. We have been programmed to make no waves, and when we do we are accused of not being team players and undermined or worse when taking a stand. While reading your post, I for some reason thought of the airplane incident when that man was threatened, harassed and harmed on the airplane because he didn’t want to give up his seat. The incident was despicable. But at the time I was hoping that were I on that airplane, I would have taken a stand. But you know, I am not sure. I think we must begin to ask ourselves that question and be ready to take a stand when we are witnessing behaviors by “powered” people that are trampling on the human rights of those with less perceived power.


I do hope its our turn. That sort of male aggressiveness the author speaks of disgusts me so much that I refuse to do anything that even remotely resembles it. That includes not making the first move when I am interested in a woman. Unfortunately, women by and large expect the man to make the first move. As a result, I’m a middle aged bachelor. It would really help to change society if women would start making the first move. Perhaps I’m just revealing my ignorance in all this. I only know that aggressiveness whether from males or females disgusts me. I find it to be very uncivil behavior.


What? Women have a voice?

What? Even a powerful man, or a powerful institution, cannot simply impose their will on women?

What is this world coming to? They never should have been granted the vote on August 18, 1920!

With The New Climate Regime, new agencies have arisen. The Water Protectors made Water a political actor.

How about trees?

“Should Trees Have Standing? Law, Morality, and the Environment” Book by Christopher D. Stone

From a book by Burno Latour which brings in even more agents:

With The New Climate Regime, the same question arises: how to distribute agency by parceling out powers, aptitudes, and capacities among things, gods, humans, and classes, in order to impose one cosmology over another. Everything is reshuffled: the order of nature as well as the political order, and as always, what one must think about religion and who has the right to interpret God’s word — which has since become the word of the Market. The defense of the autonomy of things, like the defense of the autonomy of peoples — the refusal to let others, whoever they may be, impose their laws on you — remains the big question, scientific as well as political.

Quotation from “Facing Gaia: Eight Lectures on the New Climate Regime” by Bruno Latour. pages 188-189

Latour has human and non human agents in his metaphysics. That is shown in the paragraph above.

Latour uses a term “distributed agency” which has taken me a while to get into. The example of attacks on women and their standing up is an example of a new agency. In my sarcastic note, it was not until 1920 that women could vote. When are we going to let the earth, Gaia, have voice, sufficient to stimulate earthbounds to react to the challenge of The New Climate Regime?


This was simply put an exceptionally written piece.


Great article! It is time to finally pass the Equal Rights Amendment. It should have been done a long time ago!