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107

League of Men

Suddenly this seducer appears

by Elizabeth Schambelan

4
terms
3
notes

really interesting (tho maybe too long) essay linking together modern-day sexual violence and wolf-based mythology (centered around masculinity)

Schambelan, E. (2017). League of Men. n+1, 28, pp. 107-124

109

[...] the people who invented the story didn’t have modernity. They didn’t have ruffled caps or gingham aprons or a notion of quaintness to which these garments belonged. And they presumably did not have a concept of the wilderness, not the way we do. We think of the wilderness as bounded and finite. For them, it was the matrix in which everything else took place, the default, always ready to reclaim its territory. What did it feel like to tell this story about a wild beast when the wilderness pressed so close? What did it look like, in their heads? If you take away the cozy familiarity of that image — a wolf impersonating a grandmother — what are you looking at?

story about the wolf & little red riding hood

—p.109 missing author 2 years, 2 months ago

[...] the people who invented the story didn’t have modernity. They didn’t have ruffled caps or gingham aprons or a notion of quaintness to which these garments belonged. And they presumably did not have a concept of the wilderness, not the way we do. We think of the wilderness as bounded and finite. For them, it was the matrix in which everything else took place, the default, always ready to reclaim its territory. What did it feel like to tell this story about a wild beast when the wilderness pressed so close? What did it look like, in their heads? If you take away the cozy familiarity of that image — a wolf impersonating a grandmother — what are you looking at?

story about the wolf & little red riding hood

—p.109 missing author 2 years, 2 months ago

(verb) to win over by wiles; entice / (verb) to acquire by ingenuity or flattery; wangle

110

Intercepting the girl, the wolf engages, charms, inveigles

—p.110 missing author
notable
2 years, 2 months ago

Intercepting the girl, the wolf engages, charms, inveigles

—p.110 missing author
notable
2 years, 2 months ago

a formal procession of people walking, on horseback, or riding in vehicles

112

Other animals don’t require a whole cavalcade of concepts to warn them away from creatures that want to eat them

—p.112 missing author
notable
2 years, 2 months ago

Other animals don’t require a whole cavalcade of concepts to warn them away from creatures that want to eat them

—p.112 missing author
notable
2 years, 2 months ago

ambiguous; occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold

119

the wolf in this story is a liminal figure, an embodiment of some occult state in which binary conditions are impossibly, gruesomely conflated.

—p.119 missing author
notable
2 years, 2 months ago

the wolf in this story is a liminal figure, an embodiment of some occult state in which binary conditions are impossibly, gruesomely conflated.

—p.119 missing author
notable
2 years, 2 months ago

(noun) a particular form of expression or a peculiarity of phrasing / (noun) a word or expression characteristic of a region, group, or cultural level / (noun) style of discourse; phraseology

119

his arch locution is a latter-day fillip

—p.119 missing author
confirm
2 years, 2 months ago

his arch locution is a latter-day fillip

—p.119 missing author
confirm
2 years, 2 months ago
121

In order for the Männerbünde to do its work, it was necessary to turn boys into wolves. We don’t even know, we cannot and will not name, what we are creating when we somehow transform boys into people who have lost the moral intuition that a woman’s body belongs to the woman — who don’t suspect that a woman’s body is not like a piece of furniture on the curb, not something that belongs to whoever can lift it. We don’t know what this means, this absolute objectification that cannot, logically, be just a vile anomaly in an ethical system otherwise egalitarian and humane. We don’t know what these crimes mean, these assaults that could not occur so regularly, so predictably, were it not the case that all the players are playing to the edge, not just the small percentage who actually cross the line and rape. We don’t know what work this institution performs — this institution of American alpha-bros, of jocks, frat guys, popular dudes, these tight-knit cliques of privileged and socially dominant young men — and we don’t know what bargain we have struck, and strike every day, when we permit this institution to exist in a status quo that appears impervious to growing scrutiny and serial outcries and ever-increasing awareness of “incapacitation rape,” this so often bloodless and invisible violence. There is, as yet, nothing and no one to make us know it, nothing to make it public knowledge, knowledge that we all share and that we all acknowledge that we share. To create that kind of knowledge, you must have more power than whatever forces are working to maintain oblivion. [...]

the only really good part of this essay

—p.121 missing author 2 years, 2 months ago

In order for the Männerbünde to do its work, it was necessary to turn boys into wolves. We don’t even know, we cannot and will not name, what we are creating when we somehow transform boys into people who have lost the moral intuition that a woman’s body belongs to the woman — who don’t suspect that a woman’s body is not like a piece of furniture on the curb, not something that belongs to whoever can lift it. We don’t know what this means, this absolute objectification that cannot, logically, be just a vile anomaly in an ethical system otherwise egalitarian and humane. We don’t know what these crimes mean, these assaults that could not occur so regularly, so predictably, were it not the case that all the players are playing to the edge, not just the small percentage who actually cross the line and rape. We don’t know what work this institution performs — this institution of American alpha-bros, of jocks, frat guys, popular dudes, these tight-knit cliques of privileged and socially dominant young men — and we don’t know what bargain we have struck, and strike every day, when we permit this institution to exist in a status quo that appears impervious to growing scrutiny and serial outcries and ever-increasing awareness of “incapacitation rape,” this so often bloodless and invisible violence. There is, as yet, nothing and no one to make us know it, nothing to make it public knowledge, knowledge that we all share and that we all acknowledge that we share. To create that kind of knowledge, you must have more power than whatever forces are working to maintain oblivion. [...]

the only really good part of this essay

—p.121 missing author 2 years, 2 months ago
122

THIS IS THE STORY I’VE COME UP WITH, about the story Jackie told: she did it out of rage. She had no idea she was enraged, but she was. Something had happened, and she wanted to tell other people, so that they would know what happened and know how she felt. But when she tried to tell it — maybe to somebody else, maybe to herself — the story had no power. It didn’t sound, in the telling, anything like what it felt like in the living. It sounded ordinary, mundane, eminently forgettable, like a million things that had happened to a million other women — but that wasn’t what it felt like to her. What it felt like was lurid and strange and violent and violating. I have no idea what it was, whether a crime was involved. There’s a perfectly legal thing called hogging, where guys deliberately seek out sex partners they find unattractive so they can laugh about it later with their friends. Maybe it was something like that, or maybe it was much milder, an expression of contempt that was avuncular, unthinking, something that transformed her into a thing without even meaning to. Whatever it was, this proximate cause, she didn’t know what to do about it. To figure out how to go on from that moment without dying from rage, you need something she didn’t have. You need self-insight, or historical insight, or at the very least a certain amount of critical distance, a wry appreciation of the ironies of it all. She didn’t have any of that, and that’s why she lied, knowingly or unknowingly — or, most likely, both at once.

—p.122 missing author 2 years, 2 months ago

THIS IS THE STORY I’VE COME UP WITH, about the story Jackie told: she did it out of rage. She had no idea she was enraged, but she was. Something had happened, and she wanted to tell other people, so that they would know what happened and know how she felt. But when she tried to tell it — maybe to somebody else, maybe to herself — the story had no power. It didn’t sound, in the telling, anything like what it felt like in the living. It sounded ordinary, mundane, eminently forgettable, like a million things that had happened to a million other women — but that wasn’t what it felt like to her. What it felt like was lurid and strange and violent and violating. I have no idea what it was, whether a crime was involved. There’s a perfectly legal thing called hogging, where guys deliberately seek out sex partners they find unattractive so they can laugh about it later with their friends. Maybe it was something like that, or maybe it was much milder, an expression of contempt that was avuncular, unthinking, something that transformed her into a thing without even meaning to. Whatever it was, this proximate cause, she didn’t know what to do about it. To figure out how to go on from that moment without dying from rage, you need something she didn’t have. You need self-insight, or historical insight, or at the very least a certain amount of critical distance, a wry appreciation of the ironies of it all. She didn’t have any of that, and that’s why she lied, knowingly or unknowingly — or, most likely, both at once.

—p.122 missing author 2 years, 2 months ago