Dimensions of the masculine: quasi methodological considerations


Magister Michael commissioned me to write this article, because he thought it a bit insincere for Sinistre or himself to do it; and Destre is out of the count for now. Sinistre, and to a lesser extent, Michael, are very interested in those corners, those pockets of the world that we have where deviance and difference exists.

The worlds that people have where they express themselves differently, or they see the world in a different way, where those who are not familiar with such difference, or are part of the mainstream in virtue of lack of familiarity, shun.


I suppose it is Sinistre’s social science background that enables the possibility of his knowledge of such weird things in the world. Those obscurities that we don’t accostum ourselves with, like the Israeli psytrance scene, or real girl dolls (a post on that should be coming up in the near future).

I want to pose some social phenomena to you, and then, put forward a polemical. I shall grant through these considerations, that we may take masculinity o be a very complex and multiply realised concept. That is, we may find expression of this thing called masculinity, and find it having different places in our lives; but does that tell us that we are the same, or different, as social units? It is this question to which I define the two poles.

So, with that aside, let us now begin.


Sinistre likes to understand the corners and facets of the world that people do ot often see, the things that are hardly acknowledge in the world. Consider the phenomenon of male rape. Male rape may occur through a variety of setting, statistically it is consistently a proportionately low frequeny. This tells us that it is hardly reported, but not that it hardly happens. To the latter question, we can only speculate, or refine our methodological tools (consider the British Crime Survey against ‘Official statistics’).

Consider how, for instance, the male archetype denotes verility and and dominance, it is surely consistent, nay, logically contrapositive, to say that his would conversely mean that the violation of a man would be intimate and deeply shameful. The point to be made here, is that crimes affect all. The objects of our analysis should not, therefore, be based on the previous objects of analysis, and, consequently, their objects, if and only if we have any suspicion that they give us anything less than apodictic certainty.

Body image

Men have body image issues too. People talk a lot of the feminine archetype that is being projected to the world of thin beign beautiful; men have normative expectations upon appearance as well. Consider, for instance, the coining of the term ‘metrosexual’; or Michael’s previous post about his wolverine action figure.

Michael told me how most of his action figures were male; and furthermore, they all had overly defined abs, torsos, arms and legs. Even more so than even some of the best athletes, and boxers. Even martial artists and weightlifters look flabby (especially the latter!); so, an action figure that, in a neutral position looks like a steroid cramp? That’s pretty normative to me.

Men have worries of being attractive, being accepted, being embraced. Men can disregard their bodies and sexual identities for the prospect of tenderness that they never find; men subject themselves to objectification and accept the norms of scrutiny that judge them. Not all men, granted. But the point here is a methodological one; what is our unit of analysis?

The place of emotions

Men are not allowed to cry, except in football games, rememberance masses, the film The Great Escape, and maybe, the funeral of their loved ones (but only certain ones). This is, clearly an overdone and possibly offensively absurd view. Nevertheless, there is asymmetry about the appropriateness of expressing emotion. This isn’t a gender issue to be as simple as ‘women talk about their feelings, men perform activities together’; this is one about the definition of the situation.

The boundaries of a relationship are set by the agents who play it. My relationship with Michael is that I can tell him everything and I trust him with my life; but Michael could never do the same, for him, all such relations of care and compassion are only one way, Michael is very detached from me, compared to say, his closeness with Sinistre and Destre (the original Areopagites).

By contrast, the appropriateness of the expression of laughter may be more appropriate among my girlfriends, where with the Areopagites (except sinistre), everything is very serious and intellectual.


To be an individual is a criterion of authenticity for many youth cultures; not so, I state; to be an individual, or to define practical identity, is a universally important social construct. Perhaps this is the spaner in the works; social criteria is not a good metric for social analysis. So then, we are back to square one. What is an appropriate looking glass into ourselves as a human community?



One thought on “Dimensions of the masculine: quasi methodological considerations

  1. How can you be so foolish, Antisophie.

    You are positing a question-begging premise here. Namely, that the social individual is our primitive unit for analysis; FURTHERMORE, you commit to the furtehr fallacy that the social individual is the only unit of analysis, even if the person is an apt unit for analysis. You are putting a very strong biconditional claim here. You are not arguing very well, my dearest Antisophie.

    I will grant you this, however, the issue coincerning the papropriate spectactles we wear to see the social world is an important conderation to have; however, you are clearly not familiar enough with how social science works (that’s forgivable, since you are Master Destre’s subject).

    Seomtimes when we analyse society, we imput our own categories, which do not have to have ontological status, that is, we can impose certain metrics by which we analyse the changes, permances, and trends of how the world works. Foucault’s governmentality thesis comes into mind; a slightly worse example is the historical dialectic in Marxist writings, or, a better one, the character of the postmodernist society; the prevalence of service industry away from primary resource (and by resource, I don’t mean people!) management (human and natural geography); the change in the organisation of the workplace, and its macrostructural implications (sociology and economics); and the geopolitical and globalised world that we are placed in; in particular, our analysis of legislation, and the behaviour of nation-states (policy studies, political science, international relations).

    Okay, so now more for the philosophical point, Michael once made a suggestion that we may use ‘categories’ to structure thought, we may use nontranscenednetal categories to understand the relations of individuals; but presuppose them (as a social construction) in order to understand the relations between people. I think this is a slightly dubious claim, for issues relating to Michael’s obsession with Kant; however, the more pressing issue we can point out is that we must look beyond the person. An individual is not to be understood, if in phenomenal terms, as a noumenal object for noumenal analysis.

    In other words; there may be people as things in themselves, but their true inner reality is quite a hopeless project to understand them (leave that to the speculative phenomenologists, existentialists, and psychoanalysists); we do, however, have interesting social stories to tell. Consider how people are placed in youth culture, consider how people are placed in the terms of their practical identity (which you rightly point out). Despite this, it is the role of teh social sceintist to be able to make claims that spread beyond minor premise claims (e.g. Fido is sad) to major premise claims (e.g. Dogs are sad; Fido is a dog: Fido is sad). We want to be able to make the sweeping statements, albeit with nuances and sophistication. We wnt to be able to do social theorising; for what else is social science but the systmatic account of our human organisation?

    Is that latter claim question begging? Perhaps. I will answer this premise by stating that this is a very important programmatic statement for the role of social science; it is, if you will, a systematicity desideratum placed for social science.


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