Wednesday, April 28, 2010

PJM column: Does society encourage the genital assault of men?

I have a new column up at PJM that asks the question:

Why do we find comedy regarding men being struck in the groin acceptable?

You can read the column here.

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Blogger AB said...

Fair enough point, but...

If a bunch of guys are playing football and one of them takes it in the groin two things happen:

1. Everyone laughs at the victim and makes fun of the fact that he's writhing around on the ground in agony.

2. Five hours later, when the guys are all drinking beers together, they're still laughing about the whole thing.

(Because, well, it's funny stuff.)

9:18 AM, April 28, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I never found it all that funny when someone got injured and was "writhing around on the ground in agony".

Andrew's experience should not be generalized. I don't know what Andrew's deal is.

9:26 AM, April 28, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe he also finds it hilarious stuff to torture cats. Who knows.

9:27 AM, April 28, 2010  
Blogger TMink said...

Think of the videos on America's Funniest Home Videos. I do not recall seeing women struck and in pain being shown as funny, but the show will line up several videos in a row of men being struck painfully in the genitals.

We call them crotchtastrophes.


9:43 AM, April 28, 2010  
Blogger Memphis said...

I can't tell you how much I appreciate you taking the time to write this article. Thank you very much!

10:28 AM, April 28, 2010  
Blogger LPF said...

@TMlink: clearly you never saw the vid of the very round woman going over a bump on a motorbike and then being tossed forwards over the handlebars... I laugh just thinking about that one. :-)


11:02 AM, April 28, 2010  
Blogger HMT said...

A strike to the groin is not a "sexual assault". The groin is a well known target when attacking someone. Someone kicking or punching someone "in the balls" is assaulting them, or bullying them, not "sexually assaulting" them. Why should where I strike someone matter? If I walk up and punch someone in the gut they're going to double over, how is this different from a "kick in the nuts"?

I've never felt sexually shamed or sexually abused or "less of a man" after getting struck in the groin. I've only felt pain.

This presumes you're not already engaged in a brawl, in that case a groin strike is a completly legitimate (if overated) strike target.

11:04 AM, April 28, 2010  
Blogger AB said...


Have you ever played football, basketball, baseball, softball, ultimate frisbee, wiffle ball, golf, soccer, tennis, ping pong, foosball, street hockey, volleyball, team handball, racquetball, flag football, or "throw-the-ball-at-the-guy-who-isn't-looking" with a group of males aged anywhere between the ages of, say 12 and 72?

Guy gets hit in the groin.

Everyone stands around and laughs.

Guy walks it off. (funny walk is also humorous)

Play resumes.

11:42 AM, April 28, 2010  
Blogger HMT said...

Doesn't sound like a group of "men" I'd be playing a game of anything with. Anyone who laughs AT someone else in pain is a douche.

The scenario you're describing goes like this:

BAM (nut hit)
hittee: "guh"
hitter: "you OK man?"
male bystander: "Dang, ouch"
hittee: "guh"
hitter: "walk it off man. HEY JIM! sub in for a bit!"

11:53 AM, April 28, 2010  
Blogger AB said...


Okay, I skipped the "you okay man?" step, and I'd transcribe "dang, ouch" as "ooooohhhhhhh".

But I have never, in all of my travels, not seen some heavy laughter in the process. Other injuries I've seen/experienced (blown-out knees, broken fingers, legs, faces, etc.), are met with serious concern, but the groin hit is almost always funny.

And yes, "men" - ranging from college buddies to middle-aged participants in church sports leagues - laugh pretty consistently.

12:16 PM, April 28, 2010  
Blogger LPF said...

Ask and ye shall receive:


12:54 PM, April 28, 2010  
Blogger LordSomber said...

For years I would just shrug at depictions of "dumb dads" and gratuitous groin attacks.
But one's perspective changes when you realize young boys are fed a constant TV diet of this garbage.

1:08 PM, April 28, 2010  
Blogger Der Hahn said...

Think about the height of the average toddler/grade schooler and the average adult male.

I don't think women are under-represented in the clips. They just aren't as likely to execute the "Hey, y'all watch this" manuvers that wind up being submitted, and I think there might be tendency to think what happens to them is more embarrasing than painful.

4:41 PM, April 28, 2010  
Blogger Dr.Alistair said...

there seems to be a growing appetite for the depiction of the bagshot (actually a place in england where i grew up!) in film and other media.

there may be a correlation between that and the growing population of high earning females who see this as an image of empowerment...such as the recent image of an angry woman making a fist on a nike ad i saw on a billboard making a fist...with the tagline "just do it". (possibly aimed at tiger woods?!?) in the ad the woman is wearing a visor but other than that it is merely a close-up image of a woman grimacing and making a fist, with the encouragement to "just do it".

i personally don`t find guys getting hit in the nuts funny at all. i have experienced it playing soccer and seen it happen to others, and never once found it amusing at all. one would have to be some sort of sociopath to derive any sort of pleasure from such a thing.

the image of the fat woman bouncing on the bike is funny, and the reason why is that we marginalise fat people into non-persons who therefore have no feelings. if the woman on the bike was pretty or "hot" as the young like to say, we would be horrified.

are men being similarly marginalised by these images in "comedies"?

though in bullfights i`ve always been rooting for the bull.

5:27 PM, April 28, 2010  
Blogger The blogprof said...

Dr. Helen - one thing in your post that I kind of disagree with: "Imagine the uproar if a women were punched in the breast on a television show. It is unthinkable." Just as an example, if you've ever seen the movie Kingpin, they showed an assault, albeit on the 'lighter side,' on the male brain and the female boob (Vanessa Angel's - shwing!) all in one clip:

Just sayin'. As for male genitalia mutilated on the big screen, I don't think any scene illustrates that more than this one of the late Charles Bronson... err... taking control:

5:51 PM, April 28, 2010  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A strike to the groin is not a "sexual assault".

True, if said groin is owned by a man. Do you have any test cases for the opposite?

I've never seen a girl or woman struck in the groin, no matter how violent she was or who she attacked. One would think that if there were no fear of being slapped with a sex crime it would have happened at least once.

8:22 PM, April 28, 2010  
Blogger Unknown said...

Any discussion on this subject should probably include this clip from the Mike Judge movie "Idiocracy":

If you've never seen the movie, put it in your Netflix queue. It is set 500 years in the future when, due to evolution and the lack of predators, the world is populated by morons with a high sex drive.

8:43 AM, April 29, 2010  
Blogger Memphis said...

Violence targeting the genitals is sexual assault to the victim, even if The Law currently refuses to classify it as such. Even professional fighters, when a shot lands in the testicles, give the other fighter a very clear look of "you son-of-a-bitch" before falling to the ground. It is NOT the same as assaulting any other bodypart and can result in castration, even death from shock if a testicle ruptures. Psychologically it is completely different, as Dr. Finkelhor and his fellow researchers discovered in their studies. Men don't have a deep instinctive terror of losing a hand or a foot or some internal organ. But all males have a deeply rooted instinctive terror of castration, which is what all of this focus on assaulting men's testicles is really about.

11:15 AM, April 29, 2010  
Blogger Peregrine John said...

The commenters over at PJM are... enlightening, if not enlightened. Let's see if I can sum up the position of Team Opposed:

1. It is unmanly to point out that something is unreasonable, unfair, horrifying or wrong if the offense is against men or a man.
2. It is no longer permitted to respond to such things in the traditional manly ways, e.g. punching the offender in the face or backhanding them into weeping remorse.
3. For some reason, defending or protecting one's rights makes impossible the defending or protecting of others' rights.
4. Acting as a doormat, punching bag and/or scapegoat is the new Manly.

I would describe exactly what I think of such a position, but alas, I am a gentleman. Plus, I would invoke the wrath of the blog's profanity filter, even if it doesn't have one.

12:07 PM, April 29, 2010  
Blogger Peregrine John said...

For the record, I'm ok with #2 so long as #1 goes the way of the dodo.

12:33 PM, April 29, 2010  
Blogger Helen said...

Peregrine John,

I agree with you, I was surprised at how many of the commenters at PJM seem to enjoy the act of men getting hurt and conclude it unmanly to fight back, particularly by speaking up, for this might even be seen as "too feminine." I guess only women have the right to stand up for themselves in their mind. I guess masochism is the new macho to them.

1:56 PM, April 29, 2010  
Blogger Bob Sorensen said...

I was never amused by injury and pain videos. Maybe because I'm not seven years old. The old "bash to the balls" stuff is probably funny to people who do not have any or want to pretend that such a deep, basic personal pain cannot affect them. Are these people still laughing when a serious injury is the result?

8:30 PM, April 29, 2010  
Blogger Realguy said...

I have to agree with the article. I think it's become popular for entertainment to belittle men whenever possible. Little girls are being trained to "get back" at men for some reason and the attack of men's sexual organs is their preferred method. Meanwhile, little boys are trained to be submissive and taught that speaking out against this sexual assault is not politically correct and will result in them being ridiculed. If it's OK for a woman to demand respect from men, why can't a man demand the same respect from women? I don't watch a lot of TV and very few movies, but I see men struck in the groin for entertainment several times a day. I have never seen a woman struck in the groin for any reason, though it has the same effect on women. Maybe it's time for men to feel that we deserve a little respect and dignity too.

3:52 PM, January 09, 2011  

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