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A little less than a happy high
komos
komos
Is Equal, Is Not Equal
I've a question that's been bugging me since the story about mannergarten broke. I know that there was a certain degree of amusement over the idea. Perhaps some of you even thought it might be a good idea.

I guess what troubles me is that it's not all that dissimilar from the old gentlemen's clubs* which have all but disappeared. There is of course, one exception. Instead of being a place where men can gather and enjoy each other's company and a certain elan, mannergarten is a place billed as a kind of day care or kindergarten for grown men.

So, why is it that a gathering of men by their choice is presents an edifice that needs be torn down, but one where the men can be infantilized in some way is acceptable and funny?


*I'm talking about the old dark-panelled social clubs where one could enjoy a port and a cigar in the company of other men, not the common euphemism for an "upscale" strip joint.
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futurenurselady From: futurenurselady Date: November 11th, 2003 06:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Sadly, there are too many things in this country marked toward men that infantilize them. I have always thought is was a shame that with the quest for women to be considered equals men have been shot down. It reminds me of grade-school stuff; maknig fun of folk one is jealous of in order to feel better about oneself.

Disgusting.

FNL
komos From: komos Date: November 12th, 2003 05:53 am (UTC) (Link)
I think it's endemic with the direction Western culture has gone. It's very frustrating to me. Half the time I feel as though I need to apologize for being born with a y chromosome.
From: skygoodwill Date: November 11th, 2003 06:55 pm (UTC) (Link)

Infantile Rage

There is something to this arguement, though the key theme is idealism.

It is idealistic to think that all participants of men-only gentlemen's clubs were by choice and not peer pressure, social pressure, or career-oriented pressure. Now that social structures have been liberated, men gather according to interests, passions, or career-oriented focused socially geared events.

Mannergarten is an idealism of its own. A fantasy world for men again and perhaps for the women involved. These men go there willingly.

It is a complex contemplation this. Not easily determined by lack of social structures for men.

It is tragic. I look askance at the women who would believe this is an appropriate way to treat their partners in life. It is such a public outing of developmental issues and I think that is the difficult part. Its a social structure inserting itself in the public consciousness and since there is no outrage, and it functions, it is somehow made to be socially acceptable to infantalize men.

I recently saw a huge trend reported in Japan, where there is a doll craze among women and men. Adults. Who carry around digitalized adult dolls on a daily basis, who make sounds at appropriate stimuli.

My mind tends to think of the industrialization, of mechanization, and its degradation of the human condition and development over time. This mass expression of 'inner child' in such an open and public way to me, shows either a renewing of the human condition that has been degraded from the first beginnings, or a distress of loss of innocence that is crying out to be regained.

Human dignity is not easily lost nor easily regained. I feel that by and large mechanized war obliterated men's honour and dignity. What honour is there in a war without hand-to-hand combat? Just blowing people to ratshit, and destroying cities into rumble is not really how wars used to be fought.

Remember too, that across Europe, especially Britain and Germany, the demand on the child to be an adult as soon as possible was uppermost. Any childlike expression was frowned upon severely. The pendulum swings.

Well thats all for now.



komos From: komos Date: November 12th, 2003 05:49 am (UTC) (Link)
If we run with the idea that men gather according to interests, passions, et al, we still often find that such gatherings are sneered at. Gamers are "socially maladjusted." Sports fans are inexplicably "obsessed." Here, instead of letting the men go do their thing, they're placed in daycare and that idea is found amusing.

Consider, for a moment The Lord of the Rings. It's a story that is (in part) about the close bonds that can develop between men as they face common dangers. The popular response? Talk of the homo-eroticism between Sam and Frodo and slash fiction about "pervy hobbit fanciers." Why is it that men can't be close without being perceived as a either dangerous or as closeted gays?

I've no illusions about the artifice that existed behind the gentlemen's club, and yes, the men who have gone to mannergarten have done so willingly. My issue lies more in the fact that the two are very much the same except that the social controls have altered. Men are not children, though I think that there is an strong move to stereotype them as such.


I very much like your ideas on industrialization and mechanization. More on this later.
wisdom_seeker From: wisdom_seeker Date: November 12th, 2003 05:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
I must think on this more to truly respond, but here are some thoughts:
I think it is just plain wrong that men and boys are expected to be totally closed off from intimate bonds with other men unless they are homosexuals. I have known some men who managed to get past this social structure and I believe they were better for it. It's a social disconnect that women want men to respect their feelings and to be intimate with them, but boys are not taught how to do this and wind up very confused when they first start interacting with the opposite sex (and I don't know that that confusion is ever entirely dispelled). You're right, too, about Sam and Frodo. Theirs is not a homosexual bond, but one of respect and love for each other's talents and nobilities. I know that there was a time when relationships like this between men were not so frowned upon; I don't know what happened to shift society to seeing them in the negative.

A question for you: I have often heard you say that you appreciate the presence of women at gaming places because they have a "civilizing influence." Has your saying this been s true expression of your wanting women there (at least on occassion), or is it the societal brain-washing at work in you that leads you to feel there is something socially-backward in gamers?

I had not heard of the Mangarten prior to reading this post. I, too, am disturbed by its implications. If the men don't want to go shopping, why do they accompany their wives to the shopping centers in the first place? Why don't they get together on their own, without the artificiality of Adult Day-Care? Men are not children. Infantalising them like this is no different than what was done by men to women prior to the 20th century (and still occurs in many nations around the world). Adults, male and female, should be treated as just that: adults.

I wish there was a way that people could "rise above" the negative expectations that they have felt placed upon them without belittling the former belittlers. It's a vicious, vicious circle, with backlash begetting backlash (or as someone else said, another penjulum I'm having trouble spelling swing).

komos From: komos Date: November 12th, 2003 06:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yes, I've said that women can have a civilizing influence on a room of gamers, but I think that it's largely because they just seem to be on "better behavior." Sometimes. I'll be honest... that itself may be another stereotype at work.

Do I think there are poorly adjusted gamers? Sure. I've also met my share of poorly adjusted students, and poorly adjusted attorneys, and poorly adjusted health care professionals, etc. Is there a greater concentration amonst gamers? I can't say, though I think it depends a great deal on your perspective.
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