Walking The Walk

Initiatory hazing is one of the male practices that has been most fiercely condemned by women in general and feminists in particular, especially when it is they themselves who are getting hazed. Their lack of sympathy with males who get hazed – it is apparently considered to serve them right for their depraved male nature – may, however, blind them to the true function of the ritual. Namely, that any working group taking on a new member needs to check that the new member can do the job. When an essential part of that job is taking stress without cracking, then stress needs to be administered. If the only way to do so is arbitrary and artificial, so be it. The point is that the reaction of the person being hazed gives his future team-mates vital information about what they can expect from him when bad things happen during the team’s work. When the bad things that might happen are forces of nature, then indignation, whining and threats to invoke penal sanctions are entirely dysfunctional responses. The team has a valid need to ensure that such responses are not the potential team member’s primary solution to an impersonal problem.

Funnily enough, the hard-boiled heroines popular in fantasy literature, the warrior-princess types, would pass such a hazing test with flying colours. In the same way, many feminists denounce “whining” as a traditional female behaviour and inform women that bursting into tears cannot manipulate natural forces and so is not a universally useful strategy. Even when so doing, however, they never admit that a course of instruction in enduring pain and frustration without whining will greatly resemble the “hazing” they condemn entirely in terms of testosterone poisoning.

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  1. Written by Ghost in the Machine
    on October 31, 2010 at 11:39
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    “…indignation, whining and threats to invoke penal sanctions are entirely dysfunctional responses. The team has a valid need to ensure that such responses are not the potential team member’s primary solution to an impersonal problem.”

    Very insightful comments in your squib. It certainly made me think of hazing in a different way.

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