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Why do men cheat? And how is this also related to the 'circumcision' ceremony?

by Tamir Ashman

The vast majority of newspaper articles today deal with documenting the stories of men in Israel and around the world. Many of us are already indifferent to reading about another man in one key position or another who used his position and power to painfully and destructively use women.


The concept of 'objectification' is a concept that describes the way in which one party in a relationship turns the other into an object, an object, an inanimate object.

In English this concept is translated - Reification (Latin - object res=), another relevant concept for the act of objectification is feminine in English as Objectification, I prefer the concept - Depersonalization as a concept that describes the act of objectification that the person   performs in another, that is, 'The erasure of the other's selfhood'. We are accustomed to associate this concept with the use of women.

In this article I try to extend this concept to the processes of paving boys-men as well.

In this article I try to deal with the question - how is it that we men in Israel and in the world have become the spreading gender?

I will try to offer an answer to this question through another question - is it possible that men and boys go through difficult and painful objectification processes almost from the moment they are born, and throughout most of their lives? And is there a connection between boys who have been severely abused in childhood and adulthood and their disruptive behavior in the future?

Let's go.

I can claim the obvious, that as the relationship is based on 'control over the other' 'and control over the sources of power' we will see more and more elements of objectification processes. In this sense, 10,000 years of patriarchal culture takes its heavy toll.) I wrote an article about it -"The cycle of violence, dynamics of control relations")

I would not order to produce a discourse that seeks symmetry between the oppression of women versus the oppression of men in the patriarchal culture - in the relationship of ruler and ruled, conqueror and conquered, there is no symmetry! And any attempt to produce such will naturally create continuous empathic failures. I believe that it is possible to reach mutual recognition both in relation to the oppression of women and in relation to the oppression of men as part of the vision of human wholeness. without negating the validity and recognition of one of the parties for his suffering. I invite you to this kind of reading in this article.

If we have agreed on this, let's ask the obvious question - how come we men have become the pusher gender? How come we men (inclusive of course) - are more homophobes, nasimophobes, Islamophobes, dosophobes, right-wing people and more... than women? (And of course I am not claiming that women are not pushy or aggressive in relation to men)

I found a simple answer to the question, as outrageous as it sounds - and I say it with the certainty of a man who has lived in Israeli society for 46 years, and from professional experience as a group therapist for men in the field of domestic violence for over 21 years, after hearing and collecting hundreds of men's testimonies.

I allow myself to make the claim that we men have gone through and are still going through the aggressive, systematic, and destructive processes of objectification that affect our lives on a daily level, at levels that are difficult to describe and gauge the broad spectrum of their destructive impact on family life, society, government and culture, which in fact 'instruments' us to push women.

I do not intend to create us men as victims, the opposite is true. I invite all of us to recognize (To recognize) the pain of the ruling men - the guards in the patriarchal dungeon.

Is it possible that by virtue of being born as boys - we men, from the days of primal sin in the Book of Genesis, Chapters 2 and 3, to our days, we have received the punishment of controlling others!! " אַֽלָהִשָּׁ֣ה אַמ֗ר הרבָּ֤ה ארבּ֙ ֆגְבֵ֣ךְ  וְהֽרְנֵךְ בְ֖צב תֵּֽלדִ֣י בנ֑ים וְאַלַיִַךְ֙ תְַּׁ֣ךטַךְ וְה֖וא יִמשׇׁל־בָּֽךְ׃" (Genesis chapter 3 verse 16). that the spiritual meaning of this divine decree - to convert the  needs  the love and neediness (dependency) of our creation as men, towards a rocky and alienated existence of control over the inner world of the man and control over the women with whom we share Kim our lives, control which actually stems from the anxiety of devotion (absorption) and the anxiety of separation (fear of abandonment). I invite you to see this verse as a collective punishment for women and men alike, a punishment that freezes the place of the man as 'dominating' as 'superior' over the woman. The punishment that imposes on both men and women the loneliness in marital relations.

But the same 'Genesis punishment' is not only limited to controlling the woman, it adds and imposes on us men the desire to subdue the accursed earth from which we need to support that woman (the seductive, exploitative, cunning, and treacherous) whose manipulative power the 'seductive and hedonistic' stole our seed from us from whom you will give birth to our offspring. And because we got the collective penalty to be warden in this prison called "family", and in the second prison called "livelihood", and all of it is written in a simple Hebrew in Genesis, Chapter 3 Pesh, the "Arabs, , it will grow for you; and you will eat, the grass of the field. You will burn your nose, you will eat bread, until you return to the earth, because from it you take"

In other words, we men received the punishment of converting our ability to love and surrender, our ability to control and silence our emotional world and control the woman of our lives - if this is not an emotional object for us men, then what exactly is an object?

Many of us men feel victims of this way of life. But it is important to remember that many men are also waking up today and starting to recognize the 'emotional cage' they are in, and starting to break free from it.

I will add and say that many of us, men and women, are trapped by the genius sentence of 'SpongeBob SquarePants' - "I don't want to face my fears, I'm afraid of them!!!" (SpongeBob Episode 85 Season 5). That is, many men are afraid of female power and many women are afraid of male power. And in short - this is how her control was born.

If you claim that I am exaggerating with my words, I will give as an example the prison service, the largest "network-of-boarding-for-adults" in Israel for the treatment of the Israeli man. The ratio between male and female prisoners is approximately 19,000 male prisoners and 160 female prisoners. And in the world of drug and alcohol addiction, how is it that 90% of drug and alcohol addicts are men. How is it that boys take 5 times more Ritalin than girls and use drugs and alcohol 400% more?

How is it that men commit suicide 5 times as often in the separation and divorce process, and how is it that we men are tired most of the time!!!

How come there is such a crazy gap?

We men are already tired of control, most of our 'mental security budget', most of our life energy (libido) is directed to strengthening the armor and strengthening the constant attack against vulnerability and pain. And as it is inside, so it behaves outside.

Let's dare to ask, what goes wrong in the way the boys are raised?

invites us to return to the beginning, at least to the beginning of myself - a male born in Rehovot, 1970.

If I were to tell you that when I was little, really little, a stranger came into my house, forced alcohol into my mouth until I was slightly hazy, the man took off his underwear, held my penis in his hand, took a sharp knife and cut off a piece of it and left my house. And all this was done in front of my parents watching from the sidelines.

What would you say if I experienced such a thing? With what words will we attack (To validate) the wordless experience I went through?

The photos from the family albums that are falling apart at my parents' house, testify that at the age of 8 days, I was placed on the lap of my late grandfather Yitzchak, and then suddenly a strange man stopped my chubby legs, removed the diaper from me, opened my mouth, dipped the end of a white diaper cloth in a bottle of red wine Sweet, and dripped a few drops of wine into my mouth, and with a hand movement practiced for generations he closed my mouth, forcing me to swallow the red liquid.

I can only imagine the faces of the babies frightened and disgusted by the taste of the new wine that reaches the pores of my tongue, until this moment I drank the sweet taste of the milk, which had just started to flow from my mother's breasts.

Then, seconds after the ritual watering with wine, with a deft hand, the stranger, disappeared into my tiny groin area, I must have felt strange sensations of stretching down there. I must have felt something cold and metallic wrap around the crown of my manhood. Then in an inner world where the word 'aye' had not been invented yet, something sharp and fast in a fraction of a second cuts something on the tip of my penis. And the stranger peeked at me there with a glass device a little blood and went on his way. I dare to imagine that surprised scream of mine, maybe I fell asleep after it, drunk on a pillow, burying and repressing this non-verbal traumatic memory in the depths of my tiny body. Not that I'm asking for a refund now, but let's acknowledge the biological fact that 30% of the amount of my skin there was taken from me in the same act and more without anesthesia!.

Well, what does a male baby remember, some will say.

And in this ancient ceremony, the men in the family stood in the first circle, the women stood in the second circle, next to my frightened mother, whose limbs were probably still aching from birth, stood her sister and on the other side her sister-in-law, and both supported her physically lest she faint, or worse, lest she go against the ceremony and stop it before she fell The one who eats on her son's penis. As the covenant ceremony conveys a clear message to the baby's parents - don't get overly attached to us, the sons, the newly born son is not really yours, from his birth he is sacrificed to the ancient Father, start from his birth to train and get used to his dedication. "In the sorrow of children" was said to the mother of all mothers, as they knew even then, from the beginning of the world, the painful fate of millions of fathers (and mothers) who would sacrifice their loved ones on one or another 'altar of faith' throughout human history.

In that covenant ceremony (which is also a 'ceremony of betrayal' or 'obsession', if you dare to think about it), the mother often cries, and the father often detaches emotionally. undergoes a kind of disassociation (disassociation from reality, creating a reality of stagnation or mechanical cooperation with social norms, and in simple words - obedience!), which reveals an ancient post-trauma that is being restored right before his eyes, which the body of the father-who-dismisses-the-son went through when he was of age 8 days. Swallows the offended pain inside, as if deafening and masking any body feeling that contracts during the ceremony. We men have been trained for this emotional detachment. Lucky for you women, this oppression will at least be spared (I invite you not to be tempted - I'm not trying to start a competition here as to whose pain is greater).

This is my language, as of this moment, for the covenant ceremony I went through, in which language and which words will you choose to refer to this ancient ceremony?

Is the baby going through severe physical violence or gender trauma at those moments? Is he objectified (regarded as an object) at these moments? What physical and mental damages are caused by the covenant act? Are those men also objectified in the same ceremony that impales their sons on the altar of patriarchal tradition? Is it already at the age of 8 days that our boys-men form a connection and an initial meeting between masculinity, pain and escape from it through alcohol and drugs (remember the red-sweet wine?), I recommend that everyone think about this in their free time.

And all this takes place when I was there, a male baby 46 years ago.

My body has forgotten and repressed what my mind wants to remember. And the soul remembers. When my son, Itamar, was born, six years ago, I celebrated him in the exact same ceremony, I invited a stranger into our home, I did not have the courage to break through this ancient social structure, after all, I define myself as a person of faith who is deeply connected to the Jewish roots. So I don't intend to preach morality here!, I do invite us to send a light of awareness towards this ancient ceremony. I understand from the bottom of my heart the difficulty of many fathers to refuse to perform the ceremony. I can't advise you what to choose. But maybe we will at least spare the unborn son the trauma of a surgical operation without anesthesia at the end of the first week of his life, and ask him to make the covenant with an anesthesia more effective than a few drops of wine. (but I'm not an authority on this matter)

I'm petty, but these are the words in which the Rambam in his honor describes the act of covenant in his book 'Morah Nabukim' - "The physical weakening caused to this organ is the deliberate goal. None of the actions sustaining the individual was damaged by the word, nor was the birth of the offspring null and void because of it. But the storm of desire and the excess of lust for what is necessary are diminishing. There is no doubt that the word weakens the power of sexual intercourse and often diminishes the pleasure, because when blood is drawn from the organ and its shield is removed at the beginning of its growth, it is undoubtedly weakened. "
That is, the purpose of the covenant, according to the Rambam, is to weaken the man's genital organ, to weaken his desire, his erection, and to reduce the man's pleasure in sex, that is, the purpose of the covenant is partial castration of the male power.

I try to imagine if the Rambam's words were aimed at women, how would you react and respond to this ancient ceremony?

But that's still not the main point of what I'm trying to say in this article. The Jewish circumcision ceremony is just one of a whole set of initiation ceremonies that boys go through in Israeli culture (and in general throughout the human race...) regardless of whether they are Jewish, Muslim or Christian. It is true that the circumcision ceremony is the ceremony that begins the journey that will transform me from a biological male boy-boy and a psychological man. But I invite us now to dwell on the 'social circumcision' that boys go through - from the age of two onwards, what we call 'gender paving' or the processes of 'socialization'. Inspired by Simone de Bovar who reduced deep wisdom to one sentence - "I was not born a man, I became a man".

I was born into a family reality where, as in a hidden and mysterious 'social order', my parents, especially my father and other significant male-others, will teach me to educate me through forceful means that I must not be afraid, I must not be offended, I must not be helpless, I must not be dependent, and I must not I must cry, I must not cry! I'm not allowed to cry!!!

And so in order to be accepted in my family and the society in which I live, I create fake identities in order to be accepted in the gender groove that society has created - and so I learn to please in order to be accepted, learn to control in order to escape from emotions and pain, addicted to superiority and inferiority and afraid of connection and closeness. And from the age of 3 onwards I train to be a hero, a child who overcomes and represses his feelings.

'Danny the hero', that one from the song, will become an icon in me for something to aspire to. Do everything so that the tears don't fall by themselves. And so I became 'Mr. Control and Shrinking', a skilled poker player who hides his vulnerability cards from the people closest to him, learns to behave instead of talk, drains feelings of their meaning - lives every day in a society and culture that prefers the legacy of battle over the real mental reality.

Society through its human representatives teaches us boys, day by day, to despise tenderness, to despise compassion, to despise vulnerability, to despise anxiety. What is often left for us boys to regulate and balance emotionally and mentally, is to discharge through that male organ that remembers within it the pain of its ancient object eight days after being born.

If we are a gender that is forbidden to cry! who was sentenced by a hidden social order to run away from pain! who teach him every day to be ashamed of the healthy needs of dependence and neediness! - So we must understand the consequences of this systematic attack on our lives.

When did you see your father cry? When did you see him ask for help? When did he dare to talk about his helplessness, his vulnerability and his feelings? Did he know how to love mother? Or did he control and worry her? When did he seek treatment for himself?

(It seems to me that the sentence - I rest my case, is relevant here, and for those who are not included in the inclusions, congratulations, you are lucky!!!)

For those who have been blessed with present fatherhood, I am sure you suffer much less from back pain (and other psychosomatic issues) than us men and women, who have experienced present-absent-angry fathers. Just saying.

We are the only mammal in nature, where we males live less than the females. (Mammals' births shorten their lives). How would you explain it?

At the social level, countless interpersonal paths for the release and healthy regulation of mental stress are blocked for us boys. We are directed to release it through sports and fighting classes, but we are not encouraged to share the pain and speak what is on our hearts. We do not acquire in childhood a verbal language that is useful and accessible to our own emotional system, and thus a cruel mind-body cycle is created within us, reminiscent in its essence of the act of the covenant that desecrated our silent eight-day-old body. We accumulate tension (hurt-insulted, disappointed, hurt) but remain helpless, speechless, unable to mediate the emotional world to the people close to us.

This is how we boys learn from a young age to increase our healthy need for people and instead practice forming an obedient relationship with inanimate and generalized objects ("All the women...." "All the Arabs are..." etc..) and develop relationships of dependence on drug abuse, Nicotine, gambling, football team, sex and prostitution, workplace and more...

While women (in general), in the process of their gender training go through difficult problems, they are not banished from their vulnerability, and they are also socially encouraged to cultivate qualities of support, listening, empathy and sharing. (However, they are kept away from their natural ability to accept their physical bodies, their ability to be angry without feeling guilty, to please instead of leading, and more...)

If I generalize the essence of gender objectification - we (especially the fathers) teach the boys to despise dependence and to feel pride in their independence. And we teach the girls (especially the mothers) to despise their independence and to be proud of their dependence. And again the patriarchal gender oppression is often done within the gender. And simply - boys hurt and screw boys, and girls hurt and screw girls.

And if we are dealing with biology - 2 central pathways for the regulation of mental stress God has blessed us with. One is the adrenaline pathway and the other is the oxytocin pathway. The first teaches us to attack and flee (and control anxiety) and the second teaches us to simply share, to recognize the basic dyadic dependence that began our existence. Men are drawn to adrenaline and women are drawn to oxytocin. Thus drugging the sexes on a hormonal level to be like magnets with opposite poles. One will seek to surrender, the other will seek to run away, attack and isolate himself.

I will just add, and this is critical to understanding - men secrete oxytocin at high levels in moments of mental stress and anxiety. And in fact the act of objectifying the men leads them to alienate the attached and dependent nature of the men, that is, men are conditioned to regulate themselves through the adrenalin pathway, and not through the oxytocin pathway. And if we also understand that the hormone oxytocin is one of the substances that dramatically heals the heart muscles, we will understand something profound about the relationship between men aged 40-50 and heart attacks

It is important to remember that the 'technologies' for regulating mental stress are acquired and learned at the social level, in fact the human race went through a kind of 'social witchcraft' about 10,000 years ago in which the men taught us to suspect the mysterious power of the woman to build and destroy us, and the women taught you to fear the man who was born control well Patriarchal culture has tragically replaced the human capacity to love with the human capacity to rule.

So if we go back to the initial question - how is it that we, the men, push women? So I will sum it up in one sentence: 'Those who did not see him as a child - find it difficult to see others'. Those who were objectified as a child find it difficult not to objectify others. Those who have not received a compassionate and empathetic attitude regarding their emotional world, will find it difficult to listen empathetically to the emotional world of others. It is difficult to crack it, but do not despair - it is possible.

We are surprised and cackling at the Chief of Staff's bodyguard Shans, at a soldier who abused, at a rabbi who spanked his student, at the president who cheated, the mayor who snubbed, the university lecturer who seduced, and at this singer and the other in a sexual celebration of one kind or another.
There in the locker rooms or the reserve tent or just during breaks at school, between one Goldstar and another, between cups of black-bitter coffee, or ashtrays loaded with cigarette butts or joints, we 'sing' to each other without realizing it, the song of possessions, the occupation and control. Comparing the sizes of injured genitals that hold within them an ancient traumatic memory of the burning insult of boys who were sacrificed to me by their father in a human drama that has been going on for thousands of years. A drama worth considering for permission.

But again, that's not the point. In my opinion, the main thing is to change the attitude towards the boys' vulnerability and ability to express their emotional world in words. To teach that humanitarian subjects are just as important as realistic subjects. To teach boys that dependence and interrelationships alongside independence and healthy individuality are the source of boys' strength. To teach men that vulnerability and the ability to feel and speak their feelings is the source of their strength, the capital of humility at the core of their souls.

Beside the darkness there is always a lot of light. Many men struggle for their natural right to be significant fathers in the country. In every corner of the country, circles of men are opening up, who are learning to create a new friendship. Men who gradually open up towards multidimensional masculinity, who learn to live in peace with the woman inside them and the one beside them.

The collective punishment received by Adam and Eve is sometimes seen as an eternal truth that cannot be denied. But God willing, we have conflicts, we have the ability to crisis relationships and give birth out of the crisis to something new. Erich Sullivan, one of the most influential teachers, said in 1954 "People have wounded us in the past, people can help us recover and heal." Women weren't really born on the planet Venus and men weren't really born on Mars, we were all born on the same planet that already seems tired of the tyrannical rule of male-patriarchal thinking, which conquers and exploits the earth for generations, and pollutes the sources of water and air.

We live in a time when it is important to create a new 'third language' in the relationship between men's language and women's language, a language based on equal relations between vulnerable subjects, who learn to cooperate and create mutual relations. who come together to free themselves from the oppressive patriarchal culture. Men and women making peace between the male and the female dancing within and without them with all-embracing compassion.

(This article was published on this website in 2012)

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