“Testostorama” is Nothing to Celebrate

Originally posted: November 18, 2005

Are men really necessary? The answer may be “no.”

A team of researchers recently discovered that mice can reach adulthood through parthenogenesis–a form of reproduction in which the female egg develops into a live birth without benefit of male fertilization. Insects, lizards, and fish have long reproduced without any help from would-be fathers.

What if human males were genetically obsolete? Imagine a world without men (or least least with no need for their “manly services”). Envision a universe without belching or monster truck contests or backward baseball caps or cat calls or nose-picking or leering or scratching in public or Penthouse or leaf blowers or strip joints or boom cars or rapists or gropers or road rage or porn addicts or soiled socks on the floor.

Needless to say, a much better world!

The question of the desirability of men was raised by last weekend’s “Testostorama 2005″ at the Indiana State Fair. Billed as a “celebration of men,” the event featured midget wrestling, “elite fighting,” the Colts cheerleaders, Miss October, a fashion show, huge screen televisions, poker tables, monster trucks, Harley motorcycles, William “Refrigerator” Perry, a $56,000 Audi sedan, speedboats, foosball tables, huge rims, a spirits bar, smokeless tobacco, loud music, huge couches, hair removal systems, weight lifting equipment, pool tables, power tools, barbecue equipment, a pizza-eating contest, cigar-rolling, biker chicks, plenty of beer, and home theater systems (with the motto, “Size Matters!”).

Entering the exhibition hall, I was greeted with a huge sign: “Welcome, men. It’s safe here; you’re among friends.” The expo’s program assured me that “they can’t hurt you anymore. You won’t have to hold anyone’s purse, run to the corner drugstore for feminine hygiene products, or ask how things went at book club.” I was in a mystical place, where my dreams of “televised sports, really big speakers, and movies with all-female casts” could be met. I was in a world “where recreational vehicles receive homestead exemptions,” a place “where we may drink beer and buy power tools in one convenient location.” According to the sponsors, my time at Testostorama offered “a day free from the honey-do list, from the chains of matrimonial responsibility. I drank beer and martinis while I shopped for power tools. I fondled sports cars, watched little people wrestle, shopped for general man stuff, and never, not once, did anyone ask me to ask another man for directions.”

The hypermasculinity at Testostorama is cause for alarm, not celebration. Excessive testosterone and the macho-industrial complex are linked to aggressive behavior,crime, violence, noise, and brutality.

The American male is in crisis. Around ninety percent of rapes, assaults, robberies, and murders are committed by males. Girls are surpassing boys in graduation rates, grades, advanced placement exams, and college attendance. Boys have higher rates of suicide than girls. More boys than girls are assigned to special education classes.

Also, males may be socially obsolete. Humorist Cynthia Heimel, author of the classic Sex Tips for Girls, contends that “much of what defines masculinity is now useless. Fighting is out; wars are now bad. There’s nothing left to conquer besides outer space, which we can’t afford.” Therefore, “the skills needed today are feminine: Getting along, sharing, nurturing those weaker and needier than ourselves, communicating, empathizing.”

British geneticist Steve Jones, author of Y: The Descent of Man, notes that “men are wilting away. From sperm count to social status and from fertilization to death, as civilization advances, those who bear the Y chromosomes are in relative decline.”

And nowhere was that decline more in evidence than at “Testostorama 2005.”

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