[reflections] A Three Part Essay on Draymond Green’s Dick
As I’m sure you’ve all noticed, Facebook introduced a new Trending feature sometime in the last year. It highlights a few things that are getting remarkable attention across its entire platform of users.
There was one day this past summer when Draymond Green was trending. More specifically, he was trending because of a photo of his dick that he had accidentally shared on his SnapChat story. I can’t imagine the horror he felt when he later realized his mistake. Literally every single one of his tens of thousands of followers clicked on his story that morning, and unexpectedly encountered his penis. My sincerest sympathies go out to both Draymond, and his followers.
Before I continue, I want to offer a brief apology that we need to discuss the topic of the male phallus with such brutal directness. But bear with me and continue reading. Sexual Politics affects all of our lives on a day to day basis, and arriving at a better understanding of how these things work will without a doubt, be of benefit to us all.
I will conduct this brief discussion of Draymond Green’s viral Snapchat from the perspective of an Asian American.
Tangent on why I identify as Asian American. Note- This tangent is interesting if you are involved with identity politics, but otherwise feel free to skip ahead. :
I conceive of my identity along multiple lines. Recently, I’ve been learning to avoid thinking exclusively along lines of race, ethnicity, and nation- this being, problematically, the dominant mode of identification and peoplehood in modern times. This idea of a plural identity versus a single, “solitarist” one has been, and is once again growing popular amongst academics in light of increasing globalization, and the profoundly difficult problem of eradicating violence empowered by identity claims. Specifically, it’s been aggressively championed by the Nobel prize winning economist Amartya Sen in his book Identity and Violence, as well as John Lie, one of our very own professors in his fascinating book Modern Peoplehood.
I wear several different identity hats. One hat is along occupational lines. I am a Businessman and a Writer. Another hat is along gender lines. I am a Man. Another hat is along national lines. I am an American. Yet another hat I wear is reflective of my locality. I am a Southern Californian. I also relate very well to other second generation immigrants, whether they be Indian or Mexican, and so I consider myself a Second Gen Immigrant. I also relate to the millions of other young adults coming of age at the turn of the twenty first century. I am a Millenial. I also find myself enjoying the community of other college students. I am a UC Berkeley student. My immediate kinship is everything to me, and so I consider myself to me a part of the Kim Clan. I love the easy fellowship of my ethnic brothers and sisters and so I know I am Korean-American. Considering our current historical moment, which amongst other things, is characterized by the emergence of East Asia as a region of global power, and consequently a renewed xenophobia towards American citizens with ancestral roots in these areas, I also identify as Asian American.
In the year 2016, there is a certain population of folks living in America who have come to think of themselves as White. I refer to these folks as White Americans here forth. Through a dialectical process of decades of White political, cultural, and economic sanctions, as well as African-American, Korean, Chinese, Nigerian, South African, etc. resistance- other categories likes Asian and Black have emerged. The categories Asian and Black are paradoxically both constraining and empowering to the communities that accept this as one of their identifying hats.
I amusedly scrolled through various internet forums like Reddit and saw many users expressing their surprise at how normal the length of his penis was. I suppose people were expecting something along the lines of a hefty wooden log.
This is an understandable reaction, considering how White America has eagerly spun mythologies about race and how it relates to features like intelligence/culture/aggression/penis size for the past three hundred years. Even myself, I looked at the photo and breathed a sigh of relief, because my beautiful penis, was the the same size as Draymond Green’s.
I experienced this sigh of relief because White America has portrayed Asian Americans as effeminate creatures with small endowments. We are exclusively, hairless goofy creatures with accents and extreme intelligence. (But never creative and artistic mind you). This stereotype is not a trivial matter because it does from time to time, affect how we experience our social lives. Whether it be a comedian’s awful joke that you have to hear while with your date in Berkeley. Or at a party on Piedmont and the White kid with weird teeth obnoxiously tries his hand at humor. Or Watching the Oscars on national television. Or Watching the Big Short with my family in Irvine. Or watching Ex Machina. Or watching Birdman. Or watching The Martian. Or watching The Hangover. Or watching A Christmas Story.
This stereotype and related stereotypes make their way into my Life just enough times to warrant a post. It does, I must say, feel a bit odd to be writing about phallic myths on this day of August 28th. Other topics like the impending November election, the failures of neoclassical economics, the decline of the Nation-State, and the shocking drop of State funding to Cal from “50 percent to 13 percent, leading to an administration that is primarily focused on finance and giving rise to a new executive class”- all compete for my attention. But in this moment, I really do feel the need to speak to this issue.
How does one disprove this stereotype? As Alex Tizon writes in his book Big Little Man, one cannot simply whip out his dick and slam it on the table with a thunk. It would be terrible manners for one to do so. Asian American men are instead forced to quietly fight these characterizations and simply ignore them. We do navigate these stereotypes and come to see the complete absurdity of such generalizations, yet this process is an unpleasant one to be sure, and it is something I wish my future sons do not have to endure. Or perhaps maybe I do. True confidence and self esteem is only found in the crucible of hardship and struggle.
On the flip side, White America has portrayed Black Americans as having animalistic drives, smaller brains, huge endowments, and a propensity for aggression. This portrayal is not a light matter. It has helped to justify physical violence on the Black body. They are shot. They are murdered. They are incarcerated. Yesterday, today, and tomorrow- red blood spills from black bodies on cold grey concrete sidewalks in the cities of Oakland, Phoenix, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
This aspect of how White racism effects people of Color is frequently discussed. To conclude Part I, I’d like to turn my attention instead to one way racism also negatively affects the perpetrator/creator. The perpetrators enjoy a litany of benefits and so this minor consequence does not even approach the tragedy that faces its victims. But it is nevertheless, quite interesting to discuss.
I make the observation that White racial mythologies, have inadvertently produced a large number of White American men with a fetish for Black American men. I make this claim primarily by observing the American pornography industry and some popular ‘categories’ in this present historical moment. Fascinatingly, just as the nature of a society’s Law can function as an index through which social solidarity can be measured (Durkheim), the pornographic consumption habits of Americans can function as an index through which we can understand the White male mind. Certain segments of White America is affected by a fetish known as “Black Cucking”- in which they fantasize about their partner being taken by a dominant Black bull as they watch from the side shamefully aroused.
Having completed the hook, in which I’ve used, rather crudely, the recent Draymond Green Snapchat incident as a platform from which to wade deep into sexual politics, I entreat readers to ponder the more fundamental question of why White men spin stories about race and penis size in the first place.
Let us also ask ourselves, why are White American men, and most men for that matter, so obsessed with the question of size? Why is this physical feature- of which 1) most men fall in the same average range and 2) “intra race” variety far exceeds “inter race” variety- accompanied by such charged emotions?
This may seem strange, but I find the writings of first wave, 1900’s French Feminist Simone Beauvoir remarkably illuminating. Beauvoir sought a psychoanalytic understanding of why historically Men had created the myth of the Woman and fashioned a variety of structures to control her. Beauvoir’s fundamental idea is that all humans experience an existential anxiety, and one way of relieving this anxiety and feeling of powerlessness is to create an Other that is weaker. Control over the Other is incredibly satisfying and provides a brief respite from a type of ontological anxiety.
To be clear, this is not a far fetched, random idea. Humanists from different areas of the world, in the last century and continuing today, have all eagerly explored this concept. Ernest Becker won the Pulitzer Prize in 1974 for his book The Denial of Death in which he discussed existential anxiety and other related concepts. Professor John Lie writes in his book Modern Peoplehood, “Epistemic and ontological individualism generated the paradigmatic modern individual, staring alone into the abyss of mortality and nothingness. From being a bearer of naturalized identities, individuals found an absent center in the socialized self. The Enlightenment ideal projected the individual as a being with nonidentity, or a as ontological subject sui generis. And the individual faced the Simmelian world of the stranger, at once everywhere and indifferent. Human beings encountered the horror of existence and nothingness without the helping hands of the metaphysical salvation or the suffocating intimacy of traditional faith and community.”
I hope I am not losing readers here. This next quote is a tad long, but extremely rewarding I assure you.
I offer some excerpts below from Beauvoir’s book “The Second Sex”:
One of the benefits that oppression confers upon the oppressors is that the most humble among them is made to feel superior; thus, a “poor white” in the South can console himself with the thought that he is not a “dirty nigger”- and the more prosperous whites cleverly exploit this pride…
But men profit in many more subtle ways from the otherness, the alternity of woman. Here is miraculous balm for those afflicted with an inferiority complex, and indeed no one is more arrogant toward women, more aggressive or scornful, than the man who is anxious about his virility. Those who are not fear-ridden in the presence of their fellow men are much more disposed to recognize a fellow creature in woman; but even to these the myth of the Woman, the Other, is precious for many reasons. They cannot be blamed for not cheerfully relinquishing all the benefits they derive from the myth, for they realize what they should lose in relinquishing woman as they fancy her to be, while they fail to realize what they have to gain from woman of tomorrow. Refusal to pose oneself as the Subject, unique and absolute, requires great self denial.
…oppression is to be explained by the tendency of the existent to flee from himself by identification with the other, whom he oppresses to that end. In each individual man that tendency exists today; and the vast majority yield to it. The husbands wants to find himself in his wife, the lover in his mistress, in the form of a stone image; he is seeking in her the myth of his virility, of his sovereignty, of his immediate reality…
Man is concerned with the effort to appear male, important, superior; he pretends so as to get pretense in return; he, too, is aggressive, uneasy; he feels hostility for women because he is afraid of them, he is afraid of them because he is afraid of the personage, the image, with which he identifies himself.
Men are emotionally invested in penis size because they experience an anxiety about their constructed identity- an identity which would be threatened by their potential inability to fulfill a woman. Men fantasize about what it would be like to have a tree trunk between their legs, in the face of which women would cower and tremble in desire for. To be able to pin the Other, dominate her fully and completely, and grant her magnificent orgasm after orgasm, something only which you, as a supremely endowed individual can exclusively provide- is a fantasy that springs from the male existential anxiety. Throughout time immemorial, men have created fictional characters through which these types of fantasies can be fulfilled.
Mark Manson discusses further this idea of Man’s anxiety and fictional heroes, but in the parlance of Millenials. He writes:
“There’s this guy. World-renowned billionaire. Tech genius. Inventor and entrepreneur. Athletic and talented and handsome with a jaw so chiseled it looks like Zeus came down from Olympus and carved the fucker himself.This guy’s got a small fleet of sports cars, a few yachts, and when he’s not giving millions of dollars to charities, he’s changing out supermodel girlfriends like other people change their socks.This guy’s smile can melt the damn room. His charm is so thick you can swim in it. Half of his friends were TIME’s “Man of the Year.”
And the ones who weren’t don’t care because they could buy the magazine if they wanted to. When this guy isn’t jetsetting around the world or coming up with the latest technological innovation to save the planet, he spends his time helping the weak and helpless and downtrodden.This man is, you guessed it, Bruce Wayne. Also known as the Batman. And (spoiler alert) he doesn’t actually exist. He is fiction.
It’s an interesting facet of human nature that we seem to have a need to come up with these sort of fictional heroes that embody perfection and everything we wish we could be. Medieval Europe had its tales about gallant knights slaying dragons and saving princesses. Ancient Rome and Greece had their myths about heroes who won wars single-handedly and in some cases confronted the Gods themselves.
Every other human culture is replete with such fantastical stories as well.And today, we have comic book superheroes. Take Superman. I mean, the guy is basically a God with a human body wearing a blue jumpsuit and red underpants on inside-out. He is indestructible and unbeatable. And the only thing as sturdy as his physical fortitude is his moral fortitude. In Superman’s world, justice is always black/white, and Superman never wavers from doing what’s right. No matter what.
I don’t think I’m exactly shaking up the field of psychology by suggesting that, as humans, we have a need to conjure up these heroes to help us cope with our own feelings of powerlessness. There are over 7.2 billion people on this planet, and really only about 1,000 of those have major worldwide influence at any given time. That leaves the other 7,199,999,000 +/- of us to come to terms with the limited scope of our lives and the fact that the vast majority of what we do will likely not matter long after we’ve died. This is not a fun thing to think about or accept.”
I hope that the reader is still following me as this post winds this way and that.
White men have eagerly manufactured the fictional Asian character that is wholly feminine, and have delightfully enjoyed in the recesses of their bereft imaginations, the fantasy that they are superior to the “Asian man.” That there is a whole race of “Asian women” thus clamoring for their superiority, is a titillating fiction indeed. This fiction is particularly appealing in light of sexual revolutions in the modern Western world, which has to a certain extent, have allowed Western women to cast off male expectations that they be wholly submissive, domestic, and “womanly.”
On the other side of the spectrum, White Men have manufactured an idea of Blackness as Primitiveness , and many of them have inadvertently found themselves entwined in this strange aforementioned “cucking” fantasy.
It is important to recognize how the hyper-masculinization of Black men works in tandem with the emasculation of Asian men.
How convenient it is that stationed perfectly in the middle, more masculine than the Asian man, yet not quite approaching the animalistic Black man, is the White man.
In Part I and II, I have talked freely about certain subjects that generally would not see the light of day at either work or school. I talk about these things with exceptional brevity and considering this, many ends are left untied/inadequately discussed and many related questions are left unexplored and waiting in the dark. Perhaps I will explore these in another post at another time.
From the outset, my intention has been merely to flash the light ever so briefly- as to encourage others to ponder for themselves this notion of a Sexual Politics.
I hope that at this point, the existence of sexual politics- how our day to day relationships are influenced by larger historical trends and the “common sense” knowledge produced by Power- is observable. I hope that the mechanics of certain stereotypes, how they function, and why they are satisfying is slightly more clear. I hope that people of Color in this country will continue to disrupt White media institutions and reclaim our full dignity. We are beautiful. We are strong. We are complex.
We are not what White people tell us we are.
As always, I am incredibly optimistic about the future.
Post Script and friendly tip: Be careful on Snapchat.