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The Social Construction of Semen
By Professor Rosie Riveter

In today’s class on the social construction of masculinity, we will be discussing the term paper, which is to analyse the social construction of semen, based on insights from cultural relativism. The passage below can serve as a bouncing board to get students started. As I will be going on study leave to complete my book on 19th century lesbian mathematicians, all essays will be marked by Associate Professor Milo Yiros:

“In the tropical forests of New Guinea, the Etoro believe that for a boy to achieve manhood he must ingest the semen of his elders. This is accomplished through ritualized rites of passage that require young male initiates to fellate a senior member (Herdt 1984/1993; Kelley 1980). In contrast, the nearby Kaluli maintain that male initiation is only properly done by ritually delivering the semen through the initiate’s anus, not his mouth. The Etoro revile these Kaluli practices, finding them disgusting. To become a man in these societies, and eventually take a wife, every boy undergoes these initiations. Such boy-inseminating practices, which are enmeshed in rich systems of meaning and imbued with local cultural values, were not uncommon among the traditional societies of Melanesia and Aboriginal Australia (Herdt 1984/1993), as well as in Ancient Greece and Tokugawa Japan.”

J. Heinrich (et al.), “The Weirdest People in the World?” Behavioral and Brain Sciences, vol. 33, 2010, pp. 61-135, at p. 61:

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