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2 - Empowering Yourself: Sport, Sexuality and Autoeroticism in North Indian Jori Swinging

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 March 2012

Joseph S. Alter
Affiliation:
University of Pittsburgh
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Summary

The Gymnasium, Jori-Clubs, Sexuality and Culture

In The Mythology of Sex Sarah Dening argues that the Hebrew prohibition against eating the ‘sinew of the hip which is upon the hollow of the thigh’ should be understood symbolically as a prohibition against the practice common among neighboring tribes whereby a new king would eat the penis of his predecessor in order to imbibe his power and authority. Dening and others point out that the ‘thigh’ was a biblical euphemism for the penis and that the penis was clearly associated with the power to rule and proclaim the truth. In the Genesis story God wrestles with Jacob and ‘touches the hollow of his thigh’.With this almighty ‘goose’ God metaphorically ‘eats Jacobs penis’ thus setting in place the rationale for the dietary prohibition, making himself the King of Kings, the one true God. In this myth sex, sacredness, power and sportive competition are linked together both figuratively and literally. The homoerotics of touching if not actually eating penises is also evident. Homoerotics are most clearly reflected in the classical Greek gymnasium, an institution that can arguably be held accountable for putting ‘civilization’ in modern Western history. Gymnasiums in Athens were places where men went to become men and develop themselves into citizens of the city state. For Plato and Aristotle they were institutions of embodied knowledge, to an extent that tends to get forgotten in the disembodied philosophical abstractions of the modern intellectual academy, where departments of philosophy and physical education are decidedly separate and unequal.

Type
Chapter
Information
Subaltern Sports
Politics and Sport in South Asia
, pp. 47 - 60
Publisher: Anthem Press
Print publication year: 2005

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