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Being Beautiful


Submitted By tunesky
Words 1205
Pages 5
Animashaun R Tunde
SOC 161
April 28, 2015

Critique on Our Guys
The novel Our Guys, written by Bernard Lefkowitz, is a very dynamic story about the heinous actions of a dozen middle-class athletes from a small New York suburb against a defenseless mentally handicapped girl. Lefkowitz describes a brutal gang rape involving a baseball bat and broom handle which took place in this unsuspecting town, by these upstanding young group of boys, as the town would describe them. Lefkowitz looks at the incident which took place and then examines the “jock clique” sub-culture that allowed such atrocities to happen, and spawned the scandal to cover it up. Lefkowitz uses the qualitative method in his account of what occurred in Glen Ridge, New jersey. This method is a sociological method that is carried out to study a group of people without a survey. He did use the appropriate methodology to accomplish his goals in telling his story because the town of Glen ridge not much different from any other suburban American town. Like most towns it has its “cliques” and the “jocks” are at the pinnacle of the town. Idolized by the students and a source of pride for the entire town the Glen ridge boys were not like most high school athletes. The “Jock clique” formed at a very early age, and invaded their surroundings taking over where ever they went, whether it be school, games or around town, protected by the “boys will be boys” attitude held by the rest of the town.
The boys started showing signs of deviance as early as elementary school, with a common ignorance for authority, and their parent refuse to believe that their boys caused destruction or resorted to delinquency. The group was later easily passed through middle school to relieve the teachers of another year enduring the “problem” class. Once in high school the boys became the leaders of the school, and pride of the town. In Glen ridge sports were valued higher than academics, turning these young men into heroes, ignoring their belligerent actions and behavior, and there was not anything anyone could do to derail this movement, nor did they try to. Women are considered minority in the town which makes their attitude towards women very outdated. Women were regarded as mothers and wives; their jobs were to make the men of the town happy. They were neutralized; treated as objects and rarely held positions of authority. There were not any women mentors, therefore everyone looked up to their fathers and saw that men were the majority, the supreme beings. Most of the boys did not even have any female influences other than their mothers; in fact only two of the boys involved had sisters, Bryan Grober and Phil Grant.
The boys socialize together through what sociologist called homo-social bonding which is, they learn their sexual identity by interacting with the same gender. These boys were raised in dressing rooms by males and taught to respect the institute and brotherhood of a team. If they respected their sacred bond they could do anything. Nothing was more important than the team or each other. The Jocks of Glen ridge were very much protected by the town and their parents. When the boys caused destruction or resorted to delinquency, they simply change hands without involving the law or the media. Everything was always taken care of and kept very low profile. The parents played a major role in the delinquency of these young men, they use their power, prestige and material rewards to make the boys action or behavior a primary deviance, however they were not alone. The other students’ acceptance and adoration of the “jocks” behavior is as much to blame as anything else that led up to this behavior exhibited by the “jocks”. The “little mothers” (as they were referred as) were dehumanized, treated with disrespect and as sexual objects. They would repeatedly engage in acts of voyeurism. They would also willingly fellate any member of this group, and some would even go so far as “making a train” or other acts of group sex with “our guys”. Many of these girls were referred to as “trained seals” and were proud of their titles. There was never any complaints made and as the boys got older the more deviant they became.
The Leslie Faber rape took place in the Scherzer’s basement on the afternoon of March 1, 1989. The action and behavior that's observed was not different from the Sykes and Matza techniques of neutralization. During the trial the defense attorneys did everything they could to neutralize Leslie by condemning the condemner there by portraying that Leslie Faber was a willing participant and actually enjoyed, if not the acts performed, her inclusion to the “cool group”. The defense portrayed Leslie as a “Lolita” and that her seduction was too great for the boys reject. They even deny the responsibility of the boys by mentioning the fact that “we’re talking about sixteen year-old boys with hard-ons, what were they supposed to do when faced with overt female sexuality?” Leslie’s personal life was dragged through the mud for the entirety of the trial, leaving the jury to decide whether she had the capacity to refuse sexual advances and demands. Leslie’s entire life history and character were put on trial, even though none the sexual histories of any of the defendants was ever discussed. The defendant’s character was never put to scrutiny, nor was their records of sexual deviance and general lewd conduct ever introduced at trial. It seems that everyone involved felt more inclined to protect a bunch of gang rapists, rather than a seventeen year old mentally handicapped girl. The community even stuck behind its hometown heroes showing overwhelming support for the jocks and condemned the Faber’s and their cause. The lack of physical evidence and support from the community, along with the fact it took three weeks to even be reported. This case was a turning point for the community of Glen Ridge. Finally the “jocks” had been given consequences and Leslie Faber’s rights had been made the priority over the town’s reputation and that of its citizens.
This story exposed an age old sub culture and gave it attention. This time it was a group of tightly knit high school athletes, within a tightly knit town. Lefkowitz looked beyond the surface to find out what was at the root of the problem. He found that these boys were a product of their environment, and that sociologically speaking, men will do just about anything so long as they feel they are protected by a team mentality. He draws a parallel between gender socialization and gender inequality in the society. It is very unfortunate and disheartening that members of a community that were so highly regarded, would commit such acts. It is even more disturbing to hear about the scenario leading up to the rape, and the community which produced these troubled young men. It is more important to look at why the events took place rather than who committed them, because ultimately the only innocent person involved is the victim, a mentally handicapped young girl, named Leslie Faber.

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