Anyway, back to RJ, he makes a really crucial point here:
Another main premise of homosociality that gang rape enacts is that men bond homosocially over/through the bodies of women.
That is, the woman becomes the conduit for male connection–the male bond is “triangulated,” deflected through the body of the woman.** Not that this is homosexual (that would be insulting to gay men), but the very opposite–the presence of a woman serves to nullify the threat of homosexuality implicit within the homosocial bond.
Look at it this way–is there any place besides a woman’s body that straight guys are willing to put their dicks immediately after another guy put his there?
“Hey Mitch–can I borrow your jockstrap?”
“Sure, Bart, lemme peel it off real quick.”
“Thanks, man. Hey! It’s still warm. Sweet.”
Similarly, can you imagine if two of those teammates had been caught masturbating in front of each other? But if they’re masturbating into a woman, suddenly there’s nothing queer about it.
I'm glad he brings this up, because it's not talked about nearly enough. That is the dirty little secret behind all this, and weirdly enough, starts to tie into the question of "how patriarchy hurts men, too." This is what it's about. In a way, it's not about the woman at all. It's about expressing intimacy with other men in one of the few acceptable ways possible within a deeply patriarchal mindset. Violence, denigrating women (it couldn't even be a nice healthy consensual swingers' threesome or moresome; that would be too much like sensual pleasure, which is actually pretty much Verboten in the Patriarchy; nooo, it's no fun unless she's forced and degraded), putting someone from lower down on the totem pole "in her (or his) place." That's what makes it all O.K. It's not a surprise that this behavior is especially prevalent among certain team sportsmen: all that's pretty much built into the structure of the game, as well, more or less, or at least how it's played. Lots and lots of physical contact in a football game; the symbols of warlike aggression and competition make what would otherwise look like a dry-humping puppy pile of men in shiny skintight pants seem A-OK to homophobic manly men and their enablers. But of course, it only works if you vehemently deny that there's anything--ANYTHING--erotic in the whole business. Which is where the gang rapes and fag-bashings come in so handy. "See? We're manly. We're straight. Here's the proof."
They think they can get away with it, and they're often correct. But even if they weren't: I'm guessing that maybe for some men even the prospect of being a beast and a criminal is preferable to being "effeminate."
Either way, ultimately they're ridding themselves of their own humanity even as they try to destroy any signs of it in the victimized Other.