“Paincan be alleviated by morphine, but the pain of social ostracism cannot be takenaway” (Jarman 2010). Ostracism, one of Berger’s techniques of social control,impacts the lives of many, targeting their social, economic, and politicalviews. This heavy term refers to a person being deliberately excluded orrejected from a group due to their lack of conformance to societal norms.Ostracized victims, such as transgender or homosexual beings, then feel theneed to change themselves to be accepted by society again. This technique israpidly growing within our society as the idea of gender is changing. As morepeople stray away from the social norms of gender, society is turning toostracism to reject the people initiating changes to their gender identity andexpression. Ostracism is best exemplified in anews article about a transgender high school boy being forced by the schooldistrict to wrestle with the girls at the state tournament. The high schoolsenior, Mack Beggs, was born a girl and completed the transition process tobecome male.
Although Mack identifies as a male, the school district in Dallas forcedBeggs to wrestle with the girls. “Beggs’ participation—and dominance—in thegirls’ league has spurred consternation among some in the Dallas region,including a lawsuit filed by an unhappy parent” (The Washington Post 2017). Beggswishes he could wrestle with the boys, but unfortunately it is not hisdecision. In 2017, “95 percent of Texas superintendents voted in favor of anamendment…that requires student athletes to compete as the gender listed ontheir birth certificate” (The Washington Post 2017), which sparked a nationwideissue over transgender teens competing in school sanctioned sports. Based on the contemporary example,ostracism is being utilized to consciously exclude Mack Beggs from wrestlingagainst males.
Some of Beggs’ female opponents ostracized themselves from thematches due to a fear of being injured. Parents and coaches then ostracizedBeggs by forcing their girls to forfeit matches against him due to his use oftestosterone. Mack Beggs is being purposely excluded from participating in thesport that he loves due to his choice of transitioning. Mack’s story began as aprivate trouble that he needed to try to solve with his family, but it soongrew nationwide into a public issue that exists beyond Mack’s control (Brown2018). Mack’s situation opened the eyes of many, shining light upon a newlyfound disputation. This complicated controversary took a toll on Mack, hislove for himself, and the sport of wrestling. Mack understood that he was nolonger apart of the social norm and it became evident when his wrestling careerwas interrupted due to his gender identity. This barrier built between Mack andhis ability to wrestle with the boys due to his gender expression most likelymade Mack lack a sense of belonging within his community and began to make himreconsider his choice of transitioning.
After this issue broke out, it is likelythat Mack felt that he needed to conform to societal norms again by dressingmore femininely, growing out his hair again, and stopping his use oftestosterone therapy. It is possible that Mack did not consider the risks of nonconformitybefore his transition process as it is much more than attracting ridicule fromothers. He might not have realized the brutal reality of gender policing withinour society, causing him to lose support and respect from his peers (Wade andMarxe 2015).
The social pressures caused by this event could have negativelyimpacted Mack’s gender identity and expression, making his transition moreconvoluted and unnerving than needed.