Crazy rites of passage into manhood have been around for a long time. Throughout history, humans have come up with some pretty bizarre, and sometimes violent, methods for their children to prove themselves worthy enough to call themselves men. Nowadays, in much of the developed world, becoming a man consists of surviving to the age of 18, at which point you can buy all the vape juice and pornography your heart desires. However, there are still some cultures in the world today that have held on to their ancient practices, and these brutal male rites of passage will make you more than happy to start paying your own cell phone bill.
People of the Matausa tribe in New Guinea believe that if you really want to be a man, then you need to get rid of all those filthy woman bits that your mom left behind when you were born. This is why all initiates must endure their blood cleansing ritual.
The first part involves purging the stomach by inserting two long, thin strips of cane down their throats to induce vomiting. After their stomachs are cleaned out, it's time to clean out all the dirty woman air that's passed through their noses. This is done by taking bundles of reeds and shoving them deep into the initiates' nostrils, causing them to bleed profusely. Finally, using what looks like a miniature bow and arrow, the elders repeatedly prick initiates' tongues with the arrow's razor-sharp head so the young men bleed out any impurities in their mouths.
Along the Sepik River in Papua New Guinea, the crocodile is an important part of the local people's culture. According to myth, the most important parts of their belief system were passed on to them by a crocodile spirit.
Having skin like a crocodile isn't something most people want, but for the people of the Sepik, it is a symbol of masculinity. The ritual is intense, only happening about once a decade, and initiates range from 11 to 35. Before the actual skin cutting begins, the initiates spend weeks of seclusion in the tribe's spirit house, adhering to extremely strict rules that limit everything from their diet, contact with the outside world, and even how they use the bathroom. After their time of seclusion is over, a family member, usually an uncle from their mother's side, holds them down as a trained "cutter" begins to make about 450 tiny incisions all over the initiate's back and chest in the shape of a crocodile. The intention is that the bleeding will rid their bodies of any female influence left by their mothers at birth.
After they are cut, the blood is washed away, and the incisions are filled with mud from the river to promote infection. This causes the scars to well up into little bumps, giving the appearance of crocodile skin.
If you've seen Ant-Man, then you've probably heard of the bullet ant, which has one of the most painful stings in the world. It can cause paralysis, and the effects can last for more than a day. Most people probably wouldn't volunteer to let one of these little guys sting them, let alone stick their hand into a glove full of them. However, if you are a member of the Sateré-Mawé tribe in Brazil, and you want to be considered a man, then you have to do just that.
In order to pass into adulthood, young men of the tribe have to go through this ritual not once, but 20 times over the course of several days, or longer, depending on how long it takes to complete. The boys first have to go out and collect the ants, which are bathed in a sedative to render them unconscious. Then they place the ants into a glove, woven from leaves, with their stingers facing inward. Once the gloves are ready, the boys put them on and have to wear them for 10 minutes; they're stung a countless number of times. To put that into perspective, the sting from just one of these ants is 30 times more potent than a beesting.
Every year on Pentecost Island, boys from the local tribes build a tall wooden tower. To prove their masculinity, the boys must leap from the tower using nothing but a vine as a makeshift bungee cord. The towers can reach heights of over 90 feet, and for the ritual to be completed, the boys' heads must brush the ground, often resulting in serious injury and sometimes death. A successful jump is supposed to signify a bountiful yam harvest.
The ritual comes from a local legend concerning the wife of a man called Tamalie. According to the legend, Tamalie's wife was the first person to perform the Naghol. Though currently only men are allowed to perform the jump.