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Yohe, C. (1950). Observations on an Adolescent Folkway. Psychoanal. Rev., 37(1):79-81.
  

(1950). Psychoanalytic Review, 37(1):79-81

Observations on an Adolescent Folkway

Charles Yohe, M.D.

It has been observed that many teen age boys will engage, from time to time, in a pastime which they hilariously designate as “pantsing”. The custom is indeed widespread, and few are the men who emerge from their teens without having at one time, or many times, participated in some capacity in this complex and boisterous social phenomenon.

The phenomenon of “pantsing” is, roughly, as follows: A group of three or more adolescents, usually about nine or ten in number, will suddenly decide that it would be great fun to remove the pants of one of their members. Sometimes, it is true, they will decide to remove the pants of someone outside the group, but in the writer's experience, this is not so common. The act is performed with great vigor and shouting, and usually results in considerable pummeling of the victim, who often is stood upon his head in the process. If the victim does not resist, much of the hilarity vanishes, but if the victim resists weakly or not at all, a sense of disgust or depression sweeps over the “pantsers”, and in this circumstance the project is often abandoned before it is completed.

Once the pants are removed, the “pantsers” back off to observe their handiwork. The victim grins, tries to be good natured about the whole thing, regains his feet, and soon goes about the task (often difficult) of recovering his lost garment. Usually no attempt is made to expose the genitals of the victim—but if they should accidentally be exposed there is added rejoicing in the ranks of the aggressors. When any attempt is made to expose the genitals it is usually found in the practice of boys 11 to 14 years old, and occasionally there is a momentary and cautious palpation of the genitals in this age group. Another characteristic of this age group is that the phenomenon of “pantsing” is carried on safely out of sight of women. The presence of girls for an audience is not desired, and the appearance of a girl would probably dampen the spirits of the entire party.

In the 14-17 year old bracket the status of feminine observation changes.

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