Remember how whiny you were when your parents made you get a job or mow the lawn or whatever it was you had to do to “become a man/woman?” Feel like a sissy looking back on how “hard” you had it then? If not, you will.
The Setere-Mawe people of Brazil have found something far worse (albeit less humiliating) than your first job at McDonald’s.
Meet the bullet ant. So named because those unfortunate enough to have been stung by one compare it to a gunshot wound – very unfortunate people; apparently, they have also all been shot. It reportedly has the most painful sting of any insect on Earth.
Image: Ty Christensen
‘Becoming a man’ in the Setere-Mawe society means intentionally letting yourself get stung by these ants. Not just by one but by hundreds of them at once. And not just on one occasion. There, you are not a man until you have done this ritual twenty times.
Twenty times wearing a pair of gloves each laced with hundreds of live bullet ants, stingers pointing inward, for ten minutes at each go. At first it seems like a horrible practice almost on the level of honor killings, but the boys themselves really seem to have a positive outlook on it. And in America, kids cry when daddy gets them the wrong color car for their sixteenth birthday.