On my Facebook page, I posted a status in the wake of this morning’s school shooting in Newtown:
“Violent masculinity has got to go… for real…”
Several people ‘liked’ it, and one person (male) posted this comment:
To which I replied:
“No, violent masculinity. Look at who commits violence: men. Why don’t we ever question gender socialization as a cause of not only shootings, but all types of violence? Most all violence is committed by men. This is not to say that women cannot be violent, but violence is socialized as a masculine trait, and quite frankly, that is insulting to me as a man.”
“Although violence is often attributed to some forms of masculinity, theres no doubt that women can commit violent acts. That’s my point: all forms of violence are bad, not just “violent masculinity.”I get it: men are bad, women are good. Ok.”
This is a response often demonstrated by men - immediately feeling accused of being “bad,” when in fact, what I’m saying is that most men are NOT violent. But society socializes us to think of violence as an acceptable form of conflict resolution for men, and when taken to extremes, it can result in shootings such as the one we witnessed today. I went on to say:
“Yeah, except that is NOT what I’m saying AT ALL.
What I’m saying is that men and boys are socialized to be violent. When acts of violence such as the shooting in Connecticut happen, we look at a myriad of issues - gun control, mental health, access to affordable mental health care, violent video games, violent movies but the ONE THING that is rarely, if ever, mentioned is the gender of the shooters. Which is almost ALWAYS male. In fact, in the cases of these mass murders / school shootings, I do not think one shooter has EVER been female.
Why is that?
Yet when women commit acts of violence, gender is almost ALWAYS the first thing brought up - this implies that violence is inherently masculine. When men DO commit acts of violence - perhaps not as extreme as this one today, but bullying, sexual harassment / assault we often dismiss it as “boys being boys,” which again, is insulting to all men as it implies we cannot control our behaviors. As if we are hardwired for violence.
If you’re taking my comment as anti-male it’s quite the opposite - I love men and think we can do SO much better than we are doing now, and we need to model a new form of non-violent, healthy masculinity soon - or at least start a discussion around this topic as we do with the issues I listed in my first paragraph - otherwise things will continue the way they are, or get worse.
Additionally: how many of these mass shooting come about as a result of sexism? Almost all of these school shootings can be traced back to shooters and their misogyny and past instances of violence against women… another way men are taught to be socialized: view women as objects, as things, rather than people.”
How many women, children, and other men for that matter - have to die before we begin to have a serious discussion in this country about the role men’s socialization plays in these acts of violence? When will we stop simply “praying for the victims” and debating over gun control and address one of, if not THE, root cause of all of this violence - our definition of manhood?
Andrea Dworkin, Intercourse (via tabularasae)
I have written a post and deleted it many times about my male liberal friends who are trained orators, junior senator types, or my leftist buddies and how difficult it is to engage them in a decent conversation about politics because they instantly resort to patterns of domination and control when speaking to you.
So I shrink, I double-guess myself, I spend a lot of time trying to understand their points of view without getting the same consideration, I get interrupted and harangued, I get spoken over, etc.
Seriously, men everywhere need to recognize this type of behavior and own up to it. I know I’ve certainly been guilty of this in the past without having even realized it at the time, even while I was attempting to create a “safe space” for dialogue and trying to argue from a feminist perspective. It’s terrible, it’s embarrassing, and it shouldn’t be a thing. I’m trying more and more each day to be aware of not just how I might frame a particular discourse but how my tone, body language, etc. might otherwise reify the sort of patriarchal dominance I always argue against.
I’ve got my qualms with Andrea Dworkin but this is spot on.
[TW: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE]
Be sure to “full view” each page because (at least on my computer) the black in some of the pages is just GONE. Anyway, my design final. A comic attempting to address society’s failure of telling young boys (and girls too sometimes) that abuse/violence/bullying is NOT an appropriate way to show affection…
REBLOGGING AGAIN because I figured out what was up with the colors uhghhsdlkf
- a woman pursuing a man who is not interested is ‘creepy’ or ‘crazy’. she deserves scorn and should be laughed at. if this woman is considered less attractive than the man, the man will be pitied.
- a man pursuing a woman who has said no, gives her gifts and continues to ask her on a date is ‘romantic’, ‘sweet’ and worthy of our respect and pity. the man’s attractiveness does not matter - men are fully realized people.
this is how men are trained to be abusers. they’re not taught to hear ‘no’ from women, they’re taught that they are entitled to women and that when a woman rejects them it is not because the man has done anything wrong but that the woman just needs to be convinced.
It’s like in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows when Hermione tries to excuse Dumbledore’s wizard-supremacist mindset with “he was only seventeen…” and Harry goes, “WE’RE seventeen, and we’re risking our lives trying to FIGHT the dark arts!”
Just some thoughts for the day.
“The more research we do, the more it seems like the only behavior consistently considered normal is the tendency to be way too strict about what normal behavior actually is — and then being really shitty to the people who don’t conform. So next time you hear someone criticized for not being “manly” or “feminine” enough, remember that, for the most part, the only things keeping it from being 180 degrees different are the numbers on the calendar.”
Thomas Blass, Understanding Behavior in the Milgram Obedience Experiment: The Role of Personality, Situations, and Their Interactions, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 1991, Vol. 60, No. 3, 398-413