Men Who Shoot Because They Can't Shoot Hoops

by Connie Kendall on March 20, 2016 - 10:50pm

In the Huffington Post article “Mass Killings in the US: Masculinity, Masculinity, Masculinity” Soraya Chemaly responds to the recent American mass shootings like Sandy Hook and the Oregon school shooting, by suggesting that American shootings are primarily caused by misogynistic males, and therefore in order to reduce and prevent violence in America, the public should address the relationship between masculinity and societies constructed biases about what it takes to be manly. Chemaly’s thesis is that the conformity of masculinity is the cause of violent American shootings.

This article has a good tylistic structure; it is bold while remaining formal and to the point. An example of this is the title of the article.  By repeating the word “masculinity” three times, Chemaly creates a statement. Masculinity is not simply a topic discussed in the article, but emphasized as key.                                              

Chemaly  uses facts and statistics, to prove her arguments about male involvement in violence. The same statistics were shown in the documentary Tough Guise 2.0  a film documenting the harm in accepting violence and aggression as essential to masculinity (Jackson Katz). For example, the fact “90% of murders are men” were mentioned in both Chemaly’s article and Katz’s film, validating both medias as reliable and consistent.

Also, opinions on Beta Males, the fact that some “weaker” men are less secure in their masculinity and therefore attempt to prove themselves through acts of extreme violence, echoed the one’s of Arthur Chu in “Your Princess Is In Another Castle: Misogyny, Entitlement And Nerds.” This helped me to be convinced by her article as I respected and agreed with the opinions in Chu’s work. Chemaly did a good job including the terminology “Beta Males” and “Alpha Males” and defining them brought a better understanding to the topics without expecting the reader know what these terms meant.

Chemaly includes quotes from police officers, victims, and professionals in the criminal workforce to further support her arguments as unbiased. However, most of the quotes included in the article were a little too focused on stressing the fact that shooters are misogynists and that shooters target women when there is little source to accompany its legitimacy. This is flawed because it blurs lines on what is established as fact and what is Chemaly’s speculation. Confusion arises again as her quote by sociologist Michael Kimmel mentions race, mental illnesses and other factors often contributed by society as reasons for violence (Michael Kimmel), that are never again discussed by Chemaly as to why it is relevant to her thesis. The quote itself contradicts her arguments as the sociologist is specifically talking about white men, and white men are not the only people in America who struggle with masculinity and therefore makes the quote misfitting and redundant.

In conclusion, I found Chemaly’s thesis that the conformity of masculinity is the cause of American shootings to be a very valid possibility. The conviction, however, is not there as she loses me by the end of her article where her opinions are muddled in with facts and opinions of others, resulting in a strong sounding conclusion with arguments that are unclear and too weak.


Works Cited


Chu, Arthur. "Your Princess Is in Another Castle: Misogyny, Entitlement, and Nerds." The Daily Beast. 27 May 2014. Web. 17 Mar. 2016.

Tough Guise 2.0: Violence, Manhood & American Culture. Dir. Jackson Katz. Media Education Foundation, 2013. Film.