Is violent behaviour men's problem?
by miiniie73 on October 29, 2014 - 12:16am
For the longest time, we have wondered why there is more and more violence occurring in the world. We live in modern times with technology and media, connecting us to each other, which should reduce ignorant acts of violence by bringing us all together and understanding the source of problems, instead of lashing out against anything and everything. In the recent years, with understanding different points of view and studying the roots of things, some have found that violence is an issue directly pointed towards men. In the documentary "Tough Guise 2", directed by Jackson T. Katz, he convincingly argues there is an obvious link between North American construction of masculinity and the violence currently experienced in our society through facts, and examples. Katz explores the reasons for which most men tend to constantly react in the same defensive ways. He explains the main reasons he thinks men are more prone to violence are through learned and taught behaviour, the pressures of society, and the backlash from new ways of thinking.
Since the very first day parents-to-be receive the news that their future baby is a little boy, they automatically arrange and decorate his whole future environment with things that guys are typically supposed to like: blue walls, little race cars, a rocket ship crib toy, sport stickers everywhere, etc. When he is born, he does not specifically learn what it is to me a man, he is taught how he is supposed to act and behave from what his parents tell him and impose on him. As soon as a boy starts school, he enters the tough and cruel world that society makes sure he lives in. From elementary to high school, he learns to think that if he cries, likes 'girl toys', or doesn't play rough with the other boys during recess, he is less of a 'man' and therefore belongs to the other, weaker sex. Then, he is emerged with hormones and extreme pressure from his peers to be as 'manly' as possible, get in fights and get as many girls as he can to build a reputation. He might try to adopt all the basic stereotypes of a jock, being violent, sexist, sexually active and constantly aggressive. Katz says: "human behaviour is a product of a complex set of biological and environmental factors", meaning men are not necessarily born violent, they are forced to be because everyone around them is "driving basic human qualities out of young boys to turn them into men" by teaching them to stay in the man box, and threatening them with disappointment, judgement and/or violence anytime they do not conform to society's ideal characteristics of a man, until boys are left feeling isolated and insufficient. Most, however, don't even try to resist by fear of being left out or made fun of, so they shield their vulnerability and act out in violence because that's one of the only emotions we tell them they're allowed to feel.
Society also plays a major role in shaping male gender. Now, when thinking about in what ways society contributes, willingly or not, to violent behaviour, we automatically think about publicity, video games, aggressively violent music and of course, the second amendment in the United States, legally giving citizens the right to keep and bear fire arms. In fact, we are actually correct in thinking so. It is accurate when Katz says movies and the whole entertainment industry shape our way of thinking, how we should behave, and especially what men should have interests in and how they treat women. Arthur Chu makes very sound arguments in his article "Your Princess Is in Another Castle"; Television and hollywood especially, feed lies to young boys about women, luring them into believing that if they're single now, it is OK because once they get a good job and are stable, a woman will forcibly come to him as a prize for doing everything right, as if women are objects they get to claim for being good. Of course not all young men, but most get confused and rather upset about not being rewarded a live sex doll with caring attributes, so they seek other ways to get women. Unfortunately, it can result in rape and if the man is disturbed and angry enough, murder. 'Murder, what an exaggeration'. I'm afraid not. According to "Tough Guise 2", 77% of aggravated assaults, 99% of rapes, and 90% of murders in America are committed by men. In addition, Katz also uses many movie references and examples, like Scarface, White Heat and Pulp Fiction to show how our North American culture goes on and beyond its ways to prove that men's role is to be protective and powerful through violence, to gain respect among their peers, and inflict fear onto others.
Extreme violence is an alarming issue that is growing at a frighteningly increasing rate. It's incredible how men are obviously born with basic human qualities like compassion and love, yet limit themselves to anger because of the pressure of society. This belief, this problem, is passed down inter-generationally, which is why the cycle never seems to stop. We must put an end to this behaviour and way of thinking by educating ourselves about the subject of sexism, hegemonic masculinity, and ways to end it.