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.


The article was informative and i agree the society, media in particular feed messages that are inappropriate, stereotypical and damaging. I also believe that biological factors play a huge roll. I have two children and although we'd like to be as gender neutral as possible and teach them with these issues in mind the fact remains that boys and girls are wired differently is very apparent.

The article you posted was extremely well written and is also very thorough. The reason I decided to comment on your article is because I completely agree with all your main arguments. As hard as it may be to be speaking out against my own gender, which is a word that is socially constructed, I can relate to the majority of your points. When I was a toddler my room was decorated exactly as you mentioned and before I even entered into kindergarten I was already signed up for soccer and was forced to practice on a daily basis. Whenever I got a cut or a broken bone I was told not to cry and to merely ‘suck it up’ because I wasn’t supposed to show weakness in front of any female and especially not in front of other males as they might see me as inferior or not belonging to the male sex.
With that being said, there are a couple minor details that I want to pinpoint to because I completely agree with them and find them important. The first one is about how society and the media portray males as the aggressive and violent gender compared to females. This is especially true when it comes to the stereotypes of Blacks as the media often portray them as violent criminals on top of already how we view men today. The other point I wanted to reference to is about the way men view the women of our society. They are viewed as nothing but objects for their sexual pleasure and this is very true because just as braveness, toughness and courage are factors that attributed to an alpha male there is also their partner count. What I mean by this is that men love to brag to others about how many sexual partners they’ve had and those that tend to have more are seen as superior and more successful than the others, as if it’s all a game with an extensive scoreboard.
Unfortunately, I don’t believe that this is a new epidemic in our society as evidence of ‘The Man Box’ is visible within civilizations before ours. Taking a look at the Romans who constantly fought wars and the generals who had the most victories under their belt were the ones who were the most honored. Not once was there ever a women on the battlefield other than Cleopatra who was quickly disgraced even to this day. We also can’t forget about the Neanderthals, although we didn't directly evolve from them, there is evidence that only the males went out during the day to hunt for food while the women stayed at the ‘camp’. I believe this problem you bring forward about males dates back a countless amount of years and should probably be studied from that time first, in order to have a better understanding about males in today’s society. Once we learn those facts, it may shed light on a possible solution but for now I believe a solution is nowhere to be found as it is buried too deep in the roots of all humans.