Men Who Mass Murder Often Carry A Sexist Grudge Along With Firepower
Neither toxic masculinity, nor nature is to blame. It is our acceptance of the unacceptable that we must address.
Men, with easy access to guns, often hold a grudge against women. We have seen it most recently in Annapolis. We have seen it so often before. At Parkland, Florida. Plano, Texas. Toronto, Canada. Isla Vista, California. And so many, many more. What is going on?
One theory is that there is a backlash to so many women demanding autonomy over their own bodies in the current era. Another idea is that some women have just gone too far, inventing the idea of ‘rape-culture’ and demonizing toxic masculinity. Others decry the outrage that this has gone on forever and is just being more documented in the #MeToo times.
The simple theory is that many men simply learn sexism and misogyny, not just from other men, or from the patriarchy and rape culture.
I prefer to not use the toxic term, ‘toxic masculinity’, not because it is wrong, but because it is so easily misconstrued. Conformable culture is a more accurate designation. Males and females learn it unconsciously from the behavior and complicit acts of all members who grow up with traditional conventions.
There are plenty of women, pre-‘Handmaid’s Tale’-, who derive their belief systems from the only world they have ever known: hierarchical, scriptural, conservative and idealized. This mythology sees men as protective of women, protective of guns as source of power and control. This theory often works, up to a point, at least in our evolutionary origins.
When men do kill, not just women, but targeted by-standers, we blame mental illness, his upbringing, failure to see the signs, social decline, poverty, religion or the nearest dark-skinned scapegoat or revolutionary.
Those that kill become the crazed bad guys. Regular men behave.
There is truth to this. However, every single day regular men do minimize, demean, sexualize, humiliate and try to control women. Now, what women’s voices are saying and what many male allies are now (finally) beginning to say as well, is that it is the culture of privilege and entitlement that makes one human being say “I should control the behavior and resistance of another human being by putting her in her place,” is no longer needed in society.
That’s it. The idea that because a man is stronger, bigger, more in charge of government, industry, income, law and police work, technology, science and military –as reflected by fewer females in these roles — this must be the natural order of things. It is drilled into us unconsciously and socially, from the first adoration of a pink swathed girl, to the appreciation of a ‘strong’ infant male: “Isn’t she beautiful!” or “Feel the grip on this boy, he’ll be a linebacker!”
The result of the idea of authority and control has been conquest of nature, climate change and trash, oppression and colonization, and an earthly threat that is brand new to all species, the domination of a planet by more than seven billion people. Most of these people grew up learning that control, especially of ‘weak’ emotions, like weeping sorrow, and use of ‘strong’ emotions like anger and revenge, are gender specific and normalized.
Nature is often called upon to justify all kinds of abuse. Predators are natural. Rape happens in nature. Male posturing is the norm. Women tend children and domestic concerns. All true. But it is not the whole story by any means, especially as it comes to modern Homo Sapiens.
We quit hunting and gathering ten thousand years ago. Even now, when we still do, women do most of the heavy labor. Our brains allow that desk work can be done by any gender. Being a leader, also no longer puts one on the battlefield in need of mere shoulder strength, we rely on automation and technology instead.
Make no mistake. Boys and girls ARE biologically different. Boys are crazy for guns and power, as witnessed at any preschool. But biology and nature are not templates, nor are they even so strong an influence when it comes to how we socialize. What we accept as “normal” can be reinforced, guided for goodness, or even eliminated. We can guide girls and boys to be polite.
We are learning to move past the way we never were on to a new world where our education and ability to transform ourselves allows that opportunity, equality, respect and mutual defense is the proper and civilized way for human beings to regard ourselves and our world.
It’s past time. At least by ten thousand years.