6 Ways to talk to Your Son About Male Violence and Healthy Masculinity

 Our boys are being bombarded with messages on how to be “manly”—not all of them healthy. Men Can Stop Rape pairs with Sandra Kim to help parents support their sons’ healthy development.

It’s pretty common for us to worry about how women, especially our own daughters, are put into gender boxes and encouraged to engage in behavior that hurts them, simply because they’re female.

It’s far less common for us to worry about men, including our own sons, and what gender boxes and harmful behaviors they’re taught, simply because they’re male.

But they are. Boys as young as 4 year old are told to “be a man!”, usually in response to them crying or showing fear.

And as they grow up, they’re bombarded with messages that say to be a “manly” man, they need to:

  • Be big and strong
  • Be physically aggressive and ready to fight
  • Show no emotions – especially fear or pain but anger is just fine
  • Feel entitled to objectify women and sexually pursue women regardless of whether or not she’s interested

You only need to look at our thousands year old history of warring groups that pillaged, looted, and raped to see where this dominant idea of masculinity comes from.

It doesn’t take a leap of faith to see how this history has led to our society and media promoting images of masculinity as inherently obsessed with fighting and sex.

And then having some men turn that image into a reality where they feel entitled to be assault and dominate others, particularly women.

Yet we seldom hear about how this male violence is connected to our traditional notion of masculinity.

And at the same time, while most violent acts are committed by men, most men are NOT violent.

So many men are caring, responsible, and non-violent people. But while many men don’t use violence to express their feelings or control others, many don’t feel comfortable showing the other sides of them for fear of being called “gay”, “girly”, “soft,” or “emotional”.

That’s why we need to change the conversation around masculinity. We need the definition of masculinity to reflect the diversity present in men beyond the narrow box they have now.

Not only to reduce the level of male violence but to also support men in accepting all parts of themselves and expressing themselves fully—without being shamed.

One organization fighting to do just that is Men Can Stop Rape. Through their Men of Strength Clubs (MOST Club), they have pioneered a violence prevention program that provides young men in middle school, high school, and college with a structured and supportive space to build individualized definitions of masculinity that promote healthy relationships.

Based on their highly effective program, here are some ideas of how to talk with your son and other men in your life about what masculinity means for them and its relationship to their lives and violence.

1. Meet Them Where They’re At

Many men may not have thought critically about how society portrays masculinity. It may be assumed to just be normal – that this is just part of being a man.

So they may not see why it’s something important enough to discuss. At the same time, many men may be uncomfortable with how they are represented in the media and don’t identify with the beefy, fighting, womanizing men in the movies.

So it’s important to not assume anything about their beliefs, make them wrong, or attempt to change them. The point is not to create another narrow box for them to fit into but to expand the choices they have and support them in exploring what masculinity is aligned with their values.

2. Help Them To Identify Male Role Models They Know

While the media may glorify violent men, in real life, they are usually not the ones we admire. Men who are responsible, empathetic, caring, and contribute to the community are usually admired.

Ask them how these men show strength in their relationships and how they treat people. Helping them to see how the men they respect do not fit this traditional notion expands their understanding of masculinity and gives them more options.

For many, this may be the first time they’ve thought consciously about how strong good men they respects do not fit that mold.

3. Discuss How the Media Presents the Ideal Man

The media is filled with portrayals of fictional male characters who are primarily rewarded for fighting and getting the girl.

Ask him how this affects his idea of how men should act and compare it to how men he respects act. Often times men haven’t really compared the two and hear the traditional notion much more strongly to the point where they don’t see other ways of being a man.

4. Discuss How Traditional Masculinity Shows Up In Their Own Behavior

While many men are not be violent, traditional masculinity encourages other behaviors that are normalized in our society, such as street harassment, a sense of sexual entitlement, use of physical intimidation over smaller people, etc.

So it’s important for them to connect the dots between more violent acts and more socially sanctioned behaviors stemming from male domination. The more aware they are about their own behavior, the more they can choose whether or not they want to continue doing it.

5. Discuss the Role of Traditional Masculinity in Violence, Particularly Against Women

Since they have been socialized to think traditional masculinity is the ideal, it can take time for them to connect it with something they’re against like violence. So work backwards and discuss what can lead a man to feel comfortable with becoming violent.

While traditional masculinity does not necessarily always lead to violence, it does support male domination over others. And this creates a permissive culture where “boys will be boys”, “he can’t control himself sometimes”, and “she was asking for it”.

6. Discuss How Nonviolent Men Can Be a Part of Ending Violence

Many men who are not violent think that because they’re not doing it, that’s enough. But that should be the floor and not the ceiling for men’s engagement in the efforts to end violence. Sharing statistics about domestic violence and sexual abuse with them can help them see that they probably know several women and men who have been abused but never knew.

Show them different ways they can be involved – whether it’s learning more about the issue, volunteering at nonprofits, or discussing it with their male and female peers – they can do something to stop the violence.

These discussions aren’t easy. In fact, they can be extremely tricky and you may find yourself judging him or getting upset at different times.

So remember, you’re challenging years of society and media telling them what a “man” is. These concepts run deep on the subconscious level and by even engaging in the conversation, they’re taking a big step.

And more importantly, remember that it’s not your place to tell them they’re wrong and make them agree with what you believe “masculinity” means either. That would be the same type of domination you’re trying to eradicate!

But keep challenging their ideas in service of them engaging in their own critical thinking process about what type of man they want to be. Your goal is to help them see other options so they can consciously make their own decision for themselves.

Have you thought about what masculinity means for you and its impact on your behavior? Share in comments below!

Originally appeared at Everyday Feminism

This article was written in collaboration with Men Can Stop Rape, an international organization whose mission is to mobilize men to use their strength for creating cultures free from violence, especially men’s violence against women. MCSR provides agencies, schools, and organizations with direct services for youth, public service messaging, and leadership training. Follow on Facebook or Twitter.

Sandra Kim is the Founder & Editor of Everyday Feminism. She brings together her personal and professional experience with trauma, personal transformation, and social change and gives it all a feminist twist. Follow her @SandraSKim.

 

Lead image courtesy of Flickr/ Dru Bloomfield – At Home in Scottsdale

 

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About Everyday Feminism

Everyday Feminism supports people dealing with everyday violence, dominance, and silencing due to their gender, sexual orientation, race, class, and more. Through our online magazine and upcoming online school for applied feminism, we help people apply feminism to their real lives in order to work through issues, stand up for themselves, and live their truth. Follow us on Facebook or Twitter!

Comments

  1. I do not quite understand why neo feminists presume so much.It does not represent the views of and power of mainstream feminism.By Kari’s own admission things are changing slowly from the Betty Freidan, G.Steinam varietal to a smoother,less bitter,full bodied blend of flavors.

  2. Now I’m in moderation again.

  3. @Eagle … are you being a baaaaad boy again? For sham. Hang in there.

    • ENOUGH ALREADY!

      • Edit: The above was a response to YET ANOTHER comment stuck in moderation.

        • Eagle- i dont know how the moderation filters work but if your protests are getting through, maybe you could try rewording your other comments and post them again.

          • Okay, I’ll respond one more time.

            Kari, in regards to the criticism towards feminism, maybe it’s best to consider that some people have had experiences where certain feminists who say they are welcome towards mens issues then those men, whom I must add are quite venerable when expressing their issues regardless of the stereotypes, lay it out on the table and the next thing you know they’re shot down with “That’s not my department” or “That’s such a rare case compared to what women go through” and even the dreaded “you’re a priveledged white male who still benefits from the oppression of women”.

            Now, put yourself in the shoes of these men: How would you feel about it?

            Quite hurt, right? Especially when you put your trust in people who claim to understand. Now, multiply this many times over and you’ll get an idea of where some are coming from. Top it off with the message they hear of “It’s all right for men to cry and express their emotions, open up about their problems” from these feminists only to get lambasted for doing their job, so to speak, and this is an issue that can’t just be swept under the rug with calls for them to read up on feminism.

            You should also factor in that no one has listened to, or validated, their problems. Some even have had people close in their lives abandon them.

            Granted, that’s only an observation though Danny has said the same thing in a different way. There you have it.

            • Mostly_123 says:

              I thought what you shared there with your experience was very open, honest and profound – Why was that put in moderation?

            • That one addressed to me?

            • Eagle35- Yes, I was responding to your comment.

            • Actually, Kari, I was asking Mostly_123 that question.

              But in regards to your response, yes I hope we can move beyond generalizations. The thing is, though, it can’t be one party alone. It needs both parties. That includes people who were taught to think of men as “Brutes”, “Stupid”, “Dangerous to children” and “Privileged White Males benefiting from the oppression of women”. It also means listening to the struggles of men without semantics as a reflex reaction to shut down debate. The problem is, we’ve had these semantic shut downs and ignorance from the other side for a long time and many men are so badly scarred that you can’t fault them for not trusting people who claim empathy.

              So yes let’s move beyond generalizations: Both of us.

            • Eagle35 – Ah, I see now – the order of comments once they came out of moderation put mine in between your post and Mostly_123′s.

              Yes, both of us!

              I’m not clear on what you mean by “semantics.” Sometimes people use gendered words even though they don’t necessarily mean to generalize by gender. But sometimes the choice of words is part-and-parcel of their argument (like Dan Flower’s latest comment about a “strong male in the role of protector”). In those cases, disagreement over language is key.

            • When I say “Semantics” i’m talking about when people employ “Women have it worse” in the arena of abuse. They measure worth of support for male survivors by looking at statistics, then see that they’re scaled towards female survivors, and conclude “Well, male survivors aren’t on equal levels statistics-wise. So women have it worse and it’s an issue not worth worrying about”.

              I experienced the same thing. So have other men: Dismissal of their hurt and calls for support because of the desire to dole out empathy in accordance to statistical relevance. Though with the CDC report, things have changed.

              That’s what I mean by “Semantics” though I should probably use another word since it’s more language based than what I’m illustrating.

            • Mostly_123 says:

              “That one addressed to me?”

              Yes- sorry, I should have written it more clearly as: ‘Eagle35 I thought what you shared there with your experience was very open, honest and profound – Why was that put in moderation?’

            • Eagle – I do understand, really, that personal hurts can be conflated with similarly situated people. And I don’t mean to imply that personal hurts are to be minimized in the least. As I mentioned in other comments, the lived experience of real people is what informs any theory and any advocacy to help improve things. The lived experience of men are quite valid in understanding how gender operates in the world today – both good and bad. As I said, I’ve only been following GMP for a while and only just started reading the commentaries. I’m sure I can find different forums to hear wonderful things about Feminism, but I want to be here because I want to hear what men are thinking and experiencing. And so now I’m learning. I guess my hope is that we can continue to move beyond the generalizations. It’s an extremely difficult task with a topic like gender, but it’s happening.

            • Eagle35…if one drinks from a poison well, one is bound to get sick.And that’s what feminism does, repeatedly. Rather than invite men to dig a new well in partnership with them, they bring us to the old well, saying the waters is fine, when we can see the dirt and they tell us to drink.

            • What’s interesting or I should say “revealing” when I read a lot of what’s written in many of the sites similar to GMP is that you begin to see a pattern. There appears to be a clear intent to pull men away from making their own tracks and pulling them into the feminism. How many times have you heard feminists say things like, “that’s not me, I don’t think that way” or “feminism has changed and it includes the well being of men?” In other words, come back to our well and drink.

              If feminists truly intend on making their efforts for men equal to that of women, why does “FEMinism” have to exist.

              Years ago, fathers rights groups, which started out fighting for the rights of dads, took a turn and became “parents” rights groups. Their interests moved from benefitting dads to the benefits for the kids. Accordingly, they shifted their efforts so that the kids would benefit having both parents. Nonetheless, fathers are still behind the 8-ball in family courts, the movement continues to fight for what’s best for the kids.

              I don’t see this happening with feminism. It’s as though they feel that they will lose something in the process. How many times have you seen positive, male friendly articles which start out with “I’m a feminist?” And to be honest, I don’t trust anyone who sees him\herself as a feminist.

    • Kari…I think if feminist changed tactics it would help open communication.If they approached issues of violence from a holistic place,men would be more apt to communicate.The question should be why are humans-men and women violent,but it isn’t.The current focus is too narrow and overwrought with partisan politics.

  4. Mr Supertypo says:

    interesting….

  5. Dan Flowers says:

    It seems that a great number of comments are going into moderation… So as not to waste an inordinate amount of time on a carefully articulated idea that won’t be posted anyway, I will be succinct.

    Male gender roles instilled from an early age are a natural preparation for what will be expected of them later in life. Fighting and being “tough” has its place. Any civilized society needs to have a certain percentage of men to fulfill certain roles – soldier, police officer, firefighters, etc… They NEED to have been instilled with a mental toughness and degree of aggressiveness to deal with bad situations with the confidence that comes from not doubting one’s self. That confidence only comes from a testing and forging process that tends to disassociate them from all of the subtleties that modern society seems to expect from a “Good Man”. I strong male in the role of protector does not have time to dither and struggle with inter-personal trivial issues and subtleties of ethics and think about every social implications of their actions. They are required to act based on their best snap judgment, to trust that judgment and act immediately and without hesitation. Men should also be taught to cherish and respect women. In their role as protector they do. The problem with male roles right now, is that these traditional roles have been screwed with by feminism until men have no idea what their roles are in relation to women. Few are getting the “be tough” message these days. The ones that are are getting it without clear societal rules to use it to positive effect. I was raised hard. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I hate to see confused men who are not getting clear guidance on how and when to apply their “maleness”. Return to clear gender roles would help.

  6. Eagle35…The splitting you speak of, whereby communication breaks down along gender talking points, is part of a political strategy:Thrust,parry and never admit that you are wrong.The responses to criticism, from feminists are very often canned and reflexive. This is, in particularly true, of women who don’t openly profess to be feminist but enjoy the benefits of feminism. These women are among the most difficult to deal with and are “the have my cake and eat it to crowd”.Most women know don’t much about feminism, but are supportive of it when it benefits them.

    These talking points speak to them.This way they don’t have to do any work defining issues for themselves.In polit5ical science there is a term for this but it escapes me.These talking points are meant to be simplistic and easily available for use by women. This is one of the reasons that feminism doesn’t take to criticism or accountability easily. When was the last to time you can recall any political party admitting to making a mistake?Unless, of course,it gets the pants beat off it like the Republicans and then it’s beneficial to reform. And that’s what feminism has yet to do:Reform.This reformation must speak to more than just it’s kinder, gentler wing. It must speak openly and candidly about the mistakes it has made. And it must address, with men, in real time, the best ways to get out of this mess. The days of gender division are behind us and continuing to try and address our issues-men and women- separately, ignoring how one side of the gender coin impacts the other,has failed.

    • Wow, ogwriter, I think the same thing.

      That’s what drove me away from supporting it 100%: The inability to admit that the movement, to reach their goals, employed means that have brought serious repercussions we are seeing now and their reluctance to outright say it, admit it to themselves.

      There were other reasons but I’ve already stated them before.

  7. This is a serious and important subject. But the assumption that masculinity=violence is false, and these extremely negative views of men will only increase the already enormous divisions between men and feminists.

    Traditional masculinity can be used in a terrible way, in the form of violence. It also builds, creates, protects and encourages and supports. Power and strength and the willingness to fight for what is right are not evil aspects of masculinity. The idea that only passivity is appropriate is false, and not something any father will teach his son.

    The idea of men protecting women is now mocked and ridiculed. But feminists might be surprised by how many of us would be happy to do just that – and already do.

    The absolute refusal of feminists to acknowledge all of this is very bewildering and – again – produces an automatic wall that goes up.

    I always wonder when I read articles like this whether the authors ever talk to men? Or more importantly, do they ever listen to us? How is it possible that they make these assumptions?

    Considering the importance of the topic, I would have assumed they would at least want to know their opponent.

  8. I feel like feminism had really good intentions. To bring women, who were considered lower than men, up to the same level as men. That’s a really worthy cause. To try to equalize people.

    I think where we run into a problem, though, is when we divide freedom. Justice is justice. Freedom is freedom. We all live together and we all have to get along if we want peace. I’m really more of a fan of the idea of humanism. Separating our justice, our freedom… well, that just makes us blame and argue. We need to come together, not drive apart.

    We need to find the human beings in each other FIRST and let everything else… race, gender, height, ability to drive, and proneness to bursting out into song randomly come afterwards.

    • To bring women, who were considered lower than men, up to the same level as men. That’s a really worthy cause. To try to equalize people.
      The problem with that line of logic is that it presumes that all that needs to be done to equalize men and women is fix the areas where women were not on the same level as men. The imbalances of gender are not that black and white (and I mean that figuratively and literally as a nod to race relations).

      With that presumption even things that harmed men were spun until they looked like they were actually hurting women and men were just suffering some collateral damage.

      Which is a flaw I see in a lot of feminists. The harm that is done to women is propped up as a feature (an intention of design to keep women down) while harm that is done to men is swept to the side as a bug (as in it wasn’t designed to harm men, it was really designed to harm women and it ended up hurting men as well somehow, ooopsie).

    • “To bring women, who were considered lower than men, up to the same level as men”

      That is a basic assumption of feminism. Did all women throughout history assume they were being oppressed? Did they see all men as oppressors?

      Most ideologies look back into history and project their assumptions on people at the time.

      • John Schtoll says:

        http://owningyourshit.blogspot.ca/

        GirlWriteswhat lays out very well where this flawed thinking comes from, that women were lower than men and “got the short end of the stick”. For make a long story short, Women got the short end of the stick because they weren’t carrying the same stick as men, mens stick was much more expensive in terms of social cost , heavier in terms of obligations to society and WAY MORE dangerous in terms of risk to health and safety.

    • John Schtoll says:

      @ Vironika: Feminism didn’t want to equalize people, they want to bring women up to the same social status as men, with all the same rights and privs in society BUT without all the same responsibilities of that society, ie. draft, dangerous work, and the requirement to provide a living for everyone in your family. Remember too that when we look at voting rights, the time between full mens suffrage and full womens suffrage is approx 1/10 of a percent of recorded history, the rest there was no full suffrage for either men or women.

  9. Why is it necessary for men to embrace feminism?

  10. Why is it necessary for men to embrace feminism? If it were such a boon for men there would be no need for this discussion.

    • redbear762 says:

      Feminism is male oppression writ Politically Correct where every male child is a is a rapist or misogynist in training and every man *IS* a is a rapist or misogynist despite facts to the contrary. Feminism is an evil propagated upon society by women who seek to emasculate men into short haired women with sensible shoes.

  11. Netiquette question -
    What’s the protocol for posting the same or highly similar comments on multiple articles? I’ve come across the same questions several times from different people on different threads AND I’ve noticed some of the same commenters are reading and commenting on the same articles I am. So – how acceptable is it to repeat answers to the same question when at least a number of the people following the thread have already heard it elsewhere?

    • @Keri, there are times that different articles with follow a common thread with others. For example thing article speaks of violence ….. common thread with how many other articles? Many articles bring feminism into the discussion …. Sam thoughts, different articles.

  12. Chris Watson says:

    Again, we see and advocate for the emasculation of the American male by Radical Feminism and as the father of three boys, I am absolutely disgusted by, and with, it.

    I’ll share our experience:

    1) Be big and strong – in my house, we encourage boys to become men of strength physically and in their character. Despite what Radical Feminism teaches, men and women **are** different in every way and a strong man physically and in their character is the kind of man they should strive to be.

    2) Be physically aggressive and ready to fight – Radical Feminism ignores that boys *are* aggressive – get a bunch of boys together in Africa with sticks and they will start playing ‘hunt the lion’ and in the US will most likely play ‘cops and robbers’ or, now, ‘Soldiers and Terrorists’.

    We can’t ignore the realities of a world that isn’t safe by any means and we taught our boys to never pick a fight but to have the ability – and be ready – to *end* one. The lives of themselves, their friends, and their families may depend someday on aggressive, decisive action.

    3) Show no emotions – especially fear or pain but anger is just fine. I cry just fine (I watch chick flicks with my 14 year old daughter and she laughs at me) and the boys understand that sometimes you do have to ‘suck it up and drive on’ and ignore the hurt, refuse to succumb to the fears, and to fuel yourself with anger and determination to complete what you have to complete and to endure what you have to endure. That’s basic survival in business and in life.

    4) Feel entitled to objectify women and sexually pursue women, etc, etc. – Not in my house since the question is ‘how would you like your sister treated?’ and usually that results in her pretty much having a constant chaperone at dances and a hard reflection on how they treat their dates and potential mates – that is a part of encouraging strength of character.

    in the future, please stay away from generalities and rethink a position that emasculates men into short-haired women with sensible shoes.

    • Dude you’ve just made your own generalities and then claimed that your view is the only correct definition of “masculine” and anyone who doesn’t accord to it is “emasculated”. In that respect you’re being part of the problem – while trends exist men and women aren’t necessarily different at all, both groups are extremely diverse. I see what you’re getting at, but please realize that yours isn’t the only way.

      Also worried by the whole chaperone thing – sounds like a kind of benevolent sexism where men are these stoic figures who must protect women from other men. We have to move past that. Really the answer is for women to be able to protect themselves – and for the need for protection to dwindle.

      • Chris Watson says:

        There were no generalities other than the one’s I quoted from the article and I was offering the example at my own home with my own sons; my view of what is masculine is pretty historical and traditional in the West and, until recently, here in the US. There’s a reason we have the phrase ‘cowboy up’ here.

        Reread what I wrote in #4: The boys watch out for their little sister, something every big brother has done since the beginning of time. Heck show me an older brother who *isn’t* watching out for their sister and I’d say that’s a fail.

      • Chris Watson says:

        Men and women *are* different biologically and mentally so blowing that off doesn’t make it any less real; I was in the Infantry and very, very, very *few* women could do this on a day in and day out basis: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w846UcmIo5o&feature=share&list=PLKGrk-wIqDL-UHT_hiLQgPlupAnEXU93v

        That isn’t ‘diversity’, that’s biology.

  13. I have nothing to add to this- but suggest that this article as a reminder of the consternation the discovery of an isolated people’s [, unaffected by video games, fried food, comics & the Judeo-Christian warmonger head,] propensity for violence.
    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/17/magazine/napoleon-chagnon-americas-most-controversial-anthropologist.html?pagewanted=6&_r=0&hp
    War, evidently, just for the hell of it. Yeah I believe it is very much nature, not nurture, and that a couple hundred thousand per-adolescents got out of bed this morning, grabbed a Kalashnikov and prayed that today they get to kill a kid just like your’s……..

  14. “Feel entitled to objectify women and sexually pursue women regardless of whether or not she’s interested”

    I’ve never felt that way though, where are these messages?

  15. Tom B…Well, Tom as you note feminism does feel like it will lose something by simply dropping the labels ; power.Feminism is a political institution and thus has one main purpose,to stay in power.Their power depends on exascerbating gender differences and seeking to control outcomes,not on compromising. Feminism acts as if it and it alone should define standards of equality for the world;scary imperialistic.

  16. Ogwriter … FYI, I’m doing well. It’s gonna take a while for the rotator cuff to mend. Sounds like you’ve been pretty busy too. Good luck to your guys…. Not sure how we can communicate our emails to each other in that they are not shown. Like to touch base with you at some point,

    Back to topic at hand … as I suspected, this article didn’t draw the attention that I would have hoped.

  17. This is a fantastic article! rather that focusing on victim blaming and women learning how to avoid being harassed, it explores the concept of teaching men how not to! A wonderful first step to combatting this male chauvinism. Also the effects that this “ideal masculinity” has on men and young boys.
    My niece (8 years old) had a male friend round and the young boy started crying, now all children cry because they’re still very dependent on their carers and when they feel uncomfortable they need looking after. My brother saw this as a sign of weakness and never allowed my niece to see the boy again. We need actions that this article talks about to be spread to everyone who doesn’t know. The importance is huge.

    • Chris Watson says:

      There’s a place and time to cry and men have to learn when and where that is; the team/tribe/platoon/company can’t rely on someone who is emotionally paralyzed; we still have wars and it’s the Infantryman who fights them and the ability to grieve, to cry, and then pack it up and go back to killing the Bad Guys is intrinsic to our biology as males. We can’t ignore that the requirement that men ‘do the hard things’ is still the case in our society.

  18. There is a lot more violence against men and boys. ALL men have been a victim of male violence at some point. 90% of stranger perpetrated violent crime has a male victim.

    The way to create a violent man is to beat him up when he is a boy. It is a cycle. To break that cycle you need to protect children, and discourage all violence, not just sexual violence with a female victim.

    • Chris Watson says:

      I reject your blanket statement on male violence; I grew up in a blue collar, working class Italian neighborhood and fought with other boys (usually as the challenged) and have seen how few of them grew up to be the ‘violent men’ of the present of your post.

      There is a place for violent, decisive action in defense of others and yourself, so the answer is to teach boys to be defenders and champions of the weak, *not* little girls with penises.

  19. Nico Zimmer says:

    I think this is a foolish misunderstanding on the author’s part. There is such influence on masculinity in media, but it’s not as though this influence wasn’t occurring before advanced media. Men have always been bred as hunters, gatherers, and more importantly warriors. There is nothing wrong with having or seeking the power naturally stored in the body, as we naturally seek, that is a large part of manhood. The aspiration to attain strength, power, and skill to protect our comrades and kin. The author mentions our species’ history of war and conflict that introduced these violent urges as though such situations do not exist today. At any moment our homes can become a battlefield, be it against a criminal, gang, riot, or even invasion, it is this constant threat that supports the aspiration for strength.
    The point mentioned describing the media’s influence on the appearance of masculinity, while I agree that one does not need to be incredibly muscular to be a man, you have to understand that we are animals by nature. All animals have something like this, but can you tell a lion that his mane does not make him any more of a lion? It’s a natural intimidation tactic that our people have used to survive against both nature and each other, which secured our future. I will never tell my son to hit the gym until he’s Arnold Schwarzenegger, but I do expect him to become skilled in both physical and mental tactics.
    Now on to the parts about women. I agree, manhood is not about womanising and I find such acts disturbing. Real men take only what they need and they do it with honour. But this is something you can’t necessarily blame on the media. I’ve not seen many films or read many books that describe rape or abuse as manly, quite the contrary. If you’re referring to a James Bond situation where he jumps from one lover to the next without consideration, then you’re right, that is to be abhorred. But it is also not meant for children, those kinds of things are thing that should be seen by adults who have been taught full well what manhood is. But once again I go back to the animal point, we are animals and most animals are polygamous. While it is culturally accepted that we only have one spouse, our nature cannot help but be appeased at the thought of such sexual expertness. But once again, that’s a matter of maturity and our ability to realise what is to be and what should be. I don’t excuse those actions, I merely give you a reasoning behind them.

    Frankly I find this argument out of place, while you do have some good points you are misguided by your own opinion which is heavily influenced by your (brace for it) womanhood. Men are men and women are women, there are aspects of us that the other gender does not understand, you must accept that. There are fathers who know how to raise their children and all men can and should look to our history to learn how to father. This is not a place for a woman to judge. I am not sexist, I do not think less of women, I am stating that everyone has a place, and fatherhood is not meant for mothers.

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