Healthy Masculinity: The Idea That Men Can Control Themselves

From Huffington Post:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/healthy-masculinity-why-m_b_1933324.html


10/03/2012

Men and women are different. What isn’t so obvious is that men and women are similar. But we go out of our way to highlight the differences and generally, culturally, balk at suggestions of essential sameness. This is nowhere so true as in our understanding of violence.

The world over men are aware that they can always, potentially, be frightening to women and children. Men are, on average, physically stronger humans. They can do two things with their physical strength: hurt others or help them. In most places, masculinity is inextricably bound to violence. And that violence is inextricably bound to female vulnerability. And that vulnerability, with the ever-present threat and exercise of physical harm, keeps women subordinate to varying degrees — physically insecure in developed countries and virtually property on entire continents. Boys will be boys.

It takes a lot of courage to take this on and suggest that the relationship between violence and masculinity can be changed. For the world to be male-dominated, men must have a clear monopoly on violence and culture has to show that they are willing to use it. Our media, proliferating stories of male violence, assumes that monopoly as an incontrovertible truth, “the way things are.” Just as women have to have a monopoly on tempting sexuality that controls men who cannot control themselves. Because in all this sea of physical strength is the idea that men are actually fundamentally weak. A good example, as Hugo Schywzer just put it in a Role/Reboot piece, is that “Too many of us do accept a similarly indefensible argument: that short skirts can drive men to rape.”

That’s why the real question isn’t if men are more or less violent. The real question is whether or not men have control over themselves.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/soraya-chemaly/healthy-masculinity-why-m_b_1933324.html

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