Tough Guise

In my Anthropology class (Gender Relations: Comparative Perspective) today we watched the first part of Jackson Katz’s Tough Guise: Violence, Media, and the Crisis in Masculinity.  While I have seen portions of this video in a previous women’s studies class,  I had forgotten just how appalling the statistics of violence against women are in today’s society. Men are the cause of 90% of violence in our society, and the media keeps this masculine force invisible to the public eye.  They describe the violence as “kids killing kids”, when in reality it is boys killing both boys and girls.  Katz believes that the ongoing epidemic of violence by men is due to America’s inability to move past the old ideals of “manhood”.  He also talks about the insane social stigma that convinces boys that they must remain “manly” to avoid being labeled as “fruity”, “gay”, “girly”, etc.  Boys are raised seeing G.I. Joe figurines with biceps that grow larger and larger with each release of a new doll.  Today’s boys are raised in a society that puts toxic ideas in their heads, making them believe that women are controllable by men.  Aggression and violence surround them.  Even if there is not physical or emotional violence visible in their very households, this aggression and violence exists in movies, TV programs, commercials, and everyday social interactions.  Violence is glorified in professional sports, as well as the video games that almost every boy is addicted to today.  And boys are playing games like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft at younger and younger ages, increasing their exposure to aggression and violent killing.  All of these things are just strengthening the patriarchy that controls our society every day.  This idea that men can control and exploit and abuse women is what fuels the sex trafficking industry in America.  Young girls succumb to the demands of their pimps and traffickers because society has engrained in their heads this idea that men have power over them.  Given most victims of trafficking come from a history of violence in the home, this only magnifies this problem.  We need to show how violent masculinity is and make it visible to society in order for changes to be made, because changes NEED to be made.



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