Some of my best friends are men…

Most of the talk about the trial of Clayton Weatherston and the killings by George Sodini has focussed on the anti-women sentiment and sexism woven into the discourse and society. But isn’t there anti-men sentiment in equal measure? Both are rooted in the idea that men cannot control themselves – when it comes to issues of sex and love men have no self control. The story it tells is that for men rejection becomes a killing rage without the chance of self-restraint.

In fact it’s rooted not only in the idea that men can’t control their rage, but in the idea that rage is their autonomic response to anything that goes wrong.

The prevalence of those myths and the unthinking acceptance of them doesn’t just lead to the deaths and beatings and rapes of hundreds of women a year, it also leads to the discounting and devaluing of masculinity.

I know so many good men: men who love, men who care, men with self control, men who do not have barely suppressed rage burning in their souls 24×7. Men who are diminished by every retelling of those myths of the generic caveman response.

When we finally repeal the provocation partial defence from the Crimes Act it will be a step forward not only for the women and gay men whose killings are trivialised by the defence, but also for every strong capable man whose masculinity is devalued by the idea that the measure of a man is his capacity to lapse into an uncontrollable killing rage.

4 thoughts on “Some of my best friends are men…

  1. I think first off it’s clarifying to talk in terms of what some men do, not all.

    More men than women do fly into murderous rage. That’s not to say that all men are susceptible but it is evidence that Men act differently to Women.

    Similarly, not all men rape but by far the majority of rapists are men.

    And that is related to biological differences that predispose men to impulsive, risk taking behaviour in conjunction with jealousy and grudge holding.

  2. I was going to say that more education is the key. But Weatherston puts paid to that theory.

    Like most things, I am hopeful that male violent behaviour will improve, mainly because our kids are better than us. I base this solely on the experience of my kids going to one of the largest co-ed public schools in Auckland, and I would say unequivocally that there are far fewer incidents of violence or bullying at their school than when I went to school.

  3. I wonder how the decision to allow female boxing in the olympics in 2012 fits in with this. Boxing was one of the 5 original ‘sports’ in the games. it is the only ‘sport’ where participants try to hurt each other and was the only ‘sport’ within the summer olympics where women didn’t have participation.

    What does boxing say about us? Is it equality to allow women boxers to be beat up, or to do the beating, like the male boxers? Do people force them to do it? Can so called ‘freedom of choice’ be reconcilled with economic lifeline for disadvantaged individuals that boxing appears to provide – or is it just (predominately) dark people providing entertainment for less dark people.

    And to try to get back on point… how does all of that perpetuate the myths that you have talked about Anita – the myth of male rage controlled or uncontrolled. And it is a myth because it absolves blame at least in the minds of some. If rage is uncontrollable then it’s not my fault – i don’t have to take responsibility I just have to take a pill.

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