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 â€“ 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.