Thursday 4 August 2016

It's not Muslims or people with mental health problems who are most likely to kill you in a terrorist attack – it's men

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Toxic masculinity is what entitles a man to take a weapon and take other people's lives in the name of his values. 
Toxic masculinity enforces the idea that being a “man” means not just being strong, but showing that strength through violence and fear. It means always being the one in control, having power and dominance over others at all times, by any means.
If typical masculinity promotes emotional disconnection – something that men’s mental health charities are already trying to combat - toxic masculinity goes one step further and promotes the absence of empathy altogether. It also promotes the dismissal of anything deemed “feminine”, and the hatred of anything that contradicts heteronormative ideals around what it means to be a “man”. 
The easiest way to think of it is to imagine the military. After all, soldiers are paid mass murderers. Different wars, same tactics.
However, toxic masculinity has its roots in the everyday: to prove this, we should look no further than the fact a significant number of these killers were domestic violence perpetrators. Not just these killers, but the majority of mass murderers.

The men who massacre the public are the same men who butcher women privately in their own homes. The same principles of power, control, fear and violence apply: instead of using violence to instil fear in one woman, they scale it up to instil fear across nations. These men walk among us, everywhere, but we only pay attention to their violence when it spills onto our streets.
If we want this violence to stop, we need to address the root cause and its everyday manifestations before they escalate. These men were not extremists existing outside of society; they are products of it. They were men drunk on the entitlement that patriarchal cultures serve them. 
They did not impulsively decide to go out and murder large numbers of people; they were fired by a deep, burning desire for control.
Toxic masculinity hinges on having power over others; it demands inequality. As our world becomes more unequal, it becomes more violent. Toxic masculinity exists on political levels: in policing, prisons, immigration detention centres and controlling security measures.
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