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What are the roots of male violence? We can look into how males are raised in society and the gender stereotypes we inculcate them with.

Observe the list in blue.  It, and similar archetypes, dominate our social discourse and structure of our societies.  It is from many of these bedrock values patriarchy springs, and along with it, male violence.  These values are passed from parents to children and to have any hope of ending the problem of male violence the cycle must be interrupted.  I think that in some aspects our society has been proactive in reducing direct violent behaviour toward members of the family unit.  However, the use of violence to solve disputes within the family setting still exists, and is prevalent enough make the existence of well-watched violent compilations on youtube a reality.

We know that children are like little sponges and they observe almost everything that happens around them.  Here is what is disturbing about the following ‘funny’ collection of parents – usually fathers – destroying their children’s electronic toys:  What lessons are being learned in how male children are to process their anger and frustration in a reasonable pro-social manner?

 

Now, after seeing the vid (there are 4 more similar compilations?!) how can we be ever be surprised when males act the way they do?  Yes this is a gratuitous generalization, but really in what possible world is destroying someone’s stuff a reasonable course of action?  They are not listening?  Talk to them.  Do pretty much anything but rely on patriarchal domination and violence to get your point across to your child.  The behaviour a parent demonstrates now shapes the future behaviour of the child and we, desperately, as a society need to break some of the more deleterious aspects of male socialization.

It is important to recognize the struggles women have in our society. An easy example of the bullshit that went on was the mandatory skirt rule for women. Just amazing bullshit flying in the face of practicality – as in hey, it is minus 20 outside, NO PANTS FOR YOU!

Men don’t have to deal with egregious bullshit like this and yet it is a common assumption made that the male/female experiences in society are roughly the same.

They aren’t.

   Welcome to the particular mental hell that many women inhabit.  In an insightful article on Tom’s Dispatch by Mattea Kramer we see how the negativity toward women in society internalizes itself and become women’s own inner self-critical voice.

 

“Girls observe and absorb such double standards, as well as the criticism they receive for speaking up. Then they police themselves. As adults in professional settings, women talk a lot less than men when they’re outnumbered by the opposite sex — 75% less, according to a team of researchers from Princeton and Brigham Young universities. And if they do dare say something, they tend to hear an inner voice telling them that they sound dumb.

“God, I just said such a stupid thing,” a campaign director at a national advocacy organization thought to herself. “You don’t want to come off as an angry black woman, do you?” said the inner critic to an executive recruiter. To a nationally recognized artist: “You sound like a dumb girl.” To a Ph.D. with a successful career in higher education, “I shouldn’t have talked so much.” And to a thirty-something paralegal: “Your boss thinks you’re an idiot, and it’s because you are one.” You can imagine how much she speaks up.

In an attempt to outrun such criticism and those voices echoing in their heads, many women wear themselves out striving for perfection. As one researcher summarized the situation, ambitious women “exist by putting out maximum energy at all times, trying to do everything and do it well. It is not enough that they attempt to be outstanding in their work; their perfection complex also causes them to strive for a Jane Fonda body, a house that could be on the cover of Better Homes and Gardens, and perfect children.” They think they’re only okay if they’re flawless — and in the end often come to believe that they’re unlovable. (Depression, as it happens, is more common among women.)

“If other people really knew you, they wouldn’t love you,” said the inner critic to a newly married woman. “You should just accept that you’re going to be alone for the rest of your life,” it said to an Asian-American woman in her thirties. To a writer and teacher who volunteers her time helping the mentally distressed, the critic, speaking of her friends, said, “Why would they love you?”

Living in patriarchy is grand eh? ” :(

 

I completely need this book.

gender

femaleerasure

For even more fun try the Virgin/Whore game, or the “what was she wearing…’ game – guaranteed to bring the yuks back to the party.

The experience of society is different depending on whether you are female or male – one woman’s story.

laundry“it’s not about that i know how to do laundry. it’s that when i was four i knew how to fold clothes; small hands working alongside my mother, while my older brother sat and played with his toys. it’s that i know what kind of detergent works but my father guesses. it’s that in my freshman year of college i had a line of boys who needed me to show them how to use the machine. it’s that the first door they knocked on belonged to me. it’s that they expected me to know.

it’s not that i know how to cook. it’s that the biggest christmas present i got was a little plastic kitchenette i never used except to climb on. it’s that my brother used it more, his hands ghosting over pink buttons and yellow dials. it’s that when my work needs cake for a birthday, they turn to me. i get it from costco. i don’t even like cooking. a boy burns popcorn in the dorm microwave and laughs. a week later, i do the same thing, and he snorts at me, “just crossed you off my wife list.” it’s that i had heard something like this so many times before that i laughed, too.

it’s not that i don’t love being feminine. it’s that i came home with bruises from trying to be a trick rider on my bike and heard the word “tomboy,” felt my little mouth say, “but i’m not a boy, i’m a girl”. it’s that they laughed. it’s that until i was sitting in my pretty dress and smiling with a big pretty smile and blinking my big pretty eyes, i wasn’t given back the title “girl”. it’s that until i wore makeup and styled my hair i was bullied; it’s that when i don’t wear makeup i’m a slob, that my mental health diagnosis hangs on the hook of being dressed up. it’s that my therapist sees me returning to bright red lipstick and tells me i am looking happier and i have to explain that i am more sad than i have ever been. it’s that i dress myself in as many layers as i can every time i ride a train because it’s better to be laughed at than harassed. 

it’s not that i know how to clean, it’s that my brother’s chores were outside where i wanted to be, and mine were inside. it’s that i would have weeded the garden better than he did if they had just let me. it’s that i am put in charge of fixing other’s messes, expected to comply without complaint.

it’s not that i can’t open the jar. it’s that you ask my brother first every time. it’s that i am pushed into docile positions, trained to believe that my body when it’s strong and healthy is ugly, trained into being less, weaker. it’s that the jar is also science, is also engineering, is also every job, every opportunity. it’s that you laugh faster when he tells a joke, that you take him seriously but wave off me, that when he raises his voice he’s assertive but when i do i’m hysterical. the jar is getting into a car with a stranger as a driver and wondering if this is our last ride. the jar is knowing that if something happens to us, it’s our fault. 

it’s that i’m weak and i don’t know if it’s because i just am or i was trained to be. it’s that we need to sit pretty with our pretty smiles and our pretty words trapped pretty and silent in our throats, our hands restless but pretty when idle, our bodies vessels for nothing but a future white dress. it’s that we are taught someone else needs to open the jar for us.

here’s the secret: run metal lids under hot water, they’ll expand faster than the glass they’re around. here’s the secret: when you keep us under hot water, we do more than boil. we expand over our edges. and we learn how to open our mouths, our claws, our screams hanging in kites over cities. just give me a chance. give me a chance when i am four when i am seven when i am twenty-three. i promise i can be amazing. give me the jar. i’ll show you something.

[Found on Inkskinned]

Tatsuya Ishida creates the internet comic Sinfest.  Sometimes his insight hits the proverbial nail on the head.

 

sinfestill8

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