Picture a pair of three year old boys trading pretend blows while play-fighting. They giggle, laughing as they scream their war cries. Even if they fell to the ground, wrestling each other as part of this play—what is the tone of this interaction? Would you feel the need to stop it? Or would you just shrug and say ‘boys will be boys…’?
Ten years later picture the same boy’s play-fighting, and now add testosterone.
Ten years later again, add adulthood and adult male physicality.
What is the tone of each of these interactions? Would you, could you, stop it? Note your reaction and replay each of those scenario’s, first with girls, then with a boy and a girl—do you feel the same in each situation? If not it might give you some insight into how you’ve been culturally gender-role conditioned.
We raise boys to be violent. We promote it with toys, advertising, sports, books, TV and videogames. Then as adults, we fill our prisons with the children who grew up to be exactly what we taught them to be, while lamenting the issue of violent men, and not the culture and or parenting that created them.
So why do we raise boys to be violent men?
The foundation of glorifying violence is survival-focused society (which all modern culture’s stem from)—cultures that are focused on just trying to avoid going extinct. To populate a species you need many uteruses but only a few penises to impregnate them. In survival focused society, the value of human’s with a uterus (females) is at a premium, and people without a uterus (males), are more disposable—particularly when many of those uterus-bearers may die from pregnancy, birth, or post-birth complications.
Even with the possibility of extinction, it’s incredibly difficult to convince a gender to put “the greater good” before its own survival. The gender role of ‘mother’ is much more difficult to avoid than the gender role of ‘protector’. Sex is a lot of fun, but no one in their right mind wants to fight a bear with a pointy stick, just because they are male.
In order to convince men to be willing to face a potentially horrible and violent death at the hands of predators, you must sell to bothgenders the idea that heroic death and violence is an incredibly good thing; you market one gender as heroes, and one gender as needing to be saved.
Societally, even as we progressed from sticks, to spears, to swords, to muskets, to guns—we have spent generation after generation selling that idea hard (Why? See the banana experiment).
We no longer experience a world overrun with natural predators, women survive birth as the norm, yet we continue to societally ingrain the idea of heroic death and violence into the masculine identity, and this type of masculinity as essential to men being “good” and “desirable” males. At the same time we run campaigns to stop men committing domestic violence against their partners, campaigns explaining to men that ‘one punch kills’, campaigns that reinforce over and over that men, not the violence they were raised with, is the problem.
How about teaching our children (of both genders) that boys don’t need to be violent, to be men?
Please, like us on Facebook!