The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Viewpoint – Society feeds noxious fumes of masculinity

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The Collegian Logo

By Kathryn Kelman/editor-in-chief

The idea that mass shootings, like the one Feb. 14 in Parkland, Florida, are a result of mental illness is a farce.

Logic tells us mental illness is not the cause of our gun problem because mental illness is a global issue while mass shootings are an American one.

But in addition to easy access to guns, toxic masculinity is also at fault for this trend of mass shootings in America.

Of the 150 public mass shootings in which four or more people were killed since 1996, all but three were committed by men, according to The Washington Post.

While a variety of factors are associated with committing serious violence, being male is frequently one of the top two predictive risk factors, which is more than any mental health diagnosis, according to Politico.

To understand toxic masculinity, it must first be separated from masculinity, which is real, natural and biological.

Toxic masculinity is a subsection that takes the worst characteristics associated with males to the extreme. It is characterized by total uniformity, rigidity and invulnerability and built on sexual conquest and violence.

The concept is not intended to demonize men. Rather, it’s intended to highlight the harmful effects of conforming to certain “ideal” masculine behaviors. Plus, men commit suicide at more than triple the rate of women, so it’s something that hurts men too.

While many women have experienced liberation from the chains of traditional femininity, little evolution in the way masculinity is viewed or in its expectations has happened.

A majority of men are stuck in an outdated model of masculinity because society accepts and perpetuates violence as a facet of male behavior while at the same time teaching men to repress all feelings except for anger, i.e., “boys don’t cry.”

Toxic masculinity cannot be separated from the mass shooting narrative, not when men own guns at triple the rate of women in the U.S. and constitute almost all of the mass shooters in recent history.

This is a male issue.

So in addition to discussions about gun control, we must also take time to look closely at our culture and how we are defining and characterizing masculinity, because it’s killing us.

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