In the aftermath of the Uvalde, Texas, school shooting that left 19 students and two teachers dead, a number of school programs across the nation are focusing on “toxic masculinity,” specifically as seen in entitled white boys.
Citing a slew of research studies to back up their approach, NBC News detailed — on the day before Father’s Day — all the reasons the perception of what it means to be a man must change.
One group that is working hard to overcome “the toxic masculinity that research has found to be at the root of many mass shootings and other acts of violence perpetrated by men” is Men as Peacemakers.
The program strives to break down gender stereotypes and encourage “a broad emotional vocabulary” in boys so they don’t slaughter a classroom full of fourth-graders.
“We’re not saying something like [our program] can always prevent violence, because there are so many multifaceted reasons why violence happens,” Men as Peacemakers co-executive director Sarah Curtiss said. “But what might happen if all children were able to be seen, heard, to have a broad emotional vocabulary?”
While the question is a perfectly reasonable one, what seems unreasonable is NBC’s failure to ask about the long-term effects on boys who grow up without a strong male role model in the home.
Happy Fathers Day to all the great men that have been present in our lives ♥️⚡️
— ZAHEER! (@iam_YCee) June 19, 2022
There are statistics throughout the article which point to how dangerous men — specifically, white men — are in a society that promotes “a culture of violence,” but nowhere — on the day before Father’s Day! — does it or one of the groups it highlights mention that children who grow up without a strong paternal role model are more likely to experience or commit violence as they reach maturity.
In a study from the Minnesota Psychological Association entitled, “Father-Absent Homes: Implications for Criminal Justice and Mental Health Professionals,” author Jerrod Brown showed paternal absence leads to “psychosocial problems with greater frequency than children with a father in the home.”
Problems, including an increased risk of being bullied, child obesity, depression, suicide, poor school performance, substance abuse, and ultimately, involvement with the criminal justice system are all made worse by the lack of an involved father.
Instead of addressing this, NBC cites a database from a “nonprofit, nonpartisan research center funded by the National Institute of Justice” called Violence Project which claims “98% of mass shooters over the last 50 years have been men, and at least 53% of them have been white men.”
And if that doesn’t drive home the message, NBC goes on to cite figures from a 2014 study which says “white heterosexual male entitlement fuses with downward mobility, subordinated masculinity, and other disappointing life course events’ to lead mass shooters to carry out their attacks in an attempt to regain a sense of dominance after feeling socially outcast.”
Fathers are the cornerstone of society—for good or for ill.
Strong, engaged, present fathers = strong society.
Weak, distracted, absent fathers = weak society.
Let’s honor and build up fathers today. Much more than you can imagine is counting on it.
— William Wolfe (@William_E_Wolfe) June 19, 2022
To explain the mass shooters who turn their guns on themselves, the article points to a 2010 study published in the journal Health Sociology Review that “concluded the shooters felt ‘aggrieved entitlement’ — a gendered sense that they were entitled, even expected — to exact their revenge on all who had hurt them.'”
On Twitter, the article is already receiving a fair amount of pushback.
“In doing so you created a confused male that gets bullied in school and wants to take revenge on those who taunted them,” wrote one user. “Instead of teaching them religion family comes first and respect for others you have taught them to be selfish little a holes with no respect or personality.”
“We don’t need programs to soften boys and make weak males,” wrote another, “there’s enough of that. We need more masculine boys to be rugged, traditionally masculine leaders at home.”
And one woman wants men to know they should ignore the “experts.”
“Dear men,” she wrote, “we real women LOVE your masculinity. There is nothing toxic about you at all. Don’t listen to these ‘experts.’ They aren’t trying to help you or us. They only want to get you out of the way.”
“Please don’t change,” she urged male followers. “We need your masculinity now more than ever.”
In doing so you create a confused male that gets bullied in school and wants to take revenge on those who taunted them. Instead of teaching them religion family comes first and respect for others. You have taught them to be selfish little a holes with no respect or personality. https://t.co/W8RjTwaZA6
— James Tilton (@JamesTilton14) June 19, 2022
We don’t need programs to soften boys and make weak males; there’s enough of that. We need more masculine boys to be rugged, traditionally masculine leaders at home. https://t.co/6rogx3FVMo
— Ultra Toxic Masculinity (@Masculinity_) June 19, 2022
Dear men, we real women LOVE your masculinity. There is nothing toxic about you at all. Don't listen to these "experts". They aren't trying to help you or us. They only want to get you out of the way. Please don't change. We need your masculinity now more than ever. https://t.co/xJ2zbRsEzV
— charmane harbert ✝️ 🇺🇸 (@callme_Chari) June 19, 2022
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