“Be a man!!” “Man up!!” “ Don’t be such a girl!!”
When the worst insult a boy can receive is “Don’t run/throw/hit/act like a girl”, what is our society teaching boys about girls? They are weak, and they don’t deserve respect. When boys and girls hear this from coaches, fathers, teachers, and even girls and women, why should they believe differently? When girls hear this insult over and over, what do they come to believe about their value?
Watch this 3 minute trailer about masculinity:
“As we are assigned the designation “male” at birth, thus begins the life-long process of “masculinization” in which society teaches us that if we are to be considered worthy of respect and pride, we must be athletic, independent, assertive, domineering, competitive, tough, that we must bury our emotions deep within the recesses of our souls, and, most importantly, that we must search for and destroy any signs of “femininity” — “the woman” – within, which clearly represents society’s devaluation of females.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/warren-j-blumenfeld/hypermasculinity-twin-pea_b_7417522.html
Watch this 3 minute film about being “like a girl”:
“The quest for turf through hyper-masculinity literally kills.” Hyper-masculinity in our culture is a driving force behind male violence, the systematic degradation of women, and other factors that increase the demand for human trafficking. While no one aspect of society directly causes human trafficking, our society creates an environment in which human trafficking can grow and flourish, in part by glorifying male violence and hyper-masculinity. From a young age, boys are told to “Be A Man” anytime something goes wrong. This implies that men are responsible for handling or managing everything in life, and that’s a lot of pressure. Because our society so blatantly devalues women, men are forced to live up to an impossible standard in an attempt to avoid seeming weak or non-masculine and thus often resort to violence to prove their masculinity. Hyper-masculinity goes hand in hand with objectification of women, something we see every day in our society, we are just so desensitized to it that we normalize it except in extreme cases.
“Surely many social issues work together to produce the environments in which this dangerous thinking flourishes, but it seems to me that there is also a too-often unspoken link between men resorting to violence and the same hypermasculine culture that’s made shooting virtual human beings one of America’s favorite pastimes, alongside the harassment of women, and the celebration of misogyny in sports. It’s a culture which all of us, to varying degrees, participate in.” <http://everydayfeminism.com/2016/03/hypermasculinity-for-muslims/>
Toxic masculinity isn’t innate. Watch this 3 minute video about how young boys treat girls.
Ending the cycle of male violence is so important to abolition because it lessens the pressure on men to perform, to feel ‘manly’, allowing them to treat women with respect and as equals rather than as objects of sexual conquest. The attitude that women are objects for men allows for the buying and selling of people for use of their bodies, thus leading to human trafficking. More on this subject later, but the most important aspect to preventing trafficking is understanding how we enable it in the first place.
Disclaimer: Sexual assault and human trafficking know no gender, sex, age, or race. However, because a vast majority of sexually violent crimes are committed by men against women, for the sake of argument, this article only discusses hyper-masculinity and male violence in our society. This is not meant to discredit or diminish violence against men, which is a very serious issue and one that deserves equal attention and discussion in its own right.
Writing for Freedom,