We Have to Talk About It
Calling on Men to Talk about Male Violence
I’m writing this the day after the latest school shooting in Uvalde, TX. I've felt sick and angry all day. Part of me feels hopeless and confused, too, and I imagine shaking my fist at the sky with a demand to know WHY?
But we know why, don't we?
Have you noticed how many of these mass shootings start with the perpetrator killing a female family member before going on his rampage. One of the first and most notorious mass shooters, the University of Texas Tower sniper, started by killing his wife and mother. The Uvalde killer started by shooting his grandmother in the face.
We have to talk about the male supremacy that some men feel compelled to enforce with violence.
And of course almost all mass shooters are men. Out of 128 mass shootings in the U.S., 123 were carried out by men.
We have to talk about male violence and how it is embedded in most versions of masculinity.
We have to acknowledge there is a culture of misogyny, lone wolf masculinity, and gun worship in this country that leads to these spasms of hate-filled murder. Add in racism and white supremacy and a studied lack of compassion or community and the bullets fly.
I'm not making much sense this morning...sigh. I'm just trying to be a man, calling out male violence and the culture we all participate in. I am filled with grief.
I am so relieved that I have brothers like @Graham_Goulden, @ErikBecker42, @RemakingManhood, @BranchSpeaks, @boysenh, @FinntasticMrFox and @VernonAE who are working on remaking manhood and redefining strength all over the world... otherwise, I would despair
And, while I hear some making a really valid case for "raising our boys differently" let's be honest... we have to change ourselves and each other; no amount of careful parenting, mentoring, or teaching is going to counter the culture of violent expression, emotional repression, and enforced isolation that surrounds boys.
We men first have to build awareness of how most of our versions of masculinity are rife (or at least infused) with dominance, oppression, and glorification of contest and combat. Let’s admit that even the most peace-loving man among us struggles with the urge to dominate, dismiss or dehumanize the other. If we peaceful, feminist men deny our darker side, we only repress it, rather than heal it.
We men also need to seek out each other to help build a community of support for altering our expressions of masculinity to reveal all the capacity we have for closeness, cooperation, inclusion, and healthy emotional expression. Join a men’s group. Get transformational coaching. Seek therapy. Ask for help from Spirit, God, or Nature.
And we men need to start taking concrete action alongside
@MomsDemand, @GabbyGiffords and others to make it clear that we oppose violence and that men can be and feel strong without violence, without weapons of war.
We can be men who demonstrate the absolute power of fierce nurturing, active community building, bold vulnerability, intense play, deep grief, soaring joy, sparkling curiosity, and a fire for life everywhere. We can. Let's do this.
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Charles Matheus grew up in an old mining town in Arizona. He managed to graduate from an Ivy League University and knows that you won't hold that against him.