Dr. Helen

"The solution to male violence is not to spout off drivel about the evils of masculinity.""

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Suzanne Venker has an article on the Florida school shootings:

“We blame guns, violence in the media, violence in video games, and poor family values. Each is a plausible player,” Farrell noted in 2013 after the Newtown, Connecticut, shooting. “But our daughters live in the same homes, with the same access to the same guns, video games, and media, and are raised with the same family values. Our daughters are not killing. Our sons are.”

Farrell’s explanation about how masculinity can be a force for good or for evil is enormously instructive. “Without dads as role models, boys’ testosterone is not well channeled. The boy experiences a sense of purposelessness, a lack of boundary enforcement, rudderlessness, and often withdraws into video games and video porn. At worst, when boys’ testosterone is not well-channeled by an involved dad, boys become among the world’s most destructive forces. When boys’ testosterone is well channeled by an involved dad, boys become among the world’s most constructive forces.”

The solution to male violence is not to spout off drivel about the evils of masculinity. Masculinity, channeled well, is the reason assistant football coach Aaron Feis died this week. Feis shielded students from bullets by pushing them inside a classroom.

The point that Suzanne makes here, that the solution to this violence is not to spout off about the evils of masculinity, is an important one. Unfortunately, in today’s anti-male climate, politicians and their gaggle of clueless citizens will clamor for something to be done, whether that be blaming law-abiding citizens for having guns, teaching boys about “toxic masculinity” or accusing all men of being complicit in the “rape culture.”

These messages are dangerous and bypass the many complex reasons that a young man like Nikolas Cruz became a killer. They soothe the feelings of the masses and ignorant politicians looking to feel better, but anti-male messages will never address the deep wounds and complex psychological and social reasons that killing your fellow human being seems like the only way to end the pain, depression and anger that these young men feel. Talking about masculinity as “toxic” is like pouring gasoline on a wound and lighting a match for the psyche of these young men and it is no solution. How many more fires like the one in Florida can we afford?