Thursday, 11 February 2010


I found a blog titled “Masculinity and Violence in America.” It focuses on a video called “Tough Guise” by Jackson Katz, who is referred to in the blog as Jason Katz.

Jackson Katz is on of America’s leading anti-sexist male activists. His work is in the field of gender violence prevention education with men and boys. Katz also founded the Mentors in Violence Prevention Program. This program is aimed at student athletes and student leaders to raise awareness about the level of men’s violence against women.

In “Tough Guise”, Katz picks up on the key points of what is to blame in this crisis that appears to be plaguing masculinity in America. Men of about college age are asked what do they think a real man is. Words such as “physical”, “independent”, “intimidating”, “tough”, were some of the words mentioned. Physical and intimidating were the most concerning definitions.

But where is this image arising from? Katz mentions the influence of parents and communities. However the most significant influence is the media. A key issue that is presented is that of the media’s constant bombardment of images of masculinity being about dominance, power, and control. This is particularly apparent amongst ethnic groups with the lack of diversity the media presents for African Americans, who are seen as gangsters. As well as Asians who are presented as either violent people through martial arts, or wealthy and violent criminals. These defining images are making violent masculinity the norm in America.

Statistics are used as a way of linking violent masculinity with serious crimes. It lists that 99.8% of rape is carried out by men, 95% of domestic violence, and 85% of murder is carried out by men. It was also pointed out that the 15% of murders committed by women are often when they are defending themselves from a violent male. This is linked in with the families influence on violent masculinity as it is pointed out that 81% of these violent males were brought up in abusive households.

What I find most interesting about this website and video is that a solution is offered on how to reduce this vision of masculinity as being about violence. Katz suggests that it is not simply about men being more reflective when making lifestyle choices, but that women and the media have a role to play to. Women should value men that reject the tough guy persona and show that they want more than a bad boy. While Katz believes that the media should not be just run by rich white men who dictate society with these images.

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