Intersection between concepts of Male Masculinity and Gun Violence

For Emmanuel C.

Wow, this was a hard one! Looking for info on gun violence from a preventative public health angle, I was surprised by how few evidence based interventions were available with a web search.

But check this out - Colorado State University's Women and Gender Advocacy Center has an excellent intro page on the topic of Men and Masculinities. The graphics highlighting the differences between descritives for girl toys vs. boy toys was enlightening for me to read. I definitely relate more strongly to the girl toy descriptives which surprised me. Reading that "vast majority of violence is committed by men" did not surprise me, though not being surprised did. Isn't it odd that we presume men are naturally violent and adjust? That's not right. That "one in six men will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime" as children makes me wonder why I saw so few guys on FB write #MeToo as their status.

Combining the topics of mental health and violence are - in my experience - counter productive. There is firm research negating the cogency of that comparison. But after reading through CSU's site, I wonder if violence and societal support of violence is in fact a mental illness all in it's own category. Or is the phenomenon of violence and societal support of violence more akin to alcoholics and the codependents who support them?

The Journal of Gender, Race, and Justice talks about poverty concerns affecting gun violence which are supported by the National Institute of Health. The journal article mentions that this aspect is largely left to local news which makes me suspicious of media accountability at the national level.  Further, the American Psychological Association has published extensive evidence based guidelines from research on reducing gun violence which our populace determinedly ignores. Denial again? Yes, and misdirection by the media. I personally believe that gun manufacturers drive the narrative of mental instability as the main cause of gun violence, but that's just me.

Here's another thing that I've been thinking about regarding my own complicity. This video highlights the differences in reaction to perpetrator gender. While I was watching it through for the second time I thought - "Hey, I frequently see people being rough with their children but rarely say anything...WHY IS THAT?!"  As a result of this exercise I've decided to find out how best to address public aggression against kids.

I don't know what the answer is, though it seems clear that the first steps must be to protect children from violence of all kinds. On a side note, I've become enamored of Goldie Hawn's foundation to help traumatized children through practicing mindfulness. We can't expect a healthy future without healthy children.

Peace to you, Erica






Erica Kitzman