How are men from Jordan?
Because men are like that?
Budget increases and PR campaigns are not enough. In her guest commentary, the philosopher Lisz Hirn advocates changing gender stereotypes permanently.
Why are men more likely to become violent? Why are women more likely to be victims of violence? The simplest answer would be that men are generally physically stronger than women, which gives them the upper hand when engaging in violence. A more complex answer can be formulated with a look at the existing monopoly of violence in our society. This shows that not only police and military, but also state violence lies largely in male hands.
Why is that so? It used to be argued that women are not suitable as fighters or for military service due to their biological disposition and the possibility of pregnancies. This argument is easy to reject today. Men may have been better suited in the past, but medical advances such as contraception and political privileges such as women's suffrage have changed gender relations, as have military technology and the shifting of armed conflicts into cyberspace. So why are the majority of us still in favor of women only exercising violence "voluntarily"? Perhaps because we connote "giving life" as feminine, "taking life" as masculine?
In our cultural narrative, risking one's own life and killing someone else's life is enshrined as an exclusively "male" ability. Bad enough, it would not be accompanied by the simultaneous devaluation of the ability, which is defined as typically "female", that is, to bring forth life. This specific exaggeration of "masculinity" poses a considerable danger; not only when it comes to pacifying a society, but also the sexes. But it clearly shows that the real danger does not come from "the men", but from a certain form of "masculinity". One that is very often touted as the only "real" one and whose sometimes brutal excesses are excused with the help of clichéd biologisms. A vivid example was provided by the popular US psychologist Jordan Peterson, who swears his large audience to monogamy in order to cushion the negative consequences of "toxic masculinity". Peterson commented on the rampage of the Canadian student Alek Minassian with the words: "He was angry with God because women rejected him. The remedy for this is social coercion to monogamy."
Peterson used an outdated "myth" in his defense that men must become violent because they have no other way of expressing their feelings: a man sometimes explodes. But if that were really the case, men would use violence indiscriminately. But by no means do they do that! They rarely hit or kill their boss when "angry". The men concerned are much more likely to turn their aggression against themselves or others, often against their partner. Such an act does not "happen" to every man, but rather to those who believe in "male supremacy" or who have been socialized in a strongly patriarchal environment.
But what can we do to counter this "belief" and our "socialization"? Can we prevent gender-based violence without addressing unpopular issues that no one wants to get their hands on? PR campaigns to prevent violence and budget increases for "victim work" are in any case not enough. After all, it is about breaking the male monopoly of violence in our society and permanently changing gender stereotypes of violence. For example, by making women responsible when it comes to the use of violence.
The Austrian legal philosopher Elisabeth Holzleithner noted some time ago that it is just as gender-discriminatory to oblige only men to violence or to kill - incidentally, just as discriminatory as to oblige women to unpaid or poorly paid care work or to give birth. (Lisz Hirn, May 12, 2021)
Lisz brain is a philosopher and author ("Who needs superheroes - What is really necessary to save our world").
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