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Nearly every mass killer is a man. Why aren’t we talking about that?

(412 Posts)
CircleSquareCircleSquare Fri 27-Apr-18 01:18:51

“After the Toronto attack, there should be a debate about toxic masculinity, and the issues of identity and rage that turn so many men towards violence”

I don’t dare to read the comments.

Ereshkigal Fri 27-Apr-18 01:54:39

Don't ever ever read Guardian comments about this topic!

thebewilderness Fri 27-Apr-18 03:41:26

When it is a white male terrorist it is a tragic case of nobody befriending the poor troubled d00d. That was the response to the bully who shot up the school in Florida.
The main reason the white men who control the microphone do not discuss toxic masculinity is the 10th rule of misogyny: The worst thing about male violence is that it makes men look bad.

user764329056 Fri 27-Apr-18 04:02:03

thebewilderness how sickeningly true

flumpybear Fri 27-Apr-18 04:55:56

I link violence with testosterone , perhaps levels which are greater than what's needed by the individuals body if you see what I mean - both men and women but there's more testosterone in men ... just my theory

Smeddum Fri 27-Apr-18 05:14:49

@thebewilderness I’ve wondered that many times myself. For some reason white men can commit the most awful of crimes and there’s always some kind of “mitigating factors” in the press. Which is bullshit.

TheDowagerCuntess Fri 27-Apr-18 05:43:26

Nearly every 'mass killer' is a man?

Nearly every killer is a man.

Men are very, very, very violent.

They're the greatest threat to humans - other men, women and children alike.

Why does nobody talk about it?

Ekphrasis Fri 27-Apr-18 06:29:24

I link violence with testosterone

Whilst I don't doubt that testosterone fires and fans flames, the true cause is rooted in how young boys are brought up to be; especially family and social factors denying them the ability to become emotionally literate. The resulting emotional turmoil either turns inwards (severe depression, additions and suicide) or outwards: violence.

Ekphrasis Fri 27-Apr-18 06:34:54

Pretty well explained by Javid Abdelmoneim on the bbc doc No more boys and girls.

SweetGrapes Fri 27-Apr-18 06:39:29

They're the greatest threat to humans

Why only humans? Just about every species in the planet.

Typeractive Fri 27-Apr-18 06:40:07

I heard that researchers now believe that testosterone does not drive aggressive behaviour, rather it drives risk taking.

So if not testosterone, what does cause male violence? I agree it's probably socialisation, in large part.

Bowlofbabelfish Fri 27-Apr-18 06:43:01

If you read the comments, you will understand why it’s an issue and why people don’t want to talk about it.

Guardian comments are the very cesspit of humanity

womanformallyknownaswoman Fri 27-Apr-18 06:45:56

Good question - the answer being most men will always side with other men.

they say one thing and do another -

does the media coverage alter at women's protests? No.

Do women's conditions alter materially through their protests? No.

Do men stand with women when their rights are under threat? Are men standing up presently and actively advocating for women in their fight to have their legal rights maintained - a very very few.

Do men award grants/ investment funds to women led businesses even though they perform better than male led ones - No.

When I realised men will rarely give anything up for women - money/ status/ power / media content - I realised little has changed for women since the Dark Ages. We have the vote but who is there to vote for - the choice is rigged and has been for eons

womanformallyknownaswoman Fri 27-Apr-18 06:53:01

I think the real question is - which men do to want us to open up - does the current system work well? No.

But we're led to believe it's the lesser of two evils. Chaos or this. But who does it benefit really? And are the men in power really the best to give our trust to?

Don't mean to derail - my thoughts led me into what I believe is the real issue and maybe I need to set up another post sometime- not feeling entitled to take up space today confused

meditrina Fri 27-Apr-18 06:57:49

To take the exact question in your title, it's because mass murder is very rare, so it is unwise to put weight on any particular factors because the people concerned are so very few in numbers. Once a very rare event has happened, the 'sense' of what matters in relation to that incident is nearly always wrong.

Rare event/large deviation is not a place from which to look at more general societal phenomenon, and it's the basis of the 'why what you think is wrong' debunking books (based on actual evidence) come about.

So that's why the debate isn't, and shouldn't be, framed in those terms.

If looking at crime, and violent crime, it needs to be more specific. It is tempting to read across and make assumptions about what makes someone criminal. But it's a temptation that needs to be resisted, because there simply aren't enough points of commonality as more and different offences are considered (it's hard enough even when looking at a narrow group)

Why interventions don't work is a fascinating subject, and the short answer is often that people lumped assumptions in together.

TheDowagerCuntess Fri 27-Apr-18 08:01:04

* But it's a temptation that needs to be resisted, because there simply aren't enough points of commonality*

I beg to differ.

Care to tally up the number of violent female criminals versus male?

Violent nation states led by women versus men?

PatriarchyPersonified Fri 27-Apr-18 08:01:07

Men are responsible for most of the violence in every single society and culture on the planet.

The cross cultural nature of that statistic would indicate that its not a socialisation or cultural issue, its a genetic one.

Blaming socialisation and culture puts the cart before the horse.

Societies promote images of male violence precisely because of the underlying male predispositions towards conflict and risk taking.

Bowlofbabelfish Fri 27-Apr-18 08:11:30

Agree with patriarchy there.

The propensity to violence is there to begin with.

Socialisation acts as a brake or modifier on that latent tendency. It’s a restraining layer over the top.

What we do need to be careful of is the argument that violence is innate and thus inevitable and not truly men’s fault. We are a sentient species who are capable of modifying our behaviour. Evolutionary psychology is sometimes hijcaked as an excuse for behaviours rather than being confined to explanations of them.

PatriarchyPersonified Fri 27-Apr-18 08:16:20


Agree completely. To clarify, a predisposition towards anything does not equal an excuse for that kind behaviour.

There is a big difference between a 'reason' that something happens and an 'excuse' for it.

LaSqrrl Fri 27-Apr-18 08:25:57

But it's a temptation that needs to be resisted, because there simply aren't enough points of commonality

Big wrong there! The commonality is that most, well in excess of 90% (and way higher in the serious violence stakes) violence, the perps are male. Most of the mass killers and serial killers, again male. Most of the DV abusers, male. Most major crime, male. Male, male, male, male.

Of course, the papers will milk any female violence story to the max - they are the exception. But if you count it on actual incidents, not coverage, male violence and criminality is the overwhelming pattern.

But further than that, media coverage will quite often minimise or excuse male violence, and emphasise female violence and denounce the perpetrator.

I am astounded that most people seem blinded to that pattern. Really, it is easy to spot (but patriarchy will shut you up about it).

I tend to agree with PatriarchyPersonified, it is a bit too widespread across time and space to write it off as conditioning. It's a flaw, a fundamental flaw.

whatnow123 Fri 27-Apr-18 08:29:12

I also think socialisation is acts as a break on male violence.

When societies break down in war etc male violence goes out of control. All social restrictions disappear. I think men are actually socialised to be less violent.

LaSqrrl Fri 27-Apr-18 08:31:12

Yes, what Bowl just said. Especially 'society is the cap'!

Six thousand years and counting, and males cannot get their violent shit under control? Well, either they very much like it that way, or they are beyond redemption. Take your pick, neither answer is terribly comforting.

LaSqrrl Fri 27-Apr-18 08:32:37

When 'societies break down' (primarily war) - the gloves are off - you see them for what they are, especially the rape and murder of women and children. That is inexcusable, really it is.

Babycham1979 Fri 27-Apr-18 08:34:35

Indeed, the vast majority of violent criminals are men, violent states led by men, and risk-taking behaviour committed by men. Equally, the vast majority of scientific breakthroughs, artistic accomplishments and socially progressive breakthroughs have been delivered by men.

Many on thread seems to be attributing the ‘bad’ behaviours to some kind of innate masculinity, while ignoring the good as if they’re aberrant or simply a function of ‘patriarchy’. What if the same factors that drove the good, also drove the bad? What if equalising one set of behaviours between the sex’s also equalised the other?

Alltheprettyseahorses Fri 27-Apr-18 09:05:04

Equally, the vast majority of scientific breakthroughs, artistic accomplishments and socially progressive breakthroughs have been delivered by men

That's because, historically, it has overwhelmingly been men who have had the opportunity to achieve these things. Women couldn't go to university, stand for election and so on until very recently. Nevertheless, women are responsible for a lot more than people generally think, as women's achievements are too often ignored. Look at the case of Rosalind Franklin only a little over 60 years ago - the major player in discovering the structure of DNA and so on, yet she received almost no recognition for decades.

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