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Thu May 29, 2014, 11:55 AM

Yes, All Men: Every Man Needs to Understand Internalized Misogyny and Male Violence

In the aftermath of the weekend’s ghastly events at UC Santa Barbara, there’s been plenty of discussion about our pervasive culture of misogyny, and the myriad destructive ways in which it manifests. A large part of the narrative has been that men need to shut up and listen to women’s voices on this topic, which is certainly true. But men also need to talk, honestly and amongst ourselves, about the nature of masculinity, and acknowledge our own destructive impulses. This is a problem that men need to be discussing precisely because it’s a problem with men. And it’s only men who are going to fix it.

The most important thing we need to realize is that potential to be the problem lies within all of us — and because only by acknowledging this can we start to look to a solution. I’m not saying we all have the potential to be killers, but we all have the capacity to to be unthinkingly misogynistic, to refuse to examine our behavior and our assumptions, to subscribe to the sentiments that fuel the “men’s rights” movement and its ilk.

We’re brought up that way — not always by our parents, but by the world we live in. (In general, when I say “taught” in this piece, I don’t mean that someone actively sits you down and says, “Now listen, son, this is how to objectify women.” It’s more a case of cultural osmosis than anything else.) No one — least of all kids in their late teens and early 20s, a demographic that accounts for the overwhelming majority of Reddit MRA types — exists independently of the environment that shaped them.

And many of them can relate to the misogyny that drove Elliot Rodger — if not in degree, then at least in principle. The Atlantic‘s Noah Berlatsky wrote an excellent piece yesterday about how he could recognize the sentiment that underpinned Rodger’s video:


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