Men’s Anger and the Brutal Contradictions of Masculinity
Why men often default to rage when they are challenged by women
Who men are collectively, and how we got to the place we are now is not a pretty story. We are suspended, rudderless, between our long history of male privilege and the newer, more equitable masculinities emerging from decades of social and economic upheaval. For this generation of men, there will be no quick or easy way forward. It will take generations for us to free ourselves from what was done to us, by us, for us, and through us, in the name of traditional American masculinity.
Put simply, how American men perform masculinity is killing us and all those whose lives we impact. Our mothers, wives, daughters, sons, our entire communities, men and women we have never met and will never meet are all paying a terrible price. Which is why this conversation about being a man has to happen. If we cannot do this for ourselves, straddling what was and what is to come, uncertain of simple moral imperatives, angry and defensive, then we must do this for those we love. We must find the courage to shift this culture for those close to us, for our children and grandchildren, who deserve to grow up in a world free of the brutal inequality that we, by our collective indecision, are maintaining.
As men, we must learn to deal with our discomfort because being uncomfortable is likely going to be par for the course for men for the rest of our natural lives, and how we process our cultural anxiety will impact our families for generations to come. Understand, my condemnation of our culture of masculinity is NOT a condemnation of masculinity. I do however; hold us responsible for maintaining our bullying culture of masculinity if we fail to create something better.
The history of the world is one in which men have been taught to leverage our dominance over women — power granted simply by virtue of our being male. For my father’s generation, men didn’t learn to negotiate as equals in their personal relationships because they controlled the economic power in the family. Men didn’t learn to deal with the daily uncertainty of not knowing because they were free to declare what and how things should be. Whether we openly use it or not, this legacy of privilege has been…