Sunday, November 29, 2015
Another "Lone Gunman"
In the midst of yet another horrific act of gun violence committed by a white man, we are inundated with media coverage asking why. How could this happen, what motivated him, what could we have done to prevent this? In light of our most recent module on masculinity and violence, I can't help but marvel at the lack of discussion of violent masculinity. Every time mass violence occurs are are told the same stories, with the same oversights. Nobody discusses how violence is connected to masculinity, to the ways boys are raised, and the patriarchal structures that tell men the only way to claim manhood is to act out violently. Even farther from the public discourse is the lack of attention to how these violent rampages are almost always committed by white men, who are the most un-threatened group of people in the world. White men sit atop every hierarchical structure, they hold the most power, yet they still lash out in violence when they feel emasculated.
Masculinity is undoubtedly connected to white supremacy, misogyny, capitalism, and other structures of power. Coverage of violence not only ignores the workings of masculinity that impacts every level of society, but it also affords white men a more positive portrayal in the media. Media also continues to stigmatize mental illness by emphasizing any mental illnesses that white gunmen have, while ignoring the fact that the majority of people with mental health issues never act out in such masculinity-motivated violence.