Yes, we do need to talk about male violence


I was asked to contribute a piece to the series 100 Voices For Men which is being run by Inside Man in the run-up to International Men’s Day. You can read the original here, and there are loads and loads of interesting posts from right across the spectrum of the men’s sector.

But since this was firmly on HetPat territory, I thought I’d also repost here.

 

There is an exchange that plays out in the media on pretty much a daily basis. The moves have become so familiar we can see them performed almost as a ritual dance. In the aftermath of some tragic, violent incident – whether a mass shooting, a domestic homicide or a shocking sexual assault – a commentator with liberal or feminist leanings will describe the incident as an example of ‘male violence’ and, therefore, not just an isolated incident but part of a systematic pattern involving hundreds, thousands, millions of related incidents across the world each day.

There follows a storm of comments, social media updates and blogs as detractors – primarily but not exclusively male – throw up their digitised hands in horror and disgust. This is nothing to do with me! I’ve never killed anyone! Why are you blaming an entire gender for the crime of an individual?

The defensive reactions may be understandable, but are largely based on a misunderstanding. Saying that men have a problem with violence does not mean that all men are violent, any more than saying Britain has a problem with obesity means that all Britons are fat. In both examples, it means the phenomenon causes immense social harm and individual suffering, and occurs at levels far above those we should be willing to tolerate in a civilised society.

What about female perpetrators?  

Yes, women can also be violent, especially towards intimate partners and family members. However in recent years the men’s sector as a whole (and I include myself in that) has often become so fixated on demonstrating and documenting the extent of male victimisation at the hands of women that we may have lost sight of the bigger picture.

According to the UN’s estimates, there were more than 450,000 homicides globally last year. Not only were 95% of the killers male, so too were 80% of the victims. In England and Wales, 800,000 adult men were injured in a violent attack in 2013 and around three quarters of perpetrators were not their female partners, but other men. On the other side of the coin, around 37,000 men are in prison today as a consequence of their own violent behaviour. To deny or turn our eyes from the extent of men’s violence is to turn our backs on one of the most pressing and severe social and health issues facing men and boys across the world today.

Only once we acknowledge the scale of men’s violence can we begin to ask why it occurs. I suspect many people are uncomfortable with the suggestion that there is something inherently violent to masculinity. What we might instead call ‘male culture’ colours our attitudes to work and to leisure, to lifestyles and relationships, even to how we communicate and interact. That culture has too often included attitudes towards violence that are directly implicated in too much death and injury.

Are men conditioned to be violent? 

How many of us grew up believing that to be a man demanded that we be ‘tough’ and ‘hard,’ or in other words to be willing to endure and inflict violence? Such traits don’t always come easy, and too many boys still have them literally beaten into us by peers or, tragically, parents and other adults. Research has consistently shown that where formal or informal physical punishment is used, boys are beaten more regularly and more forcefully than girls.

At the same time, psychologists have long known the rough recipe for a violent adult. According to one study by MurrayStraus, a child who grows up in a family where the adults are violent to each other is almost three times as likely to display violent behaviour as others. Another study found that a child subjected to physical abuse who also witnesses violent behaviour at first hand is between five and nine times as likely to become an abusive adult. It is true that not all violent adults lived through an especially violent childhood, and absolutely vital to understand that many, many people who experienced violence and abuse in childhood will never harm anyone in turn. Neither fact, however, should obscure the truth that violent adults – by which we most commonly mean violent men – are not born, they are made.

Nor does male violence exist in isolation from other male-specific issues. Only once we acknowledge and face up to the reality of male violence can we begin to unpick the complex relationship between men’s emotional isolation and unaddressed mental health needs, our tendency to self-medicate or escape into excessive alcohol and drug use and from there, the intimate link between intoxication and violent behaviour.

No I am not being anti-male 

It is not anti-man or misandrist to acknowledge that our society brutalises men and boys to a sufficient degree that some will become brutes. On the contrary, I would argue the misandrist position is to claim that men’s violence is an inescapable law of nature, some relic of evolution or neurobiology. Testosterone does not breed violence, violence breeds violence, and the evidence, I am happy to say, is all around us. Current levels of violent crime remain distressing, but are a fraction of what they were 20 years ago. The vast majority of men are not violent and the numbers who are get smaller all the time.

As mentioned above, 800,000 men were wounded in violent attacks last year, but the same statistic in 1994/5 was 2.4 million. Domestic violence, as estimated by the Crime Survey of England and Wales, has dropped 78% over the same time frame. The same story is playing out across the developed world. Nor is it just the effect of increased prison populations keeping violent offenders out of harm’s way. The number of children and young people entering the criminal justice system (ie being caught for the first time) is at its lowest since records began. Meanwhile the fastest growing section of the prison population over the past few years has been the over 65s.

The explanations for this phenomenal social change are hotly debated by criminologists but one thing is for sure, male biology has not evolved in a couple of decades. It is likely there are a variety of social and even environmental factors involved, I would suggest that it is no coincidence that the least violent generation of young men in living memory is the first to have been raised in the era of the rights of the child, in schools and homes that have increasingly eschewed violent punishments, with anti-bullying policies and where the social acceptability of violence of all sorts has been challenged and rejected as never before.

There is little doubt that men today are less violent, less aggressive, less militaristic than we have been at any time in living memory but there is still a long way to go. The journey will be driven not just by policy and politics but by the desire of all women, children and men to live in a safer, more peaceful world and the principal beneficiaries will be men ourselves.

Comments

  1. Great American Satan says

    I generally avoid this blog b/c some of the comments make my skin crawl. But without any comments here yet, I can check out the article in peace. And I’m down. I’d hate to believe men are inherently more violent, and I definitely can see how this could be the result of socialization, and I like the notes of hope in here a lot. Grazzi.

  2. says

    I generally avoid this blog b/c some of the comments make my skin crawl

    And the reason I find the comment section on this blog so informative/educational, is that I’m a middle aged man who sometimes feels a little put upon and confused as the world has changed around me, and yes a little MRAish at times.

    Its the argument from the intelligent, informed and often wittily erudite anti MRA commentators who engage here, that remind me that I’m the one with the privilege and that I really should get over myself.

    In the comment sections of other blogs around here all I’ve ever learned is that MRAs are stupid and smelly and should just fuck off, often to the cheers of their co-commenters.

    Personally, I prefer to read people who can develop the former style of argument.

  3. Lucy says

    So male humans, alone of all mammalian species aren’t inherently violent, more violent than female mammals, that violence isn’t primarily directed at other males, it isn’t concentrated in the upper strata of the pecking order, it isn’t territorial and doesn’t revolve around securing resources and mating rights.

    How odd. To have a single exception like that.

    Especially given that in every era and every single society the world over it looks exactly as if it is.

    What a coincidence that brutality against boys gave rise to brutes, while brutality against girls didn’t.

  4. Lucy says

    “The explanations for this phenomenal social change are hotly debated by criminologists but one thing is for sure, male biology has not evolved in a couple of decades. It is likely there are a variety of social and even environmental factors involved, I would suggest that it is no coincidence that the least violent generation of young men in living memory is the first to have been raised in the era of the rights of the child, in schools and homes that have increasingly eschewed violent punishments, with anti-bullying policies and where the social acceptability of violence of all sorts has been challenged”

    Much more likely that the reason male violence is diminishing in the first world is because they’ve already secured (more than their share of) territory, resources and mating rights (through the use of extreme violence) and the primary needs of Maslov’s hierarchy have been fulfilled.

  5. freja says

    Great post Ally, but I feel like you’re buying too much into the narrative of violent abusers as poor victims just lashing out. I was bullied in school and have been subjected to violence as an adult, and while I have seen people/kids who undoubtedly had a hard time react with temper tantrums, for the most part, the abusers did what they did because they considered themselves to have a right to do so. It was fun and/or justified, and only later when they got some perspective did they realise they were wrong.

    As Lundy Bancroft (who admittedly focusses on men’s violence against women, not other men) says:

    “It is important to note that research has shown that men who have abusive mothers do not tend to develop especially negative attitudes toward females, but men who have abusive fathers do; the disrespect that abusive men show their female partners and their daughters is often absorbed by their sons.
    So while a small number of abusive men do hate women, the great majority exhibit a more subtle—though often quite pervasive—sense of superiority or contempt toward females, and some don’t show any obvious signs of problems with women at all until they are in a serious relationship.”

    “When a man starts my program, he often says, “I am here because I lose control of myself sometimes. I need to get a better grip.” I always correct him: “Your problem is not that you lose control of yourself, it’s that you take control of your partner. In order to change, you don’t need to gain control over yourself, you need to let go of control of her.”

    It’s not simply about pain, it’s about values, and often about losing control because you’re not expected to keep it in the first place. As many people before me have noted, it seems that men who are ‘provoked’ into sexually assaulting women always use a culturally appropriate excuse. Men in secular liberal countries hardly ever try to excuse themselves by claiming the sight of a woman’s hair enticed them beyond control, but move to a strictly muslim country, and suddenly men will claim that losing control because of an uncovered head is an unchangeable part of their (male) nature.

    I think the same pattern is likely to hold true for a lot of male-on-male violence. Violent/abusive men (haven’t had much experience with violent women, but abusive female bullies seem to follow this pattern too) frequently think of themselves as being at the top of the hierachy enforcing their dominance, or rightfully fighting against some perceived slight (usually to their pride). I guess focussing on male victimisation makes sense in the context you write for, but I also believe the narrative of abusers is overdone at best and harmful at worst.

  6. mildlymagnificent says

    I really think that this is one area where women – for the most part – should stay out of the discussion. We’re not trying to convince resistant minds about the statistics of male violence against women here. We’re needing men to talk about the violence they know about, actual and threatened, in male interactions of all kinds. I have no “feel” for how this works among men, I only know how I feel when I perceive that a particular man has the potential to be violent towards me. I expect many other women are in the same position and our wonder-why-this-happens contributions wouldn’t advance the conversation very much at all.

    (Though I might speak up if I see any of that armchair evo psych nonsense starting to derail the discussion.)

  7. M can help you with that. says

    Lucy — that’s a pretty broad claim about mammal behavior. No exceptions? Do male bonobos use intraspecies violence as a way to secure territory and mating “rights”? How about, say, ringtails or meerkats (or hyenas or blue whales or fruit bats or…)? Do they all display patterns of sex and violence which parallel 20th-Century Western masculine power fantasies?

    Hell, there are even species other than humans where gender relations and violence seem to be socially conditioned — there are neighboring, interbreeding baboon troops with entirely different patterns of violence and male/female interaction. Are the forest-troop baboons not mammals?

  8. says

    One example where a change in attitude has greatly reduce male violence in the US has been lynching. Hopefully we will never see another Emmit Till.

  9. Jacob Schmidt says

    Great post Ally, but I feel like you’re buying too much into the narrative of violent abusers as poor victims just lashing out.

    I think it’s less about men being victimized and then lashing out, and more that men can be victimized, directly or indirectly, by violence, and internalize that behaviour as acceptable. They then repeat that behaviour towards others over whom they have some measure of power. It’s not the whole of the story, of course, but it is undoubtedly part of it; it’s one (likely common) mechanism by which men learn to be violent.

  10. brucegee1962 says

    Evo-psych is a bunch of hooey; however, I’m much more impressed by the meme theory arguments that cultures compete and evolve in a way similar to species. So I’d say that, for most of human history, cultures have evolved in such a way that men have been conditioned to be aggressive and warlike. Quite simply, any culture which did not find ways to encourage aggression (via heroic epic poetry, go-to-Valhalla or martyrs-go-to-paradise type religions, chivalry-like codes, the King is a living god, or some other means) was extremely likely to be enslaved or genocided by a neighboring culture that did possess those values. The disadvantages of these memes (feuds, for instance) were obvious even to the people who lived back then, but the advantages were even more obvious.

    But of course, unless you live in Syria or South Sudan, most humans haven’t lived under conditions where their ability to wage war is crucial to their cultures’ survival for almost a century now. It’s a vestigial trait. And it’s unlikely that civilization is going to need it again – wars are won these days by cool-headed engineers, not suicidal fanatics. So the sooner we get rid of it, the better off we’ll be.

    (Full disclosure: I speak as a privileged middle-class male whose last direct contact with violence of any sort was probably a tussle on the playground in second grade.)

  11. karmacat says

    I complained about sexism for many years (still do), but then I thought I should find out why sexism exists. I have been reading a book off and on (mostly off, which is why I couldn’t find the title) and different cultures around the world. Basically, the author argues that the fewer resources there are the more violent the culture and the more separation of the sexes. So, men went off hunting and women stayed closer to home with the children. In societies that lived in areas with a lot of natural resources, there was less division of labor between sexes and the men took care of the children along with the women. These societies tended to be less violent, including less violent towards women.
    In terms of why men are more violent than women, it may less about testosterone and more about being bigger and stronger and basically using strength to get what you want. It would be useful to study why some women are violent.
    I think as there is more globalization of the economy, there is less violence. Most people do not want to disrupt the global market too much

  12. JT says

    As someone who knows this intimately I can tell you this. Many boys become violent because they were not protected as children. The realization that no one is coming to help does one of two things. Be the victim or the victimizer. Testosterone doesn’t make you violent but it sure helps building the body that can inflict it.

  13. Carnation says

    @ Ally

    I’ve got a bit of a theory about the decline in male-on-male violence (the most socially acceptable kind). In a word: drugs. More drugs and less drinking. Drug consumption can often define the demographic that is most prone to violence (young men), and it’s become something of a pseudo masculinity initiation to take a load of pills, sniff a load of coke, or generally be seen to be able to handle one’s drugs. Simply put, the rough and crude markers of young males are no longer prowess at fighting and drinking, but more about procuring, consuming and “handling” drugs.

    Also, people on E don’t usually get into fights. Stoned people basically never do. Even coked up people rarely do. People on smack never do.

    So, yeah, a drugged up hippyish revolution did happen – but not in the way people thought it would.

  14. JT says

    Carnation

    I know many scrappers who fought while stoned on coke or pot. Drugs or alcohol mean nothing other than you’re buzzed while being violent.

  15. MadHatter says

    Also, drugs are not a new thing. I doubt you can find a culture that has not had some sort of drug available, regardless of the level of violence.

  16. Carnation says

    @ JT

    Coke maybe, but pot?? C’mon…

    And to every rule, there are exceptions. And fighting on the drugs isn’t the main part of my point. The acting out of machismo is.

    Drinking culture is very often violent. Drug culture usually isn’t (sorry to disappoint, Daily Mail).

  17. 123454321 says

    Competition and violence strengthens the gene pool and evolves a species. It’s a shitty job that someone had to do (now I wonder which sex took that little job on in the beginning!). Thankfully, it’s becoming an obsolete requirement in a civilised world.

  18. AnarchCassius says

    @Ally, good piece of writing. This is something that I rarely see brought up unless someone is trying to minimize male domestic violence victims so it’s nice to see it mentioned for its own sake.

    I have on qualm which also ties into what freja said.

    @freja

    “Great post Ally, but I feel like you’re buying too much into the narrative of violent abusers as poor victims just lashing out. I was bullied in school and have been subjected to violence as an adult, and while I have seen people/kids who undoubtedly had a hard time react with temper tantrums, for the most part, the abusers did what they did because they considered themselves to have a right to do so.”

    I understood that the tendency for victims to become abusers, while real, had been vastly exaggerated. The majority of abusers were not abused and while addressing this tendency is important we shouldn’t pretend there is a cycle to be broken in most cases.

    “It is important to note that research has shown that men who have abusive mothers do not tend to develop especially negative attitudes toward females, but men who have abusive fathers do”

    I’m curious to her source for that, looking for information on likelihood of cyclic abuse I found this: (you’ll need to register I think, but it’s free)
    http://download.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS014067360312466X.pdf?id=eaalQm6biP3QT8cj061Mu
    which states
    “Risk factors during childhood for later offending included material neglect (odds ratio 3·4, 95% CI 1·2–9·7), lack of supervision
    (3·0, 1·1–8·3), and sexual abuse by a female person (3·0,1·1–8·7).”

    So for sexual abuse at least it’s a mistake to ignore the mother’s role.

    As for violence when checking Ally’s link on the matter I found the threefold rate for males to be true, 10.7% of males from nonviolent homes and 35% from violent ones committed abuse; yet the same holds true for females with 8.9% of those from nonviolent homes and 26.7% of those from violent ones committing abuse.

    So Bancroft’s claim “the disrespect that abusive men show their female partners and their daughters is often absorbed by their sons.” is highly suspect, even if women, like men, are more affected by male violence absorbing disrespect for women can hardly explain it. Given how few studies use a male control I suspect Bancroft didn’t and her sources would show a low level of respect for men in those with abusive mothers if asked.

    “When a man starts my program, he often says, “I am here because I lose control of myself sometimes. I need to get a better grip.” I always correct him: “Your problem is not that you lose control of yourself, it’s that you take control of your partner. In order to change, you don’t need to gain control over yourself, you need to let go of control of her.”

    This is where I find Bancroft’s approach problematic. Even Ellen Pence, one of Duluth’s founders, admitted the idea of male control as a universal explanation was a case of finding what they wanted to find. Intimate terrorists exist but include women and there are other patterns and forms of domestic violence, to say nothing of violence in general.

    “I think the same pattern is likely to hold true for a lot of male-on-male violence.”

    Often, yes. Most intimate terrorist style abusers are selfish and destructive but subtle, almost sociopathic. They likely overlap rapists and criminals in general to a large degree.

    Still most of our data regards abuse of intimates, not the sort of non-intimate violence against males which makes up the overwhelming majority of violence in Western society. We have no data showing abused males are more likely to be violent to non-intimates, at least not that’s presented here.

    I suspect a large portion of this is to do with male disposability and males being put into more desperate circumstances and another portion is do with notions of violence being a way to prove one’s manhood. In America at least this sort of violence is heavily centered in poorer and denser regions and I think economics play a major factor.

  19. JT says

    Carnation

    Have you ever fought? Have you ever been around fighters? Sure, alcohol is liquid courage but dont kid yourself, angry and violent is still angry and violent whether its pot, coke or alcohol.But lets get back to the reason why men might be more outwardly violent, as they get older, than women. Its impossible to deny the fact that males after puberty are physically superior in strength compared to women. If a person has unresolved issues and has the capability to use their physical prowess as a means to comfort themselves are we going to turn a blind eye to that reality?

  20. JT says

    Carnation

    You also miss the reality that drug culture and alcohol culture, which is a drug by the way, are usually combined and rarely used exclusively.

  21. Carnation says

    @ JT

    Yes, I have been in numerous fights and violent incidents, and have been around violent people. I still occassionally am, though not for long. More relevantly, though, I have been in and around many drugs scenes over the years.

    Angry and violent people will inevitably be angry and violent. But a lot of male-on-male violence isn’t really driven by rage, IMO, it’s driven by a desire to prove oneself to peers for to stand out from the crowd. “Performing masculinity”, is one way of describing it. MRAs will start leaping up and down at this, because they are unwilling/incapable of understanding the difference between sex and gender. Performing masculinity can take many forms damaging to the male – the stiff upper lip, “manning up” and pseudo-recreational fighting. “Hard/tough men” are still held in esteem by other men (and society), so it isn’t really any wonder that male-on-male violence is so widespread.

    The essence of my point is that the widespread availability and use of drugs, among the most violent demographic (young men) provides another outlet to perform masculinity, to stand out from peers, to indulge in a rather perverse methodology of competition.

    I do not think drugs are a main cause of the decline in overall violence, merely *a* cause of decline for a *specific* type of violence.

  22. Lucy says

    Violence can be roughly divided into social and anti-social.

    The social-sanctioned kind supports its social context and can attract social accolades such as medals, statues, prizes, remembrances: hierarchy establishing and maintaining (ie stabilising), acquisitive or protective (ie if resources or tribe). It’s main features are that it is predictable and therefore controllable. Examples from past and present include sectarian/gang/national competition and border protection, corporal and capital controls and punishments, violent sport, sacrifice, natural justice.

    The anti-social, unsanctioned kind destabilises society and attracts social appobrium such as criminal sanctions, stigma. It’s main feature is that is is unpredictable and therefore uncontrollable and unexploitable. Examples include pathological violence, unprovoked or disproportionate violence. This is the type of violence that gets the supernatural description, evil.

    The first kind is non-pathological. You don’t have to be brutalised to take part. Many well-balanced men and a small number of women join the military for example. Almost of us would take part in the right controlled circumstances such as to acquire something necessary to survival, to protect ourselves or others, perhaps in proportionate revenge. This would happen regardless of our humane upbringings. Men, certain castes of men, in certain positions in the hierarchy have this tendency and responsibility more than women.

    The second kind is pathological, may be influenced by destabilising violence. Men take part more than women.

    Both are biological as well as environmental. And therefore an environmental cure will only ever be a partial solution.

    What has happened in recent years has been the pathologising of non-pathological violence. Moving previously socially sanctioned violence into the anti-social category. Hence the rising numbers of male prisoners. Ithat approach might work, especially if it’s backed up by a biological solution such as genetic engineering, but a less dystopian solution might be to reshape society to accommodate non-pathological violence in socially-supportive ways.

  23. Lucy says

    1234567891011121314151617181920

    “Competition and violence strengthens the gene pool and evolves a species. It’s a shitty job that someone had to do (now I wonder which sex took that little job on in the beginning!). Thankfully, it’s becoming an obsolete requirement in a civilised world.”

    You make it sound like men made a conscious decision to do this. They didn’t. Male on male violence is partially evolved behaviour, in a proportion of the male population: the percentage with the responsibility of maintaining the pack’s internal hierarchy and stability: ie. Those completing for and supporting the top spots. And those responsible for competing with other packs wishing to take one’s necessary resources to ensure the survival of one’s genes in the next generation. Male on female violence is likely evolved behaviour too, serving different stabilising ends. As is adult on infant violence. If you look at the patterns of violent human behaviour it mirrors that of the animal kingdom very closely. Step fathers are the most likely killers of step children for instance, in humans and non-humans. And does anyone seriously think we’ve been at perpetual war since recorded history began because of the causes given for them? That’s a smoke screen i think, we don’t need to fight wars to settle disputes or to share things equally, men fight wars because men fight wars, women support men fighting wars because women support men fighting wars. If we genuinely wanted peace we’d have it. We don’t want it, the only people who have a genuine appetite for that are those who have recently experienced it and have war fatigue, but a generation later, that’s forgotten.

    As for violence being defunct in a civilised world, that may be the case if by civilised you mean every human being has sufficient food, shelter, sex and has climbed the pyramid of needs to the top, but we are nowhere near that position. For everyone to have the standard of living we have in the UK we’d need three planet earths, in the USA, it would be 11. To support the projected world population we will need a serious reduction in our standard of living. The world population is booming, and is skewed towards young males, we continue to assist rather than frustrate that by during natural population controls. Drinking water, food and energy is depleting. The population of the developing world is migrating to the developed. Don’t mean to put a dampner on the efforts to improve children’s rights and reduce male criminal violence, but chances are that if that worked to any significant degree, given the wider context the outcome of turning males into peaceniks would be ultimately catastrophic.

  24. Lucy says

    AnarchCassius

    “10.7% of males from nonviolent homes and 35% from violent ones committed abuse; yet the same holds true for females with 8.9% of those from nonviolent homes and 26.7%”

    Homes? Or biological parents?

  25. Holms says

    …You’ve gone off the deep end, Lucy. Even for you, proposing male genetic modification is just nutty. Again, it is lucky you have no traction whatsoever.

  26. freja says

    @Jacob Schmidt, 12

    I think it’s less about men being victimized and then lashing out, and more that men can be victimized, directly or indirectly, by violence, and internalize that behaviour as acceptable.

    Good point. I think what I’m trying to say is that usually, ime, what characterises violent and abusive people is not so much what they have (or have had done to them) but what they lack (a regard for other people, and an ability and willingness to consider their actions from outside perspective).

    @AnarchCassius, 23

    I’m curious to her source for that, looking for information on likelihood of cyclic abuse I found this: (you’ll need to register I think, but it’s free)
    http://download.thelancet.com/pdfs/journals/lancet/PIIS014067360312466X.pdf?id=eaalQm6biP3QT8cj061Mu
    which states
    “Risk factors during childhood for later offending included material neglect (odds ratio 3·4, 95% CI 1·2–9·7), lack of supervision
    (3·0, 1·1–8·3), and sexual abuse by a female person (3·0,1·1–8·7).”

    So for sexual abuse at least it’s a mistake to ignore the mother’s role.

    As for violence when checking Ally’s link on the matter I found the threefold rate for males to be true, 10.7% of males from nonviolent homes and 35% from violent ones committed abuse; yet the same holds true for females with 8.9% of those from nonviolent homes and 26.7% of those from violent ones committing abuse.

    So Bancroft’s claim “the disrespect that abusive men show their female partners and their daughters is often absorbed by their sons.” is highly suspect, even if women, like men, are more affected by male violence absorbing disrespect for women can hardly explain it. Given how few studies use a male control I suspect Bancroft didn’t and her sources would show a low level of respect for men in those with abusive mothers if asked.

    Bancroft is a he. The source is probably in his book, but I don’t have access to that at the moment. I wasn’t trying to make a point about gender, merely that the pattern doesn’t fit a victim acting with hostility against those who have harmed them (or who belong to the same group), but rather someone copying the attitudes of the abuser. So they don’t so much react with hostility because they have been treated with hostility before and expect it to happen again, but rather because they’ve observed that hostility (often directed at someone else) is acceptable and that aggression is OK for someone like them to indulge in.

    This is where I find Bancroft’s approach problematic. Even Ellen Pence, one of Duluth’s founders, admitted the idea of male control as a universal explanation was a case of finding what they wanted to find. Intimate terrorists exist but include women and there are other patterns and forms of domestic violence, to say nothing of violence in general.

    Again, not trying to make any point about gender or claim that this pattern is universal, but I think Bancroft makes a good point. A lot of the violent people I’ve encountered have been somewhat entitled and used violence to get what they want. They lose control mainly against certain victims, typically the ones they think/know don’t have the right to strike back. In that aspect, I’m forced to somewhat reluctantly agree partially with Lucy, in that people who get what they want are less prone to violence, at least in the short run. Of course, by expecting to always get their way and lashing out when it doesn’t happen, they steadily decrease their tolerance for opposition, and can end up becoming more violent as a result.

    I completely disagree with Lucy about why men in rich countries are less violent though. Men in honour based (and typically patriarchal and undemocratic) cultures seem to expect a much higher level of compliance from their surroundings, and haven’t been raised to compromise and negotiate quite as much as in richer and more democratic countires. I think overall circumstances (wealth, status, level of danger) are highly relevant, but the discrepancy between what people think they’re entitled to and what they actually get seems to be at least as big, if not a bigger factor.

  27. brucegee1962 says

    Lucy@28:

    And does anyone seriously think we’ve been at perpetual war since recorded history began because of the causes given for them? That’s a smoke screen i think, we don’t need to fight wars to settle disputes or to share things equally, men fight wars because men fight wars, women support men fighting wars because women support men fighting wars. If we genuinely wanted peace we’d have it. We don’t want it, the only people who have a genuine appetite for that are those who have recently experienced it and have war fatigue, but a generation later, that’s forgotten.

    “Men fight wars because men fight wars” is a meaningless statement. They’ve evolved to use violence for the same reasons that baboons have: it’s a very clear-cut solution to the problem of having limited resources. At some point in our prehistory, we graduated from individual-vs-individual violence to tribe-on-tribe violence, because that works better. Of course, since societies were selecting for aggression in males to maintain their armies, the individual-vs-individual violence didn’t go away despite its negative social effects and the development of laws, morality, and police to keep it in check.

    For the last few centuries, though, we’ve been engaged in a huge experiment to find out whether economics in general, and capitalism specifically, might turn out to be a better system for distributing resources than warfare. As you point out, it’s wildly unfair; but then again, so was the violence-based system (see: Empires, Roman & British). Capitalism also works best when it allows at least a bit of social mobility (“Maybe I’ll get rich myself someday” is a much better poverty pacifier than “If I obey the social order I’ll go to heaven” that was previously in vogue.)

    You say “If people wanted peace they would have it.” And in case you haven’t noticed, more and more people are getting it. The percentage of the world’s population with direct experience of war has dropped precipitously in the last several generations.

    I agree with you that we may be approaching a crisis point over whether the capitalism experiment will work. So far, technological has been causing the overall pie to grow; if it starts shrinking due to climate change and water crises, the whole thing may fall back to the default violence system of distribution.

    But I disagree with you about whether violence is inherent in the system. I’m somewhat optimistic that a technology fix may be found for the climate and population problems; IF that happens in time, then I don’t see any inherent reason why our 22nd century descendants may not be able to achieve a vastly more peaceful world.

  28. 123454321 says

    “men fight wars because men fight wars”

    No, men fight wars because war is a requirement for successful evolution and some fucker has to do it if you’re going to be able to survive as a species. It’s usually the male as the female is built to produce offspring and rear them while the male hunts for food and acts as the protector while she sits pregnant in the safety of the home and polishes her nails. Such basic stuff!

    “women support men fighting wars because women support men fighting wars.”

    No, women support men fighting wars because they know what’s good for them and their species in the long-haul. Such basic stuff!

    As usual, the men always get the shitty, dangerous and dirty end of the stick and yet you blindly sit their and whine, whine, whine about how bad you have it. Geez, the privilege oozes from your pores.

  29. 123454321 says

    Lucy – you said this on the last thread (obviously to make men look bad rather than sexual offenders look bad):

    “Might be because men are responsible for 98% of all sexual offences and 99% of child sexual offences (Home Office)…”

    I asked you this:

    ” what percentage of the adult male population are convicted (according to Home Office stats) of child sexual offences? Hint: there are many tens of millions of adult men in UK alone.”

    You got the answer to that yet?

  30. scoobertron says

    I agree wholeheartedly. There are two slightly tangential issues which often complicate discussions of ‘male violence’, however.

    The first is that the ‘male’ in ‘male violence’ is often intended to make a moral contribution to the discussion, such that the gender of the perpertrator (and often the victim) are taken to affect how wrong a particular act of violence is. (a similar line is often taken with ‘male sexual fantasies’, which is often used as a perjorative expression).

    Secondly, the term ‘male violence’ often crops up in discussions where it is out of place. For example, in talking about violent acts in general (rather than explicitly restricting the scope of the discussion – as you have rightly done here). For example, a writer might discuss domestic violence and refer to it as an example of ‘male violence’ more generally. This would be wrong.

    Issues like this are why the use of ‘male violence’ in public discourse tend to get my back up. What I like about your take on it, is that invoking ‘male violence’ should be the start of a discussion about how young boys are socialised (which would be a parallel to the various discussions about how young girls are socialised – prompted by e.g. their underachievement in STEM fields). Too often, invoking ‘male violence’ is taken as the end of the discussion – which I suspect is related to the kind of gender essentialist views that you identify (and which would be shot down in seconds if applied to women/girls).

  31. AnarchCassius says

    > Bancroft is a he.

    My bad, I thought you used a feminine pronoun in reference to him but I was apparently mistaken.

    “So they don’t so much react with hostility because they have been treated with hostility before and expect it to happen again, but rather because they’ve observed that hostility (often directed at someone else) is acceptable and that aggression is OK for someone like them to indulge in.”
    “A lot of the violent people I’ve encountered have been somewhat entitled and used violence to get what they want. They lose control mainly against certain victims, typically the ones they think/know don’t have the right to strike back.”

    See this is where I think this assessment fails both for a large portion of domestic abuse and for almost all other violence. It’s not about it being okay for someone like them or certain victims being okay. It’s about what they can get away with and social acceptance is just one way to achieve that.

  32. SadGWM says

    I suspect many people are uncomfortable with the suggestion that there is something inherently violent to masculinity.

    I don’t think that’s really it.

    I think most people, women and men alike, believe and don’t mind that men are (considered) inherently more violent than women. The problem begins with the suggestion that, while men may currently be that way, they don’t have to, and that it’s not in their nature to be more violent but in the culture (ie. patriarchy). This is the basis for the argument that states: violence, particularly violence against women, is something that only men need to deal with. Since women are by definition powerless in patriarchy, they cannot be considered responsible for the dysfunctional culture and can and should not be expected to be required to even help fix the alleged problem. On the other hand, if men actually were more violent as a biological fact, it would be very hard to argue that dealing with that part of the human condition should not, in part, be a responsibility of women.

    That’s why feminists are usually blank slaters, and that’s why I think that most men opposd to the current “men are violent narrative” actually believe that men are inherently more violent, they just don’t want to be told that what they consider a largely independent variable of human extistence is a cultural problem only they are responsible for dealing with.

  33. 123454321 says

    The first feminist-led campaign to explicitly end violence against men and boys (or male-on-male violence) would be the triggering catalyst to making a better World for everyone. Despite all the social power and collective influence feminists have garnered over the decades, they won’t get to do any such thing ahead of the death of feminism simply because they have never had the insight or wisdom to see outside of the ‘me, me, me’ box. Probably the final nail of regret in the feminist coffin that will go down in history.

  34. sonofrojblake says

    There is little doubt that men in civilised Western cultures today are less violent, less aggressive, less militaristic than we have been at any time in living memory

    FIFY.

    Meanwhile, a look at Syria, Iraq and most of the middle east, large parts of South America, central Asia and basically anywhere in Africa will make you look at our rapidly shrinking armed forces and wonder how long that’ll keep working out well for us.

  35. says

    Carnation @16:

    Also, people on E don’t usually get into fights. Stoned people basically never do. Even coked up people rarely do. People on smack never do.

    I supplied a link to this paper: http://www.who.int/violenceprevention/interpersonal_violence_and_illicit_drug_use.pdf

    Carnation @16:

    What points within that study are relevant to the OP and my theorising?

    I can’t help but wonder how you could miss it, but I’ll indulge you. The section titled “Illicit drug use by perpetrators of violence” all the way down on page 3 had these three citation that disproved your assertions which I quoted at the beginning of this comment:

    In Atlanta, USA, ecstacy users with higher level of life time use exhibited higher rates of aggressive and violent behaviour (12)

    In a study of violence among youth holiday resorts among young German, Spanish and British holidaymakers, the use of cocaine during the holiday was associated with triple the odds of involvement in fighting and use of cannabis with double the odds.(15)

    In England and Wales, 12% of arrestees held for assault tested positive for cocaine use and 24% for opiate use (excluding methadone). (16)

    I include the references to the citations as those are listed waaay down on page 18 in the pdf I linked.

    (12) Reid LW, Elifson KW, Sterk CE. Hug drug or thug drug? Ecstasy use and aggressive behavior. Violence and Victims, 2007, 22:104-119

    (15) Hughes Ketal. Predictors of violence in young tourists: a comparative study of British, German and Spanish holidaymakers. European Journal of Public Health, 2008, 18:569-574.

    (16) Bennett T. Drugs and crime: the results of the second developmental stage of the NEW-ADAM programme, Home Office Research Study 205. London, Home Office, 2000

  36. Carnation says

    @ Tamen

    Still not buying it, I’m afraid. Holidaymakers drink to wild excess (cocaine often fuelling this), alcohol (and youthful excess in general) with be the cause of said violence.. Likewise, those being arrested are highly agitated and distressed anyway.

    BTW, simply pasting a link with no commentary is a waste of time, bordering on the offensive. I usually ignore such actions, they are usually anti-feminist attempts at a “gotcha” and rarely of any merit. The title of that one suggested otherwise and was of some interest.

    It doesn’t remotely affect the main crux of my opinion though.

  37. JT says

    IMO, it’s driven by a desire to prove oneself to peers for to stand out from the crowd. “Performing masculinity”(Carnation)

    And the reason for that performance is usually a defense mechanism. As in, puffing up your chest to remind people that you are tough and not to fuck with you. This is usually done by boys/men who were on the receiving end of the shit stick and nobody came to their rescue so they realized it will fall on their shoulders to take care of themselves. People use whatever they have to avoid being victims. Unfortunately part of this mindframe leads to many being victimizers also. I see the same behaviour on line but it is intellectual bullying rather than fists flying.

  38. bruce bartup says

    From my own limited experience and from talking to men online about men’s rights I formed a kind of working guess that some men find that they cannot be ‘strong’ in a situation and feel impelled to become violent (or otherwise a bad man) rather than grieve over the lost self image of manliness, no matter if physical violence is the initiating event or not.

    I think women self-objectify as part of their experience of oppression? I’ve heard Karen Straughan refer to ‘hyper-agency’ in men, perhaps this is men’s equivalent adaptation to similar abusive circumstances – as a way of coping?

    If that were the case then as I recall for women the counteracting response was raised conciousness and self-empowerment. What would the equivalent for men be?

  39. Jacob Schmidt says

    I can’t help but wonder how you could miss it, but I’ll indulge you. The section titled “Illicit drug use by perpetrators of violence” all the way down on page 3 had these three citation that disproved your assertions which I quoted at the beginning of this comment:

    In Atlanta, USA, ecstacy users with higher level of life time use exhibited higher rates of aggressive and violent behaviour (12)
    In a study of violence among youth holiday resorts among young German, Spanish and British holidaymakers, the use of cocaine during the holiday was associated with triple the odds of involvement in fighting and use of cannabis with double the odds.(15)
    In England and Wales, 12% of arrestees held for assault tested positive for cocaine use and 24% for opiate use (excluding methadone). (16)

    Is there anything to suggest that the drug use is enabling the violence? Seems like an obvious case of “correlation v. causation.”

  40. says

    Who made the assertion that drugs caused these violence? I provided the link as datapoints against the assertion that drug users (E, cannabis, cocaine and heroine) rarely if ever were violent.

  41. says

    When an old high school friend looked me up on the internet a few years ago, he asked about my father. When I told him that he had passed away, he said to me that knowing my father had been important to him when he was a teenager because he felt that my father had shown him that a man can be kind and gentle and still be a man. His own father was physically abusive. Other men have said similar things about my father, even including my ex-husband.

    It did seem to me growing up that boys suffered at the hands of their parents more than girls did. Physically, at least. I lost one dear friend who I’m afraid was too sensitive for the way the world expects boys to act.

    I believe I’ve said it here before, but I’ll say it again. I first encountered the Men’s Movement back in the eighties, via a professor who was teaching a Women’s Studies course. He had us read a book that talked about how men’s socialization has negative consequences for men. It’s been something of a disappointment for me to see the direction the Men’s, or Men’s Rights, Movement has gone.

    At the risk of sounding like a tired old bag, the whole “battle of the sexes” attitude towards these issues has long seemed tedious to me. (I know someone is liable to jump on me here and tell me that feminists do it too. Indeed, they do.) Men’s rights and women’s rights are subsets of a more general quest for human rights. No child should be brutalized, or taught to be brutal. However, since in many instances boys are brutalized as part of how they are socialized to be men in many societies, this subject has a particular dimension for men. The ritual dance you described at the beginning I suspect is a way of avoiding a more painful topic.

    Many of the kindest, gentlest men I have known have been men who have reacted against the brutality of their own fathers. The friend I mentioned at the beginning, my high school boyfriend, my father himself, and quite a few others. However, I think it was a difficult emotional route for all of them and, as my friend indicated, they need to work out for themselves what it means to be a man, to redefine masculinity in a way that does not valorize violent behavior.

  42. Lucy says

    “…You’ve gone off the deep end, Lucy. Even for you, proposing male genetic modification is just nutty. Again, it is lucky you have no traction whatsoever.”

    Bless your naïveté. We’re already modifying people’s genes and we only sequenced DNA 40 years ago. In a thousand years people won’t be as they are now, anything that is modifiable will be modified. If male violence and criminality proves to be obsolete in the future (it’s a massive drain on society, costs £78 billion a year in the UK alone) and is resistant to environmental influence of course it will be biologically phased out if possible. It will start with sex and procreation becoming uncoupled with women freezing eggs and embryos (already happening), t will progress to genetic screening for inherited disorders (already happening), it will become an insurance requirement (already being debated) and then a lifestyle choice (already happening in countries with less stringent controls). If we’re prepared to splice DNA and replace egg nuclei and create children without a biological mother, why on earth do you think we wouldn’t modify masculinity to be more suited to future society? Mark my words. Those grey alien people who abduct people in Arizona? They’re future people.

  43. Lucy says

    Brucegee

    “Men fight wars because men fight wars” is a meaningless statement. They’ve evolved to use violence for the same reasons that baboons have: it’s a very clear-cut solution to the problem of having limited resources. At some point in our prehistory, we graduated from individual-vs-individual violence to tribe-on-tribe violence, because that works better. Of course, since societies were selecting for aggression in males to maintain their armies, the individual-vs-individual violence didn’t go away despite its negative social effects and the development of laws, morality, and police to keep it in check.”

    Most wars aren’t even ostensibly about the redistribution of resources. These days they’re ideological battles.

    Men fight wars for the same reason they have sex wearing condoms. Because a) it’s instinctive and b) they largely enjoy it. No doubt a controversial statement, but one only has to listen to know any people in the army and how much they crave action or look at the floods of volunteers for ISIS to see its true. Even when there’s nothing really to fight about they’ll invent something, I mean how can people really work themselves up into a violent frenzy about having to borrow money to do a Batchelors’ degree and pay it back with a low rate of interest once you earn a professional salary?

    “You say “If people wanted peace they would have it.” And in case you haven’t noticed, more and more people are getting it. The percentage of the world’s population with direct experience of war has dropped precipitously in the last several generations.”

    And correspondingly are becoming increasingly misanthropic on the micro level and also fetishise the world wars to get the feeling vicariously. People find peace frustrating and deadening.

  44. JT says

    @Lucy

    So by your reasoning you must be a male Lucy, cause you sure do like to talk a lot of smack. 😛

  45. 123454321 says

    Lucy, I think we’re all prepared to let you have the last word in this case because your breath smells of shit and it’s probably because you’re talking out of your arse again!

  46. StillGjenganger says

    @ 123454321 52 (and Lucy)
    OK, it is a bit offensive to hear how Lucy thinks anything male is a bad evolutionary mistake, and wants to bury it in a smelly grave and put a stone on top. But we should not get our knickers in a twist over it.

    So she thinks that men and women are by nature different, and that current culture was created (exclusively) by males. I agree with both up to a point, but I think we should remember that we are one species, not two, see it as a division of labour, and take shared credit for the result.

    As for her future scenarios, they are all science fiction (if not a compensatory fantasy a la ‘Slave Girls of Gor’). Any speculation is possible. I am not convinced that her feminisation plan would ever be carried, though. Too many people would prefer men to continue, to keep their own line alive, because they rather like men, or because they want to have successful sons. If some nations decided to remake the human race as all-female, I am fairly sure that other nations would stick to the two-sex model. And I am afraid that her poor all-woman nations would have a hard time of it:
    – First, with what amounts to two different human races, there would be conflict and war between them. There the part-male nations might do fairly well.
    – One way or the other, there would be new challenges, needs for new solutions, new technology. Lucy wants to throw away the contribution of men, who according to her have built everything we enjoy today, and rebuild it from the ground up by women, who according to her have never built anything. If they start by throwing away half the potential of humanity, her all-female societies might struggle to keep up.
    – Whatever happens in international politics we can be fairly sure that the remaining males would be subject of horrified fascination and desire by the all-pervading women.

    This is of course all nonsense anyway, but I certainly think my sons AND my daughters would be happier and safer in a two-sex society than in Lucys all-woman utopia. And I suspect that a lot of men AND women would agree.

  47. StillGjenganger says

    @Ally

    Testosterone does not breed violence, violence breeds violence

    A bit simplistic – rather like ‘Guns do not kill people, people kill people’. An equally plausible hypothesis would be that violence breeds violence – and that any given level of violence will cause 2? 5? 10? time as many violent men as violent women. Which would have the consequence that men would always be 2/5/10 times as violent as women, but that we could modify the overall level.

  48. Holms says

    #49 Lucy
    If you think freezing eggs and artificial insmemination is going to supplant having sex, you need to put down your copy of Nineteen Eighty-Four.

    If you think screening for congenital illnesses (and selecting embryos on that basis) is in any way analogous to genetic modification, you have a lot to learn about genetics.

    If you think ‘already being debated’ means ‘will inev be implemented’, then you are making the assumption that all policies ever debated were subsequently enacted, or that not a single policy under debate was ever thrown out. In fact I think it demonstrates that you don’t know what debate actually is.

    Basically what you are doing is writing a scfi-fi / fantasy novel for yourself. Go for it if it comforts you, but you aren’t being realistic.

    P.S.
    Also, “Men fight wars for the same reason they have sex wearing condoms. Because a) it’s instinctive and b) they largely enjoy it” is hilarious because a) putting on latex tube is not instinctive, and b) it reduces sensation. Was there a typo in there?

  49. Holms says

    A show called ‘What Would You Do’ did a piece investigating just that question, and found that people were much less likely to intervene if the woman was hitting the man.

  50. says

    Holms

    I didn’t say ivf would supplant sex, I said sex would be decoupled from reproduction. Which it will be, obviously.

    I didn’t mean wearing condoms was instinctive and pleasurable. I meant having sex despite the fact you’re using contraception and therefore pointless was instictive and pleasurable. Which it is, obviously.

    StllGjenganger

    I didn’t say humans will be modified to be female. I said male behaviour will be modified to remove its evolved expensive and unnecessary and socially harmful traits. Which it will, obviously.

    I’m glad you’ve given some of my opinions your man stamp of approval to your bros. obviously this is great.

    12345678901345678909876543215577345200000000000

    Prime nob as usual. Obviously.

  51. Marduk says

    Maybe the thing that brings together what the article about and the, er, “drift to the fringe” I’m reading above is in what might be referred to as Pagalian Hypothesis (a la Sexual Personae), although it has taken more respectable forms over the years.

    There are also two variants on this, I never thought she was especially clear which way it went. So there is an argument that owing to the distribution of traits and abilities, which in the males of nearly all species shows a wider variation than the female which clusters more around the mean, we have men on the right of the curve (Einstein, Newton) because we have men on the left of the curve (e.g., the prison population, low IQ, behavioural problems). Reduce this variation and there is a price to pay that may outweigh the savings even for the coldblooded eugenicist (and is there any other type?).

    Alternatively, there is something in the male psyche that finds expression in various ways and we as a society are ambivalent about what that means. We seem still rather pleased for example that Netwon was so obsessed and competitive as poke his own eye with a bodkin to figure out some issue in optics, yet this trait is also seen as anti-social. Beethoven was an angry driven drunk with something to prove. Everyone wants to emulate the STEM shut-ins as soon as they got rich ever decades of bullying them. Dangerous weirdos or superheroes? Probably both, it depends how it pans out. Perhaps if Isaac had cared more for work-life balance and Beethoven had settled down and no overlooked nerds felt the need to show the world something, Lucy would be happier with their behaviour but our civilisation would be incalculably poorer. And more pragmatically, a bunch of neutered men would never compete to work on oil rigs or dig out the tar sands or go up in storms to keep the electric lines connected, what would be the point, council work offers a far more stable, less stressful and less dangerous 9-5 with a lunch hour after all. So in this utopia, who would keep the lights on in Lucy’s house at a price she can afford (does she know?).

    Is there a way of separating the-thing-that-causes-violence but also causes other things that Lucy needs or is this just an “art theory”? Seems like if ‘toxic masculinity’ pays off, everyone wants a piece, and if it doesn’t, everyone wants a piece out of your hide instead. Certainly as a folk belief the idea that violence is the curdled expression of more virtuous urges has been around as long as people have.

  52. Holms says

    #59 Lucy
    “I didn’t say ivf would supplant sex, I said sex would be decoupled from reproduction. Which it will be, obviously.”
    Except it won’t, since there will always still be sex for reproduction.

    “I meant having sex despite the fact you’re using contraception and therefore pointless was instictive and pleasurable.”
    Eliminating the chance of conception does not mean it is pointless; the point of most sex is pleasure.

    “StllGjenganger […] I said male behaviour will be modified to remove its evolved expensive and unnecessary and socially harmful traits. Which it will, obviously.”
    Except it won’t. See ny previous post re: genetic screening for health =/= genetic modification; currently being debated =/= will invitably be implemented.

    Although I agree that 1234 is a tool.

  53. sheaf24 says

    Marduk, can you provide evidence that these as you describe them “anti social” properties are necessary or strongly related to exceptional achievement? You give two examples of exceptional achievement lnked to them, but t seems to me that the most extreme intellectual achievers actually lack them. Individuals like Terrence Tao seem pretty well balanced and so do people responsible for historic superlatives like Leonhard Euler.

  54. 123454321 says

    “Although I agree that 1234 is a tool.”

    LOL, that’s fine coming from a person who thinks the words ‘fuck’ & ‘shit’ aren’t remotely vulgar (even if spoken by a youngster), and yet takes offence when someone calls feminism a supremacy movement, which it is according to a growing number of people who are utterly sick of it. Yes, we sure need more people like you around.

    Speaking of vulgarity, this is a perfect example of feminist supremacy by our lovely equality-conscious and fair-minded Home Secretary, Theresa May. How she has the nerve to leave out half of the population is beyond belief. If it’s a stunt to gain more female voters and white knights then it’s a stunt which will surely backfire! Check out the comments section to see the mass of support she has…. not! Another perfect example of why so many people are turning away from feminism in their droves:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2846299/Bullying-husbands-shout-wives-guilty-domestic-abuse-new-crackdown.html

  55. Ally Fogg says

    Speaking of vulgarity, this is a perfect example of feminist supremacy by our lovely equality-conscious and fair-minded Home Secretary, Theresa May. How she has the nerve to leave out half of the population is beyond belief.

    She doesn’t and she hasn’t. That’s not feminist supremacy from that notorious radfem Theresa May, that’s just the usual shit reporting by the Daily Mail.

    The law on coercive control has been under discussion for about 6 months, there is nothing new there, and there is absolutely no reason to believe that when the Bill is published it will not be gender neutral in its wording, as indeed all violence and abuse laws are in the UK.

  56. StillGjenganger says

    @sheaf 62

    Marduk, can you provide evidence that these as you describe them “anti social” properties are necessary or strongly related to exceptional achievement?

    Can I break in?

    I do not think anyone could, provide much evidence either way. Historically men have been more associated with violence, genius, inventions, reductionist thinking and autism, and women with children, nurturing and the home.But it is so hard to conclude anything from it, because nature and nurture are so strongly coupled. Children clearly take over many things from their parents, but how to disentangle biology from upbringing from culture? Likewise you can make a quite clear separation between male and female kinds of behaviour that is recognisable across space and time, with relatively few exceptions. But is that biological (and so resistant to change) or purely cultural, and so infinitely changeable, or are the cultural differences the most important, but actually driven by a biological underpinning? There simply are no data to say whether any behavioural constants are wired in or determined – via culture – from the fact that childcare and pregnancy have dominated women’s lives right up to the 1960’s.

    People’s stance is largely determined by their expectations, and hence by their ideology.
    If you believe in changing society to make life and people ever better (Hi, Ally), you would tend to believe that culture is the only things that matters. If you believe that not all kinds of change are possible, and that it can be risky and often counterproductive to try (Hi Gjenganger), you would tend to believe that biology has an important influence that culture cannot completely override. And if you firmly believe that the female race is different, eternally oppressed and vastly superior to the male race (Hi Lucy) you would believe in your own version of gender determinism.

    It is always good to have more evidence. But in a question like this the fact that there is not much evidence for the other guy’s position does not translate into ‘he is wrong and I am right’.

  57. Holms says

    #63 1234
    LOL, that’s fine coming from a person who thinks the words ‘fuck’ & ‘shit’ aren’t remotely vulgar (even if spoken by a youngster), and yet takes offence when someone calls feminism a supremacy movement…

    I don’t recall calling that statement offensive, and I don’t see why I ever would as I don’t find it offensive. Stupid and inaccurate perhaps, but not offensive. Also I explained that the concept of vulgarity, at least as it applies to those particular words, is a holdover from English classism rather than anything wrong with those words. They are vulgar only because snobs invented the concept of vulgarity, and only means ‘this word is a peasant word.’

  58. Marduk says

    Shead24

    Well, I can’t really prove that and I perhaps used the wrong word. My thesis is that some things that apparently lead to aggression, like competitiveness, “lack of perspective”, proving oneself, ego and even anger also lead to other things that are more pro-social just more neutral. We judge on outcomes not motivations, I dare say there are a few well regarded charities that were started out of anger or even less worthy motivations like wanting to show off or impress someone. I don’t really buy into the romantic account of genius or even especially believe in it. I do believe in hard work and I do believe that some people, usually but no exclusively men, “go too far” with things. Whether that comes off as obsession or a success story depends on what it leads to.

    What I’m suggesting isn’t easy to test and so isn’t obvious falsifiable, it was just an idea really that the masculine qualities Lucy sees only as a cost to society do actually achieve things for society that she takes for granted. It doesn’t depend on showing that Einstein was a secret axe murderer or anything. Euler might be a bad example actually, wasn’t her persecuted by Voltaire for being dull and nerdy? But certainly someone like Von Neumann was comfortable and sophisticated company and possessed a mind that was somewhere between impressive and bordering on inhuman in its capabilities. By all accounts he had a cracking time.

  59. 123454321 says

    Ally,

    I take your point about the shit reporting style. But it’s not just the DM.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/crime/11043785/Bullying-husbands-face-jail-under-new-proposals-by-Theresa-May.html

    The part I homed in on from that article was this: “Although the new domestic abuse offence is mainly designed to protect wives and girlfriends”. So from the outset, is it the case that this proposal is NOT designed to cater for husbands and boyfriend? Yep, that would sound about right!

    Oh, wait, here is the official consultation doc:

    https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/strengthening-the-law-on-domestic-abuse

    From the doc on page 6:
    “Tackling all forms of violence against women and girls, including domestic abuse, has been a key priority for this Government. Our plan to tackle domestic abuse is set out in our strategy document ‘A Call to End Violence Against Women and Girls’.”

    Page 7:
    “‘This is Abuse’ campaign in December 2013. The campaign is aimed at preventing teenagers (13 to 18 year old boys and girls) from becoming victims and perpetrators of abusive relationships by encouraging them to re-think their views of controlling behaviour, violence, abuse, sexual abuse and what consent means within their relationships.”

    Now I wonder why they suddenly talk about boys. Oh yeah, I got it. That’s because they need to focus on the perpetrators, who are always boys, right? Of course!

    Anyway, Theresa May isn’t in the slightest bit concerned about men. According to her last line in this video (not from the daily Mail, I might add) one woman is a woman too many. I agree with her. But where does she show her concerns for men or boys?
    http://www.theguardian.com/society/video/2014/mar/27/domestic-violence-police-theresa-may-video

    Another from The Guardian (no mention of girlfriends hitting boyfriends, and I bet that happens just as often , if not more!):
    http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/nov/25/theresa-may-young-people-domestic-violence-acceptable

  60. sheaf24 says

    Marduk,

    Euler was mocked according to wikipedia for:
    “Euler, a simple religious man and a hard worker, was very conventional in his beliefs and tastes. He was in many ways the antithesis of Voltaire. Euler had limited training in rhetoric, and tended to debate matters that he knew little about, making him a frequent target of Voltaire’s wit.”

    This seems to be within the typical human character variation, compared to e.g. Newton or Gödel. Von Neumann is an even better example though.

    I think your claims are to certain extent testable by looking at research about people with very high scores on standardized tests.

  61. StillGjenganger says

    @Sheaf 70

    I think your claims are to certain extent testable by looking at research about people with very high scores on standardized tests.

    How would you do that?

    The hypothesis is that your average man has a drive towards achieving status and success, and a willingness to make sacrifices and take risks for that goal that is larger than for the average woman. *) And that it this same drive that pushes men to become successful scientists, entrepreneurs, artists and rock musicians, that also pushes towards being gang members, violent criminals, and fighting against those who diss them. But what prediction would you make? You could say that highly successful people should be more violent since they would likely have more of this drive. But it takes both drive, talent and opportunity to be successful. You could equally we say that that they should be less violent, since (by definition) they have found ways to impose themselves that are more effective and do not require violence. Richard Feynman was apparently an extremely competitive man. but he would hardy need fisticuffs to win anything.

    *) You could easily rationalise this as the effect of sexual selection. Status and success does seem correlate with the number of offspring and, let us say, ‘mating success’. And one successful male can have a disproportionate number of offspring higher than any woman could aspire to. But just because you can think up an explanation that does not mean the the phenomenon is real.

  62. sheaf24 says

    Gjengjanger
    How would you do that?

    By looking for difference in success between males and females n the sample and so it exsts looking for differences n disposition between male and females. after regression has taken care of the gender variable if said differences explain differences in success especially exceptional achievment (academically or otherwise).

  63. sheaf24 says

    Sry, messed up the quotes.

    Gjengjanger said:

    How would you do that?

    By looking for difference in success between males and females n the sample and so it exsts looking for differences n disposition between male and females. after regression has taken care of the gender variable if said differences explain differences in success especially exceptional achievment (academically or otherwise).

  64. sheaf24 says

    By controlling for gender completely and testing for interaction. Of course there could still be confounders but after this procedure explicit confounders have to be argued for. Or you mean between nature vs nurture? I am not testing for that but wheter exceptional achievment is well explained by attrbutes commonly found in males. Where these attributes come from is not relevant in that framework.

  65. Holms says

    Yes I had cultural learning and expectation for the genders in mind when I said that. But if your proposed study is not interested in where advantagous traits come from, then it seems quite pointless to me. We can already see that maleness is closely associated with success, simply by looking at the disparities in wealth leadership. That is, your study is already done, now it’s time to reduce environmental (a.k.a. cultural, social role expectations and the like) from the data.

  66. bruce bartup says

    Aren’t you all assuming that success (social status) and wealth are the only desirable things? Truth, beauty, harmony, justice, happiness or at least it’s pursuit : are not these things also and dominanntly desired? If not why not? You can’t take it with you?

  67. Marduk says

    Problem is Sheaf, we’re talking about risk taking and to only look at high performers would be to accept survivorship bias which would render it all a bit moot.

  68. sheaf24 says

    Holms

    We can already see that maleness is closely associated with success, simply by looking at the disparities in wealth leadership. That is, your study is already done, now it’s time to reduce environmental (a.k.a. cultural, social role expectations and the like) from the data.

    We would look for character traits more commonly found in males and then decouple them from maleness via statistical methods and see if they bring advantages towards achieving extraordinary success as opposed to explaining success via cultural bias.

    Marduk

    Problem is Sheaf, we’re talking about risk taking and to only look at high performers would be to accept survivorship bias which would render it all a bit moot.

    We could analyze exceptional misfortune as well, exceptional success is not the only interesting metric.

  69. Holms says

    Yes, but you haven’t addressed the criticism I made above. Even if finantial success and the like were to be tracked down definitively to some trait e.g. assertiveness or whatever, the question remains: are men more assertive because it is innate to the biology of being a man, or is it learned? The environmental aspect needs to be addressed before we can start with the male / female essentialism.

  70. doublereed says

    I feel like a topic on male violence should refer to Sapolsky’s baboons that became and remained peaceful in contrary to other baboon tribes.

    We have no idea how much violence is nature or nurture, but what we do know is that circumstances are often the same until they aren’t. So we just like to say “oh this is the way it is” when in fact it’s completely circumstantial.

    And yes, saying that males “evolved to be more violent” or something is falling in this trap. Why would violence be bad for females, yet good for males? Males and females don’t evolve separately. If men evolve to be super violent, then women evolve to be super violent unless there is a reason and evolutionary mechanism not to. We are one species, so evolution that deals with them has be good for one and bad for the other for an evolutionary explanation to make sense. And then, after that, you need to show that there is a mechanism for that to work and it in fact works that way. Anything else is folklore.

Trackbacks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *