In this post I want to discuss a very important issue: Violence. Where does it stem from? How can we prevent it?
I watched a film today titled "Tough Guise" that I promote you all to watch. The interviewer, Katz (sorry I never got the full name), began with the scene from the Wizard of Oz where Toto unveils the wizard and explains Oz is a metaphor for masculinity. He symbolizes rejection, a guise, a mask, and shield of vulnerability, which men are typically are not seen as. Katz later goes on to describe how men must emulate masculinity and all its characteristics otherwise men are viewed as inferior. In this film it also gives statistics of men involved in the following:
Domestic Violence: 95%
Date Rape: 95%
Sexual Abuse: 95%
I do not know the exact date of the release of this film but I'm pretty sure these statistics haven't changed drastically. Katz comments about when an act of violence occurred by men/boys, it is concealed by titles such as "Kids who attack kids"or "Road rage amongst people" instead of "Boy attacks kids" or "Road rage amongst men," when if it were a female in these headlines the gender is always being defined.
Pop culture plays a significant part in this male stereotype of masculinity. Katz shows the audience a series of films of movies with crimes and how there are not critics against assaults against woman or sexualized images of women being assaulted but it's controversial over women being dramatized as violent in films like "Thelma and Louise."
Did you know Howard Stern's main concern during the Columbine shooting was that the attackers didn't have sex with the women before they killed themselves? He said the men should have taken them out with sex? I am extremely offended by his belief he's "challenging traditional morality" when in reality, he was reinforcing sexist values and sexually degrading women in a crude fashion.
People, this isn't funny. All these sex related jokes are hurtful and demean women. If it were the other way around, we are seen as too liberal, wrong, and not taken seriously.
Do we see a pattern here? We downplay the dominant characteristics of people such as white, heterosexual, and most importantly male. Because they are dominant they are almost invisible and we do not view them as being the issue to our culture.
A very significant quote from the film that I think you should consider is "There is nothing natural about images because they were made by someone." There are mind games and truths hidden behind the media all the time and we must delve deeper to find the root of their meanings. For example, the pop icons that we have embedded in our culture are not who we visualize them to be. Take our good old president Ronald Reagan. Did you know he opposed the equal rights movement of blacks? How about the women's movement? Don't forget the gay movement? Oh, and lastly the anti-war movement? These are all things that have created the society we live in today, and he felt we lost the Vietnam war because our nation went too soft because our country was fighting these issues. For those of you who supported Reagan, please reassess why you liked this president. My opinion is my own of course but please take this information into consideration.
My main point here is, as Katz was trying to inform me, that violence may stem from the ideal of masculinity. So how do we fix this? Well, I haven't finished the film yet, so I will inform you as soon as I know. But please, take the time to watch this film. But what I do think is that being masculine and promoting it in media has become a business of its own. Thus, action figures have changed over the last 50 years by become buffer and more defined while wrestlers have become more toned and bulkier. So we must rethink our business strategies and promote anti-violence in any way we can.
Thank you for reading this post.
Disclaimer: All quotations are not exactly cited from the film.