Why Do Men Turn To Violence?


In light of the news of another one punch (coward punch) death over the weekend, I feel it is more than time enough to see where these impulses come from and why men turn to violence as an appropriate course of action.

While I understand the incident happened in the wee hours of the morning in a clubbing district, this should not be used as support for nanny-state restriction on licensed venue opening hours. Lately, this seems to be the knee-jerk reaction to violence of this kind.

It misses the big picture, which is where do men get the idea that this is good behaviour to engage in? This is where we need to be investing our time.

The feminism movement over the preceding few decades has allowed women to voice and act on the concerns of equality in all spheres of life. While we have a generation of men who are embracing of this concept (including this writer), there is also considerable resistance by men of all races who are threatened by this. So despite the better reporting and campaigning against domestic violence, we still have record levels of violence against women.

Why do they hit? Violent men have many common traits and among them are an obsession with control and the high levels of insecurity. They believe that their partner will leave him or be unfaithful. Not only this, these men feel entitled and superior to the women in their lives.


Where do they get these ideas? Let’s just take a look at the media, if we took portrayal in TV and film as an accurate reflection of society, then one would think the world is predominantly populated by white males who are powerful, ruthless and in control of their emotions at all times. Women are scarce but when we see them they are thin, pretty, young, sexually alluring and often subservient. Those females who do have positions of power are aggressive and troublemakers.


Men are the dominant, superior presence and should be infallible. Violence is an acceptable way for a man to resolve his issues and this is often incorporated into sexual behaviour with women. Not only that, it appears women may encourage this kind of domination.


These attitudes are just as heavily reinforced by Gaming and Pornography, which now comprise a huge amount of media consumed by both sexes. Industries largely run by white heterosexual males.


Who is there to guide these young men away from such stereotyping?

With men making up only an estimated 20% of schoolteachers it’s becoming increasingly unlikely that they have a role model to guide them through education. Add to this the expected 23% raise in single-parent families (of which are 81% are currently single mother) then the odds of boys having an appropriate male role model diminish even further when they get home.


So not only is it a mass-media representation issue, but furthermore an agenda must be set to show appropriate male behaviour and guide young men toward the role models that will reinforce that standard.


Edit: This article was updated on 7/1/15 to reflect the ABS household % increase in single-parent family projections rather than the figure stated in the SMH article cited.






Jackson Katz : Masculinity and Media




Pornography and Violence




ABS Family Projections





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