“What I’ve come to notice is that all these kids are rehearsing and projecting. trying it on. Rehearsing their masculinity. Projecting their experimental versions of it. And wordlessly looking for cues the whole time. Not just from each other, but from older people around them, especially the men. Which can be heartbreaking to witness, to tell you the truth. Because the feedback they get is so damn unhelpful. If it’s well-meant it’s often feeble and half-hearted. Because good men don’t always stick their necks out and make an effort.” – Tim Winton
Pretty regularly I post something about a shooter or other violent offender being a cis het white guy, as no doubt many of us do, and almost invariably, I get a PM from some young man or other who decides to confront me about how much I hate men.
It always strikes me as funny because I love men, for the most part. I’m charmed by them, I’ve almost exclusively dated them, and in general, I’ve chosen men as some of my best and closest friends. Many of my heroes and mentors have been white men. As an angry, somewhat masculine woman, that has also been terrifically complicated, but it’s still true. My oldest friend used to joke, when we were still teenagers, that I could never, ever raise a boy because I’d be too indulgent of his bullshit.
But they can’t be excused and we can’t fail to see, when we look at the political landscape, a lot of cishet white guys running shit. They’re the ones leading the march against women and trying to derail or curtain women’s health care – and yes, that includes abortion, and that always includes abortion – they’re the ones running cop shops that take out young black men on the regular; they’re the ones foamin at the mouth about gay rights, too. They are definitely ones getting away with rape and domestic violence and yes, they are the ones shooting up schools.
It’s the kind of thing it’s impossible not to unsee once you see it.
I don’t think it has much to do with any individual man. I think it has everything to do with how we raise men and what we expect of them, but moreso, it has everything to do with what they expect.