When Toxic Masculinity Turns to Mass Murder

The mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton show us how gendered socialization under patriarchy can lead men to kill. Boys are told that it’s masculine to hold in all their emotions except anger. Patriarchal, white supremacist rulers point out the targets, whether immigrants, African Americans, or women, and it is men like the El Paso and Dayton shooters who pull the triggers.

Mary Daly’s work points out that masculinity is a death cult that uses reversals to blame women for its violence. Daly writes: “First there is erasure of women. (The massacre of millions of women as witches is erased in patriarchal scholarship.) Second, there is reversal. (Adam gives birth to Eve, Zeus to Athena, in patriarchal myth.) Third, there is false polarization. (Male-defined ‘feminism’ is set up against male-defined ‘sexism’ in the patriarchal media.) Fourth, there is divide and conquer. (Token women are trained to kill off feminists in patriarchal professions.)” (Gyn/Ecology: The Meta-Ethics of Radical Feminism, Beacon Press, 1990).

Feminists are saying that erasure of biological sex itself is a new way to erase women.

The El Paso killer followed the President in reversing reality. The reality is that the southern U.S. border was established by a white-settler invasion of Mexico, in 1836, followed nine years later by a massive invasion by the US that conquered half of Mexico. Mexicans aren’t invading today; they’re migrating peacefully within territory that is historically and properly indigenous, Mexican, and multi-cultural.

The Dayton killer was the lead singer in a misogynistic “porno-grind” band whose name is obscene and whose album covers are both murderously violent and pornographic. After the killings, in fear or remorse, the leader of that band attempted to remove all record of that group’s “art” from public view. “Porno grind” is a sub-genre of “black metal”, whose history points to it as a death cult. The killer is said to have targeted both his sister and mostly-African American victims.

After the Dayton killings, a feminist band, Feminazgul, posted a request that male bands with “leftist” associations clean up their public message so as not to attract misogynists like the Dayton killer. That warning is an indication of how widespread misogyny is, and how closely misogyny is connected to violence, in our culture.

Writings like Daly’s explain the relation of misogyny to racism and violence. Patriarchy is a system of rule, of hierarchy, in which one sex, one race, one religion, and one class must everywhere prevail over others.

Gender stereotypes and identity are a mask that we are all made to wear. The mask doesn’t fit, because males have other emotions than anger, and females aren’t born to be servile. It’s healthy for males to assume more “feminine” roles or gender identities. Women increasingly assume supposedly “masculine” identities or roles of leading at home and in the society; it’s healthy.

Feminists who challenge gender ideology are told to be silent, called names, and de-platformed. Whereas gender-identity ideology mandates that self-identification defines sex, enforcers of this ideology deny feminists the right to identify themselves as feminists, if they fail to accept gender ideology. That’s a misogynistic reversal.

In an even more extreme reversal, women’s failure to affirm the self-ID mantra is used as a cause for death threats against these women — on the grounds that women make some people physically unsafe by failing to affirm the others’ self-perceptions!

Women in visible professions, such as music performance, journalism, and academia, are special targets for erasure — Thistle Pettersen, Laura Tanner, Max Dashu, Meghan Murphy, Nina Paley, MK Fain. Outspoken women are called names, threatened, and de-platformed. The target is the female voice itself.

We can expect more use of reversals in seeking to silence women. The mass shooters are showing us where these reversals and masculine gender identities lead.

contributed by David Keil

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