Masculinity isn’t inherently toxic and that’s not what that term means. It means the kind of bullying behavior that your father exhibited towards you. It means aggression rather than assertiveness, cockiness rather than confidence, etc. Because we live in a dominance hierarchy, those who are “down the pecking order” and have been the brunt of such bullying sometimes want to make themselves feel better by kicking (shooting) somebody that they have deemed lower than them on the pyramid. Or, they want to demonstrate power and gain fame for it, which is another way to rise in the hierarchy.

I believe that some of the shame you have identified with some of these men comes from not having figured out how to be higher up the “food chain.” Men are supposed to be confident, self-possessed, independant, etc. The men at the apex of power in our country are quite often the most ruthless. In a dog-eat-dog dynamic, not being a top dog causes shame and fear. But instead of being mad at the system, some of these guys lash out at those who should “know their place” lower down than them. I’m publishing something about this in greater detail tomorrow.

I’ve written extensively about how the dominance hierarchy works and harms us all, and although I certainly would not ever attempt to speak for you personally, or for any individual man, I think I have studied this topic enough to be able to make an intelligent comment. I hope you will agree.

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Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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