Toxic masculinity and Orlando
I use the words “heterosexism” and “cissexism” because the root of homophobia, transmisogyny, and transphobia is sexism.
Sexism the idea that men are men and women are women (intersex and non-binary people do not exist). It’s the idea that there is a “natural order” to things and that the natural order is with men over women in this complementary relationship wherein “feminine” traits balance out the “masculine” traits “naturally”.
LGBTQ people supplant this myth.
If women can date other women without needed men than it asserts that women do not need men — and that’s a problem. And it’s no surprise that the target of men who have sex with men comes most often with an expression of the feminine or the very idea that men could be the “recipient” in sex is too female to be tolerated.
And us bisexuals, well! How on earth does one know who’s in charge then? And isn’t it scary that they aren’t so pulled by the “natural order” and they could be anywhere, lurking in the wings — dating you! Or worse, you could be…
Us trans people, non-binary and binary alike, challenge the very idea that sex and gender are always innate. It’s not surprising that the stories this culture are more interested in on the trans perspective are ones where a clear shift is made, one is “passable” and one always knows that one is trans from birth.
Similarly, this culture eats up stories of gay people who always knew they were gay and pretends a shift in a character’s sexuality isn’t evidence of bisexuality or fluidity, but rather a sharp turn between heterosexuality and homosexuality completely missing bisexuality. This culture wants you to not fear that you could be queer.
This is toxic masculinity. And unfortunately, what happened at the Orlando club Pulse last night has not been the only time this has made the news.
In the past few weeks, we’ve seen a man get a light sentence for raping an unconscious woman, I’ve heard of two separate incidents of gang rape against women, one a girl as young as 16, and not to mention the fact that in the US, a woman is raped every two minutes.
When things like what happened in Orlando occur, it seems like anything is on the table for discussion instead of toxic masculinity. Of course, despite the fact that this guy admired the police more than he did Islam, there will be Islamophobia.
We can talk about gun control — and we should! But When Women Refuse and the man’s own wife points to a legacy of violence due to toxic masculinity that happens with or without guns. A legacy of violence in homes and on the streets against women and also against anyone effeminate enough to threaten that which toxic masculinity holds dear.
When women come forward about domestic violence or rape they care castigated and disbelieved and it makes me wonder if his ex-wife had felt empowered by a society willing to defend women against domestic violence if this man would have got as far as he did to begin with. If we lived in a culture where homophobia wasn’t how some men proved their masculinity, again… would he have got that far?
Now is a time where people will begin to suddenly care about “mental health” despite the fact that mentally ill people are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrate it. We’ll talk about how early intervention could have maybe helped this guy and countless other entitled men who have committed mass shootings — and maybe they could have.
But my experience existing in this world daily as someone read as a woman is that toxic masculinity is just as much of a problem for sane men as it is for those who we’d like to see as not sane.
My experience has proven to me that when we live in a culture where young boys learn that “boys will be boys” and the violence they do unto others is a natural part of their gender expression of gender — nay, that being a man means dominating others — then it won’t matter how well guns are controlled or how much mental healthcare we have.
The world will continue to be unsafe for women, non-men, trans people, gender non-conforming people, intersex people and anyone who dares challenge toxic masculinity and it’s power structure.
By all means, put a stop to the means that allowed this man to commit this scale of mass murder — but let’s also stop the ideology that gave him the entitlement in the first place too.
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