Tough Guise: Violence, Media & the Crisis in Masculinity

Tough Guise: Violence, Media & the Crisis in Masculinity

boys and young men learned early on that being a so-called real man means you have to take on this tough guys in other words you have to show the world only certain parts of yourself that the dominant culture has defined as manly you can find out what those qualities are if you just listen to young men themselves real man is physical strong independent it's powerful physical intimidating strong independent in control rugged scarce people powerful respected heart a stud athletic is muscular a real man is tough tough tough and just as most young men know what our culture expects of a so-called real man they also know very well what you get called if you don't measure up to be a real man to be tough strong independent respected means fitting into this narrow box that defines manhood the terms that are the opposite of that was swim fag sissy are insults that are used to keep boys boxed in so if you're a boy it's pretty clear there's a lot of pressure on you to conform to put up the act to be just one of the guys so the next question is where do boys learn this obviously they learn it in many different places they learn from their families their community but one of the most important places they learn it is the powerful and pervasive media system which provides a steady stream of images that define manhood as connected with dominance power and control this is true across all racial and ethnic groups but it's even more pronounced for men of color because there is so little diversity of images of them to begin with in the media culture for example Latino men are almost always presented either as boxers criminals or tough guys in the barrio and asian-american men are disproportionately portrayed as martial artists or violent criminals but transcending race what the media do is help to construct violent masculinity as a cultural norm in other words violence isn't so much a deviation as it is an accepted part of masculinity we have to start examining this system and offering alternatives because one of the major consequences of all of this is that there has been a growing connection made in our society between being a man and being violent in fact some of the most serious problems in contemporary American society especially those connected with violence can be looked at as essentially problems in contemporary American masculinity for example over 85% of the people who commit murder are men and the women that do often do so as a defense against men who are battering them 90% of people who commit violent physical assault are men 95% of serious domestic violence is perpetrated by males and it's been estimated that one in four men will use violence against a partner in their lifetime over 95% of dating violence is committed by men and very often it's young men in their teens studies have found that men are responsible for between 85 and 95 percent of child sexual abuse whether the victim is female or male and ninety-nine point eight percent of people in prison convicted of rape are men what this shows is that an awful lot of boys and men are inflicting an incredible level of pain and suffering both on themselves and on others and we know that much of the violence is cyclical that many boys who are abused as children grow up and become perpetrators themselves so calling attention to the way that masculinity is connected to these problems is not anti-male it's just being honest about what's going on in boys and men's lives and while women have been at the forefront of change and trying to talk about these issues in the culture it's not just women who will benefit if men's lives are transformed in fact while men commit a shameful level of violence against women in our society statistically speaking the major victims of men's violence are other males there are millions of male trauma survivors walking around today men who were bullied as adolescents or abused physically or sexually children thousands more men and boys are murdered or assaulted every year usually by other men so men have a stake in dealing with these problems and not just those of us who have been victims but also those men who are violent or who have taken on the tough guys they do so also at the expense of their emotional and relational lives some of my friends they know they'll just like walk around like you know they're better than everybody and they're tough and all that stuff and then like I'd be along with them and they'd be like the biggest baby if I had like a problem like a girlfriend or something they like crying and stuff but when they're around a lot of people they've got like that big front they got to be like you know tough I deal with this front all the time in my own work as an anti-violence educator I've worked with literally thousands of boys and men on high school college and professional sports teams in the United States military in juvenile detention centers I've seen an awful lot of men and young men put on this tough guys in many ways they're putting it on as a survival mechanism they have to do it to survive in whatever peer culture they happen to be in but putting on the tough guys comes with it with the cost and that is a cost in terms of damage to their psyches and their ability to be decent human beings so it's in everyone's interest to examine masculinity to pull back the curtain on the tough-guy posing and see what's really going on underneath all of this is going to take a lot of work and it's not going to happen with just individual boys and men being more reflective about their choices it's going to have to happen both on a personal and on an institutional level everyone has a role to play here and not just men while girls and women are not responsible for men's violence they too have an important role to play because the tough guys is attractive to men in part because they see many girls and women validating it girls and women have to show that they're looking for more in men than bad boy posturing and in particular that they value men who reject the tough guys we also have to work to change the institutions that create our present choices for example we need to break the monopoly of the media system that we've been looking at we're mostly rich white men dictate to the whole society the kinds of images and of manhood that surround us many men today are searching for new healthier self respecting ways of being men in a rapidly changing world we need to hear their stories too and learn from them in different ways all of us have to struggle for real cultural and structural changes in this society if we want our sons and their sons to have a chance of being better men you


44 thoughts on “Tough Guise: Violence, Media & the Crisis in Masculinity”

  • Black Knight Fool says:

    That's guys more afraid of men than anybody on the planet. He will be running for the rest of his life. The world war is going to be men vs male feminists.

  • Matthew Slater says:

    This is bullshit. These qualities listed are verifiable and proven to be a side effect of testosterone interacting with the amygdala to create the dominance instinct and produce aggression.

  • The Democrat party invented toxic masculinity when they drafted men to fight both of their glorious World Wars, the Korean War and the Vietnam war. Men had no choice but to serve and try to retain their honor.


    The reality is that women have started realizing their REAL selves individually, while men still are in a constant state of oblivion of what they are, what they need and most importantly WHAT THEY DON'T NEED as individuals in CREATING a HAPPY COEXISTENCE. SADLY, NOT ALL OF THEM GET THE SENSE OF IT. It's time we accept things as they are and not AS THEY SHOULD BE. FIRST TRY TO BE A HUMAN BEING. THEN YOU REALIZE THE SHIT THAT WE DO TO WOMEN AND PLANET EARTH.

  • the worthiness says:

    Shut your mouth bitch you were made a hard dick of a man. Haha your mommy maybe used to say that men are evil 20 minutes on a saturday but later that night she felt that she really loved sucking a hard and delicious DICK and then put it right in her pussy and thats how she made you!

  • Chris Hermosura says:

    I can’t watch the full documentary online. It used to be said that you can’t police the internet. You ca t say that anymore…

  • The data makes Katz a fool. Two major studies published in the last few years have found that roughly half of all intimate partner violence/domestic violence is reciprocal. And the other half? Oh…only about 70 percent of it was found to be perpetuated by women. And the studies Katz presumably pulled many of those un-cited (if he didn't just make them up, wouldn't be the first time a 'professional' arguing from perspective that's cozy for feminists has done so) 90-100 percent men are the problem statistics from are probably the ones where feminists directly involved deliberately only looked for female victims or simply didn't report their findings on male victims to the media. Or feminists in positions of power and influence both in and over academia forced the researchers to do this if they wanted to keep having careers. It happens. A highly respected member of the field, the late Murray Straus, was ultimately forced to publish a paper explicitly discussing this problem not long after this video came out. The lies have to end if we are gonna get anywhere, people. Men and women are equally capable of horrific violence of all kinds. But men get 63 percent more prison time on average for the exact same crimes. Even on an ethnic breakdown, black women are only slightly less privileged than white women in the courts. White men are punished more harshly than either group and yes, black men generally have it distinctly the worst. And with how mainstream feminism operates those last two will just switch positions if they manage to alter the system to make it all more 'equal'.

  • Lawrence Of Vocelli’s says:

    Who know who I think represents Ideal Masculinity? Not, Toxic, or Abusive Masculinity, but the true ideal of what men should strive to be. Indiana Jones. He’s tough, he’s wealthy, he’s intelligent and learned, he’s adventurous, he loves his job, and he’s charismatic as all get out. Sure, his relationship with his father could use some work, and I don’t think it’s healthy for anyone to watch a burly man be cut up by plane propellers, but Dr. Jones Jr is, in my opinion, the ideal masculine man.

  • Lucky Stoller says:

    This video is SO right on!  As a member of #metoo, a sexual harassment lawyer and as the mother of a really good man, I love what he is saying and invite men of good will to the table.  We can do this!  Also, a must-see in this area is Jennifer Seibel-Newsom's film, "The Mask I Live In".  I find great comfort knowing people will no longer tolerate violence from the men we love, whether  husbands, fathers, brothers, sons or anyone else.

  • Jayson Zambrano says:

    In order for a change to occur we need a change in media and culture. Which will hardly happen anytime soon

  • Sweet Raw Healing says:

    A healthy balance is very important. Emotionally cold/unavailable men have unfulfilled relationships. A gentle core and a strong confident mind is much more attractive than a hyper masculine macho guy. At least in my eyes.

  • Robin Rayfield says:

    This short film really sums a lot up.

    As a teenager, due to my hair, I'd put on this act of being this extremely pissed off rebel without a cause whenever I was in more conservative towns.

    After MeToo went viral, I've confessed to a lot of terrible things I've done, but something I haven't confessed, because it's so obviously terrible, is something I did when I was nine years old. The boys in my class at school put together the "all boys club" during recess. The following year, I did something else after being called a "girl" because I needed to prove that I wasn't.

    Near the end of my elementary school days, when waiting for the bus, there was a boy who would wait at the same place. He would always try to be as menacing and scary towards me as he could.

    In middle school, there was a boy who, during a game of a variant on tag, tagged me by grabbing me by the ear and shaking me.

    During my senior year of high school, that same boy would continuously punch people in the chest and say "who wants cancer?" He'd do a lot of other things to show his dominance over all the other males. I was glad to find out that the other boys disliked that behavior in him as well.

    If you want to hear really bad stories of people falling victim to our society's attitude towards masculinity, however, look at some of the stories that women have.

  • Truth Warrior says:

    Masculinity to defend, not offend. Up untill the late 70s , 80s, the hero was the defender, protector…by the 90s , the offender, aggressor, villain became the new hero, anti hero as it were. Its all a part of cultural degradation. I hate to put it in political or religious terms as i am not religious and am politically independent…but the term Cultural Marxism nails it. Even if you were not religious, Judea Cristian values were a part of modern western culture. It affected the European white culture for years. Even spilling over to other races and cultures. Although i mention cultural marxism..only as it relates to culture, Capitalism was the biggest exploiter. Its all about taking things further and further to make a buck. So those core christian values that we all have, even if you were athiest as i am, were eroded. So , now , esentially, you are rewarded for being " bad " violent. For being an offender, not protector. Look at the guys that are into guns and the tactical thing…they are far from good. They label themselves as protectors, but if you watch many of them, they are immature, paranoid and agressive. Now gun violence is up 10 fold. Its the race to the bottom . If you are my age, you litterally saw the shift in the late 80s early 90s. Its a funny thing when an Atheist defends the core tenants of Christianity. Its what kept us civil or on the path to being more civil. Nowdays , forget it. If you can make a buck punching a puppy, someone will do it. Remember – you act out violently, you are nothing but a chimp. Being good is good.

  • Ricardo A. Maestre says:

    Physical work is true masculinity, farming, construction, automechanic, lumberjack, Harley Davidson motorcycles.

  • I think this helps explain a lot of the mass shootings and gun violence. Hyper masculinity to cover up a psychological identity crises in a changing world where old norms are becoming obsolete and many men don't know what to do or how to behave or what's expected

    We simply don't know what to do or have any reasonable archetypes to pattern that don't feel pussy, nerdy or unrealistic

  • Congrats Mr. Katz, alike myself you have seen past that immoral code of violent masculinity or as I like to call "Monkey Behavior". Real men do not need to get physical about arguments, real men know how to handle a woman's attitude, real men…are smart.

  • Heavy experience to read these comments on the 7 min. excerpt from Tough Guise. Such a huge defensiveness. Lots of name-calling. The full-length version is available in most college libraries in the database for Kanopy.

  • jedisquidward says:

    Notice that this video has been up since 2006 but most of the comments have conveniently been from the past year or so

  • the macho man is the most adapt man , especially were social expectations have replaced the evolutionary factors. if you don't man up, sis you goan die out. no reproduction, no wealth, no girls, period.

  • Total Bullshit and Katz is a total bullshitter. All problem of society, including domestic abuse, is nature of Capitalism. Poor and reach, this is always the problem. If you are in the rich family, you can get a private school, university good paid job. If you are poor, Latinos, black, or immigrant, you need to be the MAN and you need you boy to be the MAN. Poor family guy loses a job cannot provide to his family anymore, he is mentally unstable, get drunk, get drugs, beat female and children. In Socialist society you never lose your job, it is guaranteed, so nothing to worry about, you kids go to school like everyone and university paid by the government. There is no frustration in society. THe pay back is that you cannot become a rich and dominate others. So, the short story is that Katz is total bull shitter and looking in the wrong root cause.

  • Sherri Fischer says:

    Men are scared.. its fine.. we as women are returning to take back what they fucked up for thousands of years.. the children will be put back in place and the mothers will regain what was stolen, raped and depleted by the masculine powers that have come so close to destroying our world.. so you all can just relax.. <3

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