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Topic 3 Can the masculinity we know lead to violence?

Let’s take a look at this official statistics about crime and gender, from 2019 in Spain:

Let’s take a look at this official statistics about crime and gender, from 2019 in Spain:

Let’s take a look at this official statistics about crime and gender, from 2019 in Spain:

Let’s take a look at this official statistics about crime and gender, from 2019 in Spain:

Activity 11 What would you say?

Question 1.

How would you explain those statistics?

Question 2. (Type true or false)

Do you agree with this possible explanations?

1.Men are more violent by nature

2.Men have more testosterone levels and that involves more aggressiveness

3.Little and young boys tend to relate with bigger groups (in number of people) than girls and that requires more leadership troubles

4.It is a biological thing; yet when the first humans appearu00a0 they organize their groupsu00a0 by dividing tasks according with their strength

5.Men has less serotonin than women, and that monoamine is related withu00a0modulating the mood, cognition,u00a0 memory, learningu2026 that can lead men to more aggressiveness responses

If you, like us, don’t agree with neither of those explanations ,let us introduce you the Canadian author and theorist Michael Kaufman.

Kaufman theorized on masculinities and focused on engaging men and boys to promote gender equality, end violence against women, and end self-destructive ideals of manhood.

In 1999 he introduced 7 concepts that can explain why boys and men are more given to violence than women.


3.1. The first “P”: Patriarchal Power

When a society organizes the way the power is distributed between men & women like the way we have been learning all along Modules 1 and 3 is also called Patriarchy.

As we saw before, Kaufman explains that “male-dominated societies are not only

based on a hierarchy of men over women but some men over other men”. 

And we can see that “violence or the threat of violence among men is a mechanism used from childhood to establish that pecking order”.

3.2. The second “P”: the sense of Entitlement to Privileges

Privileges are  this things that men who protect Hegemonic Masculinity don’t want to lose. If they fight so fiercely that they can even omit human rights if necessary, is only to keep those privileges.  So, as we have seen, if you were born in a (patriarchal) society as a man, you have certain (big amount of) privileges, that you wouldn’t if you were born as a woman.

But then, on top of that: what can happen when you lose (one or more of) those privileges, or someone tells you that you don’t have that right anymore?

Kaufman tells us that violence is often the logical outcome of the sense that a man has, in a patriarchal society, of entitlement to certain privileges.

It is not only inequalities of power that lead to violence” he says “but a conscious or often unconscious sense of entitlement to privilege”.

3.3. The third “P”: Permission


  We could say that society give some kind of permission in some fields, moments or situations.

  Kaufman remind us that “acts of men’s violence and violent aggression (both against other men or women) are celebrated in sport and cinema, in literature and warfare. Not only is violence permitted, it is glamorized and rewarded. The very historic roots of patriarchal societies is the use of violence as a key of solving disputes and differences, whether among individuals, groups of men, or, later, between nations”.

And even more, we see everyday a lot of “permission” in many social customs, legal codes and law enforcement

In many countries, laws against wife assault or sexual assault are lax or non-existent; in others they are absurd, such as those countries where a charge of rape can only be prosecuted if there are several male witnesses and where the testimony of the woman isn’t taken into account”.



3.4. The fourth “P”: The Paradox of Men’s Power

This is also called the Men’s contradictory experiences of power, and it explains that the internalized expectations of masculinity are themselves impossible to satisfy or attain.

This is just an idea, this is an impossible finish line to arrive.

Kaufman says that “the personal insecurities conferred by a failure to make the masculine grade, or simply, the threat of failure, is enough to propel many men, particularly when they are young, into a vortex of fear, isolation, anger, self-punishment, self-hatred, and aggression”.

Therefore, “within such an emotional state, violence becomes a compensatory mechanism”, a way to fight their “fear (or reality) of not having power”.


3.5. The fifth “P”: The Psychic Armour of Manhood

As we have seen, in patriarchal cultures masculinity is built in opposition of femininity, that is, “a rejection of the qualities associated with care giving and nurturance”.

Kaufman sustains that “this creates rigid ego barriers, or, in metaphorical terms, a strong suit of armor”.

He concludes, therefore, that “the result of this complex and particular process of psychological development is a dampened ability for empathy (to experience what others are feeling) and an inability to experience other people’s needs and feelings as necessarily relating to one’s own. Acts of violence against another person are, therefore, possible”.

3.6. The sixth “P”: Masculinity as a Psychic Pressure Cooker

Kaufman tells us that “it is rather typical for boys to learn from an early age to repress feelings of fear and pain. On the sports field we teach boys to ignore pain. At home we tell boys not to cry and act like men”.

And yet boys and men, as human beings, have those feelings inside the cooker.

But  for many of them, the only emotion that has validation in terms of hegemonic masculinity is anger.

As in the Anger Iceberg, boys learn to show a lot of natural and human emotions that they legitimately feel as anger. “for some men”, says Kaufman “violent responses to fear, hurt,

insecurity, pain, rejection, or belittlement are not uncommon”.

3.7. The seventh “P”: Past Experiences

Of course, every past experience affects in our present  decisions. The way we lived and we interpreted the experiences in our lives have an effect in the way we are going to be and act. But, before we go on…

Growing up seeing violent behaviour towards women as the norm, is not an uncommon scenario for many boys and girls in patriarchal societies.

And many studies show that kids who grow up witnessing violence are far more likely to be violent themselves.

A lot of men who are treated in perpetrator programs have witnessed abuse against their mother, as a little boy.


On the other hand, Kaufman points that “past experiences of many men also includes the violence they themselves have experienced

And that “in some cases these personal

experiences instill deep patterns of confusion and frustration, where boys have learned that it is possible to hurt someone you love, where only outbursts of rage can get rid of deeply-imbedded feelings of pain”.



“And finally”, he points “boys in many cultures grow up with experiences of fighting, bullying, and brutalization. Sheer survival requires, for some, accepting and internalizing violence as a norm of behaviour”.