This article, from Sightings contributor Spencer Dew, details the hyper masculine “philosophy” of Gavin Long, who murdered three police officers in Baton Rouge. It touches on a side effect of our patriarchal culture that rarely gets talked about: the effect it has on men.

Masculinity characterized by violence and competition, a model of ego celebrating emotional detachment and self-determination: these are not fringe or niche-market ideas. Long’s personal philosophy emerged from the structure of and reflects norms from our larger society.

The effects of our society on women continue to need a spotlight. But more attention also needs to be paid to the messages that men receive everyday from the culture around them. Long may be an extreme example, but all men are essentially told that the only appropriate emotion for them is anger — and violence is often the result. And beyond the violence, it is a tragedy that so many people are living half lives that deny essential parts of what it means to be human.

This needs active correction because the normal societal institutions are clearly not working. Men must be taught how to be Men, not in the twisted “alpha male” sense of Long’s philosophy, but in the oldest sense of the word: not just Man, but Human.

Some good work is being done on this, but it rarely gets attention. One good place to look is http://www.goodmenproject.com.

Read I’m the One: Masculinity in the Philosophy of the Baton Rouge Shooter on Sightings.

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