Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Conversation with my son the other day. There's no doubt there's a lot wrong with our society. And you can call it "partriarchy," and I won't argue with the term. It's a toxic suite of conduct based on the idea that superior strength makes for the right to do as you please, and it's visible across every axis of our society, and in all societies elsewhere in the world and throughout history.

Almost all crimes physical committed by men and women are crimes of opportunity. "I was too angry to control myself." Men and women both say this when they abuse and murder children, which they do at about the same rates.

"But women are *around* children more" ... no. I disagree with the very premise, that more time with children results in more violence; not my experience. Abusers abuse when they have the opportunity, that's true; but opportunity doesn't turn a non-abuser into an abuser. But in any event custodial parents of both genders abuse and murder children at about the same rates.

You know what women don't do, though? They don't often attack men and when they do, the size difference is usually smaller than the average. In other words, they controlled themselves when there was a physical risk to them.

You know what men don't do? They don't attack the Mike Tysons of the world. They control themselves, when there's a physical risk to them.

I used to think that women were superior to men in a variety of ways, about the time that I was volunteering at NOW. I've drifted back off that since -- I'm pretty sure that men and women are about the same, after adjusting for strength. (Much as I'm pretty sure that POC and white people are about the same, after adjusting for social conditions.) The "testosterone poison" defense is bullshit -- testosterone poisoning doesn't send men to attack Mike Tyson; it just sends men to attack people they think they can take. All of this, everywhere, comes down to what people think they can get away with.

You *still* have to educate your sons about their own strength, about the reality that they'll face opportunity to be violent that women and weaker men won't face. Strong good men aren't the problem: but the good has to come first. Strength without a moral compass is why the jails are so overwhelmingly filled with men: opportunity crimes, punished.


James Mendur said...

One layer of complexity on top of what you wrote:

GROUPS can either increase or decrease the moral nature of the individual group members. I've seen individual men or women act perfectly civil on their own but, when with a group (sometimes but not always fueled by alcohol), I've seen them become aggressive and dangerous to any lone person not in the group. How many times have we heard about a whole schoolbus full of athletes accused of attacking one kid on the bus? Why do police fear crowds so much? Hazing at colleges is almost always done by groups, not by individuals.

As Agent K put it: "A *person* is smart. *People* are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it."

So the other lesson we need to teach children is to be aware of what kinds of groups they're with and to ask the question: would I do this if I was alone?

ShutterSparks / KW2P said...

Well said. Good points. Thanks for posting.