'Ideological masculinity' that drives violence against women is a form of violent extremism

July 12, 2018 by Joshua Roose, The Conversation
Many women feel unsafe in public spaces, especially at night. Credit: Eurydice Dixon Memorial Melboune/Julian Smith

Verbal and physical violence shapes the daily experiences of girls and women in cities. A recent analysis showed that women in Melbourne face habitual sexual harassment in public space and feel unsafe, particularly in the evenings.

Many commentators have framed the problem of violence against women perpetrated by men as being the result of toxic masculinity, defined by male entitlement and abuse of power. While this goes some way to identifying and labelling the problem, comparatively less work has been done to explore its underlying factors.

My forthcoming book New Demagogues: Populism, Religion and Masculinity, explores what I term "ideological masculinity". Men who subscribe to this ideology believe that women's empowerment has left them victimised and discriminated against.

They play out their anger and resentment through violent acts, justifying these as merely reclaiming what they believe is rightfully theirs. From online abuse to violence against women in public places, ideological masculinity is emerging as a form of violent extremism.

Acts of ideological masculinity

Ideological masculinity is radical. It seeks to promote a return to a perceived period of male supremacy, now "lost" to women's rights and self-effacing men (referred to by some members of the alt-right movement as "beta cucks").

And we see it played out through a broad sweep of misogynistic actions. They range from a disparaging remark about a female politician's sex life to vandalising the memorial site of Eurydice Dixon to the murder of one's own children to punish an estranged wife.

Some instances of violence, such as the murder of Eurydice Dixon in a Melbourne park have been, explicitly linked with gendered violence against women. But other aggressive acts that haven't been committed directly against women can still be traced to a male disaffection with the opposite sex.

Alek Minassian, the driver charged with killing ten people in Toronto in April, was allegedly part of the so-called "incel" movement. A shortening of "involuntary celibates", this group claim they struggle to find a romantic partner in a world where more women are demanding respect and equality. Others call for the death of feminists and incite violence against women.

A post on Minassian's Facebook before his attack praised Elliot Rodger, the gunman who killed six students at the University of California in 2014. In a video, Rodger had called his planned attack "retribution" for the women who rejected him and for "all you men for living a better life than me".

The disaffected men

It has been reported that some men feel they have been left behind by the "new economy", experiencing a deep resentment that has been capitalised on by politicians.

The reduced demand for manual labour has, the argument goes, undermined the importance of traditional masculinity, grounded in manual skills and bodily toughness. As economist Guy Standing has noted, anger, anxiety and alienation have replaced traditional working-class notions of masculinity bound up in self-reliance, strength and the ability to provide for one's family.

This phenomenon isn't the sole domain of working class men though. Some white collar men who find themselves in precarious contract based work, while women enter the professional workforce in greater numbers, are also experiencing resentment.

Social media has acted as a force multiplier for the men disgruntled with the decline of what they perceive masculinity to be. Disparate and often isolated figures feed off one another in forums such as 4Chan and Reddit, the birthplace of movements such as "neomasculinity" and the "incels".

A subsection of the incel movement subscribes to the idea of the "incel rebellion", which advocates terrorism against women.

Acts of terrorism

In Australia, a "terrorist act" is defined as an action or threat that includes the intention to advance a political, religious or ideological cause; and causes one in a list of specified harms, including death, serious injury, or serious property damage. This, I'd argue, makes violence against women on the basis of ideological masculinity a form of terrorism.

Girls and women have the right to feel safe in their environment. Public policy must treat ideological masculinity's call for against women as seriously as other forms of ideologically motivated . Beyond toxic masculinity as a mere normative label, the end state of ideological is the subordination of to men grounded in deep resentment and indeed hatred.

Explore further: Domestic violence turns women off masculine men

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7 comments

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dirk_bruere
3 / 5 (2) Jul 12, 2018
This is nothing compared to the harassment women face in many Third World and Muslim nations
schultzy2012
1 / 5 (3) Jul 13, 2018
Sounds very similar to the antifa movement. Grade school bullies have to grow up to be somebody, right?
leetennant
5 / 5 (2) Jul 13, 2018
I brace myself for all the comments proving by example the author's point
Anonym173244
5 / 5 (2) Jul 13, 2018
How are women empowered? As the book by Josette Sona, "Are Men the Weaker Sex" says, men have upper body strength and can use that as power against women. Men still hold the majority of positions of power and often use that power against women, especially if the man is jealous and resentful towards women.
It is women who are usually the person who is victimized in society, and discriminated against.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.3 / 5 (3) Jul 13, 2018
"Ideological masculinity' that drives violence against women is a form of violent extremism"

-Then again there is the ideological feminity that often provokes it.

A mans reproductive prerogative - quantity. A womans reproductive prerogative - quality. How does a woman discern quality? By compelling suitors to compete for each and every child she wishes to bear.

This is biology, not ideology.

Tribal society found ways of containing these biological prerogatives in order to promote cooperation and amity. Modern society has removed these restraints in order to reduce growth.

You release the animal in human beings, what do you expect?

The current push is to remove both masculinity AND femininity from society. Eventually we will opt to have no gonads at all for all the trouble they cause us.

Premature aging, ill health, fashion, art, distraction, overpopulation, conflict, environmental devastation... who needs them?
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet Jul 13, 2018
How are women empowered? As the book by Josette Sona, "Are Men the Weaker Sex" says, men have upper body strength and can use that as power against women. Men still hold the majority of positions of power and often use that power against women, especially if the man is jealous and resentful towards women.
It is women who are usually the person who is victimized in society, and discriminated against
But your argument holds true for the smaller and weaker man as well, if strength were the only issue.

Obviously it's not.
TheGhostofOtto1923
not rated yet Jul 13, 2018
Domestication is often a temporary condition.

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