Young men and boys may develop the following personlity characteristics, that can lead to violence, as part of male sex-role training:

Sense of right

Engendered in males is the idea that they may hurt or kill or enforce justice, right worngs and punish.  A man is taught that he is doing what is necessary and correct when he hurts those who “deserve” it.

A young male may perceive their significant other’s behavior as immoral, unfair or inadequate.  When an abusive and violence man believes that his mate has hurt him in some fashion, he feel he is within his rights to injure her.

Sense of duty

Men who go to war know they may die.  They risk death because they have been taught that death is preferable to being thought of as cowardly.  Men have been taught that it is their duty to defend their families or culture from danger.  Some men feel overwhelmed by this responsibility and run away from the family, while others remain and are resentful.

Even though a young person may resent their feelings of “duty” to their significant other, he may not be able to leave her because of feelings of guilt over disobeying what they perceive as a cultural imperative.  They may alternate between stability and instability, responsibility and irresponsibility, reason and rage.  Their erratic feelings have little, if anything, to do with their mate’s behavior.  They reflect their internal sense or belief about his ability to be the man they think they should be.  They probably doubt their ability to be the protector, guide, teacher or leader of the relationship or family, and this failure is too great to bear.  As a result they tend to blame, attack and criticize others or retreat into alcohol, drugs, sex or work.

Ability to objectify

In war, men do not kill people; instead they kill objects.  These objects are often overgenrealized labels such as Gooks, Krauts, Japs, Yanks, Communists, Imperialist, etc.  The list is as long as mankind.  The process of objectifying is critical to the process of killing and violence.

In a relationship a young male may hit, injure or kill a “bitch,” “whore,” or “slut.”  She ceases to be a loved one.  She is only an object.

Sense of disconnect

Men a typically not as connected to other people as women are.  They are trained to be impersonal and distant.  It is hard enough to risk death without having to face a massive loss of joy and closeness.  Men are taught to substitute ideology for connection or to put ideology before connection to people.

*I’m just a little curious as to whether we, in the church today, might be unintentionally be reinforcing some of these ideas through a poor understanding of the biblical dynamics of male/female relationships.

 

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