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In mythologizing their readiness to commit violence ((Not exactly “blood in, blood out”, is it?)), they try to seem cooler and make joining them more appealing.At the same time, choosing to be violent or aggressive is treated as weakness – something to be punished or taken advantage of.It’s not surprising, for example, that alt-right figureheads like to laugh at and dismiss the murder of a protester in Charlottesville while portraying themselves as “being It’s a way of trying to position themselves as “real men”, unlike the pussified masses who believe in things like equality and civil rights.
Part of why men experience this conflict so keenly is because we often feel lost and adrift in a world where “maleness” seems less and less needed or even relevant. One of the issues is that as society has matured, we’ve begun to recognize and address how damaging many of the toxic tropes of masculinity are.In fairness, however, it Part of what leaves so many men feeling empty is this belief that we have no reason for being. We don’t have a driving force to unify us, temper us or measure ourselves against.Unlike the mythologized Greatest Generation, we have no Great War of clear moral purpose.The message is “you too can be a real man, if you join us.” It doesn’t help that the social script of an aggressive form of masculinity is quite literally sold to us, and one that is aggressively defended from criticism by the people who are most dependent on it.After all: one of the surest ways to shore up your own manly is to attack someone else’s.