Why are Men Violent?
Hint: It’s not testosterone.
Takahashi makes some excellent points in her article about men and violence. She calls attention to the fact that while 99% of all mass killings are committed by men, the media don’t ever point out this fact.
The simple fact is that males exhibit far more violence than females.
Takahashi attributes this not to testosterone, but to conditioning.
Her premise is that males learn violence through a pervasive culture that promotes and glorifies violence-as-masculinity.
Takahashi talks about the evolutionary mythology that plants males firmly in the man-the-hunter, protector, and dominator corner, and women in the submissive, camp-scullery, and nurturing mom corner.
We live in a culture that normalizes hyper-masculinity, elevating extreme masculine traits such as aggression, domination, and toughness to the pinnacle of desirability, while turning women (and men who don’t fit these characteristics) into cultural outsiders, except to the extent that they reinforce the male stereotype.
As recently as the early 1990s mainstream archeologists and paleoanthropologists bought into the myth that life for hominids has always been like this, with men doing the glamorous public work of hunting, farming, warring, and performing rituals, and women hidden away in smoke-filled hovels doing the much more private and low-status drudge work.
And all of this male supremacy, they believed, was biological destiny.
But that’s not what studies of over 300 excavations in the mid-east show. Archaeologists examined evidence involving burial sites, skeletal remains, artifacts, and dwellings in the area around ancient Mesopotamia dating to the onset of the agricultural revolution.
They found no signs of war or group violence of any kind, no signs of hoarding or social hierarchy, very little evidence of interpersonal violence, and no evidence of status differential between men and women.
It seems that our newly sedentary early agricultural forebears were gender-egalitarian sharing pacifists.
This is certainly hopeful, as it tells us that war, greed, and gender inequality aren’t in our DNA and out of control violence is not the destiny of the male half of the human race.
War, greed, and gender inequality are not in our DNA.
What it does tell us is that with enough courage, will, and vision we could, as fantastic as it might seem, overcome these things.