Looking for men

discusIt’s impossible at this point to avoid the Facebook discussions, memes, “teachable moments”, and other posts concerning the shooting in Santa Barbara and the attempted shooting in Stockton, both of which followed a similar and disturbing pattern. It is equally impossible to avoid being a participant in them. “All men” and “all women” are being invoked pretty much constantly, and their hashtags and accompanying invective litter the Internet; there are multiple self-appointed representatives speaking for you through your gender.

My response could probably fill an entire blog, not just a blog post, and it is in fact still evolving as I consider new facts, and different points of view. There is a lot of nuance to it…but a few things are clear, and need to be said. And, in doing so, I also incidentally claim the right to say them, in the way I feel I must. A great many posts are circulating which attempt to explain how I may and may not argue as, for instance, a member of my gender. Demands of that sort will be politely ignored.

My first response to the shootings was to consider them the work of mentally disturbed individuals – not, as was claimed by some feminist columnists, the product of rampant institutionalized misogyny. I still feel that way in a general sense; however, I now don’t believe it is wholly adequate to describe the situation. There is something behind this unbridled rage at women, both in the acts themselves and the inexcusable, indefensible hate speech men have concocted to comment upon them. I’m not going to pretend I know precisely what it is, but something more is happening, it has roots within our identity as men, and it is very clearly wrong.

I do know, however, that women cannot define this problem for us, and women cannot solve it. Continue reading

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