Gender and the Law Prof Blog

Editor: Tracy A. Thomas
University of Akron School of Law

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Toxic Masculinity and Gun Control

Men and Guns: Are Masculinity and Firearms Inextricably Linked?

Data shows gun violence is disproportionately a male problem. Of the 97 mass shootings in which three or more victims died since 1982, only three were committed by women (one of those being the San Bernardino attack in which a man also participated), according to a database from the liberal-leaning news outlet Mother Jones. Men also accounted for 86% of gun deaths in the United States, according to an analysis by the non-partisan non-profit Kaiser Family Foundation.

 
 
 
Men are less likely than women to seek mental health care for depression, substance abuse and stress, according to the American Psychological Association.
 
Men are forced to be tough and unemotional. It's an example of "toxic masculinity," the stereotypical and historically harmful definition of what it means to be a man.*
 
Men who think they're falling short of traditional gender norms are more likely to engage in "stereotypically masculine behaviors," like violence, according to a 2015 paper in the journal Injury Prevention. Likewise, when a man's masculinity and status is threatened, they express more support for war, male superiority and homophobic attitudes, summarized studies showed in the 2013 paper "Overdoing Gender: A Test of the Masculine Overcompensation Thesis," published in the American Journal of Sociology.
 
Carlson said that in her research, which focused on concealed carriers in the Detroit metro area, this has resulted in a shift in how men see their role in the family.
 
"What is a man's relevance in the home?" She asked. "One of the ways I saw it being reworked was by really embracing this protector role."
 
According to the Pew Research Center, 67% of gun owners say protection is a major reason they own a firearm, despite a 2016 review in the journal Epidemiologic Reviews of 130 studies that found firearm restrictions are associated with fewer deaths. And an analysis of Gallup polls from 2007 to 2012 found that marriage is a strong predictor of gun ownership.*
 
While protection is a major reason people say they own a gun, it isn't the only one. Some say they have guns for hunting. Others say they own guns because the Second Amendment says they can. Still others say guns are what keep them safe from a government that doesn't deserve their trust.
 
Saying that owning a gun "makes me a man" won't ever be listed among these reasons, but it's clear gun makers know that for many people, it subconsciously is.

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/gender_law/2018/02/toxic-masculinity-and-gun-control.html

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