Magazine article USA TODAY

Is "Masculinity" Behind School Shootings?

Magazine article USA TODAY

Is "Masculinity" Behind School Shootings?

Article excerpt

In the wake of the tragic school shootings by Minnesota teenager Jeff Weise, academics and antiviolence experts have offered explanations that include family problems; poverty; Goth music and culture; violence in the media and computer games and on the Internet; and more. They are missing one crucial and overriding factor, according to the Gender Public Advocacy Coalition, Washington, D.C.--the codes of schoolyard masculinity and retaliatory violence.

Since 1982, there have been 29 school shootings, all by boys who have been teased and bullied by their peers for being less than strong, sports-oriented, or "masculines." Moreover, they lived in communities that tolerated a violent adolescent masculinity code. For these young men, violence was the way to reassert their sense of autonomy, power, and "manhood."

"Was the shooter teased and harassed as unworthy, incomplete, or failing as a 'real man'? Was he called 'queer' or 'faggot' or other terms designed to undercut his manhood? …

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