RE 5: Boys killing kids

From: Richard Calam (
Date: Tue May 11 1999 - 20:28:07 EDT

This polarity in the debate is pointless. Buffeting between unexamined and
unsophisticated characterisations of gender roles (boys who are naturally
aggressive / girls who are always made "nice") is an end game with no
liklihood of advancing understanding. In analysing violence of this nature
it is useful to consider the ways we ALL of us (both men and woman) abet the
construction of such horrendous behaviour through our sins of omission and

It is not helpful to base the analysis on gender constructions
that have their origin in specious biological is-ness. The interesting
question is "To what extent are we subject to, and complicit in, a culture
of violence, competition and the commodification of human life?" Many of us
(men and women)may well reject such a culture - indeed in the case of girls
they DO have it "socialised out of them" - but how many of us are actively
engaged in fighting against such cultural dominance and providing alternive
models for being male? The problem is not only about our agency as defined
by our biological identities, but also about what we are prepared to put up
with and hence tacitly endorse.

Each time we acquiesce idealogically and socially to a market-driven culture
that treats human beings as counters to be shuffled about according to who is
boss or who is holding a gun, we add to the total sum of the culture of
violence. And it doesn't help to lock the answer away from human responsibility
by locating it in chromosome X and chromosome Y.

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