The construction of masculinity and the triad of men's violence.

Kaufman M
In: Beyond patriarchy: essays by men on pleasure, power, and change, edited by Michael Kaufman. Toronto, Canada, Oxford University Press, 1987. 1-29.

Michael Kaufman's analysis of male violence and its origins distinguishes three mutually reinforcing types of violence: violence against women, violence against other men, and violence against oneself. The triad of men's violence occurs in societies based on structures of domination and control. The article discusses the pervasiveness of violence and the possibility that violence expresses an innate predisposition. Next, the roots of violence are traced to the process of acquisition of masculinity, when the boy internalizes a series of social relations based on gender. The boy does not so much learn a gender role as, with greater or lesser conflict, he becomes part of it. Masculinity does not exist as a biological reality, but only as a social institution with a tenuous relationship to biological sex. The tension between maleness and masculinity is intense because masculinity requires suppression of a range of human feelings, needs, and forms of expression. Violence is one way of combating doubts about one's true masculinity and maleness. The correlates and psychological functions of male violence against women, men, and oneself are identified. The analysis suggests that the three forms of male violence and their psychosexual and socioeconomic foundations must be addressed jointly.

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