“Why are men like this?” is a great question, and a tough and scary one. Currently, like you, I lean towards socialization theory. People seriously underestimate the power of male-gaze-driven propaganda-machines like mainstream media, the porn industry, religious indoctrination, the public school system… and more fundamentally, our family dynamics which almost-permanently affect how we interact with other human beings for the rest of our lives. The conditioning of the gender-caste system begins even before we can verbalize thoughts or walk! It’s insane how deeply-embedded these cultural messages are. And no wonder why it’s so hard to unravel and unlearn later in life.
I don’t believe baby boys are ticking time-bombs of violence and rage. And the anomalous instances of females exhibiting male-pattern-violence suggest that women can also *learn* the behavior from the (male-)dominant culture. I believe most human beings have the capacity to love, commune and look out for each other. If I didn’t think men had the capacity to do some introspection and call their bros out on their misogyny, I wouldn’t write these articles or even talk to men, honestly. I’d be a separatist.

Some people argue that male pattern violence is testosterone-based. One commentator on my article (on FB) even said it’s a characteristic of higher apes, and therefore we need to start looking at male chimp behavior as well as human male behavior. But I find these suggestions problematic, because it implies that male violence is biological, not cultural. Which leads to the conclusion that it can’t be changed, which leads further to the conclusion that there is no point addressing it, it’s just the way things are, blah blah. And the argument from biology also ignores the existence of egalitarian societies, like some indigenous cultures, that *don’t* have a problem with male pattern violence, or even violence in general. So yeah, again, that’s why I lean toward socialization theory.

And thank you for the little disclaimer at the end. “Just my experience.” That’s important. Your being raised from boyhood to manhood is an experience I don’t have as a woman, so it’s necessary to this kind of conversation. Women and men can’t see into each other’s realities, but talking about the differences between them, openly and without defensiveness, is as close as we can get.

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