I think Laura Kiesel gets it exactly backwards in this Politico piece in which she blames "toxic masculinity" for gun violence in America. The problem is not that "the male gender-mass shooter connection may stem from cultural standards of how men are expected to react to stress and perceived victimization as compared to women." The problem seems to be the post-modern idea that men are not to be men. Heck, we live in a world where men and women are largely interchangable and the very idea of a chivalrous man is outmoded.
The fact is dads matter. And we can look at all the stats of men committing violence and conclude they must be a terrible breed of animal. But take a step back and realize that a very common denominator is a broken home, an absent or abusive father, and an overall failure to have a father figure in the home.
It is really easy today to just blame men for everything, particularly white men. White men are the last acceptable bad guy on the planet. Entire classes are taught on college classes about the evils of paternalism, colonialism, and other euphemisms for what all boil down to men.
There are entire other college classes dedicated to the belief that men and women are inherently the same and possibly even interchangeable.
Of course none of this is actually true, but post-true. The feminist and secular leftist agenda believe them to be true, so they are true. They have come at a time that families have collapsed, men can be moms, women can be dads, and nothing matters. But a lot still matters. Fathers matter. The very "toxic masculinity" people like Laura Kiesel oppose derives from a fatherless society of men trying to figure out how to be a man without a father to instruct and guide.
The fact of the matter remains that children do best in a two parent, heterosexual, nuclear household. But as this is no longer acceptable to say, we have to pretend family stability does not matter. Entire organizations of sociologists have been overrun with a secular, liberal agenda to rewrite basic human sociology and decry foundational beliefs about society not because they are wrong, but because they are politically incorrect. And when we have these violent episodes we have to conclude it is just men being men at their worst instead of men being men without the civilizational restraints that come from being raised in a stable family.
To be sure, there will always be some bad characters who come from stable families. But when we get to the level of generalities that Laura Kiesel is at, her suggested reasons for the problems miss the mark considerably.
While it’s true that having higher testosterone is often related to aggression, recent research indicates that testosterone is likely a result rather than a causeof violent behavior. This suggests that societal influences probably play a larger role in violence than any biological factor. After all, our culture is saturated in messages—whether in the media, in our military, in sports,at the workplace, or in our education and health care systems—that embrace and even endorse a distorted view of masculinity, which tends to value and encourage expressions of aggression by men.
The solution, of course, is to feminize men. It is always to feminize men. It won't work. Men and women are inherently different.
The actual solution is to recognize stable families matter and stable families require both a father and a mother. But we can't advocate that anymore. It is not politically correct. The idea of complementarianism is sexist. So instead, we will have silliness like Laura Kiesel's piece advocating for the feminization of men. That might lead to an increase in writers at Vox. But it won't lead to a decrease in violence.
As an aside, when these pieces come up as they do often, they tend to be written by feminists who have cats, not husbands and kids. I do not know anything about the author, Laura Kiesel, but if we are going to tie toxic masculinity to mass violence, I should note that the common pattern of people writing about toxic masculinity is that the authors are childless feminists with cats.