Taking the aggression out of masculinity

Sexual crimes derive from social attitudes and no serious effort at lessening their occurrence can ever depend upon cosmetic measures such as greater policing and calls for the death penalty. This is not to deny either the legitimacy of the anger over the terrible event that led to the recent rape and death of a young woman, or that the Indian justice system frequently subjects rape victims to as much trauma as the original act itself. Rather, that there is more urgent need than ever to think about the cultures of masculinity in India. While there have been good reasons why women’s studies departments and many non-governmental organisations have been resistant to including a focus on masculinity as a way of understanding gender, the time is ripe for a change in this attitude. Now, more than ever, we require an understanding of masculine cultures that is informed by feminist methods and perspectives. Gender is always a relationship between women, men (and other genders) and unless we have a sense of how boys are socialised as men, our understanding of the ways in which gender oppression unfolds will always be incomplete.



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