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How is violence gendered? Drawing on two current events discussed in the news media and three-course readings, explain how masculinity/ masculinities is/are related to forms of interpersonal and/ or political conflict

Gender and Violence

The relationship between gender and acts of violence is quite complex and much like other gender-related issues, the conception of violence as a gendered notion is ingrained in every society. Various roles are attributed to women in society. Although women have been a part of processes at national and state levels, their role is pre-determined, and they are regarded as reproducers who must exhibit certain normative traits such as feminine behaviour. Their position is generally limited to either participant following an ideology or signifiers of national differences. They may also play a role by participating in the struggles of the state (Higate & Hopton, 2005). The scripted role of women as participants or signifiers of male-written narratives promotes the nationalist ideas of “patriotic manhood” and “exalted motherhood” (Nagel, 2005). These two notions segregate the gender ideals where males must constrain emotional expression and conform to a behavioural standard of dominance and aggression.

Gender and Warfare

Elaborating upon the ideas that encompass gender-related issues, a certain vigor and ferocity are often related to masculinity. This idea has been explored through research that relates male athleticism to sexual aggression. This behavior of sexual assault by athletes can be linked to their athletic status (Messner, 2005). With the notion of gender-specific traits and the fact that women are generally seen as driven by emotion whereas, men are regarded as strategic thinkers, the concept of warfare and bloodshed is attributed to masculinity. This link can be explained through the intelligible thinking that war preparation requires and the centrality of masculine males as a variable in political violence (Hutchings, 2008). As a socially construed reflection of various societal functions, warfare is an attribute of masculine ideals. For others, gender is a socially constructed reflection of the functional needs of societies, which include the need to make war. This has resulted in the militaries all over the world being predominantly masculine.

The Russian-Ukraine War

The Russian-Ukraine war is the most recent example of fascism perpetrated by a tyrannical leader seeking dominance over others. Such fascist movements are primarily driven by a feeling of self-victimization, the presence of an authoritative figure, and the legal prompt to use force for dominance. An interesting aspect of war is the glory associated with the valiant warrior. Additionally, it also serves the purpose of pushing women back into their acceptable gender role i.e., taking care of household affairs and nurturing the children. In societies with high rates of gender, inequality war is often a function of men just like maternity is natural to women (Melander, 2022). The developmental pattern of Russian society highlights this gender inequality in Putin’s attempts to promote his image as the supreme leader while women’s rights are being violated.

Gender and Sexual Violence

It is important to note that societies view aggressive females as women acting like men, whereas a man displaying tenderness is construed to be feminine. Consequently, the two attributes associated with males are lust and the need to cause destruction. Everyday news media are filled with reports of rape which can be categorized as lustful and destructive (Gutmann, 2019). Gang rapes and sexual assaults have long been a defining culture of the masculine military. This is often explained as an act driven by the biological needs of men however, it must be regarded as a social concern. Since societies view masculine males as dominant and assertive, the acceptability and promotion of these gender prejudices are enabling factors for violence. Individuals supporting the masculinity ideals are more inclined toward violence and intolerance. Such masculine archetypes bear hostility towards the idea of gender equality and deem it as a notion that challenges the toughness of masculine males. Therefore, the tendency for violent crimes such as rape and assault is more prevalent in social settings that promote and nurture this type of male archetype (Gutmann, 2019; Melander, 2022).



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