Monday, April 1, 2013

Adolescent Masculinity, Homophobia, and Violence - Kimmel


Kimmel's argument is that masculinity and the taking away of masculinity are the reasons for school shootings that take place. He goes through the list of things that are always brought up "it's violent video games, music, television and so on" that make for "teens" to believe that it is okay for them to go to school and kill the people who surround them. But this is not the case, most reasonable people, even children and the young adults, know that these things that go on in movies and such are just depictions and not real life. Kimmel also states in the reading that there is no significant proof that violent media is the link to school shooting, because the shootings don't all occur within the same time of a game or movie release.
His argument that masculinity is the cause of the shooting does fit. It does make sense to me that because these boys who committed these acts were the victims of endless bullying and "gay-baiting", and that the reason that they acted out was because of it. People are only human as they can be before they break down. Kimmel then gives the examples of what happened to the boys. All of them were tortured by classmates, and the classmates were fine with how they treated them. They were all called "nerd, queer, gay, fag, shy, weird, and so on", and Kimmel is right in saying that in our culture today words like this take away your masculinity. And the last thing any boy wants taken away is that, I guess. I remember things like this took place in the small town where I went to school in, things like this still take place at the college we all attend, if you listen to the people around you.
I also agree with Daury that the reading really doesn't bring up the issue of mental illness. They say the whole cause is masculinity but it seems like it is only the beginning of the reason. Most of the boys who committed the acts where interviewed by psychiatric doctors and they said that they are not insane. But I don't really agree with that (this could just be because what I think of what they've done). I think mental illness plays a large role in school shootings.

This is a great movie (I think) about the Columbine shooting and gun control in general!


  1. Hi Jessica! Wonderful post. I like your criticism about the mental illness (or lack thereof) of the shooters -- though I think it depends on the case. I don't think all of the shooters suffered from mental illnesses, but certainly some of them did. While I'm sure views of "masculinity" contributed to those tragedies, I think it was only one of the factors -- and, like Kimmel mentions, I believe (I could be making this up), I would agree that access to guns also plays a prominent role. In the past, the guns people had access to were a lot less effective; it took time to reload and re-fire. That's not the case with the newer weaponry, which can kill far more people far more quickly. But I definitely don't think putting *more* people with guns in schools will solve the problems; more likely, kids will accidentally get shot "reaching for a dangerous weapon" when going for their wallet or something. Regardless, I really like your discussion. Well done on your post!

  2. Great Post! I also like Bowling for Columbine, One of the most striking moments of that documentary was when Marilyn Manson replied to question about what he would tell the boys, with a response that he would rather listen to them. This still plays into the article because Kimmel and Mahler argued that many of the shooter may have felt like they had no way of resisting, and maybe having a sympathetic or empathetic ear may have provided an outlet.

  3. Hello Jess!
    I liked your point about the violence in video games and on television and music etc and the mental illness issue you raise.

    I'm going to link your blog into mine & use it as part of my extended comments this week!

  4. Really great post!!!!! I think the mentally illness issue does indeed play a very big role in these killings it definitely makes me want to do a deep research of of it!

  5. I think mental illness and culture both play a role.

  6. Awesome post Jessica, I hope you don't mind I used your for extending comments when you mentioned "I think mental illness plays a large role in school shootings".

  7. I think mental illness does play a role, but I also think kids just get pushed to the limit and are forced to retaliate