After the terrible mass shooting in Parkland, FL, debates about gun violence are on every TV, newspaper, and radio station. But with all this conversation, are we really getting to the heart of the matter? The fact is that 98% of mass shooters are male, and we too often neglect the link between toxic masculinity and gun violence.
From a young age, boys are taught to hide their emotions and negate parts of themselves. They learn that to “Be a Man” means to solve problems with dominance, aggression, and violence towards others (and even themselves). So much of our media tells us that guns are a symbol of masculine strength while the NRA appears to be running our country. All of this creates a culture where gun violence is normalized. Our children are dying – we as a society cannot afford to let this toxic narrative go unchallenged.
Semi-automatic weapons like the AR-15 are the embodiment of toxic masculinity, not the solution. The students of Parkland understand this and we must stand with them. Students like David Hogg are setting a new standard for masculinity, one that allows men and boys to grieve and cry while providing the courage to move forward and advocate for a new definition of masculinity, one that’s not tied to guns or the NRA. That’s why this week we’re asking you to pledge to join these students in the March For Our Lives on March 24th. Together, we can build a less violent and more peaceful culture for all.
Jennifer Siebel Newsom & The Representation Project Team