When Masculinity Turns ‘Toxic’: A Gender Profile Of Mass Shootings

Soon after a 19-year-old man killed three people and wounded more than a dozen at a festival in Gilroy, Calif., in late July, California Gov. Gavin Newsom noted something often taken for granted about mass shootings. Caroline Heldman is a professor of politics at Occidental College, a senior research adviser for the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and executive director of the Representation Project, a nonprofit started by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, the governor’s spouse, that is devoted to challenging gender stereotypes. Efforts to reduce mass shootings should emphasize reducing what is often termed “toxic masculinity,” Heldman said, the pernicious societal norm that being a man means “you can’t show emotion, that you can’t seek help when you need it, essentially that you can’t be fully human, you can’t be vulnerable.” Read More…

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