Have I heard it in a movie or a sitcom? I am not exactly sure. The only thing I remember is that who spoke was a social scientist and a woman… The sentence is: “I suggest you to watch documentaries about primates if you truly want to understand men”.
First I laughed hard, then I started watching that kind of documentaries whenever they come up to. I saw that it was not a very wrong analysis. Especially the relation between testosterone and violence was illuminating.
In my childhood, whacking was considered a part of child education at home and school. Childhood and youth were periods in which you were living in language of violence even you are not exposed to it…and what is more, in every field of life…
Good ones were supposed to know how to beat people against bullies. Balances among men were redressed through either violence or language of violence in neighborhoods and schools. It was a mandate to know how to fight and protect yourself. I don’t think the situation is different nowadays.
If it all comes down to “learned masculinity”, then can it all be about family? I don’t think so. For instance, in the boarding high school I went to, it was a tradition that upper grades beat lower ones to punish.
Teachers couldn’t even flick a student but violence of upper grades was one of the indispensable elements of the school life.
I don’t have a bad memory about violence from my high school years except for a slap of an “elder brother” who had set his eyes on my spending money. I don’t even count the routine beatings which we accepted as an ordinary part of the daily life. They were part of the tradition. Most of the “elder brothers” who give beating were loved. They were the ones who just had to continue the tradition of beating.
Jokes aside, there weren’t major bullyings at the school. If you ask why, the bullies were afraid of being complained to another elder brother. Complaining to school management for beating was the biggest crime one could imagine.
Most of the time the elder brothers wouldn’t beat the students in the lower grades but in all circumstances, there were unwritten rules and these rules were being enforced through violence.
Let me give you an example. We were studying with the girls in the first year at the school at prep classes. There are just elder sisters at the school, the elder brothers are at a different building.
In order to maintain order, the elder sisters were threatening us with “giving names of those who don’t abide by the rules to the elder brothers”. Indeed, we would listen to whatever they say…As a result, the elder sisters were calling the shots.
Before September 12, 1980 coup, the leftist political organization had ended the violence at school since 1978. But later, they fought among themselves, they beat boycott breakers black and blue, and couldn’t stay away from violence and language of violence. There is no need to say that the tradition of elder brother beating came back after 1980 coup.
I really had fun at that school, I had very good days there but it certainly did not change the fact that a system based on brute force became a part of my life.
When I left the male high school to study in university, I immediately noticed the difference. Because there were girls and a civilized, civilian era started in my education life, albeit late.
I know a lot of men who like to fight or quarrel physically. Most of them are good people. They do not tyrannize anybody, they protect the weak. Some of them even watch for an opportunity to protect them. There must be many of you who have witnessed cases where men molesting a woman on the bus are beaten by other men. Many more examples of “acceptable violence” can be listed.
What I am trying to lead up to is that: The language of male violence and brute force dominates all areas of life even though it is sometimes on the side of the good and sometimes that of the bad. It is a spiral of violence of some sort.
That spiral is like an energy. The real problem is that all these men who beat and kill people, be that men or women, are fed by the same energy, as well. Unless the energy producing that violence is eliminated, the problem will never end.
In fact, it is not too difficult for a man to get out of this spiral of violence which has seeped into all areas of society and to control the testosterone in his body.
Most men can manage to do it. However, the stronger the bond between the “manhood taught” to him and violence is, the more difficult it becomes for him to get out of that spiral in real terms.
A man who codes being entirely against violence as weakness, cowardice and being a loser lives in that spiral all through his life. He has to live there.
Therefore, the idea that male violence and brute force are necessary is like an invisible net spreading over the whole society. The real problem at the bottom is that most people consider it natural and think that it is not harmful.
It would do good to all men to watch documentaries about primates inflicting violence because of testosterone. Perhaps, we can then think that being a human should have a difference and say, “Evolution is a must!”.
We can also rebuild the whole education system based on the elimination of male violence and brute force. But, in this world, where power has come to mean everything in every area of life, it is without a doubt not very easy to achieve.
I made my decision on that day. I will keep my opinions to myself and continue standing beside or behind women and supporting them when they want it. And I will start doing it by first apologizing to them. (İD/ŞA/APA/TK/SD)
52 MEN 52 WEEKS
"This campaign has been produced as part of Sivil Düşün EU Programme, with the support of European Union. The contents of this campaign are the sole responsibility of IPS Communication Foundation/ bianet and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.