This kind of man is a bigger burden and a greater threat to our society than we care to admit
The dysfunctional man breeds misery and attention — and is a menace to our society. As men we need to nurture a new culture among ourselves if we want to create change.
Occasionally we discover that a popular product or widespread practice harms us more than it benefits or pleases us. For example, in the 1970s when it was discovered that the “magic mineral”, asbestos, was not actually smart to use in appliances and homes. Or in the nineties in Denmark, when we broke with centuries-old tradition and belief that hitting children actually benefitted their health and psyche, and abolished child corporal punishment. In both cases, the unhealthy and harmful effects had been known and discussed for decades . But we only really did something about the problem, practically, morally, and legislatively, when the costs to the individual and society as a whole became (embarrassingly) evident. Apparently, that’s how we are as human beings. We only take our knowledge seriously, and we only change our behavior when the cost of the previous behavior is painstakingly clear. And perhaps we’ve reached this point now. Again. With a phenomenon that is more dysfunctional, more harmful, and more deadly than both asbestos and the right to spanking our children.
In 1959, the prominent sociologist Barbara Wootton put the phenomenon into words. “If men behaved like women the courts would be idle and the prisons empty.” In other words, we have a problem with men’s behavior. Even at the time, her conclusion seemed so banal that no one raised an eyebrow. “Boys will be boys,” you say when a horde of them have marched in frustration through a town after a lost football match and have ravaged shops and cars. “Boys will be boys,” you say when they send pictures of their genitals to women they have just met on Tinder. “Boys will be boys,” you say and laugh at a drawing where a caveman drags a woman into a bush. This dysfunctional man has ruled unhindered in his masculinity for centuries, so much so…