JAMIE DUNKIN: Men in Australia are having a moment, and we don’t have any answers

Jamie Dunkin
The Nightly
3 Min Read
Do we have any answers for the rise in violence by men against women?
Do we have any answers for the rise in violence by men against women? Credit: stock.adobe.com

Australia is facing a cultural problem, the solution for which is increasingly difficult to find.

Men, particularly young men, are committing an alarming amount of violence both in cases of domestic violence and stochastic incidents. The “again, again” feel of violence against women by men in Australia has become numbing in the same way mass shootings have in America.

There is something deeply wrong with men right now in Australia, and we’re providing them with no support or alternatives.

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The potentially misogyny-motivated Bondi Junction killer. The three Ballarat murders allegedly committed by men against women. The recent Central West NSW alleged murder of Molly Ticehurst. There’s a pattern, and it seems to be about men, especially men who recently hit adulthood, being violent towards women.

As a young man who left school not long ago, I can’t say I’m surprised.

In primary and high school, we had little to no education about domestic violence, very little understanding of the issues women face, and were bombarded by a toxic form of masculinity that was shaped by overexposure to the internet.

Young Aussie blokes of my generation weren’t just raised on the more “jock” type of masculinity of past generations, but also by introverted and nerdy masculinity which shunned women and queer people and sought to protect male-only spaces online.

I can vouch for this because I remember being part of it.

In my teen years I rejected my egalitarian upbringing and got entrenched in forms of anti-feminism, earlier forms of “anti-woke” culture, and developed unhealthy subconscious opinions of women.

While I’m glad I found my way out of this rabbit hole, many don’t and many more go further down and become anything as extreme as incels, fascists, or communists.

The abundance of men taking up these viewpoints isn’t a shock at all, this is part of a wider cultural issue which has existed in Australia for years and is emblematic of this generation of young men.

If you were a male teenager on YouTube, Reddit, or any social media from 2014-2019, you would’ve been recommended reactionary pipeline content from the likes of Ben Shapiro, Joe Rogan, and seen countless “Social justice warrior fail” compilations.

This results in an unconscious distaste for women’s issues, social causes, and tends to result in casual misogyny and tasteless edgelord humour.

Highlighting men who aren’t mass murderers as being positive role models is such a low bar for men to aspire to.

And if you’re a young man in Australia, you’ve probably only known macho masculinity and male culture that idolises NRL and AFL players (who we all know are renowned for respecting women), drinks excessively as part of a male bonding exercise, and rejects much talk of emotion or personal issues as being cringe or unmasculine.

The worst bit is we don’t have any real obvious alternative for young men. Speak to a young bloke about role models, ask them who their male role models are and you’ll probably get answers like Andrew Tate or Jordan Peterson, or maybe a sports star.

And if you ask them if they have any women they look up to, you’ll be lucky to get an answer.

What young men need are positive role models, both male and female, and a culture that makes young men feel comfortable about looking up to women — we can’t be surprised so many men end up violent misogynists when they can’t even name women outside of their family they look up to.

It’s also not enough for society to just say “Here are the people who you should look up to”, or “Join women’s literature classes”.

Highlighting men who aren’t mass murderers as being positive role models is such a low bar for men to aspire to as well.

Framing each murder of an innocent woman as “somebody’s daughter/sister/mother” to get men to empathise is embarrassing and not good enough.

Educating men early on relationships with women, maintaining strong co-ed schools as an option, working on emotional intelligence, and digital literacy would also go a long way to ensure we give our future men the best possible chance of not ending up like previous generations.

We can’t afford to sit back and do nothing. We’ve seen the consequences.

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