START A PETITION 27,000,000 members: the world's largest community for good
1,169,123 people care about Women's Rights

White Masculinity’s Ties To Rape and Gun Culture

White Masculinity’s Ties To Rape and Gun Culture

We’re still collecting all the pieces from the massacre in Newtown, but one thing we do know, is there’s a clear link between this country’s gun culture and rape culture and that link is white male masculinity with something to prove.

Don’t take my word for it. Instead, take a look at the ad campaign from Bushmaster, the manufacturer of the assault rifle used to murder almost thirty people, most of them children, in Connecticut. Bushmaster grants “man cards” to visitors of who can prove their masculinity by answering a series of manhood questions. Complete the quiz successfully and get a card that proves you’re a man. Or buy their weapon and presumably use it. In as assault. Because it is an assault weapon, after all.

Let’s get the obvious components out of the way. A company called “Bushmaster” is suggesting that purchasing, and presumably using, its assault rifle will restore spurned masculinity. I’m no Freudian but I think there’s something about overcompensation in there somewhere.

All snark aside, what we do know, and what we must confront, is the fact that while more men die of gun violence than women in a given year, gun deaths are overwhelmingly committed by men. Since 1982 there have been 62 cases of mass shootings in this country and the vast majority were committed by young white men. As Soraya Chemaly smartly notes “White boys and men are not biologically or genetically predisposed to be homicidal mass murderers or domestic abusers. However, violence is part of how American masculinity is defined. And guns are part of that violence.”

Which is what makes the Bushmaster ad campaign, and the countless other pro-gun = pro-man ad campaigns so dangerous. They play on a white male cultural sense of entitlement that feels under threat while signaling that ultimately violence, and specifically gun violence, is the surest means to restore that entitlement and undo that emasculation. As Bushmaster’s tagline says, ” Consider Your Man Card Reissued.”

It’s this tie between American male masculinity and violence that is at the core of rape culture as well, and it’s what fuels the Tea Party Congress. White men may be an ever-shrinking portion of the American electorate, but they have a deadly grip on gun control policy in this country. 56 percent of white men oppose stricter gun control laws, while overall 53 percent of non-college educated whites oppose such laws. And while ten percent of women in this country own a gun, 59 percent of women support stricter gun laws. And while there’s no evidence to show that mass shootings like the Newtown tragedy have women in mind as victims, when 11 of the 62 mass shootings take place in schools, there’s a greater likelihood more women will be victims.

Until we break this tie between violence, sex and American masculinity we can’t expect rape culture or gun culture to go away. And we can’t break that tie if we’re too afraid to admit it exists.


Related Stories:

6 Worst Reactions To The Newtown Massacre

Senator Feinstein Promises Action on Gun Control. Can Congress Deliver?

Itís Never Too Soon to Discuss These 5 Ways to Curb Gun Violence


Read more: , , ,

Top photo from Mike Saechang via flickr.

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it


+ add your own
5:18AM PDT on May 6, 2014

I'm white and I can't caint wait to get one them bushmasters and do me some violence!

6:50AM PDT on Apr 28, 2014

Anti-gun hogwash. What is needed is to re-institute gun training. As the US became Urban that died. Now we need everybody to be trained even if they never will buy or use a gun.

5:07AM PDT on Apr 28, 2014

Well if I had known that Bushmaster rifles would restore my lost masculinity, I NEVER would have bought a revolver with a two inch barrel!

5:07AM PDT on Apr 28, 2014

Well if I had known that Bushmaster rifles would restore my lost masculinity, I NEVER would have bought a revolver with a two inch barrel!

5:07AM PDT on Apr 28, 2014

Well if I had known that Bushmaster rifles would restore my lost masculinity, I NEVER would have bought a revolver with a two inch barrel!

5:07AM PDT on Apr 28, 2014

Well if I had known that Bushmaster rifles would restore my lost masculinity, I NEVER would have bought a revolver with a two inch barrel!

5:27AM PDT on Mar 13, 2013

@ Val: "They (white men) murdered hundreds of children."

Sorry girlfriend, this is the area where your gender wins. Women are the primary murderers of children. Children under the age of four are almost exclusively killed by women. Thousands annually. According to the CDC American women kill more of their own children than any other mothers in the industrialized world. They are also by far the most physically and emotionally abusive towards children. They commit between 25 & 30% of intrafamilial sex abuse.

You Go Girl!!!

But can we expect empathy from women for those boys who were maternally abused as childen? Show me examples. Boys don't exist to feminists.

7:35PM PDT on Mar 12, 2013

I am white and am in no way offended by this article. My boyfriend is part native american, and the rest Irish-European and he is not offended either.

Of course, people of both genders and of all colors/nationalities commit murder. That is not the issue. Power (and the loss thereof), stress, greed, narcissism all seem to be part of the psychological equation. It applies to all people, but mostly men.

The article - however - is about the real and well-documented trend of White Guys With Issues Who Lose It And Murder En Mass By Gun. We all know about Hitler, Franco, Stalin, the Hapsburgs, The Spanish Inquisition, The Crusades, etc. So, mass murder has a long and storied history among all men, and European men have their very own unique niche.

If White Guys are so grand, why can't they admit that some of them have major problems with masculinity, mental illness and guns?

The sooner we stop coddling White Guys With Issues and letting them get away with violence by just "explaining it away," then we can get somewhere great in this country. I am tired of people rushing to the defense of some of the most historically psychotic individuals of all time. And access to guns must be limited to stop this pernicious, horrific problem.

The following is just a teeny tiny list of White Men With Issues, Guns and Explosives who committed Mass Murder Over the Last 100 Years in workplaces, churches, schools, homes, restaurants, etc.. They murdered hundreds of children,

4:20PM PST on Mar 8, 2013

Thank you for sharing.

5:25PM PST on Feb 25, 2013

Yep, this article is just more BS left wing propaganda. White's have done plenty of horrible, evil things in this world, but are far from the only race who's done such. White men obviously don't have a monopoly on racism. Racism is embedded in every race in this world, unfortunately.

add your comment

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

Care2 - Be Extraordinary - Start a Care2 Petition
ads keep care2 free

Recent Comments from Causes

The more I think about this, the hinkier it smells. The parents took Josh to get a talking to by a family…

beautiful, they all look really happy

ads keep care2 free

Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.