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 "Toxic Masculinity" and Columbine

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Screamingophelia
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PostSubject: "Toxic Masculinity" and Columbine   Sat Feb 17, 2018 1:16 am

The concept of toxic masculinity is used in psychology to describe certain traditional male norms of behavior in the United States and Europe that are associated with harm to society and to men themselves. Such "toxic" masculine norms include the traits of dominance, devaluation of women, extreme self-reliance, and the suppression of emotions.




I hate using this phrase because I think it has been bastardized, especially after Isla Vista but a more nuanced view of toxic masculinity so not so much "getting laid" but how boys and men should not show their emotion, they need to be "strong" and alpha.. we didn't talk about that back when Columbine happened but I can't help but think if this was an issue even with Eric and Dylan. I think both of them are very different when it comes to this issue.

Eric grew up in a military home. His brother played sports and eventually joined the military. Eric had health issues from birth and while he was a good soccer player really never reached that level. We're unsure about Eric's home life but there can be assumptions made about Eric having to act more "manly" and tough when looking at his father and the way he acted. Even in the BT, while it could all be an act, Eric had a more traditional point of view, the woman stays in the house... I think he said something about making him a sandwich... but he acted kind and cordial to women in his day to day life.

Then we get to Dylan. In A Mothers Reckoning Sue talked about teaching Dylan about safe and ethical sex. Dylan was known to being gentle, someone who didn't want to let anyone down and who freaked out when Devon got hurt and wrote about what a man should be like and how a man can be a conqueror but is nothing without his love. To my Love

As a man, a conqueror does his deeds of greatness, he thinks he is complete. Yet, the true great person achieves happiness only when he has met his soul mate. Alone unknown until the first time they lay eyes on each other. A true love is hard to come by, yet the most fulfilling, beautiful, completing achievement any man can have. Some have wealth, some have power, some have great intellect, yet, I feel an infinite # of “times greater than those” as I have found my true love.



Dylan also wrote about not even feeling human though. His love notes read as manipulative but he also seemed to desperately want love but didn't feel like Dylan could have it since this dark entity took him over (yes, he had more issues than just not having a girlfriend) We have also heard about Dylan being aggressive towards at least one woman in his gym class. Shoving her and calling her names. We also can look at how he attacked Lauren's table seemingly more harshly in the library. It was a table full of women (was it Lauren, Kelly, Val, Jenna and Lisa?)

Neither of them were unfortunate looking. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. None of us really think getting a girlfriend would have made them stop the massacre but do you think either Eric or Dylan felt the pressure of being butch and "too manly" and this caused them to want to seek revenge?

They both spoke of self awareness and Dylan was very proud of his self reliance. Dylan also wrote in his journal how sad he was that Zach could speak about his suicidal tendencies to someone he loved yet Dylan was cast aside when he spoke about his hatred for jocks. Like they tried to be vulnerable and were rebuked.
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PostSubject: Re: "Toxic Masculinity" and Columbine   Sat Feb 17, 2018 2:45 am

I definitely think it was a factor, especially (from what we've been told anyway) when the jocks "screwed the best looking girls", and got special treatment. And jocks are usually very traditionally manly.

Eric did rip on himself for being too thin, and he got teased for it too (like the whole head too big for his skinny body), and he probably felt like the only way to get a girl was to look and act like they did. Why else couldn't he get any and they could?

His dad was an army man, and men from the army have to be cold and practical, strong, their work requires that from them. I think Wayne tried to enforce some of that onto Eric, maybe to prepare him for the outside world and the struggles of it. And he lived in a traditional home, where from all accounts it seemed like Wayne truly was the head of the house and Kathy the good wife that stood by his side. So he's getting signals from both school and home, that the only way for him to be accepted is to be a strong alpha male. And with DOOM, where the character is blowing up zombies and such, he longed to be that strong man.

But like you said, he seemed very cordial with the girls around him. Complimenting them, walking them to class. He was smart, and I defiantly think there were times where he felt limited by a mold he wanted to fit in. And it didn't help that Kevin was all that, he had a good social life, was a bit of jock, and got girls.

He tried to open up about his struggles with being picked on, and struggles with girls, but only with girls, never with guys. I think this shows how he wanted to keep up a facade, of not being hurt, of being a man that could handle it.  

Eric has issues with wanting to be one thing, what was socially accepted as the prime of a man, and being another. He was thin, not muscular, he was a bit dorky and weird, not charismatic and well liked (hello Dave), he had a weird taste in music and wore black cargo pants with german band t-shirts. He talked about natural selection, and wanting to aid it. And he ultimately killed himself, and I do think he thought he deserved to die as much as the rest of the school.

I don't think Dylan cared too much, he didn't seem like he was trying to fit in at all (like the ring, duster, unkept hair...), and I doubt toxic masculinity played a role, he probably thought the jocks were neanderthals with no self awareness.
Him shoving a girl could have been nothing personal at all, maybe he was just having a particularly bad day and she was annoying him. I agree that Laurens table was hit more bad than usual, but then again he went up and shot lance kirklin in the face so it could've just been a coincidence.
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