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Toxic Masculinity Is Not the Solution to Gun Violence, Fox & Friends. It’s Part of the Problem.

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“Let boys be boys” has been a sentiment I’ve heard my entire life, all 27 years of it, and it’s something I never understood because … what exactly is the idea of what a boy should be? According to Fox & Friends, it means letting men think they have the right to “protect” everyone and be as “masculine” (read: obnoxious) as possible, and because we are “stunting” that idea of masculinity, that’s why these mass shootings are happening.

Tim Kennedy went on Fox & Friends and decided to throw wild accusations about how we treat boys in classrooms (yeah, I don’t know, either) and how, with telling them to calm down (again, don’t know what he’s talking about), we’re stunting them and basically breeding a generation of mass murderers?

Kennedy says that men are “hard-wired” to do amazing things, one of them being protection. Here’s my thing: That’s assuming that stifling, traditional gender roles are nature, not nurture. If you teach your boys from a young age that they have to protect and watch out, that’s what they think they have to do, but that’s not because it’s “hard-wired” into who they are. It’s because people like Kennedy think that all boys should be made to adhere to their strict definition of masculinity.

If you actually “let boys be boys” in the same way we’ve started to let girls be girls, or let anyone be whatever they want, you’d clearly see that we’re all better off because we’re embracing those aspects of ourselves that would have been stunted by their version of masculinity and gender roles.

Kennedy went on to say that we’re telling boys they can’t be … energetic? No, we’re just telling boys that they don’t have the right to whatever woman they choose or that they’re not going to get everything they want out of life just because they’re men. No one is telling boys they have to change their level of excitement or an adventurous side. Really letting boys be boys means letting them be kids and figure out who they are, which is what’s happening.

Also, not to be like, “Well, welcome to the life of women since the dawning of time,” but I know, at least in my experience, that girls are constantly told in school what not to do to make it easier for the boys—what to wear, what to say, how to act.

Just Saying

This argument and the idea that video games cause shootings are just Republicans’ way of drumming up votes with gun rhetoric. First of all, the Second Amendment was written when the guns of the time took like 5 minutes to reload, so if you want to have the right to carry a musket, by all means, go out and get a musket, but semi-automatics were not what the Founding Fathers had in mind.

Second, I don’t need a man to protect me and watch out for me. At 5’2”, I do need a man to reach stuff on the high shelf, but that’s about it. So, Tim Kennedy, we are letting boys be boys, but we’re also letting all kids embrace who they are and treating them with the same expectations. The problem is the easy accessibility to guns in this country, but whatever, go climb a tree or some sh*t.

(image: Shutterstock)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.