Mike Riggs on “Real Men”

“Some thoughts on macho talk regarding the Montana incident. The idea that real men occasionally hit, and that real men hit back, is bad for men. I say this as someone who was much bigger than other humans starting at around age five, and who used his fist from an early age. I spent many recess periods in elementary school under lock and key. In middle school, it was counseling. By the time I hit adolescence, my aunt told me one day that my family had considered sending me away because of how violent I was. That toughness that people seem to admire from a distance makes people fear you up close. It makes people who love you think you are dangerous. Pushing leads to punching, and punching can cause brain damage and facial deformity. If you are poor, and you solve problems with violence, you end up incarcerated. People carry that label for the rest of their lives. Our prisons are full of “real men.” Battered women’s shelters are full of women fleeing “real men.” The sons of “real men” grow up to be emotionally stunted, confused, and poor. And men who learn to solve problems with violence use that violence everywhere. Real men do everything they can to avoid hurting others and themselves. Self-restraint and wisdom are not weak, they are powerful. If I am so lucky as to father boys, I will teach them this. I will never, ever forget the fear I inspired in the eyes of my mother, my little brother, and my classmates. The memory of it makes me ill. We should not consign men, or the people they encounter, to this fate.”

Quoted from Mike Riggs. Link: https://twitter.com/MikeRiggs/status/867825746215088128 [Emphasis and links not in original.]

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