Opinion: The Sales of Assault Rifles Are Arguably Contributing to a Deeply Toxic Form of Masculinity

Daniella Cressman

Masculinity is powerful.

Many cultures, religions, and countries view it in different ways: in Buddhism, for instance, the yang is considered to be very masculine—People tend to associate it with productivity, activity, and movement. It might involve working on a project, chopping wood, or going for a motorcycle ride.

Yin, on the other hand, is more passive and may involve sleeping, eating, meditating, and relaxing.

In the Western world, masculinity is too often associated with violence against animals, and even other humans. I'll be honest: I do eat meat sometimes and am not against hunting, per say, but there is a deeply ingrained cultural narrative in this country that a man is indeed "more masculine" if he owns a gun and knows how to wield it.

Quite frankly, there are so many ways to express one's masculinity: rock climbing, building a strong body, acting as a protector of women and children by learning martial arts—the list goes on. Unfortunately, shooting a weapon seems to have skyrocketed to the top of this list, despite the many mass shootings that have occurred as the result of angry men and boys who did not receive the help they needed before pulling the trigger.

"Gun makers have taken in more than $1 billion from selling AR-15-style guns over the past decade, at times marketing them as a way for young men to prove their masculinity, even as the number of mass shootings increases, according to a House investigation unveiled Wednesday." —Lindsay Whitehurst

Honestly, this is not entirely the fault of men: women are marketed toxic beauty products; men are marketed assault weapons. Both are aimed at human beings who feel so insecure that they think purchasing a product will make them more attractive to the opposite sex.

In my honest opinion, society as a whole—as well as families—need to be acutely aware of what they condition young boys to believe, so that they grow up into gentleman instead of mass shooters: it will be better for us all.

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Canadian-American author writing about local politics, personal finance, & dining in Albuquerque.

Albuquerque, NM
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