Intersectional Blinders

By Amit Ganguly

The Targum opinion section has outdone itself yet again. This time, the topic is toxic masculinity. In a baffling article, Francesca Petrucci alleges that the "masculine gender box" is a big factor in mass shootings. The issue for Francesca is that she does not realize the implications of her line of thought and why her single-focus group identity analysis might not be a good idea. After showing that most mass shootings are done by men, she asks why we don't equate gun violence with masculinity if we equate femininity with passive behavior (something she assumes is done, and done with little statistical evidence). 

So let us go back to her question. Why is it that we cannot equate masculinity to gun violence with large statistical evidence? Good question! Let's take it to an uncomfortable level! In 2012, according to FBI data, 4,203 black Americans were arrested for murder/non-negligent manslaughter as compared to 4,101 white Americans. In 2012, Whites were about 76% of the population of America, blacks were about 13%. Taking this into account, black Americans committed murders at a disproportionate rate. No reasonable person is calling for blame on blackness, nor should they. Their are an incredible multitude of factors in this issue and in the issue of mass shootings, be it mental health or economic status. And Petrucci admits this: "Being male is one of the (emphasis added) risk predictability factors, according to a peer reviewed research," but immediately follows it with "So, is it time to categorize toxic masculinity as a mental illness?" showing that she has no vested interest in a good analysis of the issues surrounding mass shootings but rather an identity-politics based dash to advance the condemnation of toxic masculinity. It should be noted here that the only description we are offered is that toxic masculinity "instructs its inhabitants to be financially stable, eat partially cooked animals and have a love affair with women and violence" and Petrucci, sarcastically taking on the title of the "Annoying Vegan Millennial" seems to have a personally vested interest in making her analysis of mass shootings as poor as possible. 

It could very well be that societal pressures to be masculine are the reason for disproportionately male mass shootings. But it serves no one to jump the gun to group identity, not only because it can be applied against your interests (something Petrucci does not realize) but because, like most things involving group-identity, it prevents a proper discussion. Writing an article in the provocateur style of a left-wing Milo isn't helping anything.


The Targum, in response to another article written about Petrucci's piece, made the declaration that "The Targum is by students, for students" and that "All productive opinions have [a] right to be expressed" both of which are quite funny to me. Firstly because the Targum certainly is by students as us students are forced to pay for it, and must request a refund rather than deleting the charge off of our term bill, as would make sense. Secondly because the Targum is not truly for students, not when their opinions aren't "productive", a qualifier which makes the rest of their high and noble statement ring hollow, especially when one remembers that using the term "illegal aliens" is considered unproductive enough to warrant termination from the paper, despite the claim that "No specific character trait, such as political affiliation, has anything to do with who writes for us.

OpinionAmit GangulyComment