Tough Guise Essay

Watching the Tough Guise video featuring Dr. Jackson Katz was very informative. At one point in the video he discusses how the dominant group of white heterosexual men is not identified as one of the traits of violent people. In the video, he states that “one gender, men, perpetrate approximately 90% of the violence” – something that the media does not feel the need to report, as it is overlooked as a basic fact. He compares this to how we in the United States think of race, how the word conjures up “African American, Latino, Asian American, Native American, etc. Similar, when we hear the term sexual orientation, we immediately assume that the speaker is referencing gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender. And finally, when we hear gender, we assume the discussed group will be female.

What is left out is that being white is a racial trait, being heterosexual is an orientation, and being male is a gender. Dr. Katz states that by consistently focusing on the subordinate group in the media, the dominant group grows more powerful, because no one is questioning them. Dr. Katz uses the research of linguist Julia Penelope to examine how this happens. He uses her example of the passive voice when talking about crimes against women, which focuses solely on the female victims and survivors. Instead of discussing how many men have assaulted or raped women, we tend to describe these situations as the women being attacked. Another example used is how the media refers to school shootings – as “kids who kill kids”, although nearly all school shootings have been committed by young males, and in some instances the violence has clearly been gender-specific.