top of page

American Masculinity and Mass Shootings

Updated: Aug 5, 2019

“Violence, especially gun violence, is filtered through society and culture. And so when we expect boys and men to be dominant, powerful, in-control, in-charge, to not give in, then we’re essentially coaching them, training them, rewarding them, for potentially engaging in violence when they feel like they have lost control.”

Scott Melzer

Professor of sociology, Albion College

“The gun debate is what happens when we can’t talk about feelings of vulnerability, trauma, grief. It’s easier to talk about a physical object or a policy we don’t like than it is to actually talk about the profound sense of vulnerability that is actually at the heart of the issue of guns, gun politics and gun violence in this country”

Jennifer Carlson, Assistant professor of sociology University of Arizona

"We are having a very public discussion right now, a much needed one, about what does it mean to be a man? These ideals that say, Men should be stoic, we should suppress our emotions we should be tough and strong at all times and control ourselves. Have we established ideals that are toxic for boys and men themselves and also for those around them. When we ignore the role of masculinity when talking about gun violence and mass shootings then we’re ignoring some of the causes of that gun violence right now. If you don’t get at the cause, then you aren’t going to able to reduce that violence."

Scott Melzer

Professor of sociology, Albion College

By Nicki DeMarco, Erin Patrick O'Connor and Sarah Hashemi for The Washington Post.


bottom of page