Guns and Gear

Has American Masculinity Caused Mass Shootings? Washington Post Asks

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The Washington Post published a documentary Thursday exploring American masculine stereotypes, gun violence and the National Rifle Association’s role in both.

The 13-minute film features research and interviews with journalists, academics and industry experts that suggest American masculinity has played a role in U.S. mass shootings.

When the discussion turns to the NRA’s influence, interviewee Rob Pincus, a firearms instructor, says he believes the NRA drives “angry, conservative gun owner” stereotypes with certain images as the movie’s footage rolls through NRA spokespeople including Dana Loesch and Charlton Heston.


Next, Albion College professor Scott Melzer affirms that the NRA’s focus on “individual rights and freedoms are coded masculine according to the NRA because that’s about independence, self-reliance. You buy a gun and protect your family and yourself.”

WaPo did not reach out to the NRA for comments about the opinions presented in the documentary, according to the gun rights group.

The film also argues that marketing messages like Remington’s ad for the Bushmaster gun used in the 2012 Sandy Hook, Connecticut, shooting have an impact, as they appeal to disturbed young men.

“When we expect boys and men to be dominant, powerful, in-control, in-charge, to not give in, then we are essentially coaching them, training them, rewarding them for potentially engaging in violence,” Melzer adds. (RELATED: American Psychological Association Unloads On ‘Harmful Traditional Masculinity’)

Melzer finishes by suggesting the solution of “redefining what it means to be a boy and a man.”

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