Make Men More Dangerous so Women Can Be Braver

Make Men More Dangerous so Women Can Be Braver

Highschool gender-based violence awareness programs need to end

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24 min read

As I process going to a new university, with new friendships and new beginnings, I am reflecting on how I felt when I was in a similar position in my last year of high school. At the age of 16, naive but extremely curious, I dropped all sports like rugby and football to pursue high grades and reading books, except my daily cycle to school. I fell into books from Charles Dickens to Tolkien, which told stories of great adventure and triumph. Although they improved my reading, I still didn’t have anyone to truly call a friend. I was also, like almost every teenager, extremely sexually frustrated. Bored of the tales of old, I found comfort in teen fiction like The Fault In Our Stars, Paper Towns and Looking For Alaska, all written by the same John Green, who attracted the attention of film producers that have turned each of these stories into films and television shows.

John Green holding his bestseller novel 'The Fault In Our Stars'

Each of John Green’s books featured the main sensitive boy protagonist who must solve a socially challenging problem —usually in the form of a girl he can never quite solve — and features moments of comedy, joy and bitter sadness. He has quirky friends who help him along his little adventure before he then understands the girls in front of him. As a worldview, John Green’s stories spoke directly to me as a lonely, bitter and resentful teenage boy. Green provided friends who helped him, a girl who fell for his emotional sensitivity as opposed to the dominant and thick-headed brutes, and Green also gave him hope and encouragement that his nerdy and shy intellect was enough.

What story are you absorbed by? What spirit within you is that story feeding? Is the story beckoning forth the courage and bravery required to earn respect? Or is the story feeding a narcissistic and nihilistic spirit which resents the strong and is jealous of the successful?

Me, somewhere in 2015

I played rugby until the age of 16. Throughout that time of getting thrown around and knocked in the head, I never grew as fast as my teammates — partly due to the deficit in my diet and my fast metabolism. Most of my diet consisted of carbohydrates and snacks such as biscuits, cookies and cake —not exactly the All Blacks feast. My parents didn’t feed me enough and I’m certainly not resentful for that: they didn't know any better than the average parent but they provided all they could in activities, sports and friends. Consequently, I was exceptionally skinny and that gave me less physical strength and confidence to challenge others in competitive sports. The more I lost, the less likely I was to even put up a fight or even engage the next time. In school, I was also picked on and didn’t stand up for myself or engage in violence. While I was getting beat up, the school offered only a non-violent solution: be like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, submit to non-violence, non-confrontation and you will be rewarded with glory and respect. And I certainly was, being a victim came with a lot of perks. I never stood up for myself because I weighed the punishments incorrectly. And why choose those as our heroes? Why present them as peaceful and feminine when they were clearly embodying a spirit of masculine dominance? The greatest triumphs of all of history, in ancient and modern times, has involved the clinical and tactical use of masculine dominance —not passive trickery. If violence wasn’t the answer, why are all these boys so violent to me after school? And why do they get away with it?

Me getting an award in 2018, about to leave school

In the background, there was another program being formed. MVP, which stands for Mentors in Violence Prevention (just by the name, it sounds like an agent task force which is destined to save the world—similar to the Eco Warriors). By the time I joined, all the bullies and masculine so-called “undesirables” had left school and went into manual labour jobs and community college. While the “undesirables” lived their, so-assumed, ‘dirty and pathetic gorilla dominating lives’, I got a brand new shiny prefect badge and a big MVP pin to pin proudly to my smart blazer. Take that gorillas!

MVP offered a gendered solution to why those boys picked on me [1]: any sense of competition was just a manifestation of male insecurity, and that it is better to be feminine and more emotional instead of physical.

Today, I now realise that I made a grave mistake by joining and I'm confessing exactly what MVP stood for and what it truly represents in our community.

S6 MVPs attend transport chartered media launch, 2017, with members from Lothian Buses, ScotRail, Edinburgh Council, Police Scotland, and now First Minister Humza Yousaf

MVP is presented as a friendly, helpful and engaging program, with easy-to-use diagrams, cartoons and drawings to show just how innocent it is. It is painted over the same wall. It guises the truly malevolent nature of the program. By changing the language used in each technique, applying marketing tools, cartoonish fonts, and using words of blameless connotations, it was much easier for teachers, principals and councillors to swallow. MVP’s main guide —I’m not making this up —the ‘ MVP Playbook’, is a step-by-step guide with scenarios on how to tackle gendered-based violence: all of which are biased and paint the woman as the victim and the man as the oppressor. It’s much easier to get away with any form of teaching when it is coated in innocence, virtue and intellect— and when most of the high school teachers are women. Oh no, we’re making these students responsible leaders and allowing them to discuss and have a dialogue, we’re just being nice and friendly about it and you should just stop being so violent and concerned—when the dialogue is run along this straight and restricted path.

The MVP Playbook

Every core principle is based on Neo-Marxist terms but has been altered and changed to be swallowed up into the school system:

1. "Exploring Violence through a gendered lens" = Identity is everything

2. "Using the bystander approach" = Spy and mobilise against your neighbours

3. "Developing leadership" = Spread the indoctrination

4. "Recognising the scope of violent behaviour" = Expand definitions

5. "Challenging victim blaming" = Never allow the 'oppressed' to take responsibility

“MVP Core Elements”Neo-Marxism Comparative
Exploring Violence through a gendered lensHow gender roles and norms are utilized to maintain hierarchical power structures. Through this lens, one can understand how the patriarchy reinforces the subordination of women and non-binary individuals and perpetuates violence against them. To challenge this systemic violence, one must prioritize a feminist analysis that emphasizes the intersectionality of various forms of oppression and the need for collective action. Only by centring marginalized voices and experiences can we truly work towards the liberation of all individuals from oppressive systems. Everything is about identity and power, your group (men) oppressing my group (women). Identity and group thinking is the prime cause of violence since groups are different and do not share common elements.
Using the bystander approachEmploying a strategy of bystanders, whereby individuals refrain from taking action or intervening in situations of oppression or exploitation, can be viewed through a Neo-Marxist lens as a manifestation of false consciousness, wherein individuals are blinded to their own exploitation and the systemic nature of oppression. To challenge this perspective, one must prioritize collective action and solidarity, recognizing that individual acts of resistance alone are insufficient to dismantle oppressive structures. Spying on your neighbour, reporting them to the authorities and having a community encircle and execute the problem is effective in tackling oppression.
Developing leadershipSpread the ideology through systematic and organised indoctrination.
Recognising the scope of violent behaviourThe prevailing social and economic structures within capitalist societies not only condone but also perpetuate violent behaviour as a means of maintaining power and control over marginalized communities. By expanding the definition of violent behaviour so that other seemingly non-violent behaviours are included in the category, people do not behave in any competitive or dominant way, especially if it is productive and outstanding as this too is a means to control another group.
Challenging victim blamingEmployed by those in power to shift responsibility and guilt onto the marginalized, thus perpetuating their subordination. The oppressed are blamed for their own suffering, while the real culprits, the ruling class and their systemic exploitation, remain invisible and immune from accountability.

MVP also gives guidelines on how to tackle consent and rape in the context of prioritising the safety and well-being of women. In fact, there was no meaningful conclusion to these discussions because each member of MVP didn’t know how to approach the discussion without any set of rules. Instead, and I observed this in the community, they waited until somebody —always a man — does something which seems inappropriate and then mob and exclude him from engaging in the community. The rules of rape and consent come from the destruction of somebody’s reputation.

Meanwhile, at the weekend, the same members of MVP (including myself) would host parties with heaps of alcohol— vodka, whisky, gin, tequila, wine —without realising that we were also contributing to the day rape problem which is almost always instilled by alcohol. Furthermore, there is a strange and twisted fantasy that MVP promoted: all sexual orientations and expressions are permissible and encouraged, but it is so terrifying, harmful and dangerous that you have to go through these programs to make sure you are ready and aware of them. None of those two things are possible yet MVP has allowed them to be compatible.

Consent is strange and confusing idea, one which can be given and taken at any moment in time: before, during, or even after sex, depending on how the woman is feeling. If you have sex and then you regret it the next day, then you probably didn’t give consent for it, and you were probably raped. Of course, that is evidence that it wasn’t consensual, but it’s also evidence that you didn’t think it through and you let your sexual impulses take control —it was good for last night but after he left it became not good for today. I allowed many of my peers to go through stressful rape accusations because the girl regretted it, many of whom lost a significant amount of body weight and had to go on antidepressants.

Lastly, MVP’s success is physically impossible to measure. According to what scale is the program aligned? The feminism of boys? The rape cases in schools? The success of an individual’s career? It can take a 15-year-old teenage boy up to a decade to find his passion in the professional world, and within that long time period, it’s also impossible to attribute any of his success (or failures) to the teachings and lessons he was given by MVP. When a program has no feedback on its successes (and especially its failures), the only measure of its success is how virtuous it is and how it is branded. What makes you believe a virtuous program is the best one? What makes an aggressive program (such as boxing), so to speak, amoral?

MVP came to the school system, not because of any profound study or research which revealed how gender-based violence was a growing problem. It came as soon as it was much easier to demoralise and discourage boys from competing. It was a direct reflection of the wider school system. Any boisterous behaviour was punished; any feminine and emotional behaviour was rewarded. Girls can sit behind a desk just fine. Whereas boys, with their energy, boisterousness and physicality, are imprisoned and repressed by being locked between a plastic chair and a wooden desk. Any sense of energy and dominance is immediately punished. Furthermore, even if they survive, they are taught in history class that any necessary physical competition only leads to wars, violence, tyranny, abuse, and destruction. Any ambition he has is nothing but a part of the tyranny of history, and his guilt will suffer demoralisation and depression. As a result, teenage boys are doing worse in school compared to their female peers[2,3]. Boys are no longer going to university[4] and if they are they are not graduating[5,6]. Even if they do graduate they are not picking up meaningful employment and are not having mature relationships. In fact, many men are bailing out of relationships, girlfriends, and marriage and some are not having sex with women at all.

Given that millions of boys in Scotland go through this same pattern each day, it would begin to make sense that the world around you is construed to the view that dominance hierarchies are amoral. We are raising an entire generation of disaffected and demoralised young men and MVP is just a small part of this system.

Who is powering this engine of mass demoralisation? What spirit is fuelling this movement? Speaking from personal experience, I can explain exactly the spirit which guided me to join and pursue being a mentor for MVP.

If you can get what you want—and no doubt we sometimes will do anything to get what we want — but with zero effort and zero obstacles, would you take it? What if by taking it, it meant completely demoralising those around you? Why would you take what is not yours in the name of something above those that have it? The reason you take it is because it is above those that have it. Let’s say somebody presents a way of taking it, openly and forthrightly, you are not only encouraged but rewarded with virtue, and by taking it you get the opportunity to pillage and demoralise your more successful peers. If somebody offered you that, many of us wouldn’t hesitate to take it - and that's exactly why I (and others like me) joined MVP.

What exactly do I mean when I say “it”? ‘It’ is the rewards and prosperity of the free market, the gold medals in competitive sports, the first place trophies, the badges, the successful interview, the job offer, the pay rise, the low-interest credit card rates, the extra servings, the higher salary, the nicer car, the luxury apartment — and more importantly, the attention of beautiful women.

To many teenage boys, girls are the world. They are judges, juries and executioners of social and sexual performance—and that is a gift women have and it should never be taken away. To some young men, it is so difficult to be attractive to women that they have even formed groups of support and call themselves incels [7] —commonly despised as “despicable loner weirdos”. Some of these men will pay thousands to day-game ‘experts’[8] and pickup artists[9] to coach them on being attractive to women[10]. An ignored text message, an unreturned call, or a cold shoulder is the most crippling thing a boy can go through — especially if you’re highly neurotic and grew up reading John Green books.

A rejection is certainly a simple “no”, a small remark in a whole day of remarks. However, as human beings, we do not think in simple remarks and the present moment but worry about the future. A simple “no” also says I don’t want to court you, I don’t want to engage sexually with you, I don’t want to mate with you, I don’t want to have children with you, I don’t want your genetics to carry onto the next generation and I certainly think that your genes with all their imperfections and weaknesses should just wither away and die. It’s almost impossible to fathom just how demoralising a statement such as “no” can be, especially to young men who haven’t the slightest clue on how to be attractive to women.

But, instead of developing yourself, what if you could change how people think? What if you could change how society, how people, or how women see dominant men? After all, if you look at TV, films and the news, men are so violent towards women all the time. Just look at all of these abusive, violent and dangerous men:

Rocky IV (1985)

Pulp Fiction (1994)

Die Hard (1988)

Convicted murderers Russell Henderson, 21, and Aaron McKinney, 22, for the killing of Matthew Shepherd. The media terms the case as a 'gay murder'. Photograph: Ed Andrieski/AP

Abuse victim shares her bruises in a selfy online

Woman shares her domestic violence bruises online (BBC) [11]

Amber Heard is seen with red bruises on her face in photos entered into evidence by her lawyers in her defamation trial against her ex-husband Johnny Depp.

This was extremely desirable not just as a way of thinking but as a belief of how the world actually is. Society gears gender stereotypes to force men to be more masculine, which only leads to violence in the world. And why not believe in an ideology which presents yourself (and your childhood self) as the victim and the stronger boys of your youth as the oppressors? I mean, obviously, they beat you up pretty brutally —there was blood, no doubt, but why didn’t you fight back?

In perspective, I was incredibly lonely and dishonest with everyone around me. I was traumatised from being picked on in rugby and in school —and not fighting back because the school encouraged and rewarded non-violence, and punished those who were dominant (being a victim comes with a lot of perks). I became narcissistic and resentful towards those in masculine power. I was rejected by pretty much every girl to whom I had a slight sense of attraction, and I was wrapped in a cushion of teen romance novels which rewarded the weak loner with the girl. If you play your cards correctly, you can act out the innocent victim, and get away with it. However, as Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment tells us, nobody gets away with anything.

If your high sense of innocence is so pure that it stretches all the way up to heaven, it can certainly stretch all the way down into the deepest and darkest canyons of hell. I wasn’t just determined to verbally dismantle the male figure and masculinity, I was near-bloodthirsty to see people’s reputations destroyed and I was hellbent on ruining as many people’s lives if they ever got in my way. If I could get beat up one last time, I would have jumped at the opportunity, lied about the perpetrator and even gone as far as hurting myself to add more bruises to the drama. I would delight in ruining their life, painting the story as worse, twisting the narrative and showing just how threatening masculine dominance is to our society. I was willing to go to hell and take everyone along with me, just so that the Man would be seen as a violent monster, and me, a harmless victim, worthy of your respect and glory.

I reached out to grab the Holy Grail in the fire, but the cup disappeared, and my hand was left burning in the flames. I wasn’t Quentin Jacobs, I wasn’t Miles Halter, and I wasn’t Colin from John Green’s twisted imagination. I was Sisyphus, the ancient Greek king, playing tricks on the gods, killing ruthlessly, bending the underworld and now I am forever pushing this boulder up a hill with no peak.

I’m not an exceptional student. I am very average. Who is it to say that there are not many more members of MVP who are fuelled by resentment and feelings of the same narcissism?

I don’t know how I can forgive myself for what I taught young boys. I can’t take back the lessons I gave or the speeches I gave. I lied. I cheated and I am ashamed. I, like others in MVP, summarised the work on my Personal Statement for the university. I explained how I mentored younger students about gender biases, and critical theory and gave courses on how horrible the male patriarchy is. I didn’t proudly write about it. I wrote about it because, like many others, it was a way to fill in the whitespace of a CV and get the character count up to the level of sufficiency.

Once I went to university, in my third year, a boy from my class died. He was boisterous, he was energetic, and he was, in every sense of the word, dominant. But the school let him down and punished every sense of ambition he had. As soon as I heard of his death, I couldn’t continue lying anymore. I couldn’t pretend, nod my head and agree with all these girls who want to end the patriarchy if it meant the end of somebody I wish I had called a friend.

You can’t change the past. In all our imperfections, and faults, we are stumbling upwards. We can’t fall in love with fantasies or pleasures because they will burn us eventually. How can we bear the tragedy of our existence? Is there a vision or a story which doesn’t have to be through a gendered lens? Is there a worldview which leaves the absurdity of critical theory and neo-Marxism behind?

After almost 5 years of trying to forget MVP, I can’t simply just let go and move on after making this mistake. I did research on the founder, Jackson Katz, who created the program for athletes and the US Military. By any standard, he is not a scientist. He may have a PhD in Cultural Studies—which is an absolute joke filled with zero academic creditability—and he knows absolutely nothing about psychology, or psychoanalysis and seems to welcome any cultural change within the mainstream as morally progressive. He doesn’t challenge anything meaningful. He goes with the herd and follows the crowd, he conforms to the mainstream, and —as the communists did before —sees everything as a game of power. He reduces all the beauty and achievements of the last century to objectives of power. He is a mouthpiece for the collective media engine. He ranks people by race, gender, ethnicity, political party and class —just as the Marxists did when they were deciding who they should send to the labour camps, who they should torture and who they should just execute.

Jackson Katz, creator of MVP

He presents a cropped picture to a simple audience of teachers, mothers and managers. He finds correlations where there are none and only sees male characters as an orientation of power and control. He is a reductionist. He is a trickster. He is a charlatan. He uses fear tactics and specially selects news clips, videos, films and music to narrate his own twisted little story. He is a fraud and a fake. He is a spineless wimp, and I am ashamed to have worn a badge which demoralises young men and celebrates his sinister and pathetic view of what a man should be.

I do not hate Jackson Katz. In fact, I may be one of the few people who actually understands him. We share many similarities. He also participated in contact sports as a teenager —being an American football player, and perhaps he was not so successful as an athlete but waited on the bench as I did. He also took a minor in women’s studies — which God knows why —maybe he wanted to meet women! Joining MVP also seemed attractive because I knew there would be lots of feminist girls whose ideology directs their attention away from the dominant male for fear of abuse and tyranny in a relationship. Whereas I, a weak little wimp, couldn’t possibly hurt a strong independent woman. Funnily enough, the girls in MVP, as far as I am aware, while preaching how men don’t have to be masculine or competitive or dominant, never once sexually engaged in a man who was openly sensitive, emotional, and feminine. And good for them. It’s good that women can find men who are reliable, worthy and brave in the face of all of this hypocrisy which goes on from the schools all of way into the universities. And if you think strong men are dangerous, try your luck with weak men and see where that gets you.

Who do you stand with in order in the face of destruction? What is this vision? What spirit should you embody? Instead of feminising our young boys and repressing ambition, I believe the correct way is by rolling up your sleeves, clenching your fists, and fighting with every strength you have.

Jesus Christ, when seeing people trading inside the temple, stormed towards the sellers and flipped the table, and drove them out shouting “Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise”. Seeing a fig tree bearing no fruit, waiting for the season, Jesus says to the tree “May no one ever eat fruit from you again”, and the tree whithers away and dies. Later in Revelations, Jesus Christ returns as a judge to “separate the wheat from the chaff”, judges the good from the evil and punishes the passive.

Christ Driving the Money Changers from the Temple (El Greco, Washington)

Make yourself dangerous. Make yourself dominant. Make yourself physical. Make yourself ready and aggressive for there is nothing worse than that which is plain and dull and weak.

What is the utility when making a man more dangerous to a woman? What will this do for women if we have dangerous, dominant and —if necessary—violent men? Will it force women into tyrannical and abusive relationships? Will women be forced back into the kitchen to be a slave to her husband? Surprisingly, when analysed at the local level, the direct opposite will happen. Contrary to popular belief, once a woman contends and engages with a boisterous and dominant man, she instantly becomes tremendously brave and holds immense courage without even realising it.

Once I took up boxing, started lifting weights, travelled the world, learned new languages, gained new skills, and recognised just how violent, dangerous and monstrous I could be, I began to have more meaningful interactions with women. After every conversation, I thought “She is extremely courageous to speak to a monster like me, she is tremendously brave and I admire her for doing so.” The monster in me brought forth the courage in her, and therefore the further admiration towards her part, making her more attractive, taming the beast within me into a productive and reliable man for society. This monster is a monster not of violence and tyranny, which Jackson Katz loves to present, but a monster of productivity, strength and dominance.

Cramond Island, Edinburgh, 2017.

Me, somewhere in Clovenstone, Edinburgh, 2017.

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2022. Credit: EO.

After walking 2,000 miles from Turkey near Syria, across farmland, cities and villages I reached Sofia, Bulgaria, 2023. Credit: EO

What I have just described is a series of events culminating in a story of self-sacrifice, bravery and triumph. It is the same story as Beauty and The Beast (1991), where Belle, a young maiden sacrifices her freedom to save her father from imprisonment by the monstrous and violent Beast. Belle, in her approach, is extremely brave. Through her virtue and genuine moral character, she is able to channel the Beast’s violent and boisterousness into a productive, reliable and integrated member of society, ending with his transformation into a handsome prince.

Belle tames the Beast after he saves her from wolves.

It is the same story in the Book of Genesis, where Abraham’s oldest servant searches the land for a wife for Isaac. As the servant brought his camels to the drinking well outside of the city, the rule became, by the grace of God Himself, that a good wife will offer a stranger water: she is brave and generous. Approaching a stranger is brave and offering him water is generous. Water is the spirit of purity, and purity is what a stranger needs when he is thirsty and looking for a wife.

Jackson Katz says that none of these men are integrated or productive but that they are nothing but violent and abusive. He presents his story as the story of units and groups, where each group is trampling over other groups in the endless game of power and tyranny: from the Civil Rights Movement, to Gay Pride, to the Modern Feminists, are all punching up at the oppressing male patriarchy. This is the story MVP presents to teenagers: a story of fear, anxiety, power and tyranny. Is this the story to inspire and bring out the bravery and courage in our young people? Is this what can inspire our youth to be better?

Men: make yourself dangerous, and understand just how dangerous you could become. Once you’ve mastered whatever profession or skill you’re in, reflect, look back, and recognise just how dangerous you are, for when the time is right you will approach a woman —and she may reciprocate her attention to you—so that she can become braver because she is reaching out to you, the monster, the beast, the violent when necessary, the dominant man we should all aim to be.

Teachers and schools: create a program which encourages young boys to be boisterous and competitive. Set up a free boxing class and open a weightlifting gym in the school. Reward those who compete with each other. Encourage energetic and restless behaviour. Take boys outside to learn and play and compete. Stop keeping them in classrooms, locked between chairs and desks. Make the boys industrious and dangerous for a university and an employer. Make them as strong as possible. Allow the weak boys to understand that they are weak, and have to fix it if they want to compete and grow.

Parents: pay attention to what is being taught in your local school. Check-in on how your son is doing, ask him how he won today and set high expectations for him.

More importantly, stop lying to yourself. Review the facts. Be critical in your thinking and be aware of what you’re teaching your children.

References

  1. https://blogs.glowscotland.org.uk/glowblogs/mvpscotland/

  2. https://www.ethnicity-facts-figures.service.gov.uk/education-skills-and-training/11-to-16-years-old/gcse-results-attainment-8-for-children-aged-14-to-16-key-stage-4/latest

  3. https://www.theguardian.com/education/2021/aug/13/girls-overtake-boys-in-a-level-and-gcse-maths-so-are-they-smarter

  4. https://www.hepi.ac.uk/2020/03/07/mind-the-gap-gender-differences-in-higher-education/

  5. Jeremy P, Dropping out of university: a statistical analysis of the probability of withdrawal for UK university students, JR Statistics Society A, 2001, 164, Part 2, pp 389 —405

  6. https://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/educationnews/11002885/Boys-more-likely-to-drop-out-of-university-than-girls.html

  7. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfmkHNSSSMs

  8. https://rumble.com/v1mqhjc-picking-up-a-girl-at-the-train-station-daygame-infield.html

  9. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JMhB0y5Qbh8

  10. https://rumble.com/vba2e5-33-steps-to-losing-your-virginity-documentary-for-men.html

  11. https://www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-39847612

Thank you for reading this article. It is one of those long pieces which I wrote in less than a day. It came from an interaction in my university library, where a young woman approached me and struck up a conversation — from there, I thought she was very brave for doing so and I had never thought that way about anyone before. I reflected on my past and it wasn’t so much that she was marvellous or insanely interesting, but that I had changed, I had grown and I could admit and be glad that I was dangerous. If you found this article thought-provoking and you would like to discuss solutions to problems in your own community, please do get in touch. I am able to offer a network, resources and support to the best of my abilities.