Toxic Masculinity Kills

There are many people in this world that believe that feminism is a movement of the past, that advocating for the equal treatment of the sexes is something no longer needed in Western society. These people argue that because women have the right to vote, drive, and (theoretically) the right to equal pay there is no need to keep the movement going. I would like for these people to take a good look at recent stories in the news because it is evident that the struggle is far from over. Recently. in the news, we have heard stories regarding the Colorado family murders, the death of Mollie Tibbetts, and the death of Nia Wilson. While these cases are all individual and may have each had other underlying motivations, such as race in the case of Nia Wilson, one thing that connects them all is violent misogyny and toxic masculinity.

Let’s begin with the case of the Watt family. This past Monday, Chris Watts of Frederick, Colorado was charged with the murder of his pregnant wife, Shanann, and their two young girls. Chris initially confessed to his crimes but later took back his story, saying that he only killed Shanann once he saw that she was strangling the children. Investigators charged him with the murders anyway, and also with the death of the unborn fetus Shanann was carrying. Men like Chris are often taught by society from an early age that women are inferior, and need to be “put in their place”. While murder and other forms of domestic violence aren’t outwardly, directly encouraged, society subtly but surely sets the stage for all sorts of toxic behaviors (ex. teaching girls that “he’s only mean because he likes you”, telling girls they’re not as good as boys, etc.). Maybe this sort of behavior doesn’t turn every man into a violent murderer/domestic abuser, but these sort of societally taught behaviors pave the way for a whole slew of issues, one example being rape culture. That’s where the death of Mollie Tibbetts comes in.

Mollie Tibbetts was a twenty-year-old college student who went missing in late July, sparking a month-long search, which ended after her body was found in a cornfield. Christian Bahena Rivera, a twenty-four-year-old undocumented immigrant from Mexico, was charged with her murder. Many were quick to blame the murder on the fact that he was undocumented, inciting xenophobic outcries from many Americans, stating that the United States needs to be stricter with border policy. As we can see in the case of the Watt family, and other domestic male terrorists of the past, closing our country’s borders isn’t the solution. Rivera made sexual advances towards Tibbetts, and when she didn’t reciprocate them, Rivera became enraged and decided she needed to pay with her life. This is the result of society telling men that women belong to them, no matter what, and that her saying no is an invitation to attack her.

These are only some of the most recent and largest headlines. Violence against women is a daily occurrence that happens everywhere. Toxic masculinity kills. It will continuously kill time and time again until we actively work to eradicate it from this world. Women don’t owe men anything, not our bodies, our stories, our love, and especially not our lives. It’s time to end this vicious cycle.