Marvin Repinski: Why are men so mean?

Published 6:30 am Saturday, September 11, 2021

“But when her owners saw that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the authorities.  ‘These men are disturbing our city; they are Jews and are advocating customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to adopt or observe!”  The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrate had them stripped of their clothes and ordered them to be beaten with rods.  After they had given them a severe flogging, they threw them into prison … and fastened their feet in the stocks.”  (The Bible, Matthew 16:18-22)

When I was in my early teens, being raised in a loving foster home often called “ultra conservative,” I naturally folded those beliefs to my heart. When someone in my presence said, “The Bible is a violent book and God is at times violent,’’ my response would be, “It can’t be … God is love and Jesus always cared for everyone.”

As many who study the Bible come to see, the Bible is full of violence, some of which is attributed to God by some of the writers of that book. My summary, of course, needs a lot of reflection and a very widened view. My desire is to clarify and make a few suggestions. The title of this writing is a sentence that never ceases to bounce around in my noggin.

There are philosophies on masculinity, gender differences, and a culture that has magnified the strength and ego ratification of the male population. Where is the power? Where has authority been claimed throughout history? How, when and where?

Bob Dylan’s “The Times They Are A-Changing” I think had the right words. I am presently reading the book “The Americans – The Democratic Experience” by Daniel J. Boorstein. The volume seems very fair in its interpretations and information. An example of the violence is a part of our history and the human race.

“Wild Bill” could be a metaphor for ages just like we may term the present times as the Trump years. Early on, I was introduced to William H. Bonney, or Billy the Kid. Billy was born in New York City in 1859. He went out west with his family. Sheriff Pat Garrett early on said of him, “Billy loved his mother. He loved and honored her more than anyone else on earth.” At the age of 12, he was reputed to have stabbed a man to death for insulting his mother. Before his burial in Deadwood, South Dakota, he was often called a desperado. It is estimated that he “shot down in open personal combat” as many as 85 men, but it was surely not less than 30 — a tantalizing ambiguity surrounding many of the killings. According to General Custer, “on foot or on horseback, he was one of the most perfect types of physical manhood I ever saw.”

As of today, the modes of locomotion are manifold and increasing, but the madness of fraudulent, criminal and deceptive practices continues.

Why is the male of the species so often implicated, sometimes arrested?

We may, in reading the larger story of Billy the Kid and variations of what is often called “the Law of the West,” see something of a template of the crime frequency in Minnesota. Now in early September, there have been 320 deaths related to crime in our state. What is happening?

Sometimes analysis may be necessary: possibly meditation and raising questions, comparisons, and possibly interviews.

Does the male of the species have a greater amount of testosterone?  Does a given culture shape a person’s behavior? Athleticism, expected roles that are inferred or expected?

Does the fact that the surrender or sharing of ownership figures into the evaluation?

What I’ve written to this point possibly hints toward answering the question I was asked in the title of this writing.  A woman’s experience of men being mean — her experience has any number of responses. She asked “Why?”  We may agree, that is a very personal statement; it may encompass a number of years and relationships.

We are in messy territory. A person gains and lives out of their experiences. Negative views may get projected onto the multitudes. In sharing this brief conversation with a friend, I received an answer. “Hey, women can be mean and sometimes very mean — please look at the larger picture.” Her husband voiced his opinion, “Generalizing is a lot of bull. You want to put all the men in the toilet?”  She said, “Stop it!”

“Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.”  (The Bible, Philippians 4:8)