Human behavior is, to a large extent, regulated by cultural norms and stereotypes. In almost all existing societies, and definitely in the Western cultural paradigm, the image of an ideal man is connected with such characteristics as power, which is usually understood as physical strength and dominance. The power, in turn, is often expressed through direct aggression, a behavior that implies the actions which are explicitly addressed to the source of anger or frustration, causing harm to it. In this paper, an idea and of direct aggression and its manifestation in society will be analyzed and evaluated, and the suggestions about the methods of its elimination will be made.
According to the existing model of masculinity, a man should cultivate such qualities as aggressiveness, brutality, and even cruelty, to comply with the expectations of society. Since their childhood, the boys are supposed to enjoy toy weapons, ammunition, and other tools to play war. Further on, the young boys are expected to mobilize themselves in different social groups, such as violent fans of football teams or rock stars, or even in criminal gangs. Crime and cruelty, in many societies, though causing adverse reactions, nevertheless are closely linked to the idea of masculinity.
The boys and men, therefore, are obliged to “meet the expectations” being ambivalently considered offenders and superheroes. Another essential, less extreme and more common way to train direct aggressiveness in boys and men is a sport. In the movie about football “Program” (1993), the protagonist Steve Lattimer is an embodied cultural stereotype of a man. He is aggressive, and he considers the football game and ultimately all his life as a continuous “battle,” and himself as “someone exceptional,” successful in this battle. Thus, there is a variety of ways to nurture direct aggression in men since their childhood, embedding this quality in their character.
The necessity of such toxic masculinity and overly masculinity is questionable. The masculine power, if brought to its extreme, becomes violent and, instead of protecting society, starts to be a cause of its destruction. The possible solution for the elimination of an excess aggressiveness in boys and men is the only change of cultural stereotype. It seems that the first step towards it is a deep understanding of the difference between real power and physical aggression.