If we are to tackle radicalisation, we must consider not only religious and cultural factors but the pressures of masculinityby Victor Jeleniewski Seidler / May 26, 2017 / Leave a comment
How do young men prove that they are man enough? What do they have to do in the eyes of their mates to prove their masculinities? Across class, ethnic, racial and religious backgrounds there is still a significant transition that boys have to navigate in becoming young men and somehow proving their male identities. Though there have been significant shifts, masculinities are seldom directly addressed in, say, schooling. It is still generally assumed that boys will be boys and that you can do relatively little to change them.
But often this means that boys are left to carry their own fears and anxieties, unable to reach out to others for support. They learn that emotions are deemed feminine, and so a sign of weakness. It is a terrible cultural reality that a significant proportion of young men prefer to kill themselves than face the embarrassment of reaching out to others.
Other young men seize on religious convictions, however distorted a version of Islam those convictions represent, and some get themselves into a position where they believe that it is only by killing others that they can prove themselves.