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Man and Aggression


Recently several news papers in Jakarta reported that there were three young boys killed during the classical match of Indonesian Super League between Persija Jakarta and Persib Bandung in Gelora Bung Karno stadium. It is so sad to read the news, in fact seeing the football match was not an entertainment anymore but it is scary. Almost unbelievable due to failure to win the match, the supporter of football club could kill the opposite supporter. Although the organizing committee and police are two parties that should responsible for their inability to anticipate the incident, however the club and its supporter organization also should be asserted of being failure in educating their member.

Violence and aggression that involves boys and men in football match is the only one story, there are numerous violence case that involves boys and men in Indonesia, just to mention some of them; motor gang attack in Jakarta which happened few months ago, Palmerah cowboys, Islamic hardliner attack toward some discussions that was held by human right activist in Jakarta and Yogyakarta and endless story of brawl among senior high school student in Jakarta.  The tendencies of boys and men to get involve in violence and aggression case therefore need to be further questioned in order to help us to understand the problem and furthermore to discuss what are appropriate strategies to solve the problem. Regarding this, there is a debate about do men become violent and aggressive because of their biological nature or they are taught to be violent and aggressive.

The first opinion believes that genetically men are aggressive and violent. Furthermore to support this thesis the proponents argue that male sex hormones testosterone led them into violent and aggressive behaviour.  Some time physical appearance of men is also used as a justification namely size of men muscle and physical toughness of men. However there is a critic towards this opinion, if becoming violent and aggressive is biological nature of men that means all men will do so. But in fact, there are men that prefer to use dialogue and negotiation to solve the conflict than use violence and aggression.

The second opinion believes that men tend to be violent due to they are taught to be so. This process is called socialization. It happens through various processes such as child rearing method that is applied by parent, peer socialization, society education and media promotion. Those agencies teach boys and men certain values that is considered as appropriate for them. These values then guide men on how they have to perform and behave. Among those values are boys and men have to be strong, they are not allowed to show their weakness, they have to be brave to fight or other ways they will be bullied by their peer, they have to take a risk etc. All those are commonly popular among boys and men and become norms which they believe in. Even though there is no certain values likes machismo in North America but the norms and the values about men in Indonesia are almost the same. Boys and men are must be superior, dominant, tough and aggressive. Raewyn Connel, Sidney University scholar named those qualities as a hegemonic masculinity.

Based on the last argument, aggressive and violent behaviour among the football supporters is deep rooted in the values of becoming men (masculinity). The mass attack toward certain group can be seen as way to fulfil the values of being superior over others and to avoid to be inferior. Becoming an inferior is considered as sin for men and will result in feeling of losing face or in other word become a looser. Finally It is understandable why boys and men are the group who frequently involve in several violence incident in Indonesia while the same tendency is not applied in women group.

How then to solve the problem, One of strategies that can be applied is transforming the norms of being men. The transformation starts with raising awareness about the range of negative consequences of hegemonic masculinity for men. The tendency of being violent and aggressive is one among those consequences. This tendency is a result of incapability of men to manage themselves positively.

The recognition of negative consequences of hegemonic masculinity norms then is followed by building new norms of being men through promotion of new image of men that are more respectful, caring, egalitarian, and non violence. The new men alliance is one example of the social movement in Indonesia that promote the new concept of masculinity. However the alliance should broaden its movement to make the concept more popular and become an alternative norm of being men for young generation in Indonesia.

Nur Hasyim, founder of New Men Alliance and ADS Awardee 2012/2013

Sumber gambar: http://www.adventureisgood.blogspot.com

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