Causes of Teen Violence Missing the Mark Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

causes of teen violence, "Missing the Mark" by Jackson Katz and Sur Jhally, and "Stop Blaming Kids and TV" by Mike Males. Katz and Jhally argue that teen violence is a male-centric occurrence caused by socialization that promotes violent masculinity. Males provide a gender-neutral view of teen violence that he believes is caused by parents who engage in domestic violence.

Because of the obvious differences in these theories, it's tempting to try to advocate one premises over the other, but further thought shows that these two theories are complimentary because the family plays such a large part in the male socialization process.

Both articles deal with the subject of teenage violence and avoid placing blame on teens for their troubled behavior. Instead, these articles present the idea of imitation as a cause of teen violence, but they differ on who the kids are imitating. Males states that teens are copying the violent behavior of their parents because they are role models who kids want to be like. Males also theorizes that imitation is inherent in a child's learning process; they learn to react to their anger and frustration through their violent parents. Katz and Jhally, on the other hand, assert that boys are behaving in ways in which they have been socialized and trained to be masculine. This socialization has created a dangerous image of the male involving dominance, power and control. For teen males to go against these roles created by society that involve aggressive behavior means being a social outcast.

These two articles theorize that teen confrontation with violence makes them violent themselves. In the Males piece, teens are exposed to domestic violence in the family through beatings, rape and parental violence. Males provides some disturbing figures to back up his claim, "...during the eighteen years between a child's birth and graduation from high school, there will be fifteen million cases of real violence in American homes grave enough to require hospital emergency treatment." Katz and Jhally believe that males are exposed to violence through guns, music, video games, films, and sports, but like Males these authors do not believe that these are the most relevant factors in explaining teen violence. Katz and Jhally state:

The issue is not just violence in the media, but the construction of violent masculinity as a cultural norm. From rock and rap music and videos, Hollywood action films, professional and college sports, the culture produces a stream of images of violence, abusive men and promotes characteristics such as dominance, power, and control as means of establishing or maintaining manhood."

Males presents his theory of teen violence in a gender-neutral presentation. He focuses on violence in general and omits cases of…

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