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What a Story About Face Painting Reveals About Men’s Complicated Relationship With Violence

A clown shares a story about face painting a young boy at a birthday party and what it taught her about toxic masculinity.

The horrific events in Charlottesville this last week have left many of us wondering about the propensity for violence and anger and where it begins. This is, of course, not an easy question. A quick look at the numbers, however, reveals an overwhelming reality: men are significantly more violent than women. Research from 2014 found that men accounted for 80.4 percent of people arrested for violent crime; men are also responsible for 90 percent of the murders committed between 1980 and 2008.

Still, knowing that the majority of violence in society stems from angry men doesn’t provide many answers and the search continues. Recently, some explanation came from an unlikely source: A clown. After an incident at a child’s birthday party, the clown in question who goes by the handle @Sanduhruh took to Twitter and offered a nuanced and insightful look at how boys are exposed to toxic masculinity at an early age.

This seemingly simple anecdote from an unlikely source reveals how deep of a hold toxic masculinity has on modern culture. Of course, this is just one story, but it’s a powerful example of how young boys are forced to embrace a certain personality that has been deemed acceptable by society. Whether or not it causes a child to act more violently, it certainly establishes the idea that aggressive symbols are inherently male. So, just, let your kid get the damn butterfly.