Like Men

Let’s say you have a large terrorist organization. A little over 40% of it are women. Women and men equally participate in all the group’s activities, including the command. They torture, massacre, and die for the cause with the same eagerness. 

Does it make sense to argue, again and again, that these women “act like men”? Isn’t the very existence of this terrorist organization proof that human beings can and will commit horrible acts of cruelty irrespective of their biological sex? Doesn’t it make much more sense to say that these women and men act not “like men” but as human beings? Instead of arguing that these women “rejected female values”, isn’t it more logical to assume there are no such values?

Of course, I just used the word “logical,” which must mean I also have become “like a man” and rejected female values. 

The terrorist group is Peru’s Shining Path, by the way. 


9 thoughts on “Like Men”

  1. I agree, saying they’re acting “like men” is stupid (at best).

    As for “rejecting female values” …. “values” only make sense within a particular cultual setting. In addition “female values” aren’t about values that females in a particular actually have but rather the values that females are supposed to aspire to within a culture (or the nature ascribed to females within a culture).

    I don’t know much about Peruvian coastal or mestizo cultures, but I used to know a thing or two about indigenous Andean cultures which are supposedly not much into rigid gender roles (and women are expected to be mentally and physically tough – as you’d expect in such a harsh environment).


  2. That’s what happens when you try to gender bad behaviors as masculine or “something men do” as well as trying to excuse women doing bad things because of the idea that women dont do things like that unless men make them.


  3. Historically, men have carried out vastly more violent acts than women, both in official group actions (fighting wars) and as individual criminals and psychopaths. This is still true today — compare the number of female mass shooting perpetrators to male shooters.

    Feminists blame this on testosterone levels or “toxic masculinity,” others blame it on social conditioning, and some people point out that men are simply bigger and stronger and make better fighters.

    Whatever the reason, most of the world’s violence is male-dominated. It isn’t perpetuating a stereotype to state this fact.


    1. The existence of this particular group answer this question once and for all. The second women get an opportunity to act violently, that’s what they do. What people are capable of can only be discovered once they get an opportunity to do it. To theorize in the absence of such an experiment is meaningless.


      1. “The second women get an opportunity to act violently, that’s what they do”

        Well the most common type of female serial killer is the angel of death (IINM) a woman in a nursing position who kills patients (especially children) so the general human pattern is that serial killers kill those weaker/more vulnerable (but who still have some kind of social capital so that killing them gives the killer the ego boost they crave).

        The 40 % is interesting. I don’t believe in absolute/essentialist differences in the sexes but I do still believe in distributional differences (different percentages when you look at very large groups that don’t tell you anything useful about individuals).

        Only the sickest individuals will get involved with stuff like Sendero and if you assume that in aggregate women are about a standard deviation or so less violent than men you’d assume that even in the best (in a way) of circumstances fewer women than men will jump at the chance to soothe theirs by becoming violent animals….


        1. I was hoping that this author I’ve been reading would attempt to explain the phenomenon of Sendero but her explanation is that these were college students who didn’t have good employment prospects. What can one do with an explanation this profound?


    2. Most high positions in the business world are held by men are are aggressive. But somehow now that more women are getting into it we manage to not say that women are “acting like men”. In fact sayubg that would be considered offensive.

      So no the reason you want to say “act like men” when women commit violence isnt because of “facts” its because even as you support ewual opportunity for women you still want the safety net of a gendering bad behaviors as male.


      1. In the USSR, so many men were physically eliminated through wars and political repression. And in the existing vacuum, we have all seen how easily women take on the mantle of super aggressiveness. There’s nothing innate about aggression from what I’ve seen.


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