In regards to the most recent celebrity event at the Oscars, I had the following thoughts. Many men have unfortunately been stuck in similar situations of having to decide how to handle slights of honor.
Here’s my rule:
- Defending a person, self or woman, from violence, with violence, is one thing, and generally excusable on a limited basis.
- Defending the honor of a person, self, or woman, from insult, with violence, is another thing, and almost always inexcusable.
The first is a matter of harm reduction. The second is a matter of assuming the person was insulted, to begin with.
Violence is objective, insult is subjective.
The Golden Rule, that most men are taught is that it’s never ok to be the initiator of violence BUT it’s ok to be a defender against violence. Don’t start the fight but you can finish it.
So it’s a chicken or the egg scenario; why do most men initiate violence then? Because they perceived a slight, insult, offense, or diss against their honor or sense of right.
Men get into trouble defending honor; that of self, country, family, or wife. Insult can be temporal, emotional, and misunderstood. It can be cleared up.
Violence is harder to come back from though, even after time and apologies have been said.
I write this because many a heated man has tried defending honor with violence, only to extrapolate the error. It makes things go from bad to worse and makes the man look like a bad guy.
More often than not, a ‘defended woman’ will feel that violence was an overreaction, making the ‘defending man’ look controlling, possessive, and out of control.
On top of that, a slighted woman can claim she didn’t need the help, can take care of herself, or was not offended. The man has thus overstepped the line and boundaries of the defended, into something that is not his business.
Unfortunately, society sends conflicting messages to men about defending honor. There’s lots of cognitive dissonance in men’s heads about how they should act in society, and react to slights.
Some venues (like bars) and environments are more encouraging of honor defense, but I still don’t think it’s ok to initiate violence. Men use different ways of intimidation and pseudo-violence; speaking aggressively in someone’s face or grabbing them by the collar or neck. This all exists on the continuum of violence, which I don’t find acceptable.