From Tarzan to Homer Simpson: Socrates Nolasco’s firm grasp on contemporary lack of clarity

  by Noga Sklar[1] As a renowned psychologist in his native Brazil, and an author who, throughout his career, has focused on issues of maleness and masculine violence, Socrates Nolasco makes a valid contribution to the contemporary discussion of gender equality and sex differences. “Men have lower life expectancy than women”, he writes, in this crucial book about education and the male violence in western contemporary societies. “They account for 90% of the incarcerated population; they die more often in traffic accidents, from alcohol and drug consumption, and they commit more suicides than women”.  If this is the case, one might ask, why would women and other “minorities” fight so fiercely for the sake of being equal? And that’s not all. “Men,” writes Nolasco, “are always the ones who define the contours and the records of violence. Upon organizing a table by sex, it can be verified that violence has no color, age, or social class, but it has a sex”. Does this picture change due to the strong imposition of gender equality today? An update on data originally collected in 2001, when the Portuguese edition of From Tarzan to Homer Simpson was published, shows that, indeed, this idea makes sense: “Since 2010, the female jail population has been the fastest growing correctional population, increasing by an average annual rate of 3.4 percent”, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, published in December 2014. However, if this is indeed the case, why should violence still be seen as a manifestation of masculinity? From the perspective of the changing role of the masculine in a society where the very conception of gender is undergoing seismic changes, Nolasco considers that “the involvement of men in situations of violence is related to the effort undertaken by the subject to maintain his form of...