‘Cowards’ and ‘Scumbags’: Tough Talk and Men’s Violence
This paper explores the ways in which particular forms of violence, namely violence against women and one-punch assaults, are framed in discourses of violence prevention in Australia. In denouncing certain acts, individuals and groups, I show that condemnatory responses—what I refer to here as ‘tough talk’—serve to reinforce, rather than challenge, hierarchical (gendered, raced, classed) difference as normative. Based on assumptions that link violence to particular ‘types’ of men, such approaches overlook the nuance, complexity and contextual meanings of violence. Preventing violence, I argue, requires that we engage with cultures of violence by focusing less on some men’s violence, instead recognising the interconnectedness of gender and other hierarchies of identity as the critical context for violence.
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