Photo courtesy of Penn State

Sex & Gender

Another hazing death: toxic masculinity poisons fraternities

October 12, 2017

The death of Penn State Sophomore Tim Piazza marked another tragic reminder of the sinister impact toxic masculinity is having on young men around the world. In this case, Piazza’s avoidable demise was the ultimate result of a casual night of cruelty, abuse, and dehumanization, a common feature of fraternity hazing. As Caitlin Flanagan documents in her riveting history of toxic masculinity, sexual abuse, and, frankly, patriarchal corruption, the callousness that enabled a mansion full of “brothers” to harm him badly enough before leaving him for dead to be charged with hundreds of counts including involuntary manslaughter (reduced to Reckless Endangerment, Hazing, and Furnishing).

Some might think Flanagan is reaching while connecting the dots of toxic masculinity between the death of a fraternity pledge and the Jerry Sandusky scandal, I’m hard-pressed to find a better explanation for the systematic abuses within these all-male spaces.