The West Australian newspaper’s fight against domestic violence was slammed for going too far when it plastered the image of a white boy on its front page with the headline “How we stop this kid from becoming a monster”.
The article was about a plan to teach respectful relationships to children in schools in a bid to arrest skyrocketing levels of violence against women in the community.
The article’s subheading read: “Calls for DV lessons at all schools to address menace of toxic masculinity”.
But the front page was criticised for implying that violence was the default setting for white boys.
It insinuates that boys are natural born predators who need to be trained out of being monsters.
Social media users criticised the paper for saying that masculinity was toxic and warned that the first way to create monsters was by telling little boys that they were, in fact, monsters.
“Labelling a kid as a potential monster then telling him he shouldn't become one, is the opposite of a kid who never knew the term monster and just played outside figuring things out with friends. Hey teacher leave them kids alone!” commented one person.
Another person, tongue firmly in cheek, wrote:
“I mean, look at him. He is clean and decently dressed, standing there not looking ashamed to be white OR male. His hair isn't even blue, for Pete's sake! He needs to be stopped! What's wrong with this generation?!”
Readers made it clear they were sick of masculinity being demonised, with one person asking:
“Why is masculinity is toxic? Can someone help me understand??? If they want to be feminine, don’t I have the right to be masculine?”