Violent, militaristic, or misogynistic forms of masculinity are mostly challenged for the sake of peace. In her text Masculinities, war and militarism-, Claire Duncanson acknowledges pioneering feminist and masculinity scholars who initially highlighted the connection between masculinities and militarism, arguing that societal notions of masculinity drive men's involvement in the military rather than innate biological factors. What becomes pretty clear while reading it is that socialisation processes teach boys and men that traits like aggression, toughness, and control are essential for proving their manhood, perpetuating the idea that military service is a pathway to manhood and strength. These feminist scholars have since always emphasised that masculinity is socially constructed, as well as pointed out that military training is clear evidence that masculinity is not inherent but rather cultivated through cultural norms and institutions.

When discussing militarised masculinity, we are referring to a concept that extends beyond mere violence, encompassing various attributes such as notions of protection, risk-taking, and bravery. These characteristics serve to uphold and reinforce traditional gender roles within society. This socialisation into militarised masculinity results in workplace discrimination, harassment, and sexual exploitation within the military, leading to higher rates of sexual assault and violence against women in military settings. Its influence, however, goes beyond the military, shaping societal perceptions of gender and influencing behaviours in everyday life, particularly among men in positions of authority and leadership. Mostly, these strong ideals of masculinity contribute to a culture of risk-taking and aggression, impacting decision-making at both individual and institutional levels.

The relationship between masculinities, militarism, and war has some complex traits, moving beyond the initial understanding of these connections. If we emphasise the link between masculinity and militarism, we inadvertently reinforce gendered stereotypes rather than challenge them. In the past decades, numerous scholars have highlighted the diversity of military masculinities, recognising that masculinity intersects with other identity factors like class, nation, and race. Research in this field delves into various contexts of militarised masculinities, including terrorism, rebel groups, private military and security companies (PMSCs), and veterans' experiences. Here, contradictions within militarised masculinity are examined, such as the coexistence of emotional expression with stoicism and the demand for discipline alongside the expression of anger. Particularly, the concept of „hegemonic masculinity“ has been introduced as a useful framework for understanding how certain forms of masculinity dominate while others are marginalised, perpetuating gender inequalities.

In this regard, marginalised men encompass individuals who find themselves at the fringes of societal structures due to systemic disadvantages rooted in factors such as race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, gender identity, or other intersecting identities. Among them are men of colour, who experience systemic racism that impedes their access to education, employment, and healthcare, and subjects them to disproportionate rates of incarceration and violence. LGBTQ+ men encounter discrimination and stigmatisation based on their sexual orientation or gender identity, leading to exclusion, violence, and heightened vulnerability. Men with disabilities face barriers to full participation in society, encountering limitations in education, employment, and healthcare access, often coupled with stigma and prejudice. Socioeconomically disadvantaged men confronting poverty or homelessness lack access to basic necessities and may struggle to secure stable employment or education, as do immigrant and refugee men, who face language barriers and discrimination based on immigration status or cultural background and grapple with vulnerabilities that can lead to exploitation and abuse.

However, many critiques of the concept of „hegemonic masculinity“ have arisen, questioning its ability to account for progressive change and its empirical applicability in diverse contexts. Alternative perspectives, like "thwarted masculinities," do now highlight the frustration and violence that men feel and use when they are unable to fulfil societal expectations of masculinity, particularly in conflict-affected areas.

What has also been discussed in the text are the efforts to dismantle violent masculinities and promote more egalitarian models for peacebuilding. Scholars here emphasise the need to address the prevalence of men in violence and the implications for reducing violence. The initiatives that aim to transform militarised masculinities are, for example, the disarmament of ex-combatants or the promotion of community education in war-affected areas. Moreover, they examine how shifts in Western militaries towards peace operations have influenced militarised masculinities. They caution against assuming progress, highlighting how narratives of "softer, kinder" masculinities often reinforce existing oppressions and distract from the root causes of conflicts. Research on peace-builder masculinities suggests three key lessons. First, challenging militarised masculinities requires changing power dynamics and fostering equality and empathy. Second, attention to intersections of masculinity with other identity factors is crucial to avoid reinforcing oppressions. Third, redefining military masculinities must be accompanied by broader challenges to social, political, and economic forces that drive conflicts. Despite complexity and dissenting views, scholars continue to investigate the relationship between masculinities, militarism, and war, recognising the role of gender norms in driving conflict.

It seems clear that gender inequalities and the notion of masculinity are deeply intertwined with cultural and societal contexts, evolving over time in response to societal norms and expectations. Education, both formal and informal, emerges here as a powerful tool for challenging and reshaping these entrenched notions of masculinity and gender inequality. By providing individuals with critical thinking skills, promoting empathy, and encouraging the questioning of traditional gender roles, education can play a transformative role in dismantling harmful stereotypes and fostering more inclusive and equitable societies. It's imperative for individuals, especially men, to abandon the romanticization of war and violence, recognising the impact that such glorification has on society. Engaging in activities like playing war games or idolising military conflict perpetuates a culture that normalises and even celebrates violence, desensitising individuals to its real-life consequences.

This normalisation of violence not only distorts perceptions of conflict but also fosters a dangerous mindset that valorizes aggression and dominance as masculine traits. By distancing themselves from the glorification of war, men can actively contribute to creating a more peaceful and compassionate society, one where conflict resolution is prioritised over aggression and empathy supersedes violence. A promotion of alternative forms of masculinity that prioritise cooperation and non-violence, challenging the entrenched narrative that equates masculinity with aggression and dominance, is essential. Through conscious efforts to reject the romanticization of war and violence, men can play a crucial role in shaping a society that values peace, empathy, and mutual respect. In general, through education, individuals can gain a deeper understanding of the social construction of gender and its impact on their lives, empowering them to challenge and redefine notions of masculinity in ways that promote equality and respect for all genders.