Toxic masculinity has been become more often used in everyday conversations as feminism and awareness grows in society.
However, before I begin this article, I would like to say that not all men exhibit toxic masculinity. I do not want this article to grossly stereotype all men has having aspects of toxic masculinity. There are people in this world that do engage in behaviors that do support this term, but there are many more that do not. If we begin exhibiting prejudice against all men, we become, what has been a newly coined term, toxic feminists (read more about this here).
With that disclaimer, let’s begin.
Toxic masculinity, according to Medical News Today, is “a term often used to describe the negative aspects of exaggerated masculine traits.” These exaggerated traits such as strength, suppressing emotions, tendency towards violence, and entitlement are used to suppress females around them and ridicule “lesser men”. Furthermore, these traits are encouraged by the people around them, whether it be family members or friends. The statement “boys will be boys” is an example of this.
Such expressions like the one above highlight aspects of different cultures and societies that promote this behavior, reducing males to a single role and females to a single and different role.
The constant representations of men in roles of violence or in prison serves to promote this type of “macho” behavior, leading to more acts of violence committed by men and wide-spread beliefs that men are supposed to be the “hunters”, if you will, of the family. Those who exhibit these behaviors may even be people close to you, such as your father or your brother or your best friend or even you, yourself.
People exhibit this behaviors of toxic masculinity in an effort to behave accordingly to what males behaved in the past and, in a way, to take back control from the gradually shifting gender roles in the world. Furthermore, these traits stem from an insecurity of believing that they were not being “manly” enough.
In light of the awareness spreading among society as well as the outcry of many feminists, toxic masculinity has been thrown out into the open to be mauled and demolished. Those who exhibit these behaviors are thrown into the boxing ring. Those who protest against these behaviors become angels.
In reality, toxic masculinity is not going to go away. No amount of press coverage or outcry will fully shut this away. In too many cultures, masculinity is highly respected; if you are a man, exhibiting otherwise is dishonoring your family.
These conversations regarding toxic masculinity can be no better delivered than delivered by males themselves. The negative effects of society stereotypes, reinforced by what we see on the television, social media, and news, can be eventually thrown off, especially if there are more “man-to-man” conversations regarding masculinity.
Nevertheless, we have made progress against toxic masculinity, through these very conversations to the level of awareness our society has risen up to. On the other hand, toxic masculinity should not be something to be ridiculed. It should be something that we, as a collective whole, work to eliminate, not work to dehumanize men who display these types of behavior.
On that note, adieu.
Lots of love,