By far the worst thing we do to males — by making them feel they have to be hard — is that we leave them with very fragile egos.”Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, award-winning author
“Stop crying, don’t you know you’re a man?” || “Why are you acting like a girl?” || “Act like a man”
If you’ve ever heard the above questions, you’d know that toxic masculinity is in play.
Basically, toxic masculinity is a cultural concept that glorifies stoicism, strength, virility, and dominance, and that is socially maladaptive or harmful to mens’ mental health. “Be a man. Only girls cry.” These sayings are an example of cultural expectations and standards of aggressive male behavior that are harmful not only to women and society but also to men themselves.
I grew up with five brothers. my parents really wanted a girl so they kept trying, the more they tried, the more sons they had. I went to an all-boys secondary school most of my life, I was surrounded by masculinity. All my life I have never understood why some people hold the opinion that any interest in a range of things that are even remotely considered feminine is seen an emasculation of a man. I feel the rational behind this reasoning is that there’s a scripted way a man should behave, that men are supposed to be violent, be aggressive, and show no emotion. This at best is absurd.
You’d also find that the concept of toxic masculinity is used in academic and media discussions of masculinity to refer to certain cultural norms that are associated with harm to society and to men themselves. Traditional stereotypes of men as socially dominant, along with related traits such as misogyny and homophobia, can be considered “toxic” due in part to their promotion of violence, including sexual assault and domestic violence. The socialization of boys in patriarchal societies often normalizes violence, such as in the saying “Boys will be boys” with regard to bullying and aggression.
However, according to Raewyn Connell, an American sociologist who practiced in the late 1980s, gender is the product of relations and behaviors, rather than as a fixed set of identities and attributes. Connell’s work described multiple masculinities shaped by class, race, culture, sexuality, and other factors, often in competition with one another as to which can claim to be more authentic. He theorized that masculine ideals such as social respect, physical strength, and sexual potency become problematic when they set unattainable standards. Falling short can make boys and men insecure and anxious, which might prompt them to use force in order to feel, and be seen, as and in control. Male violence in this scenario doesn’t emanate from something bad or toxic that has crept into the nature of masculinity itself, Rather, it comes from these men’s social and political settings, the particularities of which set them up for inner conflicts over social expectations and male entitlement.
Many people confuse masculinity and toxic asculinity. However, one can be masculine without having toxic Masculinity.
Some beliefs of toxic masculinity are that:
- Interactions between men and women should always have a superior/inferior undertone.
- That REAL men need to be strong, Showing emotion is a sign of weakness… unless it’s anger, that is considered okay.
- The idea that men can never be victims of abuse and talking about it is shameful.
- The idea that REAL men always want sex and are ready for it at any time.
- The idea that violence is the answer to everything and that REAL men solve their problems through violence.
- The idea that men could never be single parents, that men shouldn’t be too involved in their children’s learning and development, that men should always be the dominant one in the relationship or else he’s a “Cunt.”
- A Real Man doesn’t stay home and take care of his kids while his wife works. You’re a cunt.
- The idea that any interest in a range of things that are strictly considered feminine would be an emasculation of a guy.
Comment below your own ideas on Toxic Masculinity and I’ll be sure to reply you.
Terry is one of our regular ghost writer and the chief writer of the column, ROAYFG (Rantings of a Yellow Fat Guy) in Dav-Oz Blog.