I've recently seen this topic of toxic masculinity being discussed on several social media platforms, and felt it appropriate to address.
Initially when this topic emerged I didn't think it would get that much discussion. Why? Because in my opinion this is not a new topic, it is just presented in a new way.
Recently, unfortunately, I've observed men responding this term, in a way that suggest they lack full understanding what it means. And in that case, I totally understand why this idea of toxic masculinity may be offensive.
However, I decided to take time to properly define and explain the term and what makes it appropriate.
Additionally, this post gives me a chance to further illustrate how people react emotionally (based on feeling) prior to, or with little to no consideration of facts, about new topics/terms...
The Definition(s) of "Toxic Masculinity"
Toxic masculinity, is socially defined as attitudes that describe the masculine gender role as violent, unemotional, sexually aggressive, etc.
Toxic masculinity is defined, in psychology, as harmful and destructive behaviors associated with aspects of traditional masculinity.
Now, while there has been no agreement on one definition for this term at this time, based on these definitions alone, the term should not be taken in an offensive manner. Why? Because the word is descriptive and fundamentally defines negative behaviors of men (male gender roles).
And truth be told, "toxic masculinity" in my opinion, further defines the concept of male chauvinism.
Male chauvinist feel they are superior to women in general. Especially since men have always been seen as pillars of strength, dominance and control, exampled by countries where men are the only gender allowed to rule.
Men culturally, are regarded as alpha creatures, and when that dominance, control, power, strength, etc. is threatened, that is typically when men exhibit toxic behavior, in efforts to regain dominance and control at all costs or to reestablish self value and/or self-worth.
This could also lead and/or contribute to misogynistic behavior.
Misogyny VS "Toxic Masculinity"
Misogyny by definition, according to Google, is strong prejudice against women. However, misogynist according to psychology is more of a unconscious behavior, that is a result of abuse and/or neglect by a female (traumatic experience), left unidentified and unaddressed.
So on top of men being bred to be superior, dominate and strong individuals, there are some who have been traumatized so much, that they totally disregard women as anything other than objects. Because they've developed a strong prejudice to women as a result of trauma.
In turn, when women challenge men in a manner that threatens his ego, a challenge of his power, etc., men either become misogynistic and/or display toxic masculine behavior.
Because this really is not a hard concept to grasp.
But as most things, I anticipate this being "unaccepted" rationale by men, because quite frankly, men have a hard time with accountability for their actions in general...
My personal experience with "Toxic Masculinity"
As a women, I regard this term as truth because I have been subject to negative or "toxic masculinity".
For example, I've been called "Bitch" by men I preferred not to engage with, or showed no interested in. I have been regarded as "inadequate" professionally, simply because I was not a man. I have been molested (rights and desires totally ignored), and I have been made to feel as if I was nothing more than a sexual object.
In general, women have been minimized, ignored and demeaned by men for
centuries. Just look at the commercial's from the 20s, where women's role was only to be "homemakers". Women would play no role outside of the home for decades.
And unfortunately, the idea of using women in a capacity that "best suits" men, is still taking place today, as shown by the #METOO movement.
In business, it is far too common for women to trade sexual favors for promotions and/or advancement, without any consideration to education and/or capabilities.
In fact, look at the image of women today, socially.
We are more praised by men (in general) for maintaining our physical appearance, before any of our other achievements. The number of men who appreciate women for anything more than a sexual object is so few, to the point where we (women) don't really even know if those men exist...
I have said this many times and tried to illustrate this from a female perspective in my posts titled "Where Are All The Good Men".
“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
This quote sums up the idea that while toxic masculinity is real, there is an explanation for it. And wherever there is an explanation, there can be a plan of change.
I know this post has said a lot of things, but what I really want to make very clear is that toxic masculinity is shown in concepts of misogyny, chauvinism, and the simple notion that men have been bred culturally to be "superior" beings.
The ideology of masculinity is in a lot of ways negatively impacting our men and their ability to to be fragile, vulnerable, etc. And because of this they are conditioned to not be empathetic or sympathetic.
We, as a nation, are all still a work in progress, but as many things we really have to be comfortable with identifying our issues so that we can properly address them.
Please share your comments below!