Toxic Masculinity

Let's be sure we are all on the same page when you hear the term " Toxic Masculinity"

It's a set of attitudes and ways of behaving stereotypically associated with or expected of men, regarded as having a negative impact on men and on society as a whole.

How about a little bit more clarity. As defined by the Goodmen Project :

"Toxic masculinity is a narrow and repressive description of manhood, designating manhood as defined by violence, sex, status and aggression. It’s the cultural ideal of manliness, where strength is everything while emotions are a weakness; where sex and brutality are yardsticks by which men are measured, while supposedly “feminine” traits — which can range from emotional vulnerability to simply not being hypersexual — are the means by which your status as “man” can be taken away."

Now, there is a difference between traditional masculinity and toxic masculinity: There is nothing toxic about working hard, providing for one’s family, winning at sports, or being loyal to friends. Most importantly, there’s nothing toxic about wanting to be respected. All humans want to feel respected—we all want to know we are valued, recognized, and affirmed.

Talking about toxic masculinity is not about vilifying boys, men or any of the particular qualities society has deemed “masculine.” Rather, it is an opportunity to begin to reconstruct a more positive model of masculinity that makes room for the many different ways to be a boy or man and allows all individuals to feel secure in their masculine identity. Being who they are and not have to pretend, act or "wear a mask" based on their audience. It allows them to be themselves naturally from being little boys, through teenage years and growing into gentlemen adults.

It’s narrow, rigid, and men have to contort themselves to fit inside it. To fit in the man box of toxic masculinity, a man must live by a particular set of beliefs and behaviors:
• Suffer pain in silence
• Have no needs
• Never lose
• Show no emotions other than bravado or rage
• Don’t depend on anyone
• Don’t do anything that could be construed as weakness
• Never snitch.

Here are some traits of toxic masculinity themes :
• mental and physical toughness
• aggression
• stoicism, or not displaying emotion
• heterosexism, or discrimination against people who aren’t heterosexual / homophobia
• self-sufficiency
• emotional insensitivity

Toxic masculinity typically shows up within men and masculine-identified persons, but it can be upheld by anyone. Male or female. It can be part of our inherent culture, our upbringing, the environment in which we were raised. "No one knew any better." "It's just the way it is/was." Here those replies or remarks before?

All it takes is for one man to do something negative and it can trigger an entire movement where all men can be cast in the same shadow. It is then very difficult for all other men to prove they are not within this same category or guilty of such claims. Naturally and rightfully so, we condone their negative actions men take and only wish the best for those who have been impacted.

We now are making a claim not all men fit into that toxic masculinity theme. We are caring and kind. Men are brave but gentle. We have our own fears and need the right time and space to share. We are witty and fun, gentlemen. We have the desire for all mankind to have love in their life, respect for themselves and each other, and the balance to live in harmony. 

All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own mental health provider. Please consult a licensed mental health professional for all individual questions and issues.

- credit Savvy Psychologist Ellen Hendriksen

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