Toxic Masculinity: An Explanation

Share this postEmail this to someoneShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

 

By Anna Van Reenen

This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 9 of VARSITY News.

 

More so now than ever before, the world is becoming more aware of the existence of toxic masculinity. Whilst in the past it was praised as ‘machoism’, today it is viewed as a dangerous and harmful trait.

 

 

Toxic masculinity is a collection of behaviours, attitudes and feelings held by men that are harmful to themselves and to those around them. These include an inability to show emotion, a refusal to show platonic intimacy towards other men, an aspiration for physical, intellectual and sexual dominance in all spaces and the systematic oppression and devaluation of women. Toxic masculinity idolises stoicism, aggression, dominance, oppression and general male entitlement.

 

 

Toxic masculinity normalises many unacceptable behaviours, such as sexual abuse, and contributes towards the oppression of other marginalised groups such as queer, GNC and femme bodies.

 

Toxic masculinity’s existence has a major effect on society. It constantly subjugates already marginalised groups, contributing to sexual and domestic violence, particularly against women. Also, it fuels homophobic violence and racism. Toxic masculinity normalises many unacceptable behaviours, such as sexual abuse, and contributes towards the oppression of other marginalised groups such as queer, GNC and femme bodies.

 

Toxic masculinity  is also internally harmful and facilitates patterns of poor health, higher levels of imprisonment, and risky behaviour such as drug use and aggression. The combination of these is further traumatic because it teaches the next generation of boys that this behaviour is acceptable and should be strived for.

 

The American Psychological Association acknowledged the extent of this issue and even went so far as to create guidelines for psychologists working with males who feel socialised to follow traditional masculine ideologies.

 

There have been many attempts at a discourse on this topic. Many educational groups, such as the Good Lad Initiative, Working With Men and the Good Men Project all focus on teaching the younger generation of males the correct way to act and behave respectfully in society. This prevents toxic masculinity from spreading across generations. In addition to NGOs, large companies like Gillette are also involved in this discussion. Furthermore, the American Psychological Association acknowledged the extent of this issue and even went so far as to create guidelines for psychologists working with males who feel socialised to follow traditional masculine ideologies.

 

Despite this, there is still a long way to go before toxic masculinity is eradicated completely. It appears that it will only happen when a new generation of men rise. Until then, it will continue to plague women, femme bodies and other marginalised groups.

 

Share this postEmail this to someoneShare on FacebookShare on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedIn

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *