Are men talking about toxic masculinity?
Are men holding up to the notion of toxic masculinity? Are they aware of the harms and impacts that toxic masculinity has got wrong? While a significant number of men have raised voices against masculinity they are expected to perform, there are men who still support and admire the idea of toxic masculinity just because it appears to be favouring and showering privilege on them.
Toxic masculinity entails gender roles, performance, stereotypes, traditional beliefs and behaviours. These norms are encouraged by the media and validated and implemented by society. No one has dug deeper to see the effects and consequences that it has on men and society because the cultural view of masculinity has apparently never posed as a threat to its target audience.
There should be taken an action, greater and consequential than a conversation with the men who knowingly or unknowingly support it.
What toxic masculinity wants men to do?
Toxic masculinity wants performance from men and acceptance from society. It has made men into tools to use them without giving anything substantial in return. It has turned men away from reality and made them live and believe in a world of aggression, assertiveness and dominance. It has given birth to fragile masculinity in men because men feel that they lose their status of masculinity if they don’t actively adhere and perform what the traditional and cultural norms of masculinity wants them to.
Stereotypically adhering to the social norms and gender roles give men a feeling of complete manhood else they lose their confidence in their manhood. It has given men anxiety, mental health illness and made them suffer economically and socially. It has seriously affected men’s ideologies, knowledge and inclinations.
The innate nature of masculine norms is destructive. The more men will accept toxic masculinity, the more pressure and problems they create for themselves. There are no ‘good parts’ to toxic masculinity no matter how it is represented in the media.
Why men should talk about toxic masculinity?
From cinemas to novels, there is not a subtle but obvious representation and glorification of toxic masculinity. It romanticizes humanly attitudes of men and presents them as exceptional qualities for eg, a man might be in a vulnerable position in the need of help but he is portrayed as an invincible human who needs no saving. On the contrary, a female character in the same position is depicted rightfully as a woman who is in need of help.
These trivial yet significant differences are represented in different and improved ways, keep on accumulating thereby, creating social norms and masculine stereotypes.
Men should talk about movies that represent them in a false light. Movies challenging toxic masculinity do not get enough recognition than movies glorifying the same. This evidence is enough to show that even though men talk against the toxic masculinity but the majority of men agree and appreciate the culture of machoism.
There are numerous actions of toxic masculinity that are romanticised and idealized in movies which impacts the men in their routine life actions and though procedure, too.
Some of the famous toxic masculine characters will be :
The sexually assertive man: This type of men has a lean body and a well-proportioned physique. He is usually seen with a woman who quite opposite who loves how he forces himself on her. The dominating and aggressive nature is a part of who he is. This trait harms men’s relationships in real life contrary to what is shown in the reel life. Excessive power and control ruin the self-esteem and confidence of the man and his partner.
The unemotional man: This is another toxic trait represents man as a person who never tells, shows and shares his emotions and problems. He is considered as super-secretive who figures everything on his own till the end, never seeks help, is self-reliant, physically tough and financially independent. He might be shown having a breakdown in between, but never for once he seeks help because he is a stoic. The generalisation of this trait has taken a toll on the mental health of men and the need to constantly adhere to the traditional norms of manhood which prefers them to be quiet about emotions unless it is anger.
Homophobia: Homophobia poses as a challenge and a threat to the whole notion of masculinity. Men behaving or resembling even remotely feminine are humiliated and their identity is beneath their consideration. Men are not even considered as ‘men’ as they left the norms of manhood. This trait regulates and polices man’s actions and choice of clothing. How men should talk, what they should wear and that too in which colour, etc. has been under the control of the self-propagating toxic masculinity.
Not a feminist ally: Toxic masculinity never allows men to champion for equal rights, for both men and women. The upliftment of fellow men is not as important as upholding and continuing the work of continuing the social norms.
Practices gender roles: Men who believe that home is just another place to eat and rest. The emotional and sentimental feeling does not exist. They are portrayed as strong believers of masculinity and often police and shame other men if their choices are socially deviant. They don’t advocate for the abolishment of social norms because they think that they benefit from it.
Risk-taker: This is an important trait when we talk about toxic masculinity and its effects on men. Men are mostly shown as risk-takers who assert their power, dominance and superiority by playing with life and dangerous things. This trait encompasses every other quality of toxic masculinity. Risk-taking means upholding the norms of manhood.
Why don’t men talk about toxic masculinity?
Even though there are men that talk about the consequences of toxic masculinity and the effects of adherence to masculine stereotypes, there is still a significant number of them who like to falsely believe that masculinity benefits and privileges them. The reason men don’t talk about it already is their unawareness of the deeper impacts later in life. There must be discussions, seminars, QnA sessions, blogs, article and videos made in different languages for the conveyance of the message and making other men aware of the same.