North Texas Daily

We need to stop centering conversations on toxic masculinity around men

We need to stop centering conversations on toxic masculinity around men

We need to stop centering conversations on toxic masculinity around men
March 28
22:50 2021

Toxic masculinity can take on a range of differing meaning, but Cambridge defines toxic masculinity best as “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.” Conversations on the ways toxic masculinity can be detrimental to men’s mental health have become more normalized in recent years, which is great in theory, but unfortunately, this development seems to have come at the expense of the people toxic masculinity hurts the most.

While toxic masculinity has definitely painted men into a corner in terms of how they are allowed to express themselves, and while being pressured in stifling soft emotions is traumatic in that it prevents them from working through other traumas, it is the people they take said traumas out on that suffer the most under toxic masculinity. Men are taught that basic human decency is a weakness symptomatic of womanhood and queerness. Not only is their subsequent posturing born from a frantic desire not to be associated with those they consider undesirables, but this noxious combination of being encouraged to turn to anger as a first resort and to look at women and minorities as lesser creatures often leads to them committing heinous acts of violence against people in these demographics.

So why, right as we as a society have successfully pinpointed a key factor in the persisting problem of violence against women and minorities, are we centering even this conversation around the feelings of men? Not that the impact of toxic masculinity on men shouldn’t be up for discussion, but the actual physical traumas experienced by their victims should be the focal point.

Men claiming they are oppressed people because they experience toxic masculinity is particularly infuriating as far as sociopolitical trends go. Toxic masculinity wasn’t invented by women, people of color or the LGBTQ+ community to oppress men, it was invented by men for men, for the sole purpose of distancing themselves from the people they wanted to dehumanize so they could continue to commit egregious acts of violence against them without pretense. Men hated women and gay people so much that they sacrificed their own well-being in order to oppress us more effectively.

In recent years, what could have been a groundbreaking conversation on the true nature of systemic violence devolved, even more, men began to actively cite toxic masculinity as a suitable excuse for bad behavior. I have seen women roped into acting as armchair psychologists for these men, who explain away the trauma they inflict on said women as a product of their own, relying on the empathy of a person they have gone out of their way to dehumanize to maintain their own delusions. Again, I am not saying that conversations on how toxic masculinity makes men feel are not relevant or worth having, rather that these feelings are in no way comparable to the bodily harm and deep-seated trauma men inflict on women and minorities, and pretending that they are isn’t progress.

Featured Illustration by J. Robynn Aviles

About Author

Rachel Card

Rachel Card

Rachel Card is a junior majoring in public relations and minoring in sociology. She was born in Austin, Texas, and is currently quarantining there with her family and three dogs.

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