Toxic masculinity. I have been thinking about writing this piece for a while and I wondered whether or not if I was doing the right thing in a wrong way or just doing the right thing my way. One thing I’ve discover is that the battle of manhood is dependent on how violent a man is and the amount of pain he can harbour. The more violent, sexually aggressive and unemotional you are, the stronger you are perceived to be. I have no problem with masculinity, what I do have a problem with is the toxicity we as a society encourage. We tell men to not express any emotion that doesn’t include anger because as a man you are supposedly incapable of crying and it is shameful that you do, we call out men who are interested in self care pussies and girly because having the slightest interest in taking care of yourself makes you gay and something as little as the type of body wash or bar soap you use has been overly sexualized that you find it hard to use a soft liquid wash. In secondary school we also assigned genders to the subjects we offered, and boys having any form of interest in subjects like biology, food and nutrition, home management and home economics were considered as girly or just gay.
There is a construct of what masculinity is which denies the existence of men who refuse to be grouped into that box.
I know straight men don’t view other straight men who accept their femininity and men in the LGBTQ community as real men solely because of their sexuality and feminine nature. The definition of masculinity for gay men is much more intricate, intense and potentially disturbing. It is said that the masculinity of gay men is said to be fragile, tainted, girly and leaning into womanhood, gay men are often laughed at by heterosexual men for being gay simply because they believe that women are inferior to men and femininity is to be laughed at and as such, deserve to be treated as less, being able to earn respect as a gay man from heterosexual men is tough because their treatment is linked to their sexuality and how masculine they can be. The idea of what homosexuality is to a lot of heterosexual men is to want to be like women and so their manhood is dismissed.
Biologically, women and men do possess characteristics that differentiates both of them and groups both as male/female, a side more dominant than the other or equally the same. It’ll be a shame if one side is completely ignored or suppressed because of this idea society has on what masculinity and femininity is and supposed to be.
On the topic of Toxic masculinity and the enablers of this gendered behaviour, men are often responsible for how much toxic masculinity is being sowed deep into the culture and how much of it is allowed to grow. Men are often very excited to bond over toxic masculinity and when called out they refuse to acknowledge nor reprimand their friends for their violent behaviour because it is going against The BRO CODE, just like the girl code you’d think it was a list of honourable things men would encourage themselves to say, do or bond over but all I see are men refusing the responsibility of honesty. Men need to start calling themselves out and correcting the bad behaviour of their friends and family rather than ignoring it, letting it go or encouraging it. For almost a week or two, I have had to examine myself and how I react to certain situations, not because I am wrong but because the people I call-out always seem to question my reaction and decisions rather than the cause of it.
We spend so much time assigning gender roles rather than allowing men and women breathe and be the definition of what they want to describe their femininity and masculinity as.
Being a woman/girl in a space dominated by men/boys really shows you how much of a difference there is in male and female spaces. I recently left a game group chat I was on and this group chat helped me so much in evaluating masculinity and toxic masculinity, here we have a group with 119 members dominated by young men and a girl or 3? I wouldn’t know. On average we would have about 73 people online, with numbers like this you’d know the group was quite active. If we have 72 boys online, I could be the only girl online because the group wasn’t populated with girls (male dominated space) and being the only girl and feminist on the group we could be talking about one thing and I could make it another thing. The group was a game group where game recommendations were made, the similar games we played were discussed and our sex life. Gradually, it wasn’t always about the game but it seemed to be about rape culture and other sensitive and serious issues (they weren’t talked about for the whole day but it was enough for you to come online). Long story short a day came where the “jokes” were getting out of hand and it seemed like everyone was okay with it except me, I did call everyone out point blank period and I didn’t care, I left the group.
Why are women’s reaction more criticized and questioned compared to men’s actions?!
We say women try so hard to be likeable, women hold grudges against other women for a long time, women do too much, women don’t know how to have good friendships, women do this and women do that but there’s no scrutiny for men. As far as I know, men are more worried about likability compared to women, they’re more worried about ruining their friendships, they’re more concerned about the brotherhood and bond they form with themselves rather than women’s safety, they’re more worried about holding a grudge, they’re more worried about expressing and dismissing concern, they’re more worried about protecting abusers rather than victims. There was a time when I had more boy friends than girl friends because I felt they were “easier to deal with” (what a hot mess), there’s something about having male friends who don’t hold you accountable for your actions and when they do, it’s almost as if you weren’t responsible for what you did. You’re held accountable but you’re not allowed to feel responsible for it. Having women in your life who are not scared of correcting you, telling you to be responsible and encouraging you to do better is a breath of fresh air, having friends who tell you when you’re wrong is important! Having friends who tell you to own up to what you did is overly important! That’s the problem with male friendships, they tell their buddies what they did and how they’re wrong for doing that but they don’t encourage them to responsible and take ownership for their actions.
Why would I be offended because my mannerism fits the script of something I am half of?
There is nothing wrong with telling your friend to accept and to take ownership of the bad they did, it is important. If you really want to portray yourself as Mr Nice Guy, do the job and stop ignoring your friends bad behaviour. You are not allowed to be Mr Nice Guy if you don’t think it’s your place to correct your friends for the shitty things they say and do, I don’t care if you don’t laugh at the jokes, I don’t care if you don’t create those jokes, I care about what you do when you hear those jokes, I care about your reaction to those jokes, I care about how well you handled the situation, that is what I care about. Enough of the nonchalant replies, enough of I don’t do it, enough of I don’t care, I’m not interested and it doesn’t bother me. You should care! and you should let your friends know that you do care.
On a last note, if you are incapable of correcting your friends for the bad things they do and you seem to have lost your voice trying to call them out, make sure it’s lost forever. The way guys tend to suck up to their male friends bad behaviour is outrageous and I for one would not be policed for calling out your horrible behaviour and your terrible friends out. If you’re going to kiss your friends ass and suck his dick for his nasty behaviour, you might as well extend that privilege to me too.
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