Masc4Masc: A Toxic Culture

Masc4Masc: A Toxic Culture

The way Masc4Masc has caused issues within the gay community.
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Open any gay dating app right now, and you are going to be greeted with profiles of men whose usernames, taglines, and descriptions include the dreaded "Masc4Masc" phrase. For those of you who are not familiar with Masc4Masc, or masculine for masculine, it is an identifier that indicates a gay individual who conforms to a heteronormative idea of masculinity and is searching for the same.

Masculinity has evolved over the last century to take on a whole other meaning: the idea that men who are masculine are somehow superior to those of us that have more feminine qualities. This ideology has caused men who are feminine to feel unwanted because of who they are, and it has caused those who were raised in a more masculine environment to feel like exploring femininity is not an option.

While there is nothing wrong with being masculine as a gay man, there is an issue with being masculine and viewing those who are not as lesser. This thought comes from the ideology that expressing femininity as a male equates to being weak, oversensitive, and unattractive. When you write Masc4Masc on your dating profile, you are shaming other for expressing themselves.

Which raises the question: what is masculinity? If you Google that, you will get about 15,100,000 results. Most of these results will discuss how being masculine revolves around being strong, brave, and showing no emotion. These results are the social construct of masculinity; there are many ways to be masculine. Masculinity is influenced by your upbringing, your culture, and your personal definition of what it is to be masculine.

The definition of masculinity differs from person to person. We can't simplify the idea of gender expression to someone's appearance, the pitch of voice, or the way a man chooses to hold himself. The desire for only masculine men is problematic because we shouldn't be playing straight until proven guilty when dating.

Let me put that into the better words: we shouldn't have to pretend to be something we are not just to get a shot with you. Instead, maybe you should consider opening your mind and understanding that femininity is a great quality to have because it allows us to feel. It makes it possible to see things from a different perspective, and, most of all, we might help you discover your femininity in the process.

"Masc4Masc," "Straight acting," "No Fems"--all of those taglines go hand in hand. Why is acting straight such a desirable thing when you're gay, and why is being gay thought of as just being feminine? Saying you're "straight acting" is no more than a nasty way of saying I don't want to be associated with being gay, even though I am. Saying "No Fems" is just a rude way of saying you don't like a group of people for being who they are.

While these terms are notorious for displaying your ignorance, it's okay to be masculine. It's okay to find masculine men attractive. If that is your preference, then so be it. Just make sure you're not doing it out of a place of internalized homophobia or internalized misogyny. So how do you tell if that's truly just a preference? If you look at a feminine man and you feel no attraction, but you feel disgusted or annoyed, then it would be a good time to check yourself. Feeling disgusted or annoyed by the way someone expresses themselves indicates a personal problem with yourself, but it doesn't indicate a problem with the individual who chooses to express themselves in a feminine way.

Cover Image Credit: Coltt Vance

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The Truth About Dating A Girl With An Anxiety Disorder

She knows how annoying she can be, but she just prays you love her regardless of her flaws.

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Anxiety: A nervous disorder characterized by a state of excessive uneasiness and apprehension, typically with compulsive behavior or panic attacks.

The definition makes it sound really daunting. Truthfully, there is no one way to describe generalized anxiety disorder if you have it. It is hard to live with, hard to cope with and unfortunately, really hard to date with.

Girls with anxiety are different than the average girl when it comes to relationships. That's just an honest statement, no matter how much it hurts me to say it.

We need the constant reminder that you love us, even though we know in our hearts that you do. We panic when you don't answer your phone, in fear that we did something wrong. We care about your feelings when you say that we don't need to worry and we need to be a little calmer. But it's so damn hard.

It isn't easy to love someone who worries about everything 24/7. Half the time, we know we shouldn't be doing the things we do. We know we shouldn't blow up your phone or ask just one more time if you are mad at us. But we can't help it. It says it right in the definition: compulsive behavior due to excessive uneasiness.

Being with a girl with anxiety is probably downright exhausting. It's exhausting for us to have our minds constantly running and worrying. But I promise it's worth it.

We come to you with everything because you are the one person who always knows how to make us feel better. When we are happy, you are the one person we want to be happy with. We all know the constant reassurance, reminders and the same old arguments get old. It gets old to us too.

There was never a time I wanted to have a panic attack because my boyfriend wasn't answering his phone. In my head, I knew where he was because he was usually in the same three places. I knew he wasn't mad at me because I didn't do anything to make him upset. I knew how busy he was with his classes and he was probably studying and I needed to give him space. But the little voice in my head always argued, "What if you did something wrong? What if he's ignoring you because he's angry? What if he's seen your messages and calls, but no longer wants to be with you?" And then I give in. I call, I text, I cry, I panic. Only to feel even worse 10, 30 or 50 minutes later because you answer angrily, telling me what I already knew after I did what I knew I shouldn't have done.

Having anxiety is almost like having a drug addiction. You know all the things that trigger you. You know all the ways to stay away from the bad places in your mind so you don't end up relapsing. But you do anyway and it hurts worse every single time.

Dating a girl with anxiety is as hard as it gets, but she will love you like no other. She is so incredibly thankful for all the things you put up with to be with her. Because she is worried about being loved, she goes the extra mile to always remind you how much you are loved. She always asks if you are ok because she cares about the answer and knows what it's like not to be ok.

The truth is that dating anybody with anxiety is difficult, but it isn't impossible. You get back everything you put in, even though you may not realize it. Trust me, she is sorry for being the annoying, crying, worried, naggy mess and it embarrasses her because she knows better and she wants to be better for you. But please love her. Hold her, understand her, listen to her, calm her, be there for her. In your heart, you know she would turn around and do all the same things for you in a heartbeat.

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The 7 Stages Of A Breakup, As Told By Netflix's 'Someone Great'

Alexa play "Truth Hurts" by Lizzo, and max volume, please.

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We all know how it feels to get your heart broken by a guy. Whether it be in your teens or in your 30s, everyone experiences it, or already has. After watching the movie “Someone Great" on Netflix, it hit me deep in my feels. If you haven't seen it yet, check it out. It made me realize all of the stages of going through a rough breakup, and I could not relate to a movie more.

1. When you first breakup and will cry about it to just about anyone

We all know that we do this almost immediately after a break-up. You are just trying to get out of the house so you go to the store, something reminds you of our ex, and next thing you know, you're talking the stranger's ear off in the grocery store for the next 2 hours.

2. When your friends call you and you say you're fine but you really haven't moved from your couch in two days and all you have done is eat two gallons of ice cream and watch "The Notebook" on repeat

"Just come do something with us, or let us come there."

"Nah, I'm okay, I actually have a super busy day today."

Yeah, if you mean busy as in binge-watching every episode of "Pretty Little Liars," then yeah, count me out of all plans so I can rewatch every episode for the next 3 weeks. We all know that feeling of not wanting to move out of bed for as long as you can after a break-up.

3. When that ONE song comes on at the mall, and you suddenly realize it was "your" song

This one hits differently. You're literally just minding your own business, trying to treat yourself to a little bit of a wardrobe change because of how sad you have been all week and BAM, it hits you like a train. Next thing you know you're crying in the dressing room of Forever 21 wondering where it all went wrong.

4. Finally caving in and hanging with your friends, realizing that this is what you needed all along

You never want to leave your bed after a breakup, you seem to cancel or bail out on every plan you try to make, then finally, after you have run out of tears, you actually follow through with a girl's night, and then you suddenly realize that all along, just time spent with the gals is what you needed. Trust me, been there, done that. In most cases, a dance party is also well needed.

5. The morning after your girl’s night, you realize that having these gals is better than the boy 

Having your girls there for you in such a tough time actually helps so much. It helps save the tears, the constant replaying of memories in your head, and saves you the time you could be wasting if you're sinking into a deep sadness over something so dumb. That support system is vital for post-breakup, and even I know that.

6. You let him go one last time

Whether it be writing a letter, throwing away all your old memories with him, or by finally getting all your clothes back from his place that have piled up over the past few months or years. It is a truly bittersweet feeling and might even hurt a little, but it's time. You're going to thrive without him.

7. You truly know how much better you’re doing without him

You have reached the point of no return. You’re finally thriving without him. You’re never going back, and you know how much potential your life has and how much better you are without him. Your heart is whole again.

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