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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An Open Letter To My Boyfriend's Mom

A simple thank you is not enough.
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Your son and I have been dating a while now and I just wanted to thank you for everything.

Wow, where do I start? Ever since the day your son brought me into your home you have shown me nothing but kindness. I have not one negative thought about you and I am truly thankful for that. I first and foremost want to thank you for welcoming me with open arms. There are horror stories of mothers resenting their son's girlfriends and I am blessed there is no resentment or harsh feelings.

Thank you for treating me like one of your children, with so much love but knowing exactly when to tease me.

Thank you for sticking up for me when your son teases me, even though I know it’s all in good fun it's always comforting knowing you have someone by your side.

Thank you for raising a man who respects women and knows how to take responsibility of mistakes and not a boy who is immature and doesn’t take responsibility.

Thank you for always including me in family affairs, I may not be blood family but you do everything you can to make sure I feel like I am.

Thank you for letting me make memories with your family.

There is nothing I value more in this world then memories with friends and family and I am thankful you want and are willing to include me in yours. I have so much to thank you for my thoughts keep running together.

The most important thing I have to thank you for is for trusting me with your son. I know how precious and valuable he is and I won't break his heart. I will do everything I can to make him happy. This means more than you could ever imagine and I promise I will never break your trust.

The second most important thing I must thank you for is for accepting me for who I am. Never have you ever wished I looked like another girl or acted like another girl. You simply love and care for me and that’s all I could ever ask. Every person in this world is a unique different person and understanding that means a lot.

The third most important thing I must thank you is teaching me how to one day in the future treat a potential girlfriend that I may interact with as a mother. I am not a mother, but I one day plan to be. If I ever have a son it is because of how you treated me that I am able to be a humble loving mother to this new face that could one day walk into my door. How you have treated me has taught me how I should one day be in the future and I thank you for that.

This may seem all over the place but that’s how my brain gets when I try and thank you for everything you have done for me. It’s all so much and even the little things are so important so I promise my scattered thoughts are all with good intentions and not meant to bombard you. I just want to get the idea across to you that you are important and special to me and everything you do does not go unnoticed.

Sincerely,

Your Son’s Girlfriend

Cover Image Credit: Christian Images and Quotes

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I’d Much Rather Celebrate Valentine’s Day With My Single Girlfriends Than Any Guy

Bring on the pizza and ice cream because Valentine's Day is Girls Only this year.

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Being single during any time of the year is difficult, but it can be even harder with Valentine's Day quickly approaching. People either love it or love to hate it. It's a day filled with dramatic romantic gestures, carefully planned dates, and an abundance of roses and chocolates. Well, at least for some it is. The pressure to have a "Valentine" as well as have the perfect evening is so high that in my option it completely takes the fun out of the day. So this Valentine's Day, I won't be stressing over the perfect outfit, restaurant or date. Instead, I'll be deciding if I should have another slice of pizza while my girlfriends try to figure out which cheesy rom-com we should watch next.

I don't hate Valentine's Day, I actually think it's really romantic. I think it's great that some people find happiness in grand gestures and extravagant presents. When I feel about someone strongly enough, I'm sure I'd do the same, but as of right now I don't. I don't want to be someone valentine or worry about finding the perfect gift. I want to focus on myself and just have a fun night with my girls. We worry so much about what everyone has to say about the things we do that often times we don't make any decisions for ourselves. Be a little selfish and do only what you want. Order too much food, break out the wine, and enjoy a stress-free night with the people that mean the most to you.

You will find me on the couch with my sorority sisters most likely catching up on "The Bachelor" or ruining our diets with dollar store sweets. And yes, I know there's an unofficial holiday already called, "Galentine's Day" (which I will be celebrating too) that's for ladies celebrating ladies. Who says you can't do it two nights in a row? Who says that Valentine's Day has to be a day spent with a romantic partner?

This is me telling you to take this day to have some fun and ignore the pressures society (and ourselves) put on ourselves constantly. Surround yourself with the people who support you; the ones who stick around through it all and love you unconditionally. If you still want to stay in the festive mood, you can exchange valentines with your friends and treat each other with chocolate hearts. And if you want to celebrate Valentine's Day with your significant other, go ahead, I'm not stopping you.

So, no matter what Valentine's Day for you is, celebrate it however you want. Dress up to the nines and have the night of your life. Stay in, order takeout, and fall asleep watching a movie. Hang out with your girlfriends, guy friends, or both! It doesn't matter how you do Valentine's Day, but rather who you spend it with.

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