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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To My Boyfriend's Mom

He loves you more than you could ever imagine...
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Without you, there would not be a him, so first things first, thank you.

1. Thank you for teaching him to love a woman the right way, to put God first, and YOU before me always, the respect he shows you is so attractive, and you deserve it.

He talks about you like you hung the moon, I don't doubt for a second that he will be an amazing father one day, I owe all of that to you.

2. Thank you for giving me a chance, learning to love me when you knew your son was doing the same.

I can't speak for my own first impressions, but hopefully mine was not THAT bad...when we both slapped him on the arms for his rude remark at the same time, I knew our relationship was already blossoming.

SEE ALSO: Finding A Husband In College

3. Thank you for every meal you have ever purchased me.

And chocolate, and candy...you know just as well as your son does that food is the way to my heart. Especially Taco Bell and cheesecake ;)

4. Thank you for your advice, suggestions, and opinions...and asking for mine

Whether it's telling me to slap him for being a smart a$$, or you're asking me about color swabs for your kitchen makeover, you come to me as if I am your own, and I am so honored to give you my own input.

5. Thank you for including me

You never fail to leave a spot for me, and I love family dinners/outings with you guys just as much as I love my own!

6. Thank you for teaching your son to never give up, and that if he does it is only to better himself, or it's the only choice he has left.

He is so focused on his future, he wants the best for himself, and he is constantly reminding me that these are things that YOU taught him, you deserve to be so proud.

7. Thank you for letting him love my family, and allowing me to love yours.

He is so loyal and loving to my family, and I don't even have to ask myself why because I see him with you and yours. Thank you for letting us double up on holidays when we can, and making sure we get the most out of our time with you!

8. Thank you for being his best friend.

I think of him as mine too, but I couldn't think of a better person to also hold that title, you know him better than anyone else and you always will.

9. Thank you for teaching him how to treat a woman

He is constantly telling me "You sound like my mother." Thankfully earlier in our relationship, he told me that the woman he wants to be with, should do just that. He always tells people who try, "No, no one calls me by my full name except my mom and my girlfriend."

10. Thank you for your honesty

We all know that he and I can drive you crazy sometimes, thank you for telling us like it is, and making sure we know you still love us anyways.

SEE ALSO: 8 Tiny Lies Every Young Woman Has Told Their Best Friend

11. Thank you for teaching him to work as hard as possible in anything and everything he does.

I have never met anyone with such a desire for success, he and I are constantly discussing how we can better our futures, and I know exactly where his drive comes from.

12. Thank you for teaching him to clean up after himself

Even though sometimes, it takes him a minute to do so.

13. Thank you for teaching him how to love, and letting him love me.

I have never felt so loved by a man, probably because anyone else who came into my life was just a boy. Thank you for your unconditional love for him, he is your entire heart and that is so easy to see, I am happy to share his with you.

You and I both know that even years from now we will both occasionally probably be closing the fridge that he left open, cleaning the crumbs he dropped, demanding he take a shower after playing soccer, or reminding him 20 times about plans we made weeks ago, we both share such a great love for such an amazing man. I could never be more thankful that you brought forth into this world such a comforting, supportive, protective, steadfast, driven, handsome, and hilarious guy. Thank you for everything you do for him, for me, and for us, I love you a lot!

Cover Image Credit: casey

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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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