Toxic masculinity is a long tale that society knows all too well. It's familiar, very much present(probably more noticeable now than it used to be), and ingrained in American culture. However, we seem too comfortable and immune to men throwing women against a wall or spousal abuse(a direct reflection of almost any lifetime movie). We've become normalized and desensitized by toxic masculinity and violence almost as if it isn't an issue at all.
I watched the series, "You" when it first premiered on Lifetime a couple of months before coming to Netflix. "You" has everything a woman wants to watch on television: love, friends, social media, living in NYC living the dream dreaming to become something bigger, and perhaps falling for a guy along the way. With "Gossip Girl's" Dan Badgley, playing Joe, the show is even more appealing. The main lesson learned from "You" is people on social media can be the opposite or not at all how they seem in real life(IRL). In addition, "You" proves society is too comfortable talking to strangers online and are not as aware as we should be that any stranger online has the potential for violence.
It is not hard to see why Netflix would pick up "You." Netflix has become notorious with violent crime and killer shows and seems to be obsessed with them. Running a basic Google search brings the total to 52, and I'm sure that's not leaving some out. So what is toxic masculinity and why does it persist in the media that we watch?
Maya Salam from the New York Times responds to the famous Gillette advertisement that aired during the 2019 Super Bowl defines Toxic Masculinity as "suppressing emotions or masking distress, maintain an appearance of hardness, and violence as an indicator of power." This is evident in Joe's character by appearing normal so he would get the girl(Beck) and hiding his violent intentions. Joe eventually kidnaps and kills Beck so that he could have power over her life.
Several reasons why we are so used to toxic masculinity is the great number of violent headlines committed by males, young men thinking it's okay to be violent to demonstrate power and the continuous oppression of groups who are not male.
More explanation on why toxic masculinity occurs are the stereotypes surrounding males and how they are gendered. Men are taught how to be tough at an early age, show less emotion and display hardness. For this reason, men are likely to have mental health problems and are less likely to receive treatment and commit more crime (Medium). Joe is a direct reflection of being taught to have power over women and not seeking treatment for his mental health problems of stalking.
We can continue to stop toxic masculinity by sharing experiences on social media, teaching boys it is okay to show emotion(instead of emotions being gendered), talk about the representation of men in the media and correct misogynist thinking. In addition, we can use our voices to determine how much television violence is acceptable, and even question our favorite violent shows that may go too far.
Season two of "You" is rumored to be released sometime this summer on Netflix.