Toxic Masculinity
Politics and Activism

Toxic Masculinity

What exactly does it take to be a real man?

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Paper Mart

What exactly makes someone a man? What are some traditional things that boys need to do in order to "become a man?" Although feminist ideas are expanding, it seems as though the toxic ideas of masculinity are not going away.


Social media has even begun to highlight the ways that masculinity has become so fragile. Men have to question whether something is too girly for them and they seem to go above and beyond to not be perceived as gay. It doesn't just have to do with their sexuality being questioned. Men are not allowed to show emotional or creative expression because it is apparently too feminine. Gender lines still too strict and they are clearly drawn by society. Inside these gender lines, are the typical roles that men and women were put in. Being trapped in these roles is what causes toxic behaviors to come out of masculinity. The toxic behaviors typically include things like emotional detachment from others, aggression dealing with sexism or homophobia, sexual objectification or intimidation.

This type of behavior is not something that came out of no where. Toxic masculinity stems from the idea that males need to be in control. This idea of a mans ability to dominate, control and to succeed at all costs come from a young age. Boys are shown by society that they have to be strong or at least stronger than women to be successful. The rise of the "empowered woman" is becoming a threat to this toxic masculinity. Every day, society is progressing more and the idea of what a woman can and can't do is also changing. But although the feminism movement has lead to great things for women, it has done little to diminish toxic masculinity.

With all this being said, it should be made clear that there are good and bad types of masculinity. Just like there are good types of femininity and bad types as well. The strictness of these gender lines are what, in my opinion, causes the aggression. Everyone should feel comfortable crossing these lines.

My experience with toxic masculinity was more on the emotional side than an aggressive one. I grew up with a very macho-type of father. He never showed and to this day still shows little emotion. I have never discussed my feelings towards anything to him because I was raised to think that it was not something men do. When I was still in the closet, I assumed that showing any emotion would give people the idea that I was gay so I suppressed it even more. I never really put thought into why men are so scared of doing anything feminine until after I came out.

I feel that LGBT people are the ones who are allowed to play with gender roles the most. It will not surprise anyone as much if a gay man is wearing make up because these are the stereotypes that society has given them. So, if a straight man is seen wearing make-up or even fixing his eye brows, people begin to question his sexual preference. It seems idiotic that males have to be insecure about keeping up with their hygiene or wearing make up when they want. With that being said, even the gay community is insecure about being "too feminine." Gay people are beginning to hate this idea of other gay men being too feminine. I believe that the gender lines are made to be crossed in however way a person feels comfortable. Men should not be afraid of showing their creative or emotional side just like women should not be intimidated at the idea of gaining power or being in control.


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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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