Toxic Masculinity

Nevaehona Williams

 The‌ ‌term‌ ‌toxic‌ ‌masculinity‌ ‌is‌ ‌commonly‌ ‌used‌ ‌in‌ ‌today’s‌ ‌society,‌ ‌though‌ ‌the‌ word‌ ‌has‌ ‌been‌ ‌around‌ ‌for‌ ‌centuries.‌ ‌Society‌ ‌has‌ ‌put‌ ‌pressure‌ ‌on‌ ‌men‌ ‌to‌ ‌have‌ ‌a‌ ‌strong‌ ‌physique,‌ ‌hide‌ ‌their‌ ‌emotions,‌ ‌and‌ ‌act‌ ‌in‌ ‌an‌ ‌aggressively‌ ‌dominant‌ ‌way.‌ ‌The‌ ‌idea‌ ‌starts‌ ‌when‌ ‌every‌ ‌little‌ ‌boy‌ ‌is‌ ‌born.‌ ‌You‌ ‌may‌ ‌ask‌ ‌how,‌ ‌so‌ ‌let‌ ‌me‌ ‌tell‌ ‌you.‌ ‌When‌ ‌a‌ ‌little‌ ‌boy‌ ‌is‌ ‌around‌ ‌the‌ ‌age‌ ‌of‌ ‌5‌ ‌or‌ ‌6‌ ‌their‌ ‌father‌ ‌usually‌ ‌insists‌ ‌on‌ ‌them‌ ‌playing‌ ‌a‌ ‌sport.‌ ‌They‌ ‌start‌ ‌them‌ ‌out‌ ‌young‌ ‌or‌ ‌when‌ ‌they’re‌ ‌in‌ ‌middle‌ ‌school.‌ ‌There‌ ‌is‌ ‌nothing‌ ‌wrong‌ ‌with‌ ‌putting‌ ‌your‌ ‌son‌ ‌in‌ ‌sports,‌ ‌but‌ ‌when‌ ‌sayings‌ ‌like‌ ‌“men‌ ‌don’t‌ ‌cry”‌ ‌or‌ ‌“real‌ ‌men‌ ‌are‌ ‌tough”‌ ‌are‌ ‌hurtful‌ ‌to‌ ‌that‌ ‌child’s‌ ‌mindset.‌ ‌I‌ ‌don’t‌ ‌know‌ ‌how‌ ‌many‌ ‌times‌ ‌I‌ ‌have‌ ‌seen‌ ‌a‌ ‌basketball‌ ‌or‌ ‌football‌ ‌player‌ ‌on‌ ‌the‌ ‌verge‌ ‌of‌ ‌tears,‌ ‌sweat‌ ‌dripping‌ ‌down‌ ‌their‌ ‌face,‌ ‌because‌ ‌their‌ ‌father‌ ‌told‌ ‌them‌ ‌to‌ ‌work‌ ‌harder‌ ‌as‌ ‌if‌ ‌he‌ ‌was‌ ‌playing‌ ‌himself‌ ‌and‌ ‌as‌ ‌he‌ ‌didn’t‌ ‌have‌ ‌a‌ ‌team‌ ‌working‌ ‌hard‌ ‌with‌ ‌him.‌ ‌At‌ ‌a‌ ‌young‌ ‌age,‌ ‌little‌ ‌boys‌ ‌need‌ ‌to‌ ‌learn‌ ‌that‌ ‌crying‌ ‌is‌ ‌okay‌ ‌and‌ ‌that‌ ‌showing‌ ‌your‌ ‌emotions‌ ‌actually‌ ‌makes‌ ‌you‌ ‌stronger.‌ ‌

Did‌ ‌you‌ ‌know‌ ‌that‌ ‌1‌ ‌in‌ ‌5‌ ‌men‌ ‌do‌ ‌not‌ ‌reach‌ ‌the‌ ‌age‌ ‌of‌ ‌50‌ ‌because‌ ‌of‌ ‌issues‌ ‌related‌ ‌to‌ ‌toxic‌ ‌masculinity?‌ ‌Did‌ ‌you‌ ‌know‌ ‌men‌ ‌are‌ ‌more‌ ‌54‌ ‌times‌ ‌more‌ ‌likely‌ ‌to‌ ‌commit‌ ‌suicide‌ ‌than‌ ‌women?‌ ‌75%‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌deaths‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌United‌ ‌States‌ ‌are‌ ‌men.‌ ‌Do you‌ ‌know‌ ‌why‌ ‌we‌ ‌have‌ ‌Movember?‌ ‌‌Movember‌‌ ‌is‌ ‌an‌ ‌awareness‌ ‌month‌ ‌for‌ ‌men.‌ ‌They‌ ‌grow‌ ‌a‌ ‌mustache‌ ‌to‌ ‌improve‌ ‌the‌ ‌health‌ ‌of‌ ‌men.‌ ‌Now‌ ‌I‌ ‌am‌ ‌not‌ ‌trying‌ ‌to‌ ‌make‌ ‌everyone‌ ‌sentimental,‌ ‌here‌ ‌but‌ ‌this‌ ‌is‌ ‌a‌ ‌very‌ ‌important‌ ‌topic.‌ ‌Men‌ ‌live‌ ‌4-5‌ ‌years‌ ‌less‌ ‌than‌ ‌women.‌ ‌They‌ ‌are‌ ‌also‌ ‌more‌ ‌likely‌ ‌to‌ ‌commit‌ ‌suicide.‌ ‌One‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌most‌ ‌leading‌ ‌causes‌ ‌of‌ ‌this‌ ‌is‌ ‌toxic‌ masculinity.‌ ‌In‌ ‌the‌ ‌next‌ ‌part,‌ ‌I‌ ‌will‌ ‌be‌ ‌talking‌ ‌about‌ ‌some‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌things‌ ‌to‌ ‌prevent‌ ‌toxic‌ ‌masculinity.‌ ‌ ‌

These‌ ‌are‌ ‌the‌ ‌four‌ ‌steps‌ ‌people‌ ‌take‌ ‌to‌ ‌try‌ ‌and‌ ‌change‌ ‌toxic‌ ‌masculinity.‌ ‌The‌ ‌first‌ ‌one‌ ‌is‌ ‌TALK.‌ ‌That‌ ‌may‌ ‌sound‌ ‌a‌ ‌little‌ ‌funny,‌ ‌but‌ ‌getting‌ ‌resources‌ ‌if‌ ‌you’re‌ ‌going‌ ‌through‌ ‌a‌ ‌hard‌ ‌time‌ ‌really‌ ‌helps.‌ ‌The‌ ‌second‌ ‌one‌ ‌is‌ ‌ASK.‌ ‌This‌ ‌kind‌ ‌of‌ ‌goes‌ ‌along‌ ‌with‌ ‌TALK.‌ ‌Talking‌ ‌to‌ ‌a‌ ‌friend,‌ ‌family‌ ‌member,‌ ‌or‌ ‌coworker‌ ‌when‌ ‌you‌ ‌are‌ ‌struggling‌ ‌could‌ ‌help.‌ ‌The‌ ‌third‌ ‌one‌ ‌is‌ ‌LISTEN.‌ ‌Now‌ ‌I‌ ‌know‌ ‌listening‌ ‌to‌ ‌people’s‌ ‌advice‌ ‌doesn’t‌ ‌always‌ ‌sound‌ ‌fun,‌ ‌but‌ ‌maybe‌ ‌it‌ ‌could‌ ‌really‌ ‌help‌ ‌you.‌ ‌The‌ ‌last‌ ‌one‌ ‌is‌ ‌TAKE‌ ‌ACTION.‌ ‌Following‌ ‌up‌ ‌with‌ ‌that‌ ‌friend,‌ ‌family‌ ‌member,‌ ‌or‌ ‌coworker‌ ‌could‌ ‌really‌ ‌brighten‌ ‌up‌ ‌their‌ ‌day.‌ ‌Just‌ ‌knowing‌ ‌that‌ ‌you‌ ‌care‌ ‌enough‌ ‌to‌ ‌be‌ ‌there‌ ‌for‌ ‌them‌ ‌helps.‌ ‌Before‌ ‌you‌ ‌go,‌ ‌I’m‌ ‌going‌ ‌to‌ ‌leave‌ ‌you‌ ‌with‌ ‌a‌ quote.‌ ‌“Toxic‌ ‌masculinity‌ ‌hurts‌ ‌men,‌ ‌but‌ ‌there’s‌ ‌a‌ ‌big‌ ‌difference‌ ‌between‌ ‌women‌ ‌dealing‌ ‌with‌ ‌the‌ ‌constant‌ ‌threat‌ ‌of‌ ‌being‌ ‌raped,‌ ‌beaten,‌ ‌and‌ ‌killed‌ ‌by‌ ‌men‌ ‌in‌ ‌their‌ ‌lives,‌ ‌and‌ ‌men‌ ‌not‌ ‌being‌ ‌able‌ ‌to‌ ‌cry”‌ ‌Robert‌ ‌Jensen.‌