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What is toxic masculinity and how to fight it?

Many times, one might have heard someone asking to “man up” to a person who has shown their emotional vulnerability. This is what toxic masculinity promotes. It is time to tackle toxic masculinity.

Toxic masculinity is something that is a burden for the male and is a burden gifted to them by patriarchy. Toxic masculinity encourages the men to suffer in silence, the need to always win. Show no emotions except for anger, be fiercely independent and show no elements of weakness. In short, toxic masculinity refers to the negative aspects that come from an exaggeration of masculinity. Previously limited in the discussion that takes place in the academic field, toxic masculinity has now become a common term in everyday speech. 

What Is Toxic Masculinity?

Toxic masculinity was defined as the constellation of social regressive (masculine) traits that serve to foster domination, the devaluation of women, homophobia and wanton violence in an article published in the Journal of School of Psychology. In modern culture, the term is often used to describe the exaggeration of masculine traits that are important to appear manly.

For instance, toxic masculinity promotes dealing with heavyweights of packages in logistic services like ePacket and China Post, alone instead of seeking help from other partners which might be seen as a sign of weakness. 

Further, as discussed above, it supports showing traits like lack of emotion, self-sufficiency, dominance and sexual virility. The most negative aspect of toxic masculinity is that the male who does not fit it in these terms of toxic masculinity are labeled as not being a real man. 

Why Is Toxic Masculinity Dangerous?

Toxic masculinity is dangerous because it creates an imbalance in the life of the men who are trying to fit in this hegemonic culture. This may result in aggression, suppression of emotions which can take the form of other dangerous emotions, hyper-competitiveness, the need to dominate and control everyone and everything. It further can lead to isolation, low empathy, entitlement, chauvinism and when following toxic masculinity, there can be a tendency to glorify violence to prove that they are a real man. 

Many times, one might have heard someone asking to “man up” to a person who has shown their emotional vulnerability. This is what toxic masculinity promotes. Another common saying is that “boys will be boys” which is often used in a jolly manner to describe the careless and aggressive behavior of the men which is not at all healthy. 

Serious consequences of engaging in toxic masculinity can result in being involved in bullying, committing crimes like domestic violence and sexual assault along with engaging in risky behaviours, substance abuse which can lead to psychological trauma, suicide and lack of genuine connection. The impact of toxic masculinity on mental health according to the American Psychological Association can include depression, body image issues, poor social function, substance abuse and stress. 

How To Fight Toxic Masculinity?

The first and foremost thing that one can do to fight masculinity is to speak up. If you feel like you are facing the burn of toxic masculinity, feel free to speak about it without any guilt and fear. However, you can behave in such a manner only when you know that the people who are supporting toxic masculinity are conditioned to believe in it and the issue cannot be resolved without creating awareness about it. Put forward your opinions and views without thinking about what other people will be thinking about you. 

Secondly, to fight toxic masculinity, you can begin to teach young boys that it is okay to express their emotions and vulnerability. If you see a young boy crying after falling, instead of saying that boy doesn’t cry, let them cry and express themselves. Encouraging young boys to express themselves will create a healthy environment for them where they do not need to suppress their emotions and by that way, you are giving the upcoming generation a boy that is free from the burden of toxic masculinity. 

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The third thing that can be done to fight toxic masculinity is to hold the person who is promoting it accountable. Instead of going to the passing remark that promotes toxic masculinity, silently, pause them and ask them what they exactly mean and the reason behind it. It can further push the person to introspect and realize that he is promoting something that is toxic. 

Lastly, it is important to realize that fighting toxic masculinity is a revolution. It simply means that you might be ridiculed or pulled back for fighting the cause, but you need to remember that you are contributing towards a revolution for a better society and therefore, do not give up on this journey. 

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