Toxic masculinity is a term that has become widely popular as of late, leaving many to search for ways of addressing the issue before it becomes a bigger issue.
In today’s society, the perception of what it means to be a man has taken a turn for the worse as stereotypes seem to have taken over a man’s ability to be unique. Many men today feel pressured to act, react, behave, and talk a certain way in order to be viewed as a “man” to their peers and followers.
This is very unfortunate because it limits our ability to express emotions, connect with others, and live a purposeful life.
Despite the term being common in today’s media, many people are unaware of what toxic masculinity means and entails.
What is Toxic Masculinity?
Toxic masculinity refers to harmful and negative attitudes, actions, and behaviors commonly associated with men. These stereotypes can include violent and aggressive behavior that some believe to be the result of microaggressions.
Today’s society has raised men into thinking that they must live up to these stereotypes and is leading many men to live their life in a dominant way. This can not only have a negative effect on a man’s life by not allowing him to enjoy some of life’s most precious moments, but can also cause discomfort in those around you.
In addition, those that exhibit behavior associated with toxic masculinity are known to view feminine traits in a demeaning way.
Men and women are designed to maintain both masculine and feminine traits — it’s what makes us human. There should never be any shame in connecting with your feminine traits as a man and it’s best to not even view them as masculine or feminine traits, just simply human traits.
Toxic Masculinity Is Nothing New
The term “toxic masculinity” has been around for several decades, first being introduced in the 1980’s by psychologist Shepherd Bliss. When distinguishing the positive traits commonly found in men to the negative traits, Bliss defined the negative traits as “toxic” to masculinity.
These traits included avoiding emotional expression, being too committed to physical, sexual, and intellectual dominance, and devaluing a woman’s opinion, body, or sense of self.
Some recent analysts of the topic, like Jack Urwin, believe that men in today’s society often feel a lack of purpose. This can lead to men feeling the need to overcompensate that with a dominant and violent behavior.
How Do We Address Toxic Masculinity?
The simple answer is to take a step back and realize what got us here in the first place. Our childhood years are very important in creating the “framework” for the rest of our life. If we want to change the perception of what it means to be a man, it needs to start by changing how we raise boys in today’s society.
Many boys grow up thinking that behaving in an aggressive way will earn them respect as a man. This can be prevented by teaching them at a young age that being unique, finding purpose, and living a life that you’re proud of are not just essential to being a man, but being human, too.
It’s important for the youth to understand that there are multiple ways of being a man and you must search for “your way” in order to find that purpose in life.