A brief overview of Toxic Masculinity
We’ve been hearing about Toxic Masculinity a lot these days. in a recent post, I talk about “Boys don’t cry” – a big lie that hurts men deeply.
If you like slide shows, this one is very helpful: Toxic masculinity vs. healthy masculinity. I’ve added quotes from the article because I think it neatly encapsulates the issues.
“To begin with, there is nothing inherently wrong with masculinity. It’s when someone becomes so attached to the set of values that it hinders their well-being and the well-being of those around them that it becomes a problem.”
The kinds of expectations
“Toxic masculinity describes the pressure for men to act tough and be physically strong, emotionally callous, and even aggressive.”
Dissociation with femininity
“As we understand femininity as the opposite of masculinity, a harmful notion is that men should reject qualities associated with femininity, such as showing emotion.”
Men rejecting qualities innate to them as humans
“Toxic masculinity describes a pressure for men to reject the qualities of themselves, branded as feminine qualities, which are inherent to them as human beings.”
Not showing emotions
“Associating masculinity with not showing emotions causes harm to the person. Men who feel like they cannot share how they feel run the risk of suffering from mental health issues.”
Isolation and loneliness
“Isolation and loneliness are two significant results of men not speaking about their feelings.”Toxic masculinity vs. healthy masculinity
Toxic Femininity and Toxic Masculinity
Here are some societal points that we have consciously or subconsciously internalized, per the article Toxic Femininity and Masculinity:
When women adopt society’s negative views about being female, we call this “internalized sexism.” Eberhardt[iv] identifies sexist behaviors women exhibit that are counter-productive.:
- Mistrusting other women,
- Believing that women are not as good as men in leadership roles,
- Valuing men’s opinions more than women’s,
- Putting men’s needs or wants above their own,
- Avoiding leadership and authority positions,
- Insulting men’s parenting capabilities,
- Holding women more accountable than men for the same behavior.
- Calling women “girls.”
- Labeling boys “crybabies” when they are emotional.
Of course, men have their own internalized sexism:
- Telling their sons not to cry, to “be a man
- Refraining from seeking help because it’s “unmanly”
- Making fun of men who show vulnerable emotions
- Expecting boys and men to fight each other
The other side of the coin which I haven’t heard mentioned much is Toxic Femininity.
What is Toxic Femininity and what are THE DOWNSIDES?
Here are some good articles which help to explain this topic: What Is Toxic Femininity? or this one: Toxic Femininity Exists: What is it and what you need to know
Toxic Feminity isn’t any healthier than Toxic Masculinity in that neither one allows people to just be themselves. Instead, there are rigid norms and rules which not only are very confining, but they’re emotionally unhealthy.
Expectations of body and appearance
One extreme we’re seeing is the toxic femininity of the Kardashian clan which is placing unattainable standards on many women.
I say unattainable, for although the Kardashians seem to say that if a person buys their clothes and makeup a person will be able to look exactly like them, the reality is that unless a person undergoes the cosmetic surgical procedures they have undergone and continue to get, (but aren’t necessarily admitting to) we really don’t stand a chance of resembling the standards they are purporting to set!
The fact that the Kardashians have been exposed to have undergone cosmetic procedures, shows us that the standards they set are unattainable through natural means, even for themselves!!
“How The Idea Of Body Positivity Is Actually Toxic To Women” is an article that illuminates the topic of how body dysmorphia is created.
The Biases women face, even from other women, (although the same can be said for men), seek to put people and keep people in boxes that are comfortable for a certain portion of people.
Toxic Femininity seeks to speak for all women, as though that were even possible! Unfortunately, many women face severe judgment not only from men but from women too if they don’t conform to certain ideals or standards set by the loudest voices in our society.
Here’s a great article: “Women face gender bias even when running against another woman, report shows“
The standards put forth by Toxic Masculinity and Toxic Feminity are extremely unhealthy, and don’t allow people to develop emotional maturity nor do they help relationships to thrive.
Each of us is a combination of both the “masculine” and the “feminine”, neither one being good or bad, more desirable or less desirable.
We are who we are!
By allowing ourselves to simply be ourselves, we get to live our most authentic lives.
Forcing people to try to bend and squeeze themselves into a mold they don’t belong in has been proven to be extremely detrimental to mental health, and is one of the driving factors behind people seeking ways to alleviate the emotional pain this brings up.
When people are told they’re unacceptable or unlovable in their natural state, this creates incredible mental and emotional anguish. Some people try to cover that up and it can turn into deep-seated anger, which, when triggered gets let out onto others around.
In order to help people in our society with their mental health, we each need to be able to look at ourselves and feel comfortable with who we are.
Sometimes not fitting a mold is the BEST blessing we can have, otherwise, our amazing skills and abilities would be squashed.
How many very talented people through history have exhibited traits which don’t fit in with society’s norms, yet they have made incredible contributions?
I’m sharing more posts that may be helpful for you:
- 10 Steps to Owning Our Happiness
- Setting “Boundaries with consequences”
- Making a change… “How do I take that first step?”
- Affirmation: Today is a new day! I can do this!
- As we practice being gentle and kind with ourselves, we actually help to speed the process of helping our lives become more positive!
- Always believe that wonderful things can happen!
- A healthy outside starts from the inside!
- Brain Rewiring
More good stuff:
Please go to my Archived Posts page to find more wonderful posts to check out!
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Guided Journals help you work on a particular issue by answering questions to help see patterns and to find solutions:
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