By Kat Paterson
Toxic masculinity plays a large role in many of the behavioral issues we see in men. Seeing as how men make up an extremely large portion of the population, their behavior affects everyone within our society. Some of the behaviors that happen within toxic masculinity are men’s need to do everything on their own, feeling shameful for being emotionally expressive, aspirations for overall mental, physical, and sexual dominance, devaluation of women, and rejecting anything that could be considered feminine. With that said, it is important to note that toxic masculinity in itself is not considered to be toxic. The problem is that toxic masculinity is purely a cultural phenomenon where the idea of masculinity has become weaponized and used as a means to define what it means to be a ‘man’. So as the ideals of toxic masculinity continue to spread and affect young boys and men in our society, what can we do to recover from the overwhelming amount of stigmas that have built up around men throughout human evolution?
For one, we can begin to break down the walls of masculinity and reshape the way that society views gender and consider how our gender norms are taught and reinforced. An example of this would be how most men never learn how to cook or clean for themselves because their mother always picks up after them and then once they are married their wife will usually take over those tasks, instead we can start to enforce men and women both completing house chores as opposed to it being a ‘womens job’. Another thing we can do it provide boys with nonviolent conflict resolution resources so that they can learn to solve problems without getting into a physical fight because oftentimes, men are not inherently or innately violent but they are never given the proper tools to de escalate any situation because society assumes they will solve their problems with their fists.
There will never be a true ending to toxic masculinity since relinquishing it from our society will take years of emphasis on introspection and learning to take accountability. It is not effective to sit by and criticize the bad behaviors that have been presented by men, we have to start safely calling them out and safely keeping them in check if we want to see a real change within our society. By doing this we don’t just want to create better men, we want to create better humans because everyone will benefit by the dissolution of toxic masculinity.