The Myth of Toxic Masculinity

Man-Woman

As a girl raised by a strong father, I really enjoyed this article, “Masculine Dads Raise Confident Daughters” by Abigail Shrier.  It’s a heaping dose of refreshing common sense actually, that dares to question the prevailing cultural view on the evils of “toxic masculinity”.

From the piece:

“Masculinity, like femininity, is neither inherently good nor bad. Enormous damage can be inflicted by the sorts of malice we associate with girls: spreading rumors, convincing someone’s friends to turn against her, refusing to acknowledge someone purportedly beneath notice. Femininity and masculinity are manners of comportment and modi operandi; they are not codes of conduct. Men have used masculinity for acts of heroism and decency. That they have also applied it to despicable behavior says nothing of masculinity itself.”

Now in case you actually have better things to do than keep up with the latest in feminist orthodoxy on this topic (and please tell me that you do), here it is in a nutshell.

Because society assigns young boys with gender specific traits like being physically strong, stoic and assertive, it conditions them to think they are superior to girls and that it’s ok to dominate and control them.  These boys in turn grow up to be knuckle dragging misogynists, heavily influenced by a toxic masculinity that “harms all genders. It promotes sexism, misogyny, violence, and rape culture, while enforcing dangerous stereotypes of masculinity and femininity.”

Phrases like “man up” and “don’t be a girl” apparently enhance this and if you say this to your child you are part of the problem.  Even teaching your son good old fashioned chivalry is dangerous according to psychologist and sex stereotype expert Peter Glick from this  New York Times column:

“One thing you want to be careful of,” he said, “is teaching boys to be chivalrous. We need to stop socializing boys to see women as needing protection.”

 “……the idea that women should be cherished and put on pedestals fosters what’s known as benevolent sexism, which subtly demeans women as fragile and less competent. It reinforces a sexual script in which a man takes charge while a woman remains passive.”

I’m thinking Peter Glick probably spends a lot Saturday nights alone. I rather enjoy being put on a pedestal and would bet my last dollar a majority of other women do too.  Feeling protected and cherished in a relationship, not only makes us feel physically safe, but emotionally too, as it fosters trust and motivates letting our guards down and being authentic. This isn’t demeaning to women, it’s empowering and strengthens relationships.

Back to Ms. Shrier:

“So many seem to believe that if we can remake boys as feminists—by which they seem to mean boys who check their male privilege, are unafraid to cry, and are politically progressive—we will have largely solved the problem of sexual harassment. A glance at the public figures felled in the #MeToo purges—not to mention Bill Clinton —should cure us of the idea that progressive politics incline men to better treatment of women.”

Exactly! We’d all like to see sexual assault and harassment eliminated, but focusing on the bogeyman of masculinity will only make things worse.  Squelching the natural male instinct to be masculine doesn’t make it go away, more likely it will erupt elsewhere in the form of increased violence and brutish behavior.  A young boy told enough times that his desire to be strong and heroic is not only wrong, but must be repressed will undoubtedly have negative effects later on.

On the flip side, those who are told these feelings are normal and encouraged to express them through positive endeavors like sports or “playing war” with good role models leading the way (i.e. masculine dads, coaches, etc…), will have a better sense of themselves and what it means to be a man and how to properly treat other people.  Note though the role of a “good” mentor is key, bad ones of course will do more harm than good.

An interesting paradox to all this is that the more we single out “the patriarchy” and male dominance as the cause of all our gender woes, the more we weaken women by reducing the incentive to reflect on their own faults and the negative effects they bring to the table.

As Ms. Shrier states,

“There is something regrettable in the way our exclusive focus on boys and men lets young women off the hook. As if women bear no responsibility for their own behavior. As if they are too weak, too emotional, too foolish ever to take care of themselves.

And that is the greatest disappointment of the #MeToo movement, that it has so spectacularly refused to insist that a woman not allow any man to treat her badly. Failed to insist that young women have an individual responsibility to demand better. That they should all agree no job is worth more than their dignity.”

Indeed.  This is not to say that a woman is at fault for being sexually assaulted/harassed, that is never the case.  I’ve heard too many times though of instances where years of abuse were tolerated before something finally gives way. There can be many reasons for this, but one big one unfortunately involves feelings of self hate and of deserving to be treated so poorly.

There is nothing more empowering for a woman than to understand and believe in her own value and self worth.  The masculine men in her life can help nurture this.

Note: If you find yourself stuck behind a pay wall forAbigail Shrier’s article, try googling the Wall Street Journal plus the title and it may get you behind it.

 

 

 

This entry was posted in gender issues, Political, Uncategorized, Women's Empowerment and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to The Myth of Toxic Masculinity

  1. madblog says:

    I have much to say on this but I will keep it to a few bullets. First, nice job as always, Tricia!

    We could indeed say a lot about toxic femininity. Women who insist the world would be a more peaceful and nurturing place if women ran the show clearly aren’t taking note of the quality of women’s activism to make it so.
    And have you noticed how progressive tactics and hysteria model teen girl behavior? Nothing remotely masculine (or adult) about lefty community activism.

    Nice that you highlight the weakness of the MeToo stuff and how it strips women of any possible agency or power. Those men are totally responsible for their behavior, and no behavior of their victims mitigates that one atom, but one needs to ask the women why they would tolerate being abused for a mere job or role. They’d accepted the context of a very dysfunctional upside-down playing field by then.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Appreciate this post,Tricia. Well done.

    Masculine dads do indeed raise confident daughters. They help their daughters to see who they really are and to recognize their potential. A dad who feels good about himself and who he is, is just going to bring that out in his own kids, too. It is inevitable. That’s one reason why tearing down men and shaming masculinity is so harmful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      Thanks IB. And you’re right, this quest to shame and blame men and masculinity is a real problem. I dare say we are seeing the effects of it in increased mass shootings, anxiety, addiction, etc…

      Like

  3. Sister, thanks for the insight. While I have heard of the term, I don’t know much about it. This is helpful. Being women and men, like God made us, surely can’t be toxic. Guess the underlying premise has kept me from learning more. I’m kinda from the school that has women being women and men being men and … surely that is a good thing since God made us this way.

    Love this: “There is nothing more empowering for a woman than to understand and believe in her own value and self worth. The masculine men in her life can help nurture this.”

    Be blessed and have a stunning afternoon in paradise.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Interesting post Tricia, thanks.

    Of course masculinity can be expressed in healthy and unhealthy forms. Then again, what does heroism, decency, or protecting others really have to do with masculinity? As in, people can do these things regardless. Women embody these traits regularly, but obviously not as an expression of masculinity. So I don’t think the idea that we need masculinity for these good things is not true.

    That being said it is definitely helpful to have positive male role models. Accepting that it would be better for gender roles to disintegrate pretty much entirely for the sake of argument, that’s not something which can happen overnight. It can’t just be toxic masculinity or abandoning the concept of masculinity altogether – that will work for some people, but for others it just won’t hit the mark. So it’s good to have a healthier masculinity to align with.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sorry, *I don’t think the idea we need masculinity for these good things IS true!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      Hey WF, thanks for coming by. I can appreciate your sentiment, but the problem is modern day feminists would like to eliminate masculinity all together, which would be disastrous for society. I believe it to be an inherent trait (and a positive one) in men. Pretending we can just wish it away doesn’t make so and creates an awful lot of angst, frustration and increased violence in men who are continually blamed and shamed for just being who they are.

      I guess too, it’s how the define the phrase “toxic masculinity”. To me the bad behaviors this gets tagged too (bullying, sexual assault, harassment, etc…) has nothing to do with masculinity at all and everything to do with bad character.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Thanks for your thoughtful reply.

        I guess my perspective is that we could get rid of masculinity as a rigid, prescriptive, way of behaving which people are pressured into (and out of, if you’re a women), while retaining whatever positive traits we might associate with it. As in, people would embody these traits but not necessarily think ‘I’m being reliable because I’m a man’ but ‘I’m being reliable because there are all sorts of reasons that’s a good thing to do’.

        As for masculinity vs. good character, yes I take your point. Character has a lot to do with it. The thing is that the things you mentioned are highly gendered, so the question is why, for example, is the vast majority of sexual harassment / abuse from men to women (or men to men) rather than evenly spread across genders if it has nothing to do with masculinity?

        That being said, as I said before, it makes sense to have a notion of a healthy masculinity to offer people who want to think about themselves as men or masculine, rather than it being either really unhealthy ways of being or diving off the deep end. But yeah as for wishing it away / shaming, if a man like sport, or fixing cars, or truly prefers a less emotional style of commuicating, and other stereotypical things, then they shouldn’t be blamed for that, that’s just who they are. I suppose one problem is that when the idea of masculinity is so widely accepted, inevitably it is used to blame/shame/hinder people who don’t fit into it but are just minding their own business.

        Complicated stuff – sorry for the essay and take care!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. ColorStorm says:

    Yeah T, girls should know that’s it’s really toxic and an assault on femininity that coal mines and steel mines, log jammers and roofers, be occupied by males. Wake up ye shortsighted and midget minded females who are skirt challenged!

    Men are not attacking the institution of womanhood by being men. Hilarious I tell ya. And btw, I know you agree that a little girl is scared stiff to enter a bathroom with ‘men’ in it. Now that is toxic, and she knows it. No lecture needed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      Wake up ye shortsighted and midget minded females who are skirt challenged!” Now that’s quite the sentence ColorStorm, I’ll have to remember that one!

      I so agree, it is toxic to force little girls to use bathrooms with men. Truly toxic and a solid sign of society on the skids.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Citizen Tom says:

    Great post!

    When I was younger, I use to pity girls because I wondered how they could satisfy the conflicting demands society imposes upon them. Supermom looks just about as achievable as Superman. Then I saw the attack on boys, the effort to render fathers superfluous. Instead of pitying girls, I now pity children raised by parents ignorant of the Bible and afraid to accept the fact that God made woman to compliment and complete man.

    Without woman, what is the point of a man being masculine? Without man, how would a woman know she is being feminine? Yet instead of glorifying what God has made and appreciating our differences, the “diversity” crowd seems more interested in destroying those differences. Instead of helping people to find fulfillment by raising wise and healthy children, the “diversity” seems .more supportive of abortion.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Tricia says:

      Good points Tom! And yet what is the end game of this quest to end all gender differences? It makes zero sense to deny that men and women are different and everyone knows it’s plainly not true, yet the movement promoting it grows louder and more shrill. I think it has more to do with power grabbing and keeping the victimhood mentality industry thriving more than anything else.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Here’s a novel concept for your readers…
    Place a blindfold over your eyes and add a sound distortion machine to the people you interact with. Now, live your life based on values and principles rather than relying on visual and other sensory perceptions. In general, I’ll bet we would experience a better world to live in based on concepts including respect, courtesy, kindness, support, love, tolerance,etc… all likely to result in personal growth.
    This might cause “radical thinking” resulting in whoever gets to the door first holds it open for the other person. This removes a gender based responsibility and reinforces an act of courtesy. It also reinforces an equivalency both genders deserve. It reduces the emotional imbalance created by expectations (in the above case, the man holding the door for the woman because society has deemed this an appropriate manner.) Being nice, respectful and courteous isn’t based on gender; it’s based on thought and actions. Responses (since we’re humans) should be based on individual situations rather than society’s imposed expectations.

    This approach would increase personal responsibility rather than relying on generations of behavior that may or may not be truly appropriate. Just because a situation has stood the test of time doesn’t prove it’s appropriate or beneficial.

    Remember the short story “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson? An entire town got together to enjoy festivities 1 day each year only to conclude the day with a lottery and the stoning to DEATH of the lottery winner. It was NOT based on MALICE; it is based on tradition!

    If we are made to use our brains based on values and principles rather than relying so much on gender and societal traditions, we might just see improved behavior by people of ALL genders.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Tricia says:

      Now that would be an interesting experiment Jonathan and would be fascinating to see the results. I wonder what type of feedback blind people might have on that.

      I’m not really referring to nice character traits like courtesy and respect when mentioning masculinity. Surely these are gender neutral traits everyone should strive to develop and they are part of the package of masculinity. I’m speaking more to the instinctual and deep desire among men to be the provider, to be the hero, to be the protector and to be the wooer, of which chivalry, respect and courtesy should be a part of if a boy is taught well how to channel and nurture these desires positively. Yes not all men experience this and some women probably do, but I believe men are inherently built this way.

      Good to see you back on line by the way. Hope the AZ move is going well!

      Like

  8. ode that we could have better things to do with our time Tricia—but our oh so progressive
    over the top militant feminists work their wiles to vie for everyone’s full attention by screaming in our faces that we can’t help but to see their madness for what it is…madness!
    Excellent as always my friend!
    (I’m a day late and a dollar short as I’m trying to play catch-up 🙂 )

    Liked by 1 person

  9. David Ross says:

    As an alpha male I always use my masculinity to protect a women. However, I also do not regard a Feminist as a women. Feminism causes Erectile Dysfunction!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. There is truly a war on men as protectors and providers! I too am grateful to have been raised by a strong father figure!
    https://aladyofreason.wordpress.com/

    Liked by 1 person

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