A Take On Toxic Masculinity
By: Kiara Pellicane-Hart
"Men who do not turn to face their own pain are too often prone to inflict it on others." Terrence Real
Children are meant to be explorers, the world is brand new to them and their early life is when they can absorb how it works and how they are expected to act within it. Boys are limited by how others, especially adults and their peers, expect them to act. With the ever increasing reach of social media, pop culture, and advertising, the archetype of boys, more specifically teenagers, who are athletic, stoic, and aggressive can be pushed at audiences across the world with devastating effects on emotional and mental growth as the priority for this “ideal boy” is primarily based in isolating oneself and preventing an vulnerabilities from appearing in front of others.
Toxic masculinity is harmful to everyone. For men, being unable to fully express themselves in their daily life leaves them feeling alone and unable to connect with those around them. They feel seeking support or expressing an emotion other than anger or contentment will make them appear “weak,” which is obviously not the case as humans are social creatures and emotional connections are necessary for any kind of relationship. This makes it much more difficult for men to feel as though they can belong to any kind of community and also highly increases the risk of suicide as they struggle with finding their worth outside of the mold they were crafted in as a child. For women, the effects of toxic masculinity are much more apparent and, as a whole, more dangerous. The desire to appear more “powerful” or dominant in a situation leads to a disregard for women’s human rights and basic respect for them as a fellow human being. Sexual harassment and sexual assault are all about the perpetrator being in control and the most “powerful” actor, which stems from the aggression and dominating aspects of toxic masculinity.
The world is becoming a more progressive and accepting place as more people share their stories and identities but this is not an issue that will disappear in a few generations. Encourage those around you to be respectful of everyone and be whoever they want to be, no one else can do it better so why not give it a shot? If you see someone being disrespectful, call them out on it. Their actions are not acceptable and you can give them the first stepping stone to being a better version of themself. If you’d like to do some further research, read this article, watch THE MASK YOU LIVE IN, and expand the horizons of your TV shows and movies (try Brooklyn 99, Fantastic Beast And Where To Find Them, or The Good Place). You have a voice in this world, how will you use it to better yourself and those around you?
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