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Toxic Masculinity: How To Recognize And Deal With It

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Being a man comes with various kinds of expectations. Therefore, a lot of times, people’s definition of “manliness” leaves men lost and uncertain about how to behave.

Toxic masculinity is the negative stereotypical idea of what a man is. It is characterized by a set of societal and cultural masculine standards that emphasize physical aggressiveness, sexism, and emotional suppression.

Over the past years, the phrase “toxic masculinity” has gained popularity. This term is used when men employ violence, control, oppression, and domination to establish their authority and superiority. These exaggerated masculine attributes have detrimental impacts on men because there always is the pressure to act or be tough. Victims of toxic masculinity are not comfortable discussing their emotions openly because of the fear of being judged.  This encourages anxiety, despair, and dangerous behavioral patterns.

Usually, toxic masculinity heavily depends on peer groups, economic conditions, and parenting.

How To Recognize Toxic Masculinity

In order to gain a better understanding of the topic, traits of toxic masculinity can include:

Being Promiscuous

Toxic masculinity does a good job of illustrating the widely recognized bias on how people view male and female promiscuity. Generally, men receive appreciation from other men for their sexual exploits. Promiscuous men are often tolerated. They are referred to as “studs”. On the other hand, the promiscuity of women is unaccepted, and they are labelled as “sluts”.

Not Engaging in Household Chores and Caregiving

Women are viewed as being good at household chores and raising children. Therefore, these roles are perceived as feminine. When a man is asked to handle these chores, it is seen as an emasculating assault that calls for a macho overcompensation reaction. It is worse when he is reprimanded by a woman for underperforming in these areas.

Lack of Emotion

The concept of toxic masculinity creates the continual need for men to create an emotional fence that’s tough to get through. Men are expected to be emotionally suppressive because it is inappropriate for them to express their emotions. It regards emotions – other than anger – as vulnerability and unmanly. Even when hurt or experiencing distress, toxic masculinity is against seeking therapy, regardless of its repercussions on mental and physical well-being.

Being Dominant

Toxic masculinity programs men to assert authority over their relationships, careers, and social lives.  They always should have the last say and be so consumed with power even when it harms others. This includes requiring undeserved allegiances and respect from others and oppressing those who do not give in. The entitlement, control, and harassment can be verbal, physical, or cyber-bullying.

Being Violent

The toxic masculinity mindset believes that, for a man, violence is the legitimate solution to a problem. From a  young age, boys are more likely to commit general acts of violence such as assault and issues of rape. They are always ready to fight due to the pressure to live up to cultural expectations of aggression and dominance. This aggressiveness is usually justified with, “I am a man, what do you expect?” or “Boys will be boys.”

How To Deal with Toxic Masculinity

Young men can guard themselves against toxic masculinity by using the following preventative measures.

Question Your Current Understanding of Toxic Masculinity

Everyone must assess and re-evaluate the type of gender education they have undergone. It is necessary to stand out against the norm and point out the negativity. Understand and fight against stereotypes. Recognize that historical male ideas are not absolute and faultless. While the beneficial traits of traditional masculinity adopts, the unpleasant ones shuns. There are books and self-help podcasts that bring enlightenment to the subject and help overcome some of the unhealthy traits one might have embraced.

Put In the Work

Once you establish the understanding of toxic masculinity, efforts to erase its impact takes shape. Individuals need to find themselves and be on the lookout for chances to heal. Ways to achieve this is by going to counselling and practising positive habits to replace the bad tradition. Engaging in toxic masculinity means one might have seriously hurt other people, it is best to reach out to them and find forgiveness. To become a better person, you must also move past the past and exemplify the new.

Practice Vulnerability

When viewed through the prism of toxic masculinity, vulnerability and weakness are synonymous. To deal with this menace, practice emotional awareness. This means accepting your vulnerability and increasing your capacity for empathy towards yourself and other people. It involves taking deliberate and active steps to learn how to express your feelings. Cry if you want to. Allow yourself to be open. Be the confidante who your friends turn to for help. Likewise, speak out about your needs. This will be quite hard at first but unquestionably worthwhile.

Perform Kind Gestures Every Day

Anti-toxic, positive energy escapes into the atmosphere when you show your generosity and active concern towards others. A simple smile and greeting can go a long way. Give someone an honest compliment. Make a difference in your community by giving up your time to a cause you support. Listen without judgment. Give someone a hug or high-five. Overall, practice self-kindness. It could be by taking some time to relax or rewarding yourself with something you enjoy.

Combat Toxic Masculinity in The Society

Without the awareness of toxic masculinity, the stereotypes will not disappear. Play a role by identifying as a man who is capable of caring for the children, cleaning, and cook. Play a role by identifying as a woman who can be a leader, protector, and breadwinner. You can accomplish this. Ways to do so is by discussing it, speaking out against unjust expectations and questioning the beliefs about how people should behave in society.

Conclusion

It is time to acknowledge that toxic masculinity is harmful. Culture and society should not define what it means to be a man. There is no connection between being toxic and being manly. Being a man can entail being kind, courteous, and emotional. Men do not need to “man up,” “be tougher,” or suppress their feelings. An unrestricted emotional expression produces a healthy mind and life.

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