It still amazes me that some men cling to their masculinity like a ship-wreck survivor to a life raft. If someone questions it it’s seen such a threat.
I used to work in a school where the boys had to be men and the girls got pregnant and stayed at home. It was like I was living in 1850s time warp. I look at some of the profiles on social media of some of the pupils I used to teach and its all to apparent the amount of time spent in the gym and the stark abuse steroids in contrast to the rest of society.
Their inability to leave toxic masculinity behind and seek a progressive attitude towards society means they see anything they isn’t part of their own is a threat. It took me years to be accepted in such a community even though I was only born a handful of miles away from the area.
Terry Kupers, professor in psychiatry, explains in an article that the basis of toxic masculinity is the ‘constellation of socially regressive males traits that serve to foster domination, the devaluation of women, homophobia and wanton violence’. A man sees his right to assert dominance over women and any gay man he may come into contact is a threat to his own masculinity.
I see a lot of men who I define as having a ‘heterosexual blindness.’ What I mean is that anything that doesn’t fit into a mould of a macho stereotype will instantly dismissed. eg. Boybands are dismissed as being ‘gay’; any alignment with perceived femininity also the same. Jobs in the field of fashion the arts and world of entertainment were too brushed off as for ‘poofs’.
Growing up in the 80s boys had to follow careers in hard industry. Domestic science or cooking was for girls and woodwork and metalwork for boys. It was alarming that I taught in a school that still harnessed these outdated beliefs.
I am not stating that all heterosexual men have this blindness some see beyond straight roles and have successful lives in various professions. But there are still that cling on to the fact that men shouldn’t talk about their ‘feelings’. Even talking openly to a gay man is frowned up on.
The recent Gillette campaign for men to be ‘the best a man can get’ confronting toxic masculinity some were denouncing its campaign. Saying that it was unfair that all men are painted with the same brush but they missed the point. Some men are decent hardworking loyal people who contribute to society and haven’t done anything wrong. There are ones who look after their family work and pay for their children. We know that but we have all seen and know of the ones who don’t.
When we see the figures of domestic violence and how they affect women and incidents of bullying and violence it worries me that men somehow think it’s their right to carry on the way they do. They will be perceived as weak if they don’t tell a woman what they should be doing.
But it my opinion it takes a real man to be able to discuss his feelings. To not be afraid to cry in from of his peers. Its not about men becoming feminine either. Critics of the Gillette campaign have said that men are told they should adopt feminine characteristics. But again they still have missed the point its not about making men more like women its asking men to stop behaving in a way that has a negative affect on other people. Surely that has to be a good thing.