The misconceptions and true face of toxic masculinity
ONE of the controversial phrases coined in contemporary psychology is the idea of toxic masculinity. At the height of its definition lies the concept of equality, which is often misconstrued and misinterpreted by various special groups. I do recoil at the sound of words like patriarchy, and any term that diminishes the humanity in women. Most of the advocacy surrounding these terms are almost driven out of proportion and are lost in translation. The ugly face of toxic masculinity reveals the hidden facts that men do suppress their emotions because of inherent traits that they are exposed to, traits that they stubbornly practice so religiously. The reality is that these toxic behaviour gives aa false narrative to males that they are indeed control and that they are the dominant gender. Perhaps furthermore, clarity should also be shone on the word masculinity, as it should not just describe male masculinity but human beings in general.
I do not agree with the concepts of toxic masculinity that refuses to accept that there are behavioural differences between men and women. There exist not any mammal species out there where the male and female behave exactly the same. I do not believe we would solve this problem by belittling, shaming, or attacking the male specie alone. If we want to start solving these problems, I think there should be a collaborative effort that needs to come from both sexes. It has to start from an honest conversation about generational patriarchy and how cultural masculinity has played a big role into shaping our lives. I also think that, because these traits are well embedded into our everyday life (the movies and series we watch, the novels and magazines we read, the advertisement on television and in the newspapers), that it would be challenging, not difficult, but challenging to unlearn and undo entirely. The way the masses receive messages on topics like this seem to always stem from an ulterior motive point of view. The way the message is delivered is in an aggressive non-confirmative way that screams anger and rage, and there is nothing wrong with feeling all these emotions because sometimes to convey an important message it will be more affective to advocate it in a thought-provoking manner. But if we are going to work towards a progressive outcome we ought to approach it in a way that it will welcome an open honest dialogue and not introduce it in a cross-examinational noxious way.
If we paint a picture of how our childhood was like, you will notice that boys were allowed to stay outside the house for longer periods, this promoted freedom and developed the competitive nature of the boy-child, and perhaps other aggressive toxic traits that made them chivalrous. In contrast, the girl-child was given curfews, and made to work by cooking, cleaning and taking care of the younger siblings which in retrospect made them good in the kitchen, nurturing and loving. In both contexts you will have to expect that the way the children are raised will play an important role in how they will behave in the world as they grow up. I want us to place the above scenario under a microscope and unravel the inherent traits. It is the responsibility of a parent to make sure that their children are safe and protected, because of the experiences and knowledge that the parents have towards the world that they live in. Naturally, they will instil the protective behaviour and masculinity in the girl and boy child respectively. They might not do it in a way that will promote equality in a broader sense, but nevertheless they will create an environment that perpetuates the
differences that the children will portray. Then, will it not be absolutely fitting to begin our lessons on masculinity by teaching our children about the adoptive norms and traits that exists within our society?
The only thing that we must be careful about is how we approach this subject. Because, more than often, the phrase toxic masculinity has phases and has been loosely translated to mean something else. The true nature of the term is never really explored in the end because the perpetrators who bring confusion to its definition are busy shaming, and pointing fingers. Its misnomer toxic femininity has also find its way inside modern psychology books which fights against feminine traits that are toxic. I think these phrases have been incorrectly adopted in our everyday vocabulary and in psychology text books, they should instead be titled Toxic Aspects of Masculine and Feminine Behaviour. I cannot help that our generation is stuck into blaming each other rather than seeking for solutions that can elevate the course for harmonious livelihood.
Even I have failed to comprehensively layout all the aspects involved in masculine and feminine behavioural patterns that are toxic, because topics like these have layers and cannot be dissect in an article of just 1000 something words.