Toxic masculinity, often misconstrued as a means to impress women, is predominantly about fitting in with other men. This observation comes from a perspective of feeling like an outsider, allowing a closer examination of gender dynamics. Childhood experiences reveal that boys distance themselves from girls to maintain their social status among peers. This pattern of seeking approval from other men continues into adulthood, as evident in interactions and behaviors in college and beyond.
The Underlying Insecurity in Male Behaviors
The drive behind toxic masculinity is rooted in insecurity and the desire for approval from other men. Observations of men waiting for each other’s reactions to jokes and comments about women highlight this yearning for acceptance. Engaging in toxic behaviors becomes a ticket to social inclusion, revealing the underlying fragility in these interactions.
The Consequences of Toxic Masculinity
Toxic masculinity contributes to various societal issues, including the reluctance of men to seek mental health resources, domestic violence, and higher suicide rates among middle-aged men. These behaviors, often normalized through phrases like “man up” or “boys don’t cry,” plant the seeds for violence and destruction.
Toxic Masculinity in the Trans Experience
As a transgender man, the author has experienced both sides of misogyny and toxic masculinity. This unique perspective offers insights into how trans masculinity can challenge and dismantle oppressive systems. The transition from being a victim to being expected to perpetuate these systems provides a platform to inspire change towards more gentle and wholesome masculinity.
The Reaction to Trans Masculinity
Cisgender men often express insecurity when confronted with trans masculinity. This reaction stems not from disbelief in trans manhood but from the disturbance it causes in their understanding of masculinity. The trans experience forces a reevaluation of gender, which many cis individuals find challenging.
Inspiring a Shift in Masculinity
The author encourages other men to use their voices and positions to promote a healthier, more inclusive form of masculinity. The journey involves rejecting toxic masculinity and embracing a more compassionate and understanding approach to gender and identity.
Understanding and challenging toxic masculinity is crucial in evolving societal norms around gender. The insights from a transgender perspective offer a valuable contribution to this dialogue, encouraging a deeper exploration of masculinity and its impacts on individual and collective well-being.