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Modern Problems: Defining Toxic Masculinity

Updated on April 16, 2020
Kyler J Falk profile image

Gender issues never bothered me, until gender issues were forced down my throat.

Big, scary, masculine man, I acknowledge you.
Big, scary, masculine man, I acknowledge you. | Source

Have you ever felt victimized by a man?

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I have no doubt in my mind that you have experienced some form of "toxic masculinity" in your daily life, or otherwise know of the trendy phrase itself and how to define it quite well. Toxic masculinity is a topic that rarely gets discussed in any constructive manner because it is not politically correct to question and criticize women who are alleged victims of toxic masculinity, the ones who are most often presenting the issue in an unfair manner to begin with. I'm going to explain my perspective on toxic masculinity just as I did with toxic femininity, and how it affects me in my daily life. Forewarning, I don't think I am able to do this topic the justice it deserves now that I have begun to write about it due to my inability to see solely from the female perspective, so please go easy on me!

Definition of toxic masculinity as used within this article: Any predominantly masculine trait (literal, figurative, perceived, etc.) that inherently causes unnecessary and damaging issues when present within an individual's interactions.

Not Every Woman Wants You

As much as we wish it were true, not every female who chooses to speak to and associate with us has a sexual interest in us. I know when we approach a female it is more likely that we are wanting to attract them as a mate than any other motive, but you cannot project that intention on to women for your own comfort. When I was younger I felt that every female who would give me the time of day was also a possible mate, and I felt this way because most females who sought to talk to me also sought to have a relationship with me. Rarely was there any other reason for a female to have an extended conversation with me, and still in my adult life females don't seem to ever talk to me for extended periods of time unless they want something like a long-term relationship with me. This doesn't change the fact I tend to project this mentality on women it does not hold true for. This is a sign of my toxic masculinity.

For example, in my article "Toxic Femininity" I discussed the girl I dubbed Penny, and she was always bringing up hyper-sexual conversation topics with me and I honestly felt that she was coming on to me at certain points throughout our work day. In discussing it with her at a later time I discovered that she "doesn't know how to talk to people" but that didn't deter this thought that she was in fact coming on to me. Whether it be a biological trait in men, or just my own delusions no matter how much she would say she isn't looking for any flirting or anything, the sexual talk continues to make me believe that she was into me especially when presenting hypothetical situations involving the both of us. Not to mention, feeling wanted by a woman makes me feel extremely special and that feeling can be pretty addicting.

Another reason we project these intentions on women when they approach us is because our egos depend upon the attentions of lovers and possible lovers to hit that specific level that only comes from such attentions. That feeling you get with a new lover it can't be matched, and despite what men would claim we get addicted to it at a young age. For me the attentions make me feel powerful, like I'm the President of the United States of Love, and can even lead to me feeling unstoppable. The more attention I receive from the opposite sex the more confident I become that every woman around me wants me, or potentially could want me if I expressed my interest and desires first. Make sure you take the time to ask yourself whether or not a woman is actually interested in your attention, or if you are projecting. This is particularly toxic in a working situation.

She can't get away while working, save it for after work and give her the option to refuse.
She can't get away while working, save it for after work and give her the option to refuse. | Source

Has a male ever made you feel harassed in the workplace?

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Stuck in the Workplace

There is nothing worse, that I can think of, than being stuck in a tight space that you have no way of leaving. Even worse is when you are stuck in a tight space and a fly begins to buzz around your face, you smack at it but it just won't go away and the incessant buzzing begins to wear your patience thin. Eventually that fly makes you so upset and uncomfortable that you stop whatever it is you are doing in that tight space and try to eliminate the fly in any way you can. In this situation I think we can safely equate the tight space to your job, and that buzzing fly to the dude who won't stop coming by to hit on you. This isn't to say you don't appreciate such gestures sometimes, only to say that it is more commonly an annoyance or hindrance than it is a boon.

As a man I view the workplace as sort of a primal hunting grounds for both friends and lovers alike. What better way to meet people than when you are forced to act like a dancing monkey in front of them anyways? This can be a very toxic trait of masculinity that every man can acknowledge. Yet, just like women we are forced to come to work and be around everyone else who is made to be there; so how can you go about avoiding that toxic masculinity that could get you hit with harassment allegations?

Stop treating work as if it is a cage that holds in your prospective mates with no way for them to escape you. Offer a passing glance and a good day, even ask them if you could get together after work if you feel so inclined, but if you receive a no ensure you aren't returning to buzz around her like a pesky fly. Women want the standard of "No means no," and that means you can no longer function under the idea that "No means a call for greater seduction."

We can look back on the history of Western culture and see that "No means no," can often mean a staunch and unabashed yes. This has produced a confusing situation in which toxic masculinity can now be at the forefront of a woman's mind, rather than that seductive edge you think you're presenting. Adopt the definition of no as meaning no in order to protect women, and more importantly yourself, so that we all don't have to suffer from the symptoms of your toxic masculinity.

I don't want to be indirectly fighting you through the symptoms of your actions.
I don't want to be indirectly fighting you through the symptoms of your actions. | Source

Have you ever felt unfairly generalized by a woman because of other men?

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You're Making Us All Look Bad

I'm going to be frank, and as concise as I can here in this section. Speaking to you, the male reader that this applies to (Sorry ladies and other gents, this isn't for you. This is for us toxic masculine men), you gotta start seeing your actions as hurting the entire team. Just as women need to start being on each other's side in a healthy and constructive way, we need to be thinking about how our interactions and projections are going to affect society as a whole. One woman made to be the victim is one too many if we want the vicious cycle of toxic masculinity and femininity to stop.

When you go and you use and abuse a woman, she is going to go and poison the social climate just as bad if not worse than you poisoned her. Why would you want to abuse your power in that kind of way? Now we, your bros, are sitting here because of your silly-self with females actively trying to avoid or otherwise destroy us. Your transgressions against a woman aren't just transgressions against them, your act of pride that saw you putting a woman beneath you is not just lowering them, you are effectively destroying the social paradigms we have all come to depend on and that destruction is starting to bleed into every aspect of life. You're making us all look bad, and this is why the "All men are..." statements pop up to begin with.

Now if you're like me, your interactions with females are quite limited, so most of your toxic masculinity is taking place online. Let's touch on that subject.

Not every issue is a pickle jar being handed to you, discern between necessary and unnecessary.
Not every issue is a pickle jar being handed to you, discern between necessary and unnecessary. | Source

Have you ever felt harassed by a man on social media?

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Internet Tough Guy

Most "organic" interaction, outside of compulsory activities such as buying groceries or performing your job duties, is taking place online. In such a situation we begin to see personality types arise such as the social media wasps, and the ever-present internet tough guys. We have all experienced the internet tough guy and we all know that this man is being used at the forefront of examples for toxic masculinity.

Listen here, internet tough guys, I know what it is like to feel as if every post and every bit of misinformation is directed at you. I know what it is like to step in that virtual boxing ring where the fists being thrown are made of your words, and I know what it is like to be attacked by swarms of equally toxic social media wasps with absolutely no back-up to speak of. The pain is unbearable, so on you go to refine your tactics for the next digital battlefield you willingly throw yourself into like some sort of martyr of a great war.

Take a step back, ask yourself whether this pickle jar needs your help to get the lid off or if you'd just be doing more damage to society as a whole. Better to leave them to their echo-chamber than to be compared to the title "internet tough guy" right? Save the tough act for when it counts, and educate yourself in the meantime so you're ready when your chance to shine comes.

I know it is rough, but it's your job to "be the bigger person."
I know it is rough, but it's your job to "be the bigger person." | Source

Simple Solutions

If you've made it this far in your reading then I have to assume you already agree with me, and that I don't need to list any solutions for you as far as solving your own toxic masculinity. If you made it this far and still need to know the solutions, however, I'll offer you this first one in earnest. Stop projecting your feelings onto women and instead take the time to practice seduction around the current social climate. In doing so you will not only be altering your behavior to a more favorable disposition, but you will also be showing women that you aren't "like every other guy."

Next, just as I tell everyone else for every other problem to exist, ever, stop and take a look at what you are doing and saying. Is what you are doing and saying meant solely to hurt and/or subjugate those around you? If so then it would be best to stop, recalculate, and try a new approach that is less hostile and toxic. I know it can be hard to do this in the face of others not complying with the same standards, but we will change the world one adjustment at a time.

Finally, once you have changed who you are to suit a more productive and constructive future for us all, maintain it! None of your efforts will matter if you can't maintain it, and the cycle will continue ever-onward. Let's turn the cycle into a smaller obstacle, one in the background noise rather than the blaring forefront of social issues.


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