My Opinion On Toxic Masculinity

My Opinion On Toxic Masculinity

Hannah Lancaster, Staff Writer

What is toxic masculinity? Many people describe it using a variety of different definitions but let me just clarify with the textbook definition of toxic masculinity. According to Oxford languages, Toxic masculinity is defined as a set of attitudes and ways of behaving stereotypically associated with or expected of men, regarding as having a negative impact on men and on society as a whole.

Toxic masculinity is nothing new, the usage of the word originated in the mythopoetic men’s movement of the 1980s and 1990s. The phrase died out over time and reappeared in the media during the 2010s on apps such as Instagram, Twitter, and Tik Tok. Toxic masculinity has become a more pressing issue in today’s youth. It became so present that women and men across the world are bringing attention and calling out men who are acting in misogynistic manors.

It is ruining our society by not only just harming men but also women. Toxic masculinity has turned our society into every person for themselves attitude. For men toxic masculinity develops overtime due to other unsolved issues. The need to feel superior or to see yourself as superior develops for men as they get older. It can come from many sources such as ignoring personal traumas in their life or growing up with a presence who acts on unequal beliefs about men and women. Ignoring your personal issues and believing in those misogynistic views that may have been around you as a child overall can contribute to much larger societal problems that are unacceptable and can lead to gender-based violence and sexual assault.

Toxic masculinity has seemed to become a trend, an extremely dangerous trend. From birth men are raised to see emotions as a terrible thing. They are raised to be strong, not cry, be tough, and not show emotions that are seen as feminine or weak. Also look at any major movie in theater or cartoons on television. You tend to see the “big strong man” always get the girl which is seen as the prize. Watching and being taught these things from an early age influences their whole perspective on the relationships between men and women.

I asked two students at Dakota high school, one male and one female, about their experiences growing up in a society with a rise is toxic masculinity having an overall higher effect on them. I started with the female prospective and below I will attach a transcript of our conversation.

Female Perspective:

Question: What are the differences between how women are shown in TV compared to real life? What are the expectations?

Anonymous: TV perspective makes women a lot more feminine. For example, Harley Quinn in the first movie was wearing a crop top and super revealing shorts. Even in the second movie she was still shown as a super feminine character. Where in real life women wear a variety of clothes not just super feminine clothing! While on TV they have specific standards for how the women are shown down to their hair length.

Question: How do women tend to be treated by men in real life versus the treatment shown in the media?

Anonymous: In the media men open doors for you, buy you dinner, very caring and nice while in real life women are treated more like garbage as if they are under them. They flirt with whoever they want, cheat with whoever they want, they do not care about us (women). Where in the media they are expected to provide and be loyal to us (women).

Question: What are your overall experiences or things you have witnessed while trying to date in high school.

Anonymous: I personally have only dated one person while in high school if I’m being completely honest. We were only dating for a month and the whole time he was cheating on me and had a completely different girlfriend who he was with for six months. All the relationships I see, unless they are super established, a lot of times there are a lot of breakups and fights due to cheating in high school.

Question: So, the unloyalty is a reoccurring factor in high school relationships?

Anonymous: Its hugely prominent, I can’t tell you how many relationships I have seen break up because the boyfriend was cheating. It’s too much.

Question: Do you think the poor treatment of women has taken an increase due to the rise of the need to feel masculine? Do you think that’s had an impact?

Anonymous: I believe it has increased a lot back in the 1900s men were supposed to be more courteous and kind because it was the society’s expectations whereas now it’s kind of expected for men to cheat.

Question: So, it has become almost cool to be the guy dating a bunch of girls and being a player? Is there a double standard?

Anonymous: There is totally a double standard when it comes to dating between men and women. If a guy is dating more than one girl then he is seen as lucky, he’s able to pull it off and get a type of praise for it which he shouldn’t be getting. Meanwhile, women are seen as already used and unattractive.

Question: Has the way you’ve seen men treat women impact your dating choices or what you look for when trying to date someone and what characteristics you look for when dating someone?

Anonymous: Yes, because seeing how men treat women now a days, I am more selective my heart is not open as easily because I must constantly question what their intentions are with me. They walk around like they are high and mighty, and I don’t want to date 99% of the population at Dakota because of the terrible things I see them do.

Question: How do you think toxic masculinity and the alpha male attitude affecting society as a whole?

Anonymous: As a whole it is increasing the pay, mental, emotional gap between men and women. Society is going to be broken up and segregated between men and women.

Male Perspective:

Question: What are similarities between high school relationship and celebrity relationships or what’s in the media?

Max: They are the same, they are stupid and immature.

Question: Do you think the term “man up” is damaging to men?

Max: oh yea, for sure. It really depends on when it is being said like if it’s something small, I understand the use but if its something serious and you say “don’t worry about it man up” that can definitely be damaging.

Question: Do you think how women get treated has gotten better or worse over the years?

Max: Definitely worse, because of the 97% statistic and just in general the treatment of women has gotten worse.

Question: Have you ever felt that if you show certain emotions that someone would think of you differently or that they wouldn’t be into you?

Max: Not me personally because I don’t care what anyone thinks of me, but I know with other people that is the case. It’s a thing that tends to happen.

Question: Have you or anyone you know of with changing yourself for someone else because of the fear of not being enough?

Max: Yes.

Question: do you wish to elaborate?

Max: not at the moment.

Question: okay, how do you feel toxic masculinity has taken over the generations of you have to be this big strong guy?

Max: I feel like we are moving past it and the generations are becoming more accepting

Question: What are the lasting effects of toxic masculinity?

Max: It will fade out of younger generations, but the older generations will keep a vague thought about it in their minds through their lives.

The difference in how men and women see and experience toxic masculinity and the trend of men taking on this top dog persona is there. Women see it and experience it on a more up front and an unsettling snap back to reality from the fairy tales we grew up with. While men see it as a more built into the way they grew up its normal for them to feel the effects since they grew up with those expectations of themselves from other people. Even though how they experience it is different they agree that it is damaging to our lives inside and outside of high school and that it needs to come to an end sooner rather than later.