Gendered Attitudes And Expectations That Hurt Men

January 15, 2022

It’s not that I don’t acknowledge how cultural norms around masculinity can be harmful, because I do.

It’s not that I deny certain expectations and attitudes toward men can be destructive, they are.

It’s the wording of ‘toxic masculinity’ that I don’t like, the message it insinuates, the conversation it ignites and the road it sets us down.

Because masculinity is not toxic – but many of our attitudes, expectations and ideas toward it are.

We all help build the cage that so many man live within. We all put up the walls and bar the windows; whether it’s through dating standards, through toxic friendships, through parenthood, relationships or ideological political discourse.

We all play a part in the play, perpetuating the ideas that can and do hurt men and boys.

Of course we have these gendered expectations that hurt women too – to be quiet, to be small, to be subservient, to be innocent, sensitive and beautiful.

And we call this what it is – toxic attitudes toward women, aka “misogyny”.

Yet, when we look at the mirror image for men – expectations to be loud, dominant, aggressive, emotionless and heroic, we call it ‘toxic masculinity’.

It doesn’t make sense.

And if we can open our eyes to this hypocrisy, we can start to see that the men who are called ‘toxic’ have not become that way by their own volition.

That they did not ‘do this to themselves’, but are in fact often victim to the same impossible standards that *society* holds them too.

“Toxic attitudes toward masculinity”.

That’s the road I want to walk down.

What do you think?

Image by Rene Bohmer from Unsplash


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