Many people continually say the phrase toxic masculinity and expect others, particularly men, to know what it means. First, let’s go over what toxic masculinity is NOT:
toxic masculinity is not having a beer with your friends
hunting, fishing, or any outdoor activities
working on cars
having a beard
Now, let’s go over what toxic masculinity IS:
treating women as sex objects
resorting to violence as a way to solve conflict
using the phrase “boys will be boys” to excuse violent or harmful behavior
homophobia and intolerance when other men don’t follow a “traditional masculine” lifestyle
domestic violence and non-consensual sexual contact
last but the MOST IMPORTANT is feeling like it’s not ok to discuss emotions In a short definition, toxic masculinity is a societal concept of manliness that glorifies stoicism, strength, grit, and power that is harmful to mental health. For the rest of this article, I’m going to focus on the last example of what toxic masculinity is, feeling like it’s not ok to discuss emotions. From my perspective as a therapist, toxic masculinity is one of the major barriers in therapy with ALL clients, not just men. The societal construct of toxic masculinity has shaped many of our roles in society throughout history, which is one of the reasons it is so hard to break from.
f toxic masculinity holding him back, the greatest factor in combating toxic masculinity is feeling your emotions, especially if you are a man! Now how do you do that? Here are some tips! 1. When you think, “I’m a sissy/pansy/loser for being upset”, reject that thought and replace it with the thought that emotions are a natural part of our being. Emotions are just as natural as physical pain; they tell us something isn’t right but it’s our job to figure out why.
Practice being understanding! When someone is upset, take a step back, take a deep breath, and try to see it from their perspective. If you’re not understanding, ask for clarity and tell them you’re trying hard to recognize how they are feeling.
Emotions can be hard to feel! When your emotion feels as though it is “consuming” you, take 3 deep breaths to ground yourself and continue to feel the emotion until it fades.
Go to therapy! Change the idea that therapy is only for women and children. Become the best version of you!