Everything You Need to Know About Toxic Masculinity

By: Malak Atwa and Sevine Ahmed

The term “toxic masculinity” is used very deliberately to differentiate the more destructive male behaviors and the more positive ones. Firstly, toxicity is toxicity no matter the gender, sexuality, age, relationship, etc. Toxicity is not a quality nor a biological trait that men-or anyone for that matter-gain over time. Toxicity is a set of negative behaviours and actions that someone does. Toxic, the word itself, is to modify and highlight the fact that these set of actions and behaviours lead to very serious and even sometimes deadly consequences.

Secondly, masculinity-based on google-is qualities or attributes regarded as masculine characteristics, but as synonyms it has ruggedness, toughness and strength. Masculinity should not be measured by strength or toughness. Masculinity is not how many girls you’ve dated, how many hearts you’ve broken, how many fights you’ve won. Masculinity can not be defined by one term, because masculinity is a perspective that differs from one person to another, and there is no global definition for masculinity.

The fear to be perceived as feminine, therefore unmanly, can lead to toxic masculinity. On television-and on media in general-men are displayed constantly as toxic, but since most of them are very admirable and charismatic, most of the time they get away with it. It’s viewed as normal and that the “boys will be boys” mantra encourages them to become role models to younger generations. Masculinity is often mistaken with toxicity, because of the fact that they were born surrounded by the idea that *that* is manly, that is how you’re supposed to be, and if you don’t apply to their standards then you’re not a “ragel” and​ ​there’s something wrong with you, being remotely nice makes you weak, showing feelings-crying-makes you weak, so you either live by the stereotype of a “ragel”-which is toxic- or you’re labeled as weak.

Domination, control, hyper competitiveness, aggression, violence and sexual objectification are often associated with toxic masculinity. When it’s broadcasted on television almost daily, then toxic masculinity is considered as displays of strength, power and manhood. And, at the times that those behaviours and actions are not acceptable or celebrated by the media, they’re still viewed as “okay” and normal. Unfortunately, things aren’t so clear cut all the time which is terrifying if you think about it. To think that your friend, relative, brother and dad, all these seemingly normal “gentlemen” who might seem charismatic and admirable, when in reality they are toxic.  

So us women, being considered by those toxic men as “the weaker gender” they might try to sugarcoat their actions, but some of them don’t. Their actions that make us doubt ourselves, feel bad about ourselves, because they want to feel manly so they hit us, they feed of power by our weakness, they want to feel manly so they hurt us with words, they want to feel manly so they mark us as their “prize”, they make us do this make us do that, we become objects, servants at their demand. Some have the tendency to sugarcoat their actions, saying things like, this is for your best, “I know how other boys think”, I do this because I love you. But do they really? NO! They do this because if you wear something, even the slightest revealing, then one of his friends can point it out and he’ll hit you with the “how do you think this makes me look in front of my friends”, when it’s his friends sexualizing and objectifying your body, he’ll have to “yelemek” because that’s the *right* thing to do, because he so deeply cares for you, he loves you too much to let others look at you the way he does. Because it’s predatory, they’re marking their territory, just like dogs pee to mark what’s theirs but instead they control us. Those toxic men control us women in fear of losing their said “regoola”.

There’s somehow a misconception that “toxic masculinity” means that everything about every man is toxic which is obviously not the case at all. Not all men are toxic, and not all men who are toxic have to have every trait on the list. There’s a lot of confusion and defensiveness surrounding the term toxic masculinity, it’s derogatory. Some more than others, who have toxic men in their lives, categorize all men as toxic, which is far from the truth. Because even though there are toxic ones, the ones who have the real *masculinity* are still among us. They are made fun of for showing feelings-which only makes them human not a girl-they are degraded for being for being normal and human.  

Toxic masculinity is an incredibly loose term to refer back to a subset of these certain behaviours and actions which are harmful or destructive. It’s also traditionally associated with men and just manhood generally in our culture, Even though manhood and toxic masculinity are completely different terms. The thing about toxic masculinity is that it surprises you, because you never know who it might come from. And men can simply choose not to participate or engage in these toxic actions and behaviours and only pursue the more positive and cooperative forms of it.

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