Toxic Masculinity

Toxic Masculinity refers to pressure applied against men by themselves or others to fulfill harmful male gender roles, such as dominance, social and sexual aggression, emotional invulnerability, and complete self-reliance.

Pressure to perform in these roles causes direct harm to men and indirect harm to the those around them. For example, toxic masculinity directly harms men by pressuring them to refuse or avoid social support in an attempt to appear emotionally invulnerable, which has been shown to increase their rate of completing suicide. Toxic masculinity indirectly harms those around men by pressuring them to use violence against others even when they don’t want to.

One specific example of a toxic masculine ideal is the perception that it is shameful or unbecoming of a man to do housework. This is a source of household difficulties in patriarchies everywhere, where women are saddled with disproportionate amounts of housework and men feel like they don’t have control over their own living spaces. An extreme example of this can be found in traditional Italian culture, where men often feel like they are forced to depend on women even when they want to live independently.

How has toxic masculinity impacted you? How do we differentiate between what is toxically masculine and what is merely masculine? What can men do to oppose or decrease the affect of toxic masculinity on themselves? What individual and societal changes should we make to decrease the pressure on men to conform to male gender roles? How does the impact and form of toxic masculinity change across cultures and regions?