The issue of toxic masculinity

Feelings of dominance in men are causing problems in the US


Photo by The Conversation

Toxic masculinity is a problem in America that needs to be solved as soon as possible. There are many causes that lead men to this mindset. It’s necessary for society to raise respectful boys.

Elizabeth Hahn, Entertainment Editor

Throughout history, women have gained more power in society. In the early and even mid-1900’s, women were expected to clean the house, take care of the children and cook meals. It’s incredible how far the US has come. Today’s society is more open to different types of people than ever. With this, some men, who were once at the top of the world, feel threatened by the growing rights of different populations. This leads to an epidemic that has spread across the country: toxic masculinity.

Toxic masculinity is defined as “a cultural concept of manliness that glorifies stoicism, strength, virility and dominance, and that is socially maladaptive or harmful to mental health.” This issue has been a rising topic and is detrimental to men and women across the world. Not all men fall into this category. The majority don’t, but the ones that do pose a threat to everyone around them.

There are a plethora of causes for fragile masculinity, however, the biggest one is to not appear weak. Many men are raised to believe that males need to be the stronger ones. This goes as far as them feeling threatened by intelligent, powerful women. A Psychology Today article “The Fear Behind Women in Power” states that women are still getting paid less than men, with an average of 79 cents per dollar to men in 2015. Women in the same jobs as men are not being equally compensated because of the misogyny that still exists in America. 

Strict dress codes are in place at schools that mainly control what girls are wearing because of the risk of “distracting the boys.” Girls should not have to restrict the types of clothes they can wear to cater to male students. Many workplaces require sexual harassment seminars to teach the employees what is deemed as harassment. There shouldn’t be a need to reteach what is or isn’t okay to say or do to a person. Employees should already respect each other enough to not want to harass their peers.

Toxic masculinity leads men to believe that women are weaker and are even less than them. The truth is, women are stronger now more than ever and that strength will only continue to grow. Some men need to realize that it’s 2019, not the 1950’s.

The rise of the #MeToo movement has brought toxic masculinity to light. Men across the country are taking advantage of women and making advances without consent to feel that they have the power. It’s frightening that these men don’t even consider the girl’s well being and what they want. An i-Sight article “Sexual Harassment Statistics: The Numbers Behind the Problem” shows that a YouGov poll found that 60% of women in America have experienced sexual harassment. 

No matter what form it comes in, harassment is traumatizing for any woman. Some men feel as though each girl is nothing more than a prize that can be discarded when they’re finished with her. Another huge cause is the fact that men feel inclined to demonstrate the power they have. Some can’t handle that women actually have roles in society today.

Toxic masculinity can also cause abusive relationships. The main goal of men who act out in this way is to make the person they’re in a relationship with feel weak. Many of the occurrences of harm are due to a mistake made by the significant other or an argument. These destructive men want their partner to admit whatever happened was their fault but feel too afraid to break off the relationship, which leads to the abuse. The constant need to be in the right causes some men to be pushed over the edge and act out in these ways. It’s terrifying that this can happen to anyone if they fall into a relationship with the wrong person.

Many abusive relationships are caused by the inability to open up about emotions. Society today needs to teach men that showing their feelings is okay, as bottling them up doesn’t do anyone any good. Failing to express emotions can cause men to become depressed. The National Institute of Mental Health found that more than six million men have depression in America alone. This is scary because, since many men are unable to talk about their feelings, they are afraid to get help. The best way to combat mental health issues is talking to someone about problems and finding ways to cope, whether that be medication or more therapy sessions. Failing to seek help risks suicide and self-harm. Both the men and women in situations of this toxicity are suffering, which really brings the scope of this problem to light.

Misogyny rooting from toxic masculinity is plaguing society. Women are feeling the effects of men feeling threatened by them. It’s difficult to say what could help prevent men from growing up with feelings of dominance, but something needs to change. 

Honestly, it all starts at home. Parents need to teach their sons that talking about their feelings is important. Men need to drop the “boys will be boys” mentality and treat women as equals in society. No girl should have to take precautions when doing something as simple as walking to their car in fear of being harassed. They also need to stop treating significant others as their property or as a trophy. Treating others with respect really shouldn’t be too much to ask.

America needs to do better. Some men are out there traumatizing women and walking away like nothing happened. It is unfair that girls have to live in fear. However, this problem affects the toxic man as well. Mental health issues are on the rise for men across the country. This is dangerous, as the fear of opening up can keep them away from help. Overall, these men need to realize that the United States is changing. They either need to change with it or reevaluate how they are living their lives.