Breaking Toxic Masculinity


Lesly Hernandez, Co-Editor-in-Chief

There’s an ongoing idea that men need to act tough and cannot show emotions associated with being unmanly. This idea is finally starting to get addressed.


While seeking men to get quotes from, I realized that a large group of men in the world don’t know the definition of toxic masculinity or have even heard of the word before. 


Toxic masculinity is a set of behaviors that are harmful to men and society. This can include rejecting anything that may be considered to be feminine. 


They may grow up with a mentality that some things that are actually healthy for a man are seen as wrong for them.


Popular gender “rules” pushed onto us include men not crying if something bad happens to them, men not prioritizing self-care, and men not singing along to any “girl” songs. On the flipside, women are expected to do all the housework and follow their husband’s lead. 


When it comes to who gets to wash the dishes or who will clean the entire house, the responsibility will mostly always fall on the women in the family because it’s believed that a man can’t do those things. Only women can.


Men are absolutely capable of doing the same chores that women do. And it doesn’t make them any less of a person to do so. 


In the entertainment industry, it’s not uncommon for movies directed toward the teenage audience to include a male character who’s very manipulative over their girlfriend. They may acknowledge that his actions aren’t healthy, but they may actually still end up idolizing him. 


Because these types of movies and shows target teenagers and they seem to find it interesting, we need to address this issue immediately. We need to call it out and do something before it’s too late and talk about how teenagers shouldn’t be finding such characters amusing.


Andrew Tate, the infamous TikToker, the exact definition of toxic masculinity. 


Unfortunately, he’s become a bit of a sensation for saying things like women belong in the home, they’re a man’s property, and they should be responsible for their actions in regard to sexual assault.


Tate has been banned from TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube. Before being banned, he had around 4.7 million followers on Instagram. Why would so many people choose to follow someone like this? Is it because they agree with him or is it that they find him disgusting but can’t seem to look away?


Even though he’s been banned from multiple social media platforms, people continue to repost his videos and share their opinion on it. You may agree or disagree with him, but the simple action of reposting it, whether it’s a small clip, is actually spreading his content even more.


Instead of reposting his clips, one can simply just post a video talking about him and how his actions are wrong. Tagging him and adding hashtags of him under a video can also bring more attention to him and therefore, make him more famous.


As useful and influential social media can be, it can also be damaging. We all know the impact social media can have on our lives. 


Social media can also cause men and women to suffer from mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. Yet, the ideals of toxic masculinity say that these traits can only be shown by women. 


Results from a 2017 National Survey on Drug Abuse and Health titled “Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States” stated how “although both men and women are affected by mental illness, it is oftentimes overlooked in males.”


What this is saying is that the mental health issue in men can be overlooked and that connects again to the idea that men don’t have these issues often and they don’t necessarily seek help all the time.


On the other hand, the stigma of “women aren’t strong” continues to be shared because it’s common for them to deal with mental health issues. 


This can also be difficult because since they don’t see what traits are negative, that can lead to violence, manipulation, and control. And once those traits go on for a while, the partner may see that what they do isn’t wrong and they may feel they have dominance over them.


Many might also try to avoid the issue completely and distract themselves to not face it. Examples of this are not talking through the issue or ignoring what others around you are trying to suggest that will help. 


However, there are other healthy ways to cope with this. You can talk to a therapist or counselor, or simply just talk to a friend, parent, or teacher that you trust. There’s no judgment here.


We just need to address the issue of toxic masculinity more.


Some things we can do to spread the word would be to include a class about toxic masculinity in school. This can be a class strictly about it or they can add a class that talks about societal issues in the world and toxic masculinity would be a topic within the class.


Another thing we can do would be to simply be more aware of the messages we’re consuming in media. Social media takes up a big part of our everyday lives. We should pull back at times and make sure it isn’t affecting us negatively.


We can also speak up for others who don’t have a voice. Many will be scared to come up and stand up for themselves, so if we see something, we need to say something. We can’t ignore the issue any longer. 


We all need to speak up for what’s right and be a part of the change together.