Toxic masculinity has been tainted and tarnished on just about any platform that stands in the name of modern masculinity. But is it deserved? That is the question we're unpacking in today's post. While I am in agreement with the notion of 'toxic masculinity', I am hesitant about the response.
We have wisely identified that toxic masculinity is wreaking havoc on the men (and women, and children) of our society. To be clear, toxic masculinity generally refers to three elements (https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-toxic-masculinity-5075107):
1) Toughness – The idea that all men should be physically strong, emotionally indifferent and assert a degree of aggression regularly
2) Antifemininity – Men should ignore emotions (lest they be seen as weak), asking for help, showing nurture towards others, and anything else that is considered feminine
3) Dominance – The notion that men should work towards status financially, socially, vocationally, and otherwise to prove their worth
If you've been a listener of our podcast or regular reader of our newsletter, you'll know that we believe this messaging concerning masculinity is TOXIC through and through. However, in classic human fashion, I am concerned we have swung the pendulum too far in the other direction. Some of the messaging against toxic masculinity directly or indirectly suggests that men should be emotionally vulnerable and fragile, women should be just as aggressive as men, and that physical appearance/state shouldn't matter to men.
This is where toxic masculinity becomes mythical. It is just as problematic to redefine masculinity using the qualities of the previous paragraph. They are simply not what defines a man.
The value of 'toxic masculinity' is to give permission to men who have previously felt emotionally inhibited, insecure about their bodies, and confused why they aren't aggressive by nature permission to be true to themselves. The goal of coining the term 'toxic masculinity' was to give men whose natural qualities weren't as societally accepted and respected the necessary permission to be authentic. THAT'S IT.
We do not need to redefine what it means to be a man. We simply need to give all men permission to express their masculinity in a way that is true to themselves, regardless of whether or not it is a societal norm. That is the value of toxic masculinity. Anything that suggests men should be emotional, soft, passive, etc is simply a derivative of the original definition of toxic masculinity.
An authentic man is inherently masculine. Men, it is time for us to rise up now more than ever. There is no right or wrong way to be a man. Be true to the person God made you to be – that is the correct way to be a man.
Cheering you on,
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