Siena College's Student Newspaper

Opinion

Effects of Toxic Masculinity

I want you to picture your “perfect man.” It probably isn’t a skinny, emotional guy that solely wants to take care of the kids when he’s older. Rather, he is a provider, strong emotionally and physically, and has a career in mind that probably will pay well. But, is this concept of masculinity more harmful than helpful? 

Society tends to focus on the gender roles that are placed on women, and how it limits our opportunities. But, what about the gender roles we create for men? Women are allowed to touch one another without being called, lesbians. We are allowed to cuddle, hug, hold hands, and even kiss without any judgment at all. Of course, this is okay because women are allowed to show their love through physical actions. But, if roles were reversed and two men kissed at a party, they would be labeled as gay immediately. Meanwhile, in some European cultures, the typical greeting is with kisses on the cheek, which is something both men and women do. The double-standards established by our society are simply unfair and unnecessary.

Men are raised to be more aggressive, dominant, and tough. This comes from the notion that men must be strong and shield their feelings from the world, in order to protect the woman in their life. Disney movies do a perfect job of displaying this notion. The princess is weak and in distress, so she needs a man to come and save her, showing that men are stronger and superior. Women are seen as weaker because it is acceptable for them to express their emotions, and apparently emotions equate to weakness in our society.

In relationships, it often takes significantly longer for men to express their negative feelings or issues than women. This is due to the fact that women have the ability to freely express their feelings without judgment, but there is a double standard when it comes to men. When you see a man crying, for the most part, it signals that something is truly wrong because real men don’t cry. Moreover, the rare moment that you catch a man crying, you can almost guarantee he is either alone or with a female companion, not another male. Meanwhile, women are encouraged to let their inner feelings out through tears, and may even be called overdramatic for crying about something that should not be a huge worry. 

To continue, why does society establish this idea in our minds that men must be the providers in relationships? What if I want my future husband to be a stay at home dad who takes care of our three children, while I make the money? This concept seems alien to us. Sure, there are some stay and home fathers, but the majority of parents who stay with the kids are mothers. Even when mothers do work, it is often part-time or a typical 9-5 job, while the husband works full time and all hours of the day. We should be encouraging men to embrace their roles with their children, instead of insisting that it is a women’s job. It’s 2020 and we still have not been able to eliminate the stereotypical role of a mother. 

Thus, we normally only think of gender roles in regards to negatively affected women, but they are just as harmful to men.