The concept of toxic masculinity is used in psychology and gender studies to refer to certain norms of masculine behavior in North America and Europe that are associated with harm to society and to men themselves.
This clip art tells the story of toxic masculinity doesn’t it? I had never heard the term before Terry Crews bravely came forward and shared his experiences with sexual abuse and assault as a man in the entertainment industry. Most men have not had his experience because most are not in the entertainment businesses, but every man has had the experience in the clipart or something very similar.
I can recall all of the things I heard over the years said to men and boys and as a mother of a boy child, I have said some of them.
- Boys don’t cry.
- Stop that, your being a punk.
- Why are you being so bitchy?
- Toughen up.
- Men do not….
- Men do…..
- Boys do not….
- Boys do…
Boys like girls, men like women have been put into boxes of who and what they should be. I learned early in my life that I am whatever I am and I express it however I express it and gave myself permission to do so. I released myself from the judgement and opinions of men a long time ago but in all honesty, I never considered how toxic masculinity is crippling the lives of men and subjecting them to further abuse. Self inflicted and society inflicted. I never acknowledged it as being a thing.
When a man is not free to be, he is not free.
When a man is not free to grieve he is chained to the emotions of his loss and that grief will manifest itself in one form or another because it has to be released. It will be released.
I cannot even count the times I have dismissed a man, ridiculed a man, chastised a man or been grossly disappointed in a man because he did live up to my Tarzan image of what a man should be.
My memory turns me to the last Tarzan movie I watched in the theater and it was a scene that was so “masculine” on steroids and so sexy that I damn near had an orgasm in the movie theater.
I was so stimulated by the images and the sounds and the fantasy that was being depicted, I note filed it in my mind and said “now, that is a damn man and that is what men do”.
Dana, for real? Girl, stop it.
But I did and we all have in some shape, form or fashion.
I am so thankful that Terry Crews is sharing his story and dispelling the myths and misconceptions about what it is to be a man.
We are humans assigned to a gender. We are not a gender assigned to being human.
Gender serves biological/reproductive functions, other than that, what use does it have?
Let us sit on that.
How different would our society be if humans performed roles and fulfilled expectations based on ability and natural gift setting? How many women would be free from the expectations of cooking when she hates to cook but a responsibility assigned due to gender expectations?
How many men would actually opt to take half the day off to be at their child’s school function in the middle of the day but don’t because “men don’t take time off for kids stuff”.
Whoever we are, whatever we feel, however we naturally and authentically express, is who we are.
What we naturally desire is what we desire and is what we should reward our soul with; without censorship.
As a woman who has been accused of having too much masculine energy, I have always stuck up my middle finger to that criticism and when I do, my critics have said “see, that is what we mean. You can’t help yourself”.
And I stick up the other middle finger.
I am so free I need to weighted down at times and I desire this freedom for others.
This toxic masculinity condition is serious. I see it in the eyes of suffering men who really just want to be. Maybe I have seen it in my own son as he held back tears because his feeling were hurt or we had just buried his grandmother and he wasn’t free enough to cry.
Or maybe he was free enough to cry, but decided not to because I would be looking at him with a side eye.
Men have to give themselves permission to be and it just may start with getting a box a tissue, sitting down and getting all that crying out. Snot and all.
Go ahead, strong, brilliant, beautiful man. Cry.
Cry, son. If you feel a cry.
I am know longer judging you.
And when you start to judge yourself and say “men do not….” tell yourself to shut the hell up and give yourself, what your soul needs.
-Dana Lena' All About Auspicious Living