Crying is viewed in our society as an inherently feminine trait, somehow absent from masculinity. What a world we could have if we collectively abandoned traditional gender norms, misogyny, and toxic masculinity. People would be free to love what (and whom) they love and do what makes them happy.

There is pressure on everyone to conform to societal norms. But we can change what the norms are. It’s wonderful to see open discussions around toxic masculinity. Clearly, this is a societal norm that must be rejected.

“Literally it’s the 21st century. Feminism includes: advocating against racism, homophobia, transphobia, toxic masculinity (and reducing the male suicide rate for example from that). Biological females are NOT above everyone else. We are supposed to be EQUAL. She needs to get off her fucking pedestal back to earth and reality where there’s more than one vulnerable group in society and it is everyone’s responsibility to protect these groups. E q u a l i t y”

Toxic Masculinity Defined

Toxic masculinity simply teaches boys and men that all emotions that are not violent and negative are feminine and weak. This claim is not based in reality, but it does have real-world consequences. It also teaches boys to value sexual experiences at the cost of the safety and comfort of both themselves and their partners, oftentimes violating either non-verbal or verbal consent along the way.

Toxic masculinity is defined as, “Traditional stereotypes of men as socially dominant, along with related traits such as misogyny and homophobia, can be considered “toxic” due in part to their promotion of violence, including sexual assault and domestic violence.

The definition goes on to say that within patriarchal societies, normalizing males being violent is often excused by “boys will be boys. In fact, violence is often encouraged. The forms it takes during childhood and adolescence include bullying, harassment, and overall aggression. Emotional repression is also encouraged even though this increases psychological problems in men. As a result, we see elevated rates of stress, substance abuse, and depression.

OP: “When you’re depressed af but you’re not a girl so nobody cares” REPLY: “Toxic masculinity check…yeet!”

Toxic Masculinity & Suicide

Crying is a natural part of the human experience and not something to be suppressed or feel ashamed of. Whatever your gender, cry when you feel like it. While females attempt suicide at much higher rates, men complete suicide more often. Compared to females, males commit suicide at a rate of almost 2x as frequently.

What’s heartbreaking to know is that toxic masculinity even permeates how men commit suicide. “…research suggests that suicidal thoughts are more common among females than among males. Suicide attempts are between 2-4x more frequent among females. Researchers have attributed the difference between attempted and completed suicides among the sexes to males using MORE LETHAL MEANS to end their lives.”

Some of the most common risk factors for male suicide include:

“Using drugs and/or alcohol to help cope with emotions, relationships, the pressure of work, or other issues. Social isolation/living alone. Not being able to form/sustain meaningful relationships. Divorce/relationship breakdowns. The World Health Organization reports that suicide represents half of all male violent deaths worldwide.”

OP: “Just a thought, maybe the reason why men have such a high suicide rate is that in society today they are told they are the oppressors, they are trash and they are the problem with society. People who say these things need to think for a second who this can affect young men today” REPLY: “no! mens suicide rates are high because of other men!! the toxic masculinity in our society today tells us to not show emotion, which makes young men feel as though they cant and shouldn’t talk about it. do not try and blame this shit on them when its actually you.

Another male suicide risk factor is a mental illness, particularly where this is related to depression. Depression is often underdiagnosed in men and there is speculation that this causes the increased risk of suicide.

“Men often do not disclose feelings of depression to their doctors. When they do, it is often described in terms of having problems at work or in relationships. Men also tend to describe their feelings as “stress” rather than sadness or hopelessness. Researchers suggest that depression is diagnosed less frequently in men because of the tendency to deny illness, self-monitor symptoms, and self-treat.”

It simply cannot be stated enough, emotions are normal, emotions are healthy. Expressing emotions is a typical part of the human experience. Cry if you want to, it might save your life.

“It’s like when men don’t realize that how much harder it is for them to get custody of their kids and their higher suicide rates directly correlate to the patriarchy and toxic masculinity. Like fuck *feminism is for everyone*”

Toxic Masculinity & Racism + Sexism

There’s another element to the toxic masculinity that makes it arguably more insidious. Scholars assert that colonizers’ perception of Black Indigenous Peoples was that they were uncivilized. Which the colonizers then used as justification for the traumas inflicted on them. A horrific and racist legacy we still see in our present-day society.

Living in this society, Black men project hyper-masculinity to combat the feelings of powerlessness that are imposed on them by an “abusive and repressive” society.

However, this merging of black identity and masculinity has “overdetermine[d] the identities black males are allowed to fashion for themselves”, perpetuating negative stereotypes of all black men as inherently violent and dangerous. This continued stereotype of aggression and hyper-masculinity is due to the environment that young African American males are raised in. Adolescents raised in distressed communities are more inclined to adhere to violence and this is due to the multiple factors that coerce violence in these communities.”

“These images are important. We rarely get to see images of Black gay men aging and in love.”

For a long time, qualified women have been kept from leadership positions under the guise of “women are too emotional.” I think about this a lot when I look at the wage gap and what this means for paid labor as well as gender roles within the home.

It’s also worth noting that if emotions are bad, shouldn’t people who have an excess of them be tasked with just about anything OTHER than raising more humans? The logic on that one is beyond me, but I digress.

Having emotions is a HUMAN thing and it is not inherently good or bad.

“Crying doesn’t indicate that you are weak. Since birth, it has always been a sign that you are alive.”

Toxic Masculinity & Gender Roles

Parenthood turns out to be an important factor when it comes to the wage gap and naturally, gender roles play a major part in all of this. In a study, fathers were more likely than childless men to want the extra cash from overtime. Mothers were more likely to want time off than childless women because they needed to care for their children.

Men and women seem to both prioritize their kids, just in different ways. This isn’t surprising. What I’m mulling over is; do men and women react this way because of societal norms or because they genuinely want to? I believe that it’s because of norms.

“Saw a video in which a girl is railing at feminists who “complain about toxic masculinity but also call guys pussy for showing emotions”. Sure, there might be self-proclaimed feminists who don’t get it. But the societal idea that men shouldn’t show emotion == toxic masculinity.”

I’m not saying women deserve raises and promotions for work they’re not doing. I’m simply saying it’s not a level playing field for either sex and this is why there is a wage gap.

Men are expected to work and earn while women are expected to stay home and raise their family. If we can work towards removing stereotypical gender roles and look at the wage gap objectively, we can close the gap and create stronger, more equitable workplaces for everyone.

The antidote to toxic masculinity is positive masculinity and as much as anyone is capable of emulating the former, they’re equally capable of embodying the latter. Normalizing behaviors within positive masculinity and role modeling them ourselves is the best way to create a more healthy, safe, and inspiring world.

“How many men are killed by women vs how many men kill women? Esp how many women have been killed by their spouse? Fuck toxic masculinity, its the reason more men kill each other and why more men commit suicide. U should give feminism a try it’s more about men’s rights than you think!”
I’d love to know…

When was the last time you cried, and why?

What is something you love that society dictated you shouldn’t?

What are your thoughts on being labeled emotional? Has it ever impacted you professionally?