by Daniel/Alice Aaron Hudson
Trigger Warning: R*pe, sexual assault, domestic violence, victim blaming.
Toxic Masculinity: An umbrella term for toxic doctrines of aggressiveness and nonnegotiable “masculinity” perpetuated by authority figures to young biosex males. Violations of such doctrines are met with the same violence and repression upon which the doctrines are founded.
Biosex males are taught from a very young age that masculinity defines them as human beings. It starts out with a few little words: “Don’t be such a girl.” In the gender-binary and absolute world of children, those words become law. Masculinity is championed, set as the unquestionable ay of life; there is no other option. The inverse—being feminine—is thus seen as wrong, grotesque, unnatural. This conditioning only continues through life. Biosex males are often taught at a very early age that force, aggression, and violence are the only way to get what one wants. Media sensationalizes this force and aggression in everything from rather harmless sports, such a football, to the graphic violence committed by action heroes both real and fictional. The horrific consequences of violence are washed away and the “heroism” of the typical male action hero heralded. Most of the typical idols held up for young boys and men to emulate are all violence-centric to some degree; the football star is starkly different than Jason Statham’s characters1, yet both utilize force to get what they want. The idyllic “man” in modern media is therefore tailored to assume the prehistoric hunter role of the earliest human societies. Control through physical strength, or at least enough aggression to compensate, is venerated as the pinnacle of manhood.
The masculine-rhetoric changes too. “Don’t be a girl” evolves into “Don’t be such a pussy”; biosex women are called “bitches” and “whores” for being empowered individuals and not just vending-machine sex-snacks; any biosex male who doesn’t fall within the strict hetero-normative spectrum is oh-so-cleverly designated a “faggot”; biosex males who engage heavily in sexual activity are portrayed as idols, while biosex women who do the same are “dumb sluts pining for attention”; and masculine power-figures are seen as “badass”.
Most authority figures in the life of a biosex male, and often biosex males themselves, perpetuate these harmful myths of masculinity. And this leads to very real, destructive consequences for the human species.
Imposing this stringent religion of aggression, force, and violence for years and years upon an individual erodes the human spirit. It wears us down, eats away at us, and sends us spiraling into the darkest depths. We become victims of this religion of violence, either brainwashed perpetrators or the recipients of the same violence we are preached. It becomes simple, unconscious math to the perpetrators; if masculine doctrine proclaims that ‘X’ is a problem, and ‘aggression+force+violence’ is the solution, two-plus-two adds up to four. This is why rape and domestic violence are committed at a distinctly higher rate by biosex males2. This is why members of the Queer community have been denied human rights, assaulted, bullied, murdered, and even raped. This is why biosex males sign up in droves to fight wars in lands they’ve never seen or heard of before at the request of one warmonger or another. This is why some biosex males treat biosex women like they’re in a misogynistic porno film. This is why biosex men are afraid to report rape; to admit being raped would violate the masculine doctrine by showcasing vulnerability and a physical inability to fight off their assaulter. This is why homosexual teens are often at high risk for suicide, drug abuse, and severe depression. This is why children lie crushed in the rubble of buildings eviscerated by bombs. And this is why many veterans of war come back with PTSD and so many end up killing themselves.
It is the macro-level reason our world is fucked up.
We are all victims of it, in one way or another.
And we – the future generations – have the power to change it.
So won’t you change it with me?
Post script: The issue of Toxic Masculinity, also known as “bleak male rage”, is such a large issue that I couldn’t possibly cover it all in a 500-800 word blog. I honestly do not know if I could adequately cover even one aspect of the larger issue in that space. Whole books have been written on one or two aspects alone. So this is just a general overview. Hopefully that is enough to rally interest in combating it.
- Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk.
- Zero by Ales Kot and various artists, and the interviews Kot gives on Zero.
- Preacher by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon.
- The Boys by Garth Ennis, Darick Robertson, Russ Braun, and John McCrea.
- Promethea #7 by Alan Moore and JH Williams 3rd.
- Scalped by Jason Aaron and RM Guera.
- Southern Bastards by Jason Aaron and Jason Latour.
- The Transporter, Crank, The Expendables, etc.