The idea of masculinity is one that has been under much scrutiny in recent years. In an attempt to address the issue of toxic masculinity, society has moved the pendulum dangerously in the other direction and is now doing away with positive aspects of masculinity. This is having a damaging effect on young men and women everywhere and is likely to lead to more division in the future.
All Maleness is the Bad
Toxic masculinity is a term used to describe certain behaviors among men which can be damaging and oppressive not only to women, but also to men themselves. Unfortunately, in our attempt to combat this behavior, there is a tendency to throw the baby out with the bath water and do away with all aspects of masculinity, even those that are positive and beneficial. This misguided approach is having a negative effect on men and women alike, and it is important to recognize this so that we can take corrective action.
In this blog post, I will discuss the positive aspects of masculinity, how society is negatively affecting young men, and the negative impact this has on men and women everywhere. By understanding these issues, we can better recognize how our actions may be inadvertently leading to more division in society and what we can do to help address the issue.
His Good Side
Despite the current focus on toxic masculinity, there are positive aspects of masculinity that should not be overlooked. These include virtues that are part of the Stoic philosophy such as courage, integrity, and self-discipline as well as natural roles that have traditionally been associated with men such as protectors and providers.
This issue has been addressed by reputable psychological and mental health publications such as Journal of Positive Psychology, Journal of Applied Psychology, and Journal of Men’s Studies. These publications have reported on the benefits of practicing Stoic virtues and how it can positively impact men’s mental health and well-being. They have also reported that the practice of virtues like courage, integrity, and self-discipline can help men to develop a sense of purpose and meaning in their lives, which can be beneficial for their mental and emotional well-being. Additionally, these virtues are a way of helping men become better fathers, husbands, brothers, and friends as they strive to live up to these ideals.
In addition to Stoic virtues, men have traditionally been seen as protectors and providers. While this may seem outdated in today’s society, it is important to recognize that these roles still exist in some capacity today. Men are still expected to provide physical protection for their loved ones as well as provide for them financially when needed. This provides a sense of purpose and responsibility which can be beneficial for men who might otherwise feel lost or aimless. This idea is also supported by many cultural and media experts, who argue that men’s traditional roles as protectors and providers should not be dismissed, but should be redefined in light of the current social and economic changes.
The Disrespect of All Maleness
Unfortunately, society’s current approach to masculinity is having a negative effect on young men. The widespread belief that all aspects of masculinity are bad has led many young men to feel unwelcome or unwanted in society. Furthermore, this attitude has been perpetuated by social media which often berates masculine traits as toxic or oppressive. This has led many young men to feel isolated or alone as they struggle to fit into a society that seems intent on pushing them out.
This issue has been addressed by reputable psychological and mental health publications such as JAMA Psychiatry, Journal of Adolescent Health, and Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology. These publications have reported on the impact of social media on the psychological health of young men, particularly in relation to their sense of self-worth and self-esteem. They have also reported that the constant exposure to negative stereotypes and stigmatization of masculine traits on social media can lead to poor mental health outcomes in young men, such as increased risk of depression, anxiety, and substance abuse.
The impact of this attitude can also be seen in our entertainment and culture. Films and television shows often depict masculine traits in a negative light while also promoting alternative lifestyles that are seen as more socially acceptable. This can lead young men to believe that they must conform to these new standards in order to fit in or be accepted by society. For example, in the recent years, there have been an increasing number of movies and TV series that are depicting men as weak, incompetent or even buffoons, while pushing the women in the forefront. This trend is also observed in music videos and social media content, where men are often depicted as secondary characters while women take the lead.
The Lost Boys
There has been a growing cultural trend of criticizing traditional masculinity in recent years. This has led to a societal shift in attitudes towards men and their traditional gender roles. This shift has been reported in reputable psychological and mental health publications such as American Psychological Association, Psychology Today and Journal of Men’s Studies.
For example, American Psychological Association published an article discussing the ways in which traditional masculinity can be harmful to men’s mental health. The article cited research studies and statistics to illustrate the negative impact of traditional masculinity on men’s mental health, such as the increased risk of depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. The article also emphasized the importance of promoting healthier, less toxic forms of masculinity. Similarly, Psychology Today published an article examining the societal pressure on men to conform to traditional gender roles and the negative effects this can have on their mental health. The article discussed the impact of societal expectations on men’s ability to express emotion, form healthy relationships, and lead fulfilling lives. The article also illustrated how these societal expectations are harmful and restrictive for men.
Journal of Men’s Studies also reported on the cultural shift towards rejecting traditional masculinity in an article that discussed the rise of the “softboy” archetype, which rejects traditional masculine traits such as aggression and competitiveness in favor of vulnerability and emotional intelligence. The article discussed how this cultural shift is challenging the traditional expectations of masculinity and how men are becoming more open to expressing their feelings and emotions.
However, this cultural shift has also led to an increase in tension between men and women as some men feel that their masculinity is being attacked and rejected. The impact of social media on this issue is also reported, as it amplifies the voices of those who criticize traditional masculinity and also creating a pressure on men to conform to a certain type of masculinity. This divide is particularly noticeable among young people, who are often caught between these two worlds and struggle to reconcile the pressure to conform to traditional masculinity with the societal shift towards rejecting it. This could potentially have long-term consequences for our society, as the tension between men and women could contribute to further division and inequality.
Embracing the Dark Side
It is clear that society’s current approach to masculinity is having a damaging effect on both men and women alike. We should strive to be inclusive and accepting of all types of people without berating those who don’t conform to certain standards or expectations. Additionally, it is important to recognize the positive aspects of masculinity such as the Stoic virtues and traditional roles as protectors and providers so that we can help young men find purpose in their lives without feeling unwelcome or unwanted in society. By recognizing these issues, we can better understand how our actions may be inadvertently leading to more division in society and take steps towards detoxifying the idea of masculinity.