The Journal

Toxic Masculinity

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Toxic masculinity is an issue in the Western world, especially on college campuses. Many people do not think that masculinity is something that should be worried about in colleges, but as long as there are people dating and men subjected to stereotypes of “what a man should be”, it will inevitably occur

   The term “toxic masculinity” isn’t new to many people who are well-versed in the feminist movement. However, it is something that many people are unaware of and misunderstand. The term refers to a man’s inherent need to be physically powerful in order for him to feel “manly enough.” The feeling of power can be incited through violence toward others, roughhousing, associations with violent groups, or obsessions with objects of power (such as guns). This does not mean that men who suffer from toxic masculinity are born violent, but rather society turns them violent through upbringing. This creates a harmful ripple effect.

    College students may feel as though they are disconnected from the outside world, especially if they live on campus; however, this does not mean that they are disconnected from Western society’s expectations of what a man should be. Even if many UIS classes attempt to nail in the idea that society’s expectations of both men and women can be harmful, it is still common to see examples of toxic masculinity on campus. In the act of hazing it is not uncommon for people to be abused, whether it be physically or psychologically. Typically, hazing is used in a fraternity in order to determine if members are ‘man enough’ to be a part of the organization. There are many more unseen acts of toxic masculinity, either via dating or violence toward friends.

     It is important for others to point out toxic masculinity that friends or even younger children may participate in. One option is to eliminate the hackneyed phrase “boys will be boys” from their vocabulary. This expression assumes that men are born violent and inherently lack responsibility for their own actions and maladaptive behaviors. Therefore it is important to teach boys (and grown men) that in order to be manly, one does not need to act violent or hide his feelings. Rather, men can allow themselves to be tender to one another and care for someone. Ultimately, loving another freely without hiding it is much more manly than hiding it behind a violent façade.

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Toxic Masculinity