By David Michael Newstead.
Recently, I’ve been reaching out to different women and talking to them about their experiences with toxic masculinity. This led to a range of interesting responses and below are some of the highlights.
Woman #1: The first woman I asked responded just by sending me a Medium article entitled Why Does Dating Men Make Me Feel Like Shit?
Woman #2: So so so many manifestations of toxic masculinity in America: Donald Trump, rape, domestic violence being mostly perpetrated by men, most crime being perpetrated by men, patriarchy…
Woman #3: Most things in the U.S. today are toxic. And normally I would say things would get better when the old school fogeys died.
Woman #4: I think I discussed the idea a bit back in my college days, especially the phrase “man up” which I hadn’t really heard before college. The first definition on that website, that patriarchy is harmful to men, feels intrinsically true. Any stereotype or expectation that fits half the population into a box is necessarily harmful. Needless to say it’s harmful to trans-men, but it also places undue pressure on cis-men. Social constructs might favor men, but that doesn’t mean all men are helped by them. If you are emotional or sensitive, the construct might harm you. Now I feel like the word has more meaning or more baggage. I skimmed a couple articles and they seem to imply feminists are using the term to say all men are violent and women are victims. If that’s what it means, then I disagree. Maybe if the term is used to blame or justify a man’s actions, then it is used incorrectly. I don’t feel that “masculinity” is toxic, I feel that patriarchy is toxic – to all of us. (of course then I have to define each, but I’ll leave that for another day) Anyway, my thoughts as of now.
Woman #5: I have dealt with it with men I have dated as well as in the workplace. Unfortunately, it seems to be rewarded in the workplace or tolerated. I have a male coworker who treats men and women differently. The way he speaks to women is horrible, but he is hardly reprimanded. He is a manager. My fellow coworker had a similar experience at another job. I experience it daily, but I choose not to engage in it if I can help it. I experience it in the workplace, not in my personal relationship.
Woman #6: I am no expert on it, but I look back at past relationships and I think, “Oh that’s what that was…”
Woman #7: I mean, I experience it a lot in meetings. Sad thing is when it happens I just let it. For me, I always think of my nephews. My family is hard on them and refuses to let them cry. I am disliked in my family, because I tell them to cry and have emotions. But I was also raised by a family of bullies. So there is that.
Woman #8: I’d like to punch [toxic masculinity] in the throat and the dick.