Our Society is Toxic, not Masculinity

suicide - Copy

The term ‘Toxic Masculinity’ really sucks and its heaping more hurt upon men.

I never liked it and I think that I have now come to hate it.

Masculinity is not toxic, being a man does not make you toxic. What is toxic however, is the culture in which boys and men grow up. How we treat them, what we teach them. How we discriminate against them and the expectations that we lay upon them.

It is not all about how men treat men, it is not all about Alpha Male syndrome and all that. Men live mostly to serve, protect and provide for children and women and many of our troubles come from trying to meet those expectations of women.

Our culture of shaming or blaming, accusation is becoming more and more toxic to men. Social isolation is toxic to emotionally suppressed men.

A culture where we tell men that they must not lash out in anger, is toxic to men who know no other form of emotional expression. Take away that one avenue of emotional expression and you create a pressure cooker of emotional suppression.

A culture where we expect men to fight their natural instincts to provide, protect, to lead.

It is our culture and it are our societies that are toxic, that need to change. We (all genders, all people) need to create a new culture in which men can thrive as men and as authentic people, authentic men, not men that are more like women but men who are more like people.

We need to stop this denigration of masculinity. This growing culture where the achievements of woman and only the transgressions of men are splashed across the media is becoming more toxic to men.

We need to look at why men hurt people. Why they murder. Why they rape. Why men are over represented in our prison populations, and suicide figures. Why boys are failing at school and why males are stepping away from universities.

It is not masculinity that is toxic. It is not just masculinity that is causing men to act like this.

Toxic cultures. Toxic societies.

 

A Truly Great Read

mask of masculinity cover

Right now, I’m reading this book by Lewis Howes and I know that you have heard it all before, but really if you are a man, woman or you’re raising boys you need to get your hands on a copy of this one.

If you are involved in organised sports: competing, coaching, organising or as a parent get yourself a copy.

I am not a book reviewer and I am not even a strong reader but this book struck a chord or two.

Sure I’m interested in these issues, they consume most of my waking thought but even if you have never thought about masculinity, yours or someone else’s, you need to do yourself a favour and get hold of this book.

Yeah, I’m not a book reviewer so you ought to just ask me about the book. Ask to borrow my copy of the book. Ask me why you should borrow my copy, whatever.

I bet that something in it will resonate with you and if somehow it doesn’t, well you need to wake-up to yourself, to whats going on, resolve to be more honest with yourself and those who matter to you and then read the book again.

If still you can’t bring yourself to read this book, get someone that matters to you to read it and then make you open up to the issues that it discusses.

When I started reading the book, I thought I was going to get away lightly. I have dealt with my Stoic Self. Sports Man, well that’s all behind me now. Aggressive Man, nope that’s not me, I have dealt with my anger, just like I have dealt with Materialist Dude and Gender Discrimination Guy.

Yeah, I was getting out of this one lightly, but now I have to read the chapters that deal with those other masculine characters that we all know: The JokerMr Invinciblity, The Know-it-all and Alpha Male.

Damn this book is about to real and uncomfortable.

Tell me how

We live in a patriarchal society, created and lead by men for the benefit of men ahead of all others.

Yet fewer than 1.5% of men will every rise to a position of power and control, to lead a major corporation or organisation, become a military or political leader.

For the other 98.5% of men reality can be very different.

Look at the school dropout rates and tell me how our societies benefit men.

Look at our juvenile justice system, unemployment and redundancy figures and tell me how our societies benefit men.

Look at workplace accidents and workplace deaths. Alcohol abuse and drug addiction. Look at the road toll and tell me how our societies benefit men.

Look at our courts and prisons. Murders, the murdered and the murderers.

Look at suicide rates and the rows upon rows, upon rows of war graves all around the world. Look at the homeless, look at our reduced life expectancy and tell me how our societies benefit men.

I am a man

I am a man and I wear black because its darkness is impenetrable and it makes me feel like a man
I fist-pump my mates and suppress my emotions, hide then inside of me, bury them deep inside of me, burn them up deep down inside of me

Slow burn

I am a man. I am the provider, the great protector. I wear super-hero masks to hide that I’m frightened, hurting, lonely and confused. Burning up deep down inside of me

Slow burn

I am a man, I am dangerous. I am a pitbull terrier, I puff out my chest like this to ward-off emotions.
My fist is powerful like this and I have this tattoo, this bloody tattoo …
… a semi-colon,  a symbol of suicide and depression.
A reminder of my struggles to deal with my own emotions.

I am man, I wear black because it is the colour of mourning.
I am  man, I am dying inside. Burning up deep down inside of me

Slow burn