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  • Writer's pictureBrighter Pathways

The Issue with the Term "Toxic Masculinity”

I believe the term "toxic masculinity" does humanity a huge disservice. The more men are disenfranchised - which they increasingly are being - the more we all suffer. Eg. Andrew Tate's popularity.

Thankfully, the excellent Instagram account @thetinmen is a pro wordsmith, and they kindly gave me permission to repost their material. Go check out their page - it’s wonderful.

I recently did my own take with this post called "Why the 'Women Have Problems, Men Are the Problem' Narrative is Bad for Both Men and Women", which mostly ended up getting a lot of support from both men and women. Interestingly, several trans men (those born as biological women who transitioned to a man, i.e. people who've experienced both "sides") supported the message.

Ultimately these conversations are complex, nuanced, and can be triggering. No one side/person will ever have all the answers, hence why a dialogue is needed. Establishing truth is a process of open-mindedness and curiosity. The more diverse the collaborators are in this convo, the clearer and more whole the outcome.

This necessarily means needing to be open to people we disagree with. Perhaps even people we think are deluded, perhaps dangerous. I know this is hard to do, but it seems like the only way forward to me.

Lastly, the lack of curiosity and compassion (which you would inevitably get post-curiosity) about the reality of modern boys and men from so-called "progressives” is so outrageous that it's almost (almost) funny. Much easier to reduce, then dump, the world's problems on "the patriarchy" without thinking critically or kindly, or taking responsibility.

The patriarchy doesn't = men. It's a power structure that, although originally led by men, now affects both women and men negatively. And women and men equally have to participate in it. Therefore in order to change, we need to stop throwing rocks and refocus on the real issue: the tiny minority of power holders. Time to collaborate.

And for the record, even though I've recently been speaking out about men's mental health issues more, I do this in service of women as much as men. Because disenfranchised men are bad news for us all. And although women will never know what it's like to be a man, I too will never know what it's like to be a woman. However, I do know women have been through a lot. And continue to. My point is always that EVERYONE is f*cking struggling right now, in similar ways and in different ways. It's not either/or, it's both/and. And we need to make space for it all with openness, curiosity, and compassion. Women, you are beautiful. You are strong. And you deserve to have truly strong men beside you (i.e. not a fragile strength that overcompensates for struggle and pain)

What are your thoughts?

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