Are Boys Broken? That is a question that is brought up in the wake of the horrible massacre that happened in in Florida. We have the normal political rantings and raving from both sides as to whether gun control is needed. Yet another group has decided to blame the sex of the shooter. They like to use the new buzzword Toxic Masculinity. Right off the bat, the words will set your teeth on edge if you have never heard it.
What is Toxic Masculinity?
In case you are having trouble processing what this is supposed to mean. Let me help you out and give a couple of definitions.
First from everyone’s favorite Urban Dictionary
The socially-constructed attitudes that men are expected to be: violent, unemotional, sexually aggressive, etc. It’s harmful to men and it harms everyone else as a consequence through these actions.
Especially prominent in: locker rooms, with all the yelling, fighting, proving yourself, who’s-dick-is-bigger atmosphere
and in fraternities, with all the making fun or belting women, emotions, or being a decent human being, and judging men by how many girls they’ve had sex with, etc.
Then there is the definition that is given in the article Are boys ‘broken’? Explains Toxic masculinity as this.
The stereotypical sense of masculinity that embodies behaviors, such as denying help or emotions, which psychologists and sociologists say are harmful to men and to society. It’s the things in our culture — from toys given to movies watched to messages parents consciously and unconsciously send — that tells boys and men “being a real man” means repressing feelings and consistently demonstrating strength and dominance.
Finally, let me point out that the main offense is that men demonstrate strength and dominance. As I mentioned before when you are confident people want you to feel guilty about that. In this case, it is the fact that there are people who are stronger and there are those who are better leaders. These folks think that it is unfair.
There are problems with these definitions because they are fighting against nature more often than not.
First off I want to point out this little bit of irony. The fact that they actually write the word stereotypical. These are often people who hate stereotypes but yet here they are painting with a broad brush.
So what makes masculinity “Toxic”, we deny help?
One point is that we deny help. That can be taken in two ways. One is that we don’t ask for directions. As all men know it is a running joke between men and women that we men don’t ask for directions. We like an adventure and want to figure it out ourselves.
That is the problem that many of the anti-men crowd have. That is Men don’t ask for help, or we don’t ask go running to the woman to ask for their help. Even though we do.
Men as a whole like to try to figure out the problems we are faced with. Whether it is how to get to the Grand Canyon without a map, or how to cope with a classmate that is being an ass. Guys like to be independent. Men who are dependent and needy women’s a whole don’t even like guys to run to them for advice on every single little thing.
Look at a two-year-old. What do you hear all the time besides, no! You hear “Let me do it!” That is the male in boys showing through. Girls do it too yes, but I see it more in independent boys, and they are more often the ones who will throw a fit when a parent doesn’t let them do it themselves. Whether they understand why or not. A strong-willed independent boy if left to do it themselves will find a way.
When they learn to climb a tree they have to learn how to climb down. Sometimes they get scared. They may even ask for help. You can ask my son, he once spent most of the day stuck up in a tree because he climbed up but couldn’t climb down. He finally was able to climb down with some assistance from me. Yet, the next time he did it himself and he still climbs trees.
Now we as men can and do get ourselves stuck? We do run into problems that we are not able to fix. Now, this can be a problem and that is where having friends and family come into play. Men though we are stoic we do need help. No man is an island. So we do need helpA boy just wants to find out if he can make a difference, can he make an impact on his world. Since he is not allowed to follow normal explorations he chooses the wrong path.Click To Tweet
Men Deny Emotions
Now this problem really baffles me. Many of the anti-masculine crowd hate that men are often stoic. We hide our emotions. We are unfeeling. Well, I can attest to the fact that these folks are wrong. Do guys cry at the drop of a hate? No, but men have emotions. We are not women we do not share our emotions at every turn. Yet these days society wants men to be these emotionally charged reactive beings, and that is not who guys are.
What this actually means is that we try not to let emotions steer our decision making. Emotions often get in the way of good leadership.
If you don’t believe me look at what happened to the last time we pulled a knee-jerk emotional laced reaction. 17 years ago we entered a war that we as a whole nation felt was justified and needed. We as Americans gave up many of our rights in the thought that to keep us safe we needed the patriot act. We are still in this war though we have declared that it was finished not once but twice.
If a man makes a decision without consideration of emotions he is called cold. Though I would say he is being smart. Men as we grow up see that there are times and places for everything. Getting upset and making a spectacle in front of everybody isn’t the time nor the place to break down and cry. If a man needs to cry he will point to
Women don’t want men who cry at the drop of a hat. They are often turned off and repelled by overly emotional men. Guys crying all the time is viewed as not being stable. Look at John Boehner, This guy cried at everything. He was viewed as a weak speaker of the house and eventually lost that position to Paul Ryan. Besides not representing his base but also he wasn’t a strong leader.
I actually believe that if a boy who is crying in front of people because he didn’t get his way should be called a crybaby. It is called being shammed and shame is not a bad thing.
Men do show emotions. When we are in a good mood we joke around with other guys. We tell Dad jokes to our kids. We even bug our wives and girlfriends with our antics.
When we men are upset and in a bad mood we often sulk. My mom’s ex-husband when he is feeling pissy he doesn’t eat at the table he goes to his den and pouts. Again not the right time nor the right place but it would get worse if mom didn’t tend to his pouting sessions. In my books that is sharing one’s emotions.
I would actually say that when a man’s emotions go unchecked, that is when there are problems. Men think that it is ok to stomp around and act like overgrown children having a meltdown. This is where women get into trouble because some men don’t know how to grow up and keep their emotions in check.
We do talk about our emotions
When we do have the time and the place men do talk about their emotions. We share what we are afraid of. What makes us feel overwhelmed? We feel lost or scared. We will talk to our friends and confidants. Often our wives. Men realize that women see a different point of view. So we do talk to our wives. But we are not going to be their girlfriends. Women do want us to be their girlfriend. Women who want strong men in their lives will have no respect for men who are acting like their girlfriends.Men talk and express emotions. We just don't lay it out in the open as women would like for us too.Click To Tweet
Expressing Strength and Dominance
We are men. Which as I have stated bothers many people who do not like strong men. If you reread both of the definitions again you will see that the big complaint is that men express their strength and dominance. According to these anti-masculinity groups, strength is offensive.
Now feminists and other misandristic people want to equate strength and dominance as wife beatings. While this is the farthest from the truth. This is a means to make men feel guilty for what nature has given them.
Yet psychologists and sociologists say that a man who strong and claims his domain and doesn’t cry about it is harmful to himself and society. Yet if that was the truth all of the societies through history wouldn’t celebrate a strong domineering man. Alexander the Great, Spartans, Attila the Hun, George Washington, Running Bull, Geronimo, Quanah Parker all of these leaders were strong men. Without strong determined men, your life would be vastly different and quite possibly not for the better.
So having a strong man is good for society. Hands down bar none end of discussion. Toxic Masculinity is not the problem. The people who are envious of men in power are the problem. Trying to turn boys into crying lifeless mounds of flesh will never work because they’re always going to be men who are confident and sure in who they are. Because of that, there will be jealousy. It isn’t because of their sex that many boys are viewed as being broken. It is the way they are raised, and societal influences that are the problem. I will tackle that next week.