It’s easy to get frustrated with seemingly barbaric or misogynistic men. Not only can toxic masculinity lead to aggression and disrespect, but it can also be violent and dangerous. Having a partner in your life who’s emotionally closed off can be just as frustrating.
Which leads to the question, is masculinity good at all?
Before you decide to give up on your man or swear off men entirely, it’s important to understand a few things. First, not all masculinity is bad, there’s such a thing as positive or healthy masculinity. Second, most men are a product of how they were raised, by their father or by society.
Obviously, men don’t face the same obstacles or oppressive issues as women. However, they are often taught to be toxically masculine. If individual men have the wherewithal to break free from these societal expectations, they can develop positive masculinity.
So, what’s the difference between positive and toxic masculinity? Let’s go over what it means to show your masculinity in a good way.
Is masculinity good? Yes, but not when it’s toxic.
Toxic masculinity occurs when a man is taught to be tough at all times and never show emotion. It can also come out as being homophobic, sexist, or otherwise prejudiced. Toxic men can be difficult partners, as they have trouble expressing themselves and could even treat women disrespectfully.
Here are some examples of toxic masculinity.
Being Closed Off Emotionally
As noted above, toxic masculinity teaches men that showing emotions equates to weakness. However, pent-up emotions often lead to other issues, such as:
- Emotional outbursts
- Excessive drinking
- And more
There’s nothing wrong with having control of your emotions. However, toxic masculinity tells men that all emotions threaten their manliness and should be avoided at all times.
Violence and Physical Expressions of Anger
Toxic masculinity also teaches men that they need to be tough, threatening, and intimidating. Usually, this only applies to other men. However, this mentality can sometimes escalate and manifest as violence toward their partners or spouses.
If your husband or boyfriend expresses his anger physically, (even if he’s not abusing you), it points to toxic masculinity. This includes punching walls, breaking things in the house, or otherwise being destructive when he’s upset.
Being a “Ladies Man”
Some men fancy themselves as “good with the ladies.” Though there’s nothing wrong with playing the field for either gender, men with toxic masculinity tend to look at it as a sport. They pride themselves on how many women they can get to sleep with them.
Unfortunately, this behavior leads to dehumanizing the female gender. Women become targets or objectives that are only desirable for one thing, having sex.
In most ways, toxic masculinity results in misogyny. It teaches men that they are the superior sex and that women are of lesser value. Toxically masculine men say negative things about the female gender, labeling them as less intelligent, overly-emotional, etc.
Escalated toxic masculinity presents itself through name-calling and blatant disrespect towards women.
This is not to paint a bad picture of men and masculinity though. In fact, traditional masculinity is a very good thing.
So, what is good masculinity, and what does that look like in a friend, a partner, or a husband?
Being a Good Father
If you’re wondering about when masculinity is a good thing, think about it in terms of raising children. A positively masculine man is a good role model for children of both genders.
He demonstrates the correct way to treat a woman based on how he treats the mother. He shows a male child how to be a supportive, respectful, and compassionate husband. He shows a daughter what to expect from a good man in terms of future relationships.
Being an Advocate for Feminism
One of the best roles of a man with healthy masculinity is learning how to stand up and be an advocate for women. A good man understands that standing up for feminism doesn’t diminish his masculinity or degrade his gender.
What it does show is that he is strong enough and courageous enough to tell men with toxic masculinity that their behavior is wrong. He accepts that they will call him names and look down on him. Yet, he is confident enough in his own masculinity that it isn’t threatened.
Being Able to Show and Talk About Emotions
They say a good man is hard to find. This can be true if you don’t know what you’re looking for. It’s easy to find yourself in a relationship with a man with toxic masculinity.
However, finding your dream relationship simply means raising your standards. To foster a truly healthy relationship, you need to find a partner who is open and willing to talk about his emotions. He needs to be able to express himself and show affection.
This includes being open and affectionate with other men.
Shedding Gender Roles
Is masculinity good in certain roles? It can be, and in some cases, it’s necessary. Once again, it comes down to the attitude and intent behind the masculinity.
For example, a man with a healthy masculinity knows how to step up and be a good father. However, he also understands that most gender roles are superfluous and outdated. He doesn’t believe in the idea that it’s a woman’s job to do the cooking, cleaning, and child-rearing.
Letting Go of Fragile Masculinity
Being masculine is a good thing when it’s not harmful or toxic. For most men, this means letting go of fragile masculinity. Fragile masculinity is a man’s belief that his manliness can be called into question if he doesn’t conform to certain societal norms.
These men typically:
- Refuse to touch or hug other men
- Never show their feelings
- Never admit pain
- Hold traditional “manly” jobs
- Refuse to wear clothes or colors that aren’t masculine
- Won’t partake in activities that are traditionally done by women (knitting, taking a bath, dancing, sewing, baking)
- Drink only hard liquors or “manly” beers
- And so on
Ironically, a man with a healthy masculinity is arguably more manly than these types of men. Their manhood isn’t so fragile that it’s threatened by what they drive, wear, drink, etc.
Is Masculinity Good?
As you can see, masculinity can be good or bad, much like femininity. While it’s easy to look at toxic masculinity and feel resentful to what we see as “close-mindedness,” we must also remember that men are a product of their environment. In the same way that society tells women we have to look and act a certain way, men fall under a similar microscope.
Is masculinity good? Absolutely, but it comes down to each man on an individual level. However, as the world progresses, we’re changing the way we define manliness.
If you’re having trouble with toxic masculinity in your relationship, book a free clarity call today. Let’s talk about the issues you face and how to overcome them. You can also check out our shop to find mediations and other guides.