Why We Should Care About Toxic Masculinity

I’m passionate about a lot of social issues, as we must be in an age where we seem to take two steps back with every step forward, but out of all the issues I’m passionate about I get the most questions about Toxic Masculinity. Many people wonder as a woman why do I care? Men are directly affected the most but, regardless of gender we all see the effects of Toxic Masculinity. There are many misconceptions about what exactly toxic masculinity is; It's not the idea that being masculine is toxic but more that the pressures we put on men are incredibly damaging to their mental health (for more in-depth definition check out another Her Campus article here!). Toxic masculinity is the foundation of a plethora of other concerning problems in our society. By feeding men these ideas about themselves, specifically that men can’t express emotions other than anger, or that to be a ‘man’ they must always assert their dominance and denounce their femininity we not only put them in danger but we’re allowing the continuations of harmful behaviors.

“To heal, men and boys must learn to feel again.” 
― Melia Keeton Digby, The Hero's Heart: A Coming of Age Circle for Boys (And the Mothers who Love Them)  

We see the manifestation of these behaviors in how women are treated. Misogyny runs deep within what men are taught; we see this in how any ‘feminine’ activities or characteristics are considered bad. This leads to the mistreatment of women, aids in furthering rape culture and the overall possession and control men feel they have over women.  

How can we help? It starts with yourself, look at who you are; are you participating in implementing toxic masculinity? Reach out to the men in your life, be there for them, help them open up to the emotional side of life and be a person who helps them grow. Educate those around you, by bringing awareness to the harm our society is bringing we’re more likely to make a serious change. Be kind to one another and encourage all to feel, openly, honestly and spread love.