Hindi Words of the Week:
ठंडा Thanda (ta-un-da) – cold
आदमी Aadmi (ah-the-me) – man
This week in my Psychology class we started discussing gender. Something we touched upon during the class was called “Toxic Masculinity.” I wanted to describe it as during my class it seemed as if many people were hearing it for the first time. Starting from an early point in life, young adults are told and shown what is expected of them. Whether that be at home, in specific social situations, in public, or even out and about in ‘normal society.’ How does this kind of exposure change the way a child develops and expresses themselves. Does the early exposure to gender specific roles and ‘social norms’ inhibit a child’s ability to fully express themselves? It is a tough question to answer in totality.
“Toxic masculinity is a narrow and repressive description of manhood, designating manhood as defined by violence, sex, status and aggression. It’s the cultural ideal of manliness, where strength is everything while emotions are a weakness; where sex and brutality are yardsticks by which men are measured, while supposedly “feminine” traits—which can range from emotional vulnerability to simply not being hypersexual—are the means by which your status as “man” can be taken away” (Clemens, 2018). Toxic masculinity is an adherence to traditional male gender roles that restrict the kinds of emotions that are socially allowable for boys and men to express. Furthermore it includes the societal expectations that men seek to be dominant and limit their public expressions of emotion to anger and rage. At a glance, when one looks at normal everyday society one can see that the average man doesn’t cry, he doesn’t call for help; he’s told to ‘man up.’ When an adult man or even a young boy experiences an emotional disturbance he is told and shown that he should not ask for help. He sees this in the childhood movies he watches where the princes in the fairytales are arbitrary place holders. He sees this in his social circle when the boy who cries after falling down is picked on. He is told repeatedly throughout his life that crying is something girls do. What does this kind of emotional repression do to the basic functional capabilities of who that man or boy could be? It halts the development.
It is OK for men to be emotional and express their feelings which also promotes growth. It is not okay to perpetuate the idea that men should be and only are physical manifestations of anger, sex and violence. Toxic masculinity is a major factor in the development and general mental health of not only male children but adult men. It should be discussed more frequently to increase awareness and knowledge in order to prevent mental health issues in the male population. Montgomery College has a counseling and advising line (240-567-5063/4104 ) you can call for personal issues you may be having. There is also a great webpage on the college’s website with state and national tele-resources and web-resources, this is the link. Take pride in your emotions Raptors, no matter what they are.