The phrase “toxic masculinity” has migrated outside academia and is popping up on social media of late. One must understand the meaning of the phrase to assess whether or not these more public appearances are beneficial to civilized society. In other words, is it a good idea to to declare masculinity “toxic”? What does the phrase even mean?
Masculinity Is Evil
If the phrase is taken apart, one can obtain a better understanding of the phrase as a whole. “Toxic” is something considered poisonous, and even “malicious,” according to Dictionary.com. Malicious is a deliberately evil intention. In other words, something “toxic” is something that deliberately causes evil, poisonous effects on something else.
To be “masculine” is to have:
qualities traditionally ascribed to men, as strength and boldness.
Taken together, the phrase would mean that “qualities traditionally ascribed to men,” are poisonous and evil. Does that understanding describe how “toxic masculinity” is being portrayed today?
Traditional Masculinity and the “New Man”
A recent episode of “Right Angle” on the Bill Whittle You Tube channel featured an article titled “Photography Project ‘Challenges What it Means to Be a Man.’ ” The photos shown from the article are of a group of four men in various attire, makeup, haircuts, tattoos, and jewelry.
The article is a commentary from Chicks on the Right on another article which was in favor of this “photography project” challenging what it means to be a man:
A new series of body-positive photographs is challenging the way we look at men and men’s bodies. Inspired by his own struggle with body insecurity, Brooklyn-based fashion photographer Tarik Carroll founded The EveryMAN Project, a body-inclusive initiative highlighting queer and transgender men of color with a range of body types. At a time when hypermasculinity is defining politics and American culture, this project is 100% necessary.
The Chicks on the Right give succinct negative commentary on the photos themselves, and the original article. It is clear they do not believe The EveryMAN Project is “100% necessary.” It is also clear the term “hypermasculinity” describes a bad trait in the author’s mind.
The point of this “project” seems obvious. It is to redefine the idea of masculinity so that it includes non-traditional males. Specifically, the goal is to reset the culture so that males that believe they are females, as well as females that think they males, are considered just as manly as any other male. If this goal is reached, then traditional masculinity (which is what the author means by “hypermasculinity”) will no longer be “defining politics and American culture.”
In order to counter this, the project seeks to highlight “queer and transgender men of color…” Which indicates the image this photographer wishes to counter is that of men who are straight and white. Apparently, those are the bad people in this version of reality conjured by the “everyMAN Project.”
The Toxicity of Traditional Masculinity
The topic of “toxic masculinity” has gained more exposure since Donald Trump was elected. The leftists in the land, especially the female ones, increasingly react in fear of traditional masculinity:
It’s indicative of a general belief among members of the Left that masculinity itself is toxic and must be quashed. Hillary Clinton spoke last month at a Planned Parenthood gala where drinks called “toxic masculinity” were served; she explained that men are “doing everything they can to roll back the rights and progress we’ve fought so hard for over the last century.” Men, you see, are the problem. Men make war; men commit crimes; men rape; men infuse their aggression into everything.
Several items stand out here. First is the irony of Planned Parenthood serving any drink with “toxic” in the name. This organization is literally toxic to future men and women. It has no business calling anything or anybody else “toxic.” Secondly, Hillary Clinton categorizes men in general as being this monstrous enemy of women. She doesn’t try to give evidence of her claims. To Hillary and the Left, this is stating the obvious so no ‘proof’ is required. ‘Of course almost all men have horrible intentions toward women everywhere.’ She may be guilty of projecting her personal experience with men onto the rest of reality. One thing is for sure. She wouldn’t be the only woman on the Left doing that.
However, there is only one woman that I know of that may have gone as far down this road emotionally as possible. Feminist writer Jody Allard is a mother of two teenage boys whom, she has written, she considers “dangerous” and full of “misogyny.” Why does she write this? Did she raise them tho be that way?
No, she blames the simple fact they are white and male:
I know I’m not supposed to cast an entire sex with a single paint brush — not all men, I’m sure some readers are thinking and preparing to type or tweet. But if it’s impossible for a white person to grow up without adopting racist ideas, simply because of the environment in which they live, how can I expect men not to subconsciously absorb at least some degree of sexism? White people aren’t safe, and men aren’t safe, no matter how much I’d like to assure myself that these things aren’t true.
This kind of thinking is not really thinking at all. It is the relegation of reason to limbo. It elevates emotion to the rule which determines what is right and wrong. When emotion is leading the discussion, there is no discussion. If ‘you’ don’t agree with ‘me’ emotion automatically lashes out and ‘discussion’ is over at that point. It boils down to this bald assertion, being a man is bad and that’s all there is to it! It’s poisonous, sickening, destructive, aka “toxic.” Reason and evidence are unnecessary for truth…at least according to Ms. Allard, and unfortunately, many others as well.
Masculinity Must Be Squashed
So, what is the Left’s solution to the toxicity of masculinity? From their point of view, it must be destroyed, period. The culture must recognize how terrible masculinity really is and act to snuff it out. How is that goal to be accomplished? Would it surprise anyone to learn the chosen vehicle for this is education?
According to a piece in National Review:
The goal of the Left, therefore, becomes to train boys not to become men. Instead, boys should be feminized; they should never be encouraged to “be a man.”
The feminist Left cannot be accused of setting their goal too low. They are attempting to educate, or “train” half of humanity to deny nature. This is not simply educating the boys out of masculinity, in effect, psychically emasculating them. It is attempting to do the same thing with men today, some of who have endured such ‘education’ in college and culture since the 1970s.
In the second part of this series, we will examine some of the roots of this effort to ‘detox’ masculinity, what the future may hold, and why this pernicious view is dangerous and should be stopped.
Opinion by D.T. Osborn
CHICKS on the RIGHT: Photography Project “Challenges What It Means To Be A Man”
NATIONAL REVIEW: The ‘Toxic Masculinity’ Smear
RoleReboot: I’m Tired of Pretending Men Are Safe (even my sons)
Image Courtesy of Marcin Wicary’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License