The Patriarchy/Toxic Masculinity Is Awful For Men Too

May 4, 2017

Yesterday, I talked about feeling like I was on a leash my whole life and only just recently realizing the leash could actually hurt me…
And I said that today I’d talk about how I think men wear that leash too, to some extent.
Yesterday, I thought about talking about how nice it must be to never have that leash tugging on you. You don’t always realize how exhausting it is to always be tugging back until one day you do. And it’s like, “dang, how much easier would my life be if I never had to tug back? If I could just move forward without always fighting – even if just a little?”
But, it you think about it, men are on their own different leashes.
In this – not to overuse the word here, but – patriarchal society we’ve got going on, yes, it sucks that things associated with girls are looked down upon. Of corse it sucks for women. But it also sucks for men! Because boys often don’t get to cry. They can’t show emotion. They have to be constantly “strong.”
A lot of the problem with women being treated kind of poorly by men is because in a lot of ways, we raise little boys to treat them that way!
We enforce these ideas that anything that represents typical femininity is bad.
I do think we make poor excuses for a lot of bad male behavior. But I also think to some extent, we encourage it of our boys. And we are so awful at letting them express emotions.
When a little girl cries, how often do you see her get comforted and held? But when a boy cries, does he get that too? Or does he get told, “you’re fine, stop that nonsense.”
If we never let boys be sad or happy or anything but angry, and we don’t open up communication with them the same way we do with girls, then how are we surprised when they grow up to be men who don’t always use their words or express their feelings?
Why do you think the suicide rate is higher in men? We’re not letting them fully feel anything or express any feelings.
Toxic masculinity is very harmful to everyone who’s touched by it – male or female.
I understand that in large sweeping terms without nuance, technically men “benefit” from the patriarchy, I guess, as far as money and opportunities and stuff goes. But ultimately, I don’t think anyone is actually benefitting from this nonsense. It would be better for everyone to dismantle this system. It’s not just oppressing women. It’s oppressing everybody, just in different ways.

[Edited to add: This twitter thread gives a perfect(ly sad) example]

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