Viewpoint: Why the crusade against ‘toxic masculinity’ ignores ‘real-life conditions’

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Traditional masculinity idealizes stoicism. Image credit: Roberto Carlos Garcia

Over the past several years, toxic masculinity has become a catchall explanation for male violence and sexism. The appeal of the term, which distinguishes “toxic” traits such aggression and self-entitlement from “healthy” masculinity, has grown to the point where Gillette invoked it last month in a viral advertisement against bullying and sexual harassment.

Research consistently shows that boys and men who hold sexist attitudes are more likely to perpetrate gendered violence. …

A predictable conflict has accompanied the term’s rise. Many conservatives allege that charges of toxic masculinity are an attack on manhood itself … . Many progressives, meanwhile, contend that the detoxification of masculinity is an essential pathway to gender equality.

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The question is: Where do these sexist attitudes come from? Are men and boys just the victims of cultural brainwashing into misogyny and aggression, requiring reeducation into the “right” beliefs? Or are these problems more deep-seated, and created by the myriad insecurities and contradictions of men’s lives under gender inequality? The problem with a crusade against toxic masculinity is that in targeting culture as the enemy, it risks overlooking the real-life conditions and forces that sustain culture.

Read full, original post: The Problem With a Fight Against Toxic Masculinity

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