Toxic Masculinity - is the term really helpful?
Updated: May 8
When we name masculinity as toxic, we isolate the issues that pervade society as something separate and stand alone to the whole.
That is not to say that the ills of society that are often named under toxic masculinity are not real issues. However, to define masculinity as toxic in a toxic culture can be counterproductive for the healing of both men and women.
‘Toxic masculinity’ is a term born from the current narrative that infiltrates society currently - that is, of the powerful, toxic man. Implying that femininity and women are have no part in the problem and are not toxic. Whilst the term is a reflection of dominant societal narratives, to heal and evolve as a species we must think with integrity. That is see and address the whole picture. Femininity and Masculinity are two parts of an interdependent whole. Men cannot exist without women and women cannot exist without men.
Power and powerlessness are two sides of the same coin. Where there is powerlessness there is equal potential for power and where there is use of power, the same level of powerlessness, lies beneath. True empowerment, on the other hand is to liberate all parties from insecurity and powerlessness.
Empowerment is the result of self love, self worth, self esteem, healthy boundaries - there is no place, need or motive for the use of power born from feelings of powerlessness. Power, powerlessness and insecurity go hand-in-hand whether you’re a man or a woman and it is these shared feelings of powerlessness, shame, fear and insecurity that manifest and dominate our culture.
The term toxic masculinity (unintentionally) has the potential to hurt and disempower men and remove women from any responsibility – that is – the ability to respond. The ability to respond = empowerment.
If we are to evolve as a species, conversations must direct towards a sustainable solution. When we empower ourselves, we empower the world. When we heal ourselves, we heal the world.