Toxic Masculinity!

Topic- How does patriarchy perpetuate toxic

masculinity? Discuss giving examples.


Toxic masculinity refers to gender norms

and beliefs about masculinity that not only

harm society but also negatively impact

men themselves. Most commonly, these

beliefs stem from the male pride or privilege that establishes men as the superior. The

persistent use of phrases like ‘men don’t

cry’ or encouraging aggressive behavior

amongst boys are some examples of toxic

masculinity. This behavior is termed as

‘toxic’ as it leads us to associate damaging

or violent behavior with masculinity. Othertraditionally masculine traits such as

devotion to work, pride in excelling at

sports, and providing for one’s family, are

not considered to be “toxic”. The concept

was originally used by authors associated

with the mythopoetic men’s movement such as Shepherd Bliss to contrast stereotypical notions of masculinity with a “real” or “deep” masculinity that they say men have lost touch with in modern society. Critics of the term argue that its meaning incorrectly implies that gender-related issues are caused by inherent male traits. Abuse,domestic violence and other crimes against

women are closely related to the problem of toxic masculinity. Toxic masculinity is against democracy and exacerbate social conflict as:Suppression: Toxic masculinity dictates that the only emotion men can express isanger, which can hinder men from getting in touch with other things they’re feeling.Eventually, this distance men from other people and keep them from developing close relationships with their partners and kids. Suppressing emotions lead to aggression and violence towards women.Encouragement Of Violence: Toxic masculinity promote violence as the best way for men to prove their strength and power, and it discourages them from releasing their feelings in other ways. This often lead to abuse especially of women. Discouragement Of Seeking Help: Men

are less likely than women seek help

regarding their mental health, which is likely due to ideals of masculinity. The ideal of a tough man who doesn’t struggle with any emotions can force men to withstand untreated mental health problems. This lead to depression, conflicts, fights andabuse in relations. Perpetuation Of Rape Culture: Cultures

that encourage masculinity, specifically in

fraternities, often lead to rape culture. It

lead to development of feeling of

dominance and hierarchy in mind of men.

Toxic masculinity dictates men that their

identity hinges on their ability to exert

dominance over women, and one common

way that men use to assert their dominance is through sexual assault and harassment.Patriarchy: Toxic masculine perpetuates the idea that being like a girl is a negative trait. Toxic masculinity teaches us that men are in charge, which means women are not. It teaches that men are superior and women are inferior, that men are strong and women are weak. Thus by attaching certain characteristics to men and valuing them above qualities associated with women,toxic masculinity encourages a culture that encourage male gender over female.

Against democracy: Democracy preach

an egalitarian society where all genders,

sects are equal. Toxic masculinity

encourage male dominance and consider

female as inferior and unequal. The central

feature in the culture of toxic masculinity is

domination, which is deeply incompatible

with a freedom-sensitive, egalitarian ethic.

Anti-empathetic: Aggression is natural and

desirable in men. A real man should be

eager to pick up a fight. Men must be tough muscular and unemotional. They must not grieve and cry. Toxic masculinity lead to men who do not accept the other’s point of view, who don’t show empathy and

understanding and gentleness and compassion. This lead to destruction of

sensitivity among men towards others

especially women.

Examples such as-

1. Indian cinema’s toxic masculinity


India’s deeply influential Hindi films have

always had a problem when it comes to

depicting women, and a popular new film –

that tells the story of toxic masculinity and

normalises rape culture, misogyny and

patriarchy – emphasises the seriousness of the problem and has aleady notched up 1.2 billion rupees in ticket sales since its release on June 21, 2019Kabir Singh, directed and written by Sandeep Reddy Vanga, is a remake of Arjun Reddy, a 2017 Telugu film also written and directed by Vanga. The protagonist, Dr. Kabir Singh, played by poplar Hindi film actor Shahid Kapoor is a surgeon who suffers from heartbreak. Preeti Sikka played by actor Kiara Advani, is married off to someone else. The toxicity and the normalizing of the rape culture starts early in the film. In one of the opening scenes, the leading male protagonist is portrayed in a consensual intimate moment with a woman. At some point she asks him to stop. Enraged he whips out a knife and asks her to undress. In the real world, such an action would have amounted to anything between sexual harassment and intimidation to rape as Section 375 and 354B of the Indian Penal Code criminalizes assault or use of criminal force against a woman. However, similar cases have taken place in recent memory. The 2013 Mumbai gang rape, also known as the ShaktiMills gang rape, involved 22-year-old photojournalist being gang-raped by five people, including a juvenile. The accused held a broken beer bottle against the woman’s head and threatened to kill her if she said anything. Similarly, in 2005, a fourth year medical student was raped at knife-point in the middle of the day on the terrace of a monument in New


2. Because boys are bullied for being weak-

Masculinity implies strength and power, with violence or the threat of violence underpinning the power exerted by the dominant men. We think it is acceptable that men express almost all emotion and respond to any and every situation with a violent response, if not in actions then certainly in words. The outcries of

“hang the rapist” or the calls to castrate men who commit sexual assault are only a reflection of the acceptance of violence as a means tosolve all problems. Violence in personal relationships is often accepted and normalized. A recent court order stated that “minor incident of beatings on small issues can take place in any household” in a case in which a woman had committed suicide.

Sexism and its accompanying violence leads to women being beaten, murdered, raped inside their own homes, by people known to them, be it family or neighbours or co-workers. Yet, much as it harms women, the double edged sword of patriarchy hurts men too. It may help men gain power over women but it also keeps men tied to roles they may not always like or be comfortable with.



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