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The term “toxic masculinity” was original devised by a men’s advocate group to describe the way men are raised with a skewed, macho, harmful version of what it means to be a man. However, as a term toxic masculinity has since come to basically mean that it’s bad to be masculine in any way. In this podcast we aim to answer two questions: 1) What does “toxic masculinity” mean? What’s the definition? 2) Is this term helpful, healthy, and worth using? Let’s find out…
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Full transcript (unedited)
welcome back to the project online podcast today we’re going to be talking about toxic masculinity we’re going to explore it from the angle of what does it mean and is it a necessary and helpful term we’re going to be trying to answer those questions today as difficult as they might be
so this stems from a post i did in the brojo private facebook group for members and we had a little discussion about it here’s how i originally phrased my post i’m going to read that out for you guys and then we’re going to have a look at some of the responses i’m going to have a look at the wikipedia article about it and some of the definitions and everything and we’re going to try and answer these questions what does it mean is it a helpful term so here’s what i wrote by my calculation this phrase does not make any sense toxic means poisonous and i’m willing to stretch that definition to mean objectively harmful but that’s not actually what it means and masculinity means traits or behaviors exclusive to males which is also actually a term that doesn’t make sense but we’ll get into that so no matter how long i think about this i cannot identify a single trait or behavior that is a harmful and exclusive to males so every harmful thing that a man can do a woman can also do further when you just when you stretch the definition of masculinity to mean traits that are just more likely to be seen in men even though this is not the dictionary dictionary definition you open up another can of worms because for every toxic trait that’s demonstrated by men you can counterbalance it with a helpful trait so for example men might be more likely to be physically violent but they’re also more likely to put their body on the line to protect others and you can also identify this in women as well again generalized but with many exceptions so women are more likely to use emotional manipulation on their peers but they’re also more not more likely to be nurturing of children so by my calculation while there are trends and likelihood imbalances and the genders as a large group there really is no argument for the idea that men are more harmful than women that has not been established in general especially not to the point of needing to single them out for special intervention in a way that we won’t do with women while painting women as helpless victims of men and certainly not an individual level where measuring harmfulness must clearly be done on a case-by-case business basis you you can’t judge an individual man by the group of men all right he could easily be an exception in any way so if you’re trying to work with an individual man it doesn’t help to think of him as all men just like it wouldn’t help to think of an individual woman as all women simply put if men are somehow more harmful in general than women for which there’s not has this has not been established it doesn’t help to approach the issue in this way because it can only be solved in an individual level telling a decent man to change his behavior simply because he’s identified as being part of a harmful group is only going to confuse him because he’s already good while the truly harmful men in this group simply aren’t going to give a [ __ ] anyway so by attacking the whole group you do absolutely nothing the harmful people stay harmful and the people who were decent now become confused and perhaps become less decent because they’re scared to act it seems much more likely that all humans are capable of any harmful trait you can think of any harmful trait that any other human is capable of and that gender is really a side distraction that doesn’t need to be considered when it comes to trying to address these behaviors particularly as they should be addressed on a case-by-case basis an individual level there’s really no way no way to address them as a group i’ve been trying to do this for many decades nothing’s changed now one of the first kind of challenges that came up that was my post and one of the first challenges that came up was an example of toxic masculinity being a description of how men are raised in a way that harms them you know boys are raised into mean
and that could be a way to use this phrase you know like boys being told that they can’t cry for example or you know any of those kinds of stereotypical cultural pressures that we put on men on boys who later become men and suffer from those but the question still becomes does the term toxic masculinity actually help us does the addition of this made-up term bring any value to the situation does it improve anything in this situation because we already have gender-neutral terms like shaming emotional suppression or repression bullying bad parenting we’ve already got terms to describe unhealthy emotional expression in any person and these terms work just fine they’re enough for what we need to accomplish if i’m working with a man as a therapist i don’t need the term toxic masculinity to do all the work that needs to be done i never need to use that term we don’t lack any necessary language to identify and treat issues like this so in order for us to add toxic masculinity to our repertoire it must add value for us to bother with it it must be something valuable and before we consider whether it does add value we have to know that it must also add so much value that overcomes any of the costs of using this term because make no mistake this is a very powerful term to use it’s had a big impact and a lot of that impact has been negative so if we’re going to use this term it better be so good that it overrides its own negative impact the cost of this term is shaming men for being masculine right the difficulty in interpreting this term especially in figuring out who’s a decent man and who isn’t who this applies to and who does it when it’s being applied to all men
is that it ends up being commonly both used and interpreted as it’s bad to be man it’s bad to be masculine whatever it was supposed to mean when it first came out is no longer how it’s used or what it means the use of this term tends to discourage men from engaging in all masculinity including the healthy elements healthy masculine traits are necessary for our survival responsibility leadership courage risk taking honesty all traits that women can live by as well by the way which is why the word masculine itself doesn’t even really make sense if it’s mean specifically like if the definition is behaviors and traits by men it doesn’t make sense because women can do them all i like the word masculine just like i like the word feminine to describe like the yin and yang of different traits but there’s really no need to attach biological sex to these because it doesn’t really help or make sense and there’s so many exceptions
so my question becomes why do we use it when we don’t have to and it causes more harm than it cures
you know for comparison when i coach a woman who’s been shamed into suppressing her anger so that’s a toxic femininity you might say she’s been told to put on a smile and be nice around the boys i can coach her towards being assertive courageous risk-taking honest a leader by harnessing her anger by using that force and i never need to use the term toxic femininity to work with her at no point does that term fill a space where nothing else will it’s a superfluous term and a harmful one because it shames her as a woman and it makes her a victim but she doesn’t need to be if she wants to be assertive she can’t be thinking of herself as a victim right she needs to be the boss of her own life so why would i add a term like that to working with her and i never have and probably never will now let’s go to wikipedia
i’m not going to read the whole thing because anybody can look this up but wikipedia says the concept of toxic masculinity used in academic and media discussions of masculinity refers to certain cultural norms that are associated with harm to society and men themselves traditional stereotypes of men are socially dominant along with related traits such as misogyny and homophobia can be considered toxic due to their part and promotion of violence including sexual assault and domestic violence social socialization of boys and patriarchal societies often normalizes violence such as the saying boys will be boys about bullying and aggression okay
bear in mind the question is not do guys do this and is it a problem yes guys do this and yes it is a problem the question is what does the term toxic masculinity bring to this problem
so just in that first kind of which i think is pretty fair representation of what’s supposed to mean their first definition there there’s already a word called hyper masculinity which is an exaggeration of traditionally traditionally masculine traits
so why don’t we use that term when we describe someone being so assertive that they become aggressive or so so much of a leader that they start to dominate and bully why don’t we just use the term hyper-masculinity why do we call it toxic because we don’t say toxic hyper masculinity we say toxic masculinity which applies implies that masculinity neutrally by itself can be poisonous now there’s a lot in this that can be challenged directly um the idea that misogyny and homophobia are exclusive to males no they’re not so we can dismiss those there are women who hate women and there are women who hate gays so we can dismiss that as masculine all right we’re looking for something that’s strictly for me okay not just mostly for men but strictly for men
and also you know the counters of this misandry for example i think that’s how you pronounce it which is hating men as we can see in the modern feminist movement women are more than capable of that and yet we don’t use the term toxic femininity right so why do we only have term for one side of this and why are we creating sides in the first place how does that help and there’s the idea that misogyny and homophobia promotes violent sexual assault and domestic violence looks like that makes sense on paper but even that needs to be looked at i’ve worked with criminal offenders sexual abusers guys who commit rape and sexual assault many many domestic violence abusers and it would be an oversimplification to say that they’re misogynistic or to say that they hate the people that they kill and hurt it’s not quite that clear-cut there are clear cases of that for sure but most the time there’s a lot more to it there’s a guy who can love woman in general but be violent towards his partner so the idea that traditional stereotypes of men is what causes them to behave badly doesn’t quite make sense because why do women behave badly if they’re not subjected to the same traditional stereotype cultural upbringing there are women who abuse their partners male and female they’re a woman who commits sexual assault against both adults and children they’re a woman who are violent and not so few of them that we can dismiss the stats but there are prisons full of them
so the more likely story is that human beings can do bad behavior not that men themselves are exclusive to this domain now of course the socialization of boys and patriarchal societies the idea that we even live in a patriarchal society needs to be questioned that whole patriarchy thing based on the idea that all the ceos and politicians are males this top one percent of hyper achievers while most homeless people are mean most people in prison i mean most people who commit suicide i mean we might be overrepresented at the top but we’re very much over represented at the bottom as well so you could probably say it balances out and you think you’ll find in most homes if you go into a normal family home most of the decisions being made about how everyone lives in their home and by the matriarch not always but i’d definitely put some money on there being a majority this hasn’t been studied in any way to confirm it but based on huge amounts of anecdotal evidence in my experience working with hundreds of clients and having thousands of people that i’ve had these conversations with most of the time the woman runs the house she may not be the breadwinner in every case but she certainly decides how things are run and that’s what we call a matriarch and i actually have no problem with that and i think actually humans survive better in a matriarchal than they would in a patriarchy in fact i think if we really were in a patriarchy uh we would all have killed each other by now so
the idea that emotional repression and self-reliance and not you know all the stuff that apparently we’re raised to be causes psychological problems depression stress substance abuse disorders absolutely that’s true it’s also true on women that’s also true in people who are feminine so
the idea that this is exclusive to men is so easily dismissed that you have to ask why do we use the term masculinity if masculine means exclusive to men and that’s the dictionary definition that’s what it means and it’s a weird definition because the only thing that we are able to come up with in our thread when we’re talking about what did men do that no women ever do or so few we ever do that it shouldn’t count the only thing we can figure figure out is rape via a penis that’s it anything else a man can do a woman can do in fact that’s very much the feminist motto wasn’t it so it’s odd that they tend to be the ones that use this term they say men only do these behaviors and yet also women can do anything a man can do and yet women can actually substitute the use of a penis in what can only be called rape they can rape through emotional force i myself have had sex under duress you might say where i’ve been emotionally manipulated into sex i’m not traumatized by it and i certainly wouldn’t take it to court but if the genders were reversed i’d be able to get a conviction for sure i’ve been bullied into sex you might say so if that isn’t rape what is it exactly and then of course they’re all going to actually do quite technical things to cause a man to get an erection and then have sex with them against as well but that’s quite rare to be fair but abusing young boys manipulating them into having sex i mean look at all the cases of teen of uh teachers having sex with students coming out of the united states i mean sure this isn’t a majority of women by any means but there’s plenty of cases where they are essentially being charged under a different terminology but it is rape statutory rape at the very least
so what we come down to is and i challenge anybody listening to this think of a single behaviour or trait that is exclusive to men because if this is what toxic masculinity means toxic behaviors are exclusive to men then really what we’re talking about is rape with a penis and we’ve already got a term for that we don’t need an extra term that shames all masculinity we’ve got the term rape now i wanted to look this up and look it up right now stats how many men commit rape let’s see what comes up and the totally reliable thing here by the way a cdc study study in the us found that one in 70 men have been raped so the idea that women are the only ones who are victims of rape is not true in fact when you take into account the amount of men that are raped in prison and you do a court like an extrapolation guess as to how much that goes under-reported there’s a real case to be made for the likelihood that maybe men get raped as much as women do but they are far less likely to report it or mention it to anybody that’s what makes it impossible to actually measure but it’s long been held as a belief that women get raped more than men because men are rapists but men also rape other men and little boys it’s the same concept as like this uh patriarchy idea is there’s always men at the top and it makes you think that all the men underneath them are benefiting from this but we’re not we’re suffering from it although that one percent of men at the top running everything aren’t doing other men any favors like i said we kill ourselves more we’re homeless more we use drugs more we suffer more physically it can be argued it’s not really coming up obviously here how many men commit rape
one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college again depends how often that’s reported i may not be able to find this right away
this is interesting i’m trying to find the stats on how many men are rapists so how many have been convicted accused suspected of rape but all i’m getting is how many people are victims because this isn’t really studied so i’ll have to look into this deeper but i can talk about my experience as a corrections employee so i used to work with a lot of convicted rapists and sexual abusers and there’s a kind of general truism in the criminal world overall which is most crime is committed by just a few criminals so there isn’t like an even spread amongst all the people who commit crime most people who commit crimes they do it once or twice and they never do it again in terms of their conviction rate it’s like an 80 20 pareto dis distribution like most people only commit a very small amount of crime and a huge amount of crime is committed by a very small amount of people so the serial offenders as we call them or korea criminals do most of the damage you know if if you think of an average neighborhood most of the cars stolen in their neighborhood are probably stolen by one dude okay and if you think of most of the sexual assaults that happen on a college campus there might be hundreds of them but it’s probably five or six dudes doing them all okay to some extent now that isn’t really talked about or acknowledged very often uh that in all crime it’s only a small people involved that do most of the damage so when we have lots of convictions or lots of suspected rapes and sexual assaults and violence we assume that this must be spread amongst men and i think this is why toxic masculinity gets this kind of like all mean a bad uh broad brush fallacy approach it’s because it looks like so much damage is being done that there’s no way this workload’s been done by a small group of men it must be spread around like if i go to a nightclub half the dudes in there must be groping because of how many women get groped but it’s very very unlikely that that’s true and i’m going to keep looking for any studies that might exist around this
but see look at this the way it’s um when looking at sexualized violence statistics nearly 99 of perpetrators are male now that’s easily misinterpreted to say a lot of males perpetrate sexual assault but that’s simply not the case i would suggest it’s probably less than five percent of the population of men have committed sexual assault to any serious degree beyond like fumbled misunderstandings as a teenager trying to figure things out and when it comes to violence again way less than half you know you you’d be surprised how many men have never thrown a punch in anger in their adult life but the men who are violent are violent often and a lot and have a lot of victims psychopaths for example are extremely promiscuous so if you’ve got a psychopath who is a domestic violence offender he might rack up 30 40 50 100 victims in his lifetime all by himself right so look like 100 women were assaulted it’s hard to imagine by one dude but that’s often the case psychopaths narcissist anti-social personality disorder uh narcissistic personality disorder extreme versions of borderline these are most of our criminals these disordered or insane or very evil kind of people they they’re like carnage they just go around doing heaps and heaps of damage and it’s kind of similar to this patriarchy idea where you’ve got one percent of people at the top calling all the shots owning all the money in the land and generally being pricks but there’s such a small percentage of the male population that talking about their gender is almost pointless they clearly don’t represent the average male the average male is doing a lot worse than they are and the reverse is true with criminals the average male is a lot better behaved than all the men in prison again we come to this idea does toxic masculinity as a term actually makes sense and i think one thing that we can dismiss as a potential definition is that masculinity exclusive to males is toxic okay because it’s just not exclusive to males and it’s not even prevalent in males most men are not violent towards their partners most men do not commit rape now there are the lesser versions of of harm that take place in the toxic masculinity definition like repressing emotions doing everything by yourself putting on a tough guy act i’m sure the numbers are a lot higher when it comes to these kinds of behaviors we’re probably starting to talk about majority of men at this point you know suffering from depression from emotional suppression however we’re also talking about a majority of women okay women are generally thought to be emotional and the idea that they’re suppressing emotion seems unlikely but it’s because we’re looking at the wrong emotions they express sadness and being upset more often than you know men do you’ll see women cry more often than you’ll see men cry but you’ll see men assertively throw about their anger more often than you’ll see women do it women do suppress emotions just a different range of emotions women tend to suppress happiness more than men do probably in my experience at least because they seem to be silly when they’re having a good time whereas a man having a good time has seemed to be fun so there is an actual sexism in a way in society against women around the emotions that they’re supposed to suppress it’s just a different range to men and there’s also emotions that everyone’s supposed to suppress like confusion for example and anger to some extent though anger is often welcomed in the outrage age that we’re living in um but grief uh melancholy depression anxiety both genders are told to suppress these in no uncertain terms in their childhood they’re raised to hide these emotions so the idea that it’s exclusive for a man to even have these minor comparatively minor harmful events occur as part of the cultural conditioning again it’s just not exclusive it’s a different range perhaps but then why don’t we have the term toxic femininity to describe the other range well because for the same reason that we don’t need the term toxic masculinity we don’t need it okay we can talk about the issues that women have and the way that they’re raised the way that they’re conditioned to be unhealthy without using the term toxic femininity in fact some of the time that it’s really toxic masculinity if you think about like women are told to suppress their anger that’s a toxic masculinity problem right according to the definition i can tell you for sure that most violent crime and sexual assault crime is a direct result of shame around anger guys don’t know how to express things that bother them at a small level so it builds up and eventually they snap that is pretty much the most accurate description i can give you for most violent and sexual offending is this build up of anger where the person snaps like a guy who’s domestic violence offender it doesn’t like as soon as he gets a little bit pissed off he beats his wife he holds it in days weeks maybe he’s been holding it in for years and then there’s always the straw that breaks his back i’m not talking about the psychopaths that use instrumental anger like they’re pretending to be angry but actually they just love using violence but the guys can’t control their fists right there’s a build-up to that they actually hold in a lot of anger before that happens and it’s actually the holding in of anger that’s the problem so i’ve really got to emphasize i’m not saying that there aren’t problems and and toxic behaviors if you want to call it dead or traits that are more likely to occur i mean what i’m trying to say is that they’re not exclusive to men and that there’s no additional benefit in bringing in the term toxic masculinity now we can just use a term that’s neutral like if toxic masculinity doesn’t do any good but also doesn’t do any harm [ __ ] it you can use it right but that’s the problem is it does do harm since the invention of this term ironically by a male advocate group but quickly usurped by radical less left feminists and man haters in general the damage it’s done to men who are already confused about what it means to be a man to not really be sure what it means to be a man to have a quite biased upbringing around it of all these behaviors that are toxic but aren’t masculinity right violence isn’t honesty is it violence is just violence we’ve already got a name for that honesty is honesty so honesty is masculine violence is violence we don’t need to attach masculine to it because a woman can be violent a horse can be violent it doesn’t make a difference
where else i come with that [ __ ] so you got this boy he’s confused about what it means to be a man he wants to know what it means to be a man he wants to in some vague general un articulated way he wants to be a healthy man or a confident man or a successful man and he hears this term toxic masculinity nobody sits them down to explain exactly what it means because it seems like no matter what masculine trait you talk about this term comes up if a guy’s a leader at a company he’s using microaggressions if a guy is sitting comfortably on a bus he’s man spreading it doesn’t matter what a guy does that’s toxic apparently the guy can’t even [ __ ] exist without causing offence to somebody and so this term toxic masculinity starts to mean it’s bad to be a man now for a kid who doesn’t even know what being a man is and he already finds out that it’s bad it’s like walking on eggshells he doesn’t even know where to start because he doesn’t even know the definition of masculinity to begin with very few people actually have some sort of working healthy practical definition of masculinity he’s already had enough cultural conditioning to be worried about being too feminine now he’s got to worry about being masculine as well what do you think happens to a guy who’s scared to be feminine and scared to be masculine well he takes the middle ground doesn’t he passive he goes for neither and what we are looking at today is a generation of passive mean it’s what we’ve got that’s what nice guy syndrome is my specialty i absolutely strongly suspect that more than 50 of males would qualify as having nice guy syndrome it is this inability to either give or receive you can’t be masculine you can’t be feminine you can’t begin you can’t be yang you can’t be strong you can’t be soft you can’t be anything you must be this ghost that walks this impossible lying in the middle trying not to offend anybody clearly not succeeding at that but at least reducing the amount that it happens and basically being [ __ ] miserable his entire life without realizing that no matter what you’ve got between your legs you need a balance of masculine and feminine traits to have a healthy life it’s as simple as that there’s no such thing as toxic masculine there’s no such thing as toxic feminine the only thing that’s toxic is not being enough of either it’s the only thing that’s harmful masculine traits right honesty courage assertiveness leadership responsibility feminine traits right nurturing empathetic intuitive respectful acceptance
nobody could survive with only one of these packages if you’re all masculine you can’t heal you can’t connect if you’re all feminine you can’t move forward you can’t stand up for yourself you need clearly need a combination now you don’t need a 50 50 balance necessarily your personality will probably lean one way more than the other and generally this is why i really support like long-term relationships as a healthy goal in life because usually you’ve got to find someone to help balance you out like i tend to be more masculine than feminine my wife is more feminine than masculine together we’re healthier than we are apart i think that’s kind of a great setup great design really so we can have strong masculinity in our relationship and strong femininity but it’s not possible really for one person to be both so we have to do it as a peer just like a team can often get more done than an individual can because you can have specialists that work together without having to be generalists toxic masculinity is a term like there’s already some criticism of this i found on
on wikipedia and the funny thing is it’s really emphasized that the conservatives and alt-right are the main critics of this which kind of undermines the criticism of it it says that this is a political thing this is you know the extremely harmful men don’t want you to call them out as extremely harmful that’s really the underlying kind of subtext to this isn’t it well i’m definitely not out right i’m left leaning but i’m not radical left i’m certainly not conservative most if i was to be in government most of my policies would be left so i’m criticizing this does that mean i’m all right but the criticisms are essentially that it constitutes a broad attack or masculinity um that’s very common inherent male correct characteristics uh achievement adventure risk these are all traits that are not inherently wrong or harmful it depends how they’re used and that a proper understanding of traditional masculinity rejects harmful extremes like for example it’s it said it’s broad brush it’s that it’s bad to be violent right we need to be careful with that kind of broad brush approach you’re going to want someone who’s violent if you get attacked by another violent person right you know who’s going to save you from being raped a violent person i’ve worked with rapists you don’t talk them out of it right you kick them into a wall right that’s you understand that there will always be psychopaths there will always be people both men and women who are more than happy to harm you we’re never going to get we’re never going to breed that trait out of humanity there’s always going to be these people it’s like that wolf sheepdog analogy you know there’s the sheep the generally nice decent people who try not to harm anyone and they’re the majority and then there are the wolves who try to eat the sheep and the only way to protect the sheep who can’t protect themselves is to have sheep dogs people who have the ruthlessness and the violence of the wolves that know how to control it and direct it towards evil rather than towards good you know there are people right now who have the freedom to discuss masculinity in countries because violent men protected those countries from being invaded back in the day the language you speak right now is a direct result of a violent man running towards bullets so that you could maintain your cultural heritage so you’ve got to understand violent men have protected you your entire life violent woman we have women in our armed forces we have women in the police without them we are left unprotected the sheep will be overrun by the walls there will always be wolves so the idea that is inherently harmful always to be violent is not true the main case being you need violence to solve violence sometimes
people being competitive being designed you know being labeled as harmful that’s a pretty big call isn’t it i mean every technological advance that you enjoy is a direct result of people being competitive both men and women being competitive hyper competitive in some cases right without competition you don’t have the olympic games or anything interesting to watch when it comes to sports you know they’re hyper competitive people people are willing to die to win and they contribute to our society now it’s not to say that they’re always helpful harmful versions of competition i mean climate change is a great example of competition being prioritized over sustainability but that’s the thing it’s just not all the time that it’s bad i think it was uh andrea whaling who’s actually identifies as a feminist her criticism was my favorite she argues that instructing men to practice healthy masculinity dismisses androgyny and adopting aspects of femininity as valid options for men thereby perpetuating gender binaries and privileging masculinity over femininity so the term toxic masculinity itself undermines feminism if nothing else because it dismisses certain traditional mis masculine straight traits that are appropriate in some situations and also doesn’t really emphasize that combination of masculinity and femininity is what any healthy male should be looking to achieve she also says it really undermines the socio-political setting that a man is in simply put like i said you know most crime is committed by most criminals another little saying we had was five percent of families commit 50 of crime what we found is that there are criminal organizations and families that do most of the damage so gangs and crime families commit most crimes individual like lone wolf criminals are quite rare actually most of them are part of organizations and groups and there’s actually like biological families that are pretty much responsible for most of the crime in your area at any given time so if a man is raised in a violent family that’s the reason he’s violent it’s not about being a man it’s about being in a situation where violence is prevalent i went to a pretty violent school and there was a lot of violence there because there was a lot of violence there women and men were girls and boys were scrapping all the time it was a violent area that we grew up in there’s a violent culture believe it or not new zealand culture in general is actually quite violent so
this probably has more effect than how someone is raised to be a boy right you can raise a boy to think oh hide your feelings and don’t cry but he won’t end up violent necessarily but he goes to high school and it’s either like beat or be beaten then he’s going to end up violent okay and that’s not necessarily because of the way people are raised now one of the critics sort of critiques that came up and the thread that we were talking about was there might be a spectrum of masculinity and when you get to the extreme end it becomes what you call toxic which is a maybe a fair way to describe what toxic masculinity is but i compared that with the term health as in physical health as a spectrum of health but at no point are you too healthy right there’s no such thing as too healthy you can’t be toxically healthy that’s a oxymoron right and i’m saying toxic masculinity is exactly the same the spectrum of masculinity at the far end is as healthy as a masculine person can be very honest very courageous very assertive very respectful very responsible as much as possible zero harm done basically if we get into stuff that’s like violence we’re not talking about assertiveness anymore see assertiveness for example a classic masculine trait that’s often identified as toxic or leading to toxic it’s simply standing your ground that’s all assertiveness is it’s holding the line saying i will not tolerate this i don’t agree with you this is enough stop it that’s assertiveness now if i cross the line into your realm and start trying to control your behavior that’s aggression all right i’m now not just holding the line trying to move the line forward i’m trying to dominate i’m trying to invade someone else’s area that’s aggression it’s a completely different thing to assertiveness assertiveness stands still aggression moves forward so i can be completely assertive all the time without ever trying to change anybody else in fact that is assertiveness as soon as i try to change somebody else as soon as my motive is to dominate them and change their worldview rather than just protect my own i’m no longer being assertive and it isn’t that this is now extra assertive or hyper assertive it’s not assertive at all it’s aggression now aggression isn’t always toxic like i said aggression protects the sheep from the wolves but even when aggression is toxic it’s not a masculine trait anymore it’s now just aggression which could be called a toxic trait perhaps but like i said there’s too many counter examples of healthy aggression but it’s not masculinity aggression is not masculine assertiveness is masculine perhaps even then i think there’s plenty of assertive women so i don’t know why we bother with this masculine feminine [ __ ] but aggression again how can it even be masculine or femininity when you can see it in almost any other animal right like a toad can be aggressive a female toad can be aggressive does that mean she has toxic masculinity like it doesn’t make any sense so there’s no such thing as too healthy and i’m saying there’s no such thing as too masculine as soon as you’re talking about something that’s unhealthy and harmful you’re not talking about health and you’re not talking about masculinity all right let’s say i go to the gym and i work out so hard that i injure myself that’s no longer on the spectrum of health at all this isn’t being too healthy this is now being disrespectful to my body right this is now being insecure about by body dysmorphia and going too hard or it’s just being naive and ignorant to the risks of the way i’m working out none of those things are in the definition of health if i diet so hard out that i get sick at some point that dieting was no longer healthy it’s off the spectrum of healthiness so if i am you know going for what i want i’m being assertive and brave and honest and i get to the point where i start harming others regularly i’m now off the masculine spectrum and i’m now something else i don’t know what the term is but i know it’s not masculine it may be toxic but masculine doesn’t count anymore there are already spectrums we’ve got for all that kinds of behavior for example manipulation whether you want to call it toxic femininity or toxic masculinity depends on the type of manipulation so you’ve got like dominance and aggression versus like invalidation and guilt tripping which might be more likely to be used by females and aggression more likely to be used by males psychopathy is already a spectrum that exists right machiavellianism is already a spectrum that exists ruthlessness is already a spectrum that exists we’ve already got terms for these kinds of behavior and we’ve got like markers for when they’re harmful versus when they’re helpful we don’t need the term toxic masculinity to talk about any of those kinds of behaviors we’ve already got them already got a term so like i said the term has to be more helpful than it is harmful for us to bother using it and the fact that i’m absolutely convinced that it causes a lot of harm the toxic masculinity term i think it needs to be dismissed immediately i think whatever it had good intentions you know like i said originally it was a men’s advocates group that came up with it and they were trying to talk about like you know guys are being raised with this really [ __ ] up version of what it means to be a man we need to give that a name and they gave it a name and if that’s what it had stayed as if it had been this compassionate term that said look you’ve been raised wrong right we’re going to compare toxic masculinity to healthy masculinity we’re going to help you figure out the difference that might have been a workable term but that’s not how it’s being used it’s not how it’s commonly applied it’s commonly being used to say that any form of masculinity is somehow harmful do you remember that gillette ad oh it was terrible [ __ ] hair but there’s this key moment in the ad where a guy sees a girl that he’s attracted to and he’s like oh and he goes to go talk to her and his friend a black man of course stops him right so there’s one of the most woke things i’ve ever seen filmed in my life
now what it implies is that guy going to talk to that girl is harmful well if you’re like me and you’re a guy who’s experimented with going to talk to girls and being open and honest with them and bold but also respectful you’ll know that at least 50 percent of the time the reaction is something along the lines of this made my day better and the rest of the time it’s either neutral at a very small percent of time you get a bad reaction i want you to think about if you’re just walking along the street someone comes up to you and says look i just noticed you from across the thing i don’t want to make you feel uncomfortable or anything but i think you’re absolutely gorgeous and i wanted to say hi and just uh acknowledge you there if somebody came and said that to you are you like oh my god i’ve been raped no the ironic thing is i think most of the women who would complain about this kind of behavior have never had it happen to them in a healthy way they’ve had the classic like construction workers wolf whistling at them but that’s not what i’m talking about and that’s actually not what the guy in the ad looked like he was going to do i mean what’d they think he was going to do if his friend didn’t stop him go grab her ass probably not if that was a real guy who’s got the balls to go up and talk to a woman in broad daylight in front of millions of [ __ ] witnesses he’s probably going to be really confident and really nice to talk to right he’s not going to get himself like mob killed right imagine guys going in front of like all these spectators what would happen to that guy very bad things very few guys are actually willing to do that so a guy who’s likely to go up to a girl in the middle of daylight he’s probably done this before knows how to do it in a way that she’s going to enjoy just simple as that the ad also showed like a bunch of little boys bullying this other little boy the thing is what’s missing in that situation is the kid who’s been raised in a healthy masculine way who would protect that little boy instead he goes running to his mum in the ad i’ll tell you what mum’s not going to be able to do [ __ ] you know this is schoolyard justice adults can’t do anything about schoolyard justice okay if there’s bullies in school adults can’t do [ __ ] about it the best you can do is move the kid to a different school and hope he stops being a victim but odds are like no matter what if you tell if that mum goes to the principal like these kids are bullying my kid all she’s doing is painting a big target on that on her boy’s back the only thing that’s going to protect that kid is another kid in school probably a boy a masculine boy i saw it many times when i was a boy myself i didn’t see it enough unfortunately there were bullies a lot of bullies especially in my high school there were a lot of bullies or just food to criminals at that point uh but occasionally there’s the kids like hey that’s not cool stop it and you’d see this kid be like he’s got [ __ ] balls right he’d be standing up to someone twice the size and cut it out or he’d be a massive dude himself quite often you know i remember feeling quite protected by our top rugby players at our school we went to a party and one of them were there and some [ __ ] started they’d be like cut it out and everyone just felt all right sweet because these guys have built like 30 year old men you know and they’re only 17. if they weren’t there there would have been more violence not less right we were protected by masculinity we weren’t hurt by it the people who hurt us the bullies they weren’t masculine they were insecure about their masculinity right if they’d been truly masculine they wouldn’t have been insecure they wouldn’t have done shitty things to other people they wouldn’t have lashed out in that way
anyway that’s been a pretty probably a pretty uh disconnected series of rants if i had to sum it up what i’d say is even if the term toxic masculinity made sense linguistically which it doesn’t it’s definitely not helpful it definitely does more harm than good and it prevents us actually from using the one thing that’s really going to solve all the classic issues that boys and men face growing up that cause them to be depressed and suicidal and violent even and that is not enough masculinity if you want boys to grow up healthy you need to teach them masculinity and in order to do that you have to make sure that they’re not afraid to go into that area so you need to remove a term like toxic masculinity so that they don’t have to be afraid of it you also need to remove the stigma around femininity right see all the best men i know they’ll stand up for you but they’ll also care for you all right they can be hard and soft there’s nothing i like better than seeing a big tattoo beast who clearly wipe out anybody at a pub dressed as a fairy to have a cup of tea with his daughter i love that right that combination is available there are men like it they should be our role models we should be learning how to be like them rather than trying to learn how to not be like rapists we should be learning how to be like guys who would never rape all right there are guys like out there but right now so much they even stand up for themselves or say something offensive they’re shamed for being the thing that we all need to be more of it’s ridiculous anyway that’s my rant hopefully somebody got something somehow from it i’ll see you guys next time cheers