The title you just read is the statement that strikes you when you see a man wearing a baby pink shirt. Beyond the conventional perspective that people have succumbed to accept, it’s significant to analyze and explore how toxic masculinity breeds unknowingly in society.
As a basic girl who also is a budding feminist, I always got triggered when sexist events took place around me. Because I was spiraled in the long chains of misogyny, I never got the thought to address the sexist opinions that involved boyo.
Even when girls were being criticized and compared to boys, the statement which people were indirectly delivering is “man up”.
These effects of stigma are more profound than one’s prediction. The ancient patriarchal norms affect both men and women equally. A male can only be a man when he keeps a stoic face at the time of sorrow. You can’t call yourself a man and not be the breadwinner of the family. A man should drain himself completely and miss out on those precious moments with his child. Is someone a real man only if they can do all of these things? Or could it be someone who, instead of doing these things, just doesn’t do anything opposite to them?
Boys are raised with the ideology that masculinity is the definition of being a man and femininity is attached to being a woman. These views are rampant in society, and just as much in all communities. Growing up in a toxic environment ultimately results in the guy rejecting anything that is related to femininity such as expressing love, being kind, empathetic, and sensitive.
We have a beautiful culture where we witness Lord Shiva’s personality having both feminine and masculine traits, hence being named the adishakti. This propagates the fact that the world would only sustain itself if both, feminine and masculine energies are balanced in every one of us regardless of gender or sex.
The indoctrination happens early. Just seconds after birth, newborns are divided based on the presence or absence of particular body parts. At first, the divide is only on the birth certificates. Then these clutches of gender norms begin spreading their trap through the course of our life. Soon, it turns into the color of clothes and kind of toys gifted to the child on their first birthday. And in no time, it becomes the invisible line between the behaviors that are acceptable for our gender, acceptable behaviors what can society do those start by having meaningful conversations with young men and women, teaching them that it is okay to be themselves, whatever their true selves are.
Navigating online forums for actual masculist content is also challenging as an overwhelming majority of online spaces teenage boys get led into are either neutral or are aggressively anti-feminist which creates content that radicalizes people. But if it is possible, we have to influence those around us to stay away from such rabbit-holes, for they tend to draw you in aggressively. Helping people out of these can become a tall order.
Let’s break the long tentacles of ingrained misogyny in society and make a space that is not gender-oriented but space for humans to be happy and be proud of WHO THEY ARE.