Earlier today a friend linked to a Harper’s article on toxic masculinity from May 2019. It rings true in so many ways. The stunted emotional growth of men leaves them incapable of bonding as adults, dependent on the workplace and girlfriends or wives for their total social interaction.
Women are the ones paying the price for it. And oft times, women are blamed for that infantilism, instead of the toxic masculinity of society that caused it (i.e. garbage like “if they had girlfriends, they wouldn’t act like that!”).
Men lashing out are like babies smashing a TV to get their parents’ attention. But a baby can’t cause the damage an adult can do, a baby doesn’t shoot or kill people out of frustration. Society has create men exactly like the monkeys in Harry Harlow’s experiments of the 1950s.
These are the two parts of the article that spoke to me the most:
Shame, Brené Brown found in her years of research, is the single biggest cause of toxic masculinity. Whereas women experience shame when they fail to meet unrealistic, conflicting expectations, men become consumed with shame for showing signs of weakness.
I felt it from both sides. When I was “male”, I was shamed into hiding my emotions, leaving my unable to express them. And part of what kept me from transitioning for so long was the fear of “not passing”, truscum nonsense that says “you’re only trans if you’ve done, A, B, C, D, and E”.
It took me far too long stop worrying about what others think and stop feeling shame for not meeting their expectations. Once I stopped caring about ridiculous standards of “society” and stopped being afraid about expressing myself, my relationships dramatically changed for the better, as did my mental health.
“We use sports as an excuse to bump up against each other, so desperate we are for human touch and intimacy.”
I never thought of it like that, but it’s spot on. Men use any excuse for high fives, pats on the back or butt, etc., because they can’t get human touch anywhere else. How many would quit sports if they had healthy interpersonal relationships, if they weren’t conditioned to hide and be ashamed of their feelings?
They’re taught and conditioned to be petrified of any public displays of affection. Hugging, holding hands, touching them on the shoulder – if I did that to a man, there would be a homophobic reponse, fear of how they’re perceived by others. Even some gay cishetero males are terrified of PDAs, and not because they fear being called a homophobic slur or the threat of violence.
Which makes Ryan Russell’s instagram photos all the more surprising – and pleasantly so. Of all four male team sports, the NFL is the last where I would expect a player to come out mid-career, not at the end like Jason Collins.