Misjudged in a Misguided Culture: Pulling back the curtain and examining Toxic Masculinity.

Have you ever been misunderstood? How about judged? We've all had the finger pointed at us (and pointed the finger at someone else) at one time or another. It's the inevitable cycle of humanity - the he said, she said game that we've been playing since the beginning. To be clear, I won't be pointing the finger today. The blame game won't be present and I am not taking either side. I'm on the side of truth. I'm simply pulling back the curtain surrounding toxic masculinity and examining both arguments for what they are. You can make your own decisions and form your own opinions, but I do encourage you to stick around until the end and I challenge you to keep an open mind and heart.

So what is "Toxic Masculinity"? A New York Times article stated, "Toxic masculinity is what can come of teaching boys that they can’t express emotion openly; that they have to be “tough all the time”; that anything other than that makes them “feminine” or weak. (No, it doesn’t mean that all men are inherently toxic.)"

First, I agree that a lack of teaching can lead to toxic behavior, but this goes for both men and women. Did you catch that? Masculinity isn't the problem. The behavior is what's toxic and I believe that both sexes are affected by it. I'm not discounting that there are men who are domineering, power hungry, and abusive toward others, that behavior is not okay and it shouldn't be passed off as "boys will be boys". However, the same argument can be used for women (F.Y.I I am a women). This might be hard to hear, but there are domineering, power hungry, and abusive females in the world, but no one is screaming toxic femininity. It's toxic behavior.

Truthfully, it doesn't matter what gender you are, a lack of understanding and unhealthy teaching will lead to bad behavior.

There has been an attack on men in our culture because of social norms and misguided teaching. Men are portrayed on TV and in movies as aggressive, ignorant, buffoons who can't do anything right and need their women to instruct them. Can you see what's happening here? Men are being put down and told to shut up and listen and if you keep telling someone that all they are is a domineering, aggressive, dumb, lazy, violent, bozo, that's who they will become.

Men and women were made to work together in unity, but what we've seen so far does't come close to that. Do men behave badly sometimes? Of course! News flash, we all do! That doesn't mean that humanity is toxic or that women are better than men or men are more powerful than women. I've seen some incredible women who are empowering and building up other women - that's amazing! I believe that men want build us up, but we strike them down before they have a chance saying it's "the future is female". I don't know about you, but I want to encourage my husband and my future sons to be men that are protective, strong, and loving (men can be both!). The only way change will truly happen is if we stop fighting against each other and start fighting for each other. Read that again.

The only way change will truly happen is if we stop fighting against each other and start fighting for each other.

We've failed in the past by telling boys that they shouldn't cry, but we've also failed by not teaching them how to express themselves in a healthy way. We've grown up thinking that if a boy is mean to you, it means he likes you. How is that okay? We need to do better. The future isn't female. The future is male and female, doing life together, striving toward goals together, and building each other up. We don't have to revert back to 1950 where a woman's place is in the kitchen, but we also don't have to stand by and watch a whole gender be torn down by the media. Masculinity isn't good or bad. It's just masculinity. Being Feminine doesn't make you weak, it's just feminine. There is more to lose by choosing to think that masculinity is toxic and that women should know their place. These are ideologies resulting from a broken world, not truths that should be spoken over one another.

I don't believe in toxic masculinity or toxic femininity. I believe that toxic behavior infects all of us regardless of gender.

It's Toxic Tuesday and it's time for another #toxictuesdaychallenge.

This week we're switching things up because your challenge is a simple question: How have you stereotyped the opposite sex? Leave us a comment on our latest instagram post @toxicoapparel telling us your answer. As always, we are here to answer questions you might have about our products, the movement, or anything else! We hope to see you back next week for another installment of Toxic Tuesday!

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