We are in a moment of cultural change, in which traditional masculinity — of the white, straight, Christian, beer-drinking, action movie-watching, football-betting, ball-scratching, Call of Duty-playing, steak-eating persuasion — is expanding to include other definitions of being a man. Naturally, this freaks some people out. We see the backlash in such cultural moments as Gamergate, the Hugo Award Sad Puppy fiasco, the rise of the decidedly unchivalrous Donald Trump.
These are not random markers. What was once an identity guaranteed to give its beneficiaries automatic top societal position still mostly gives them automatic top societal position, but the mainstreaming of conversation around gender politics makes it slightly more malleable. If you are such a man — you’re probably too busy sending a dick pic or composing a Youtube comment to be reading this. But even so, put down that dick pic you’re about to send and go to Twitter. No, don’t post the dick pic on Twitter; look at the trending hashtag, #MasculinitySoFragile. It has garnered tweets with the following takeaways:
Criticizing toxic masculinity is not a personal attack on you, men.
At press time, nearly 3,000 women of Twitter have responded that not wanting to have sex with someone has garnered vitriol.
As Buzzfeed also weighs in on, products that label certain things as particularly “masculine” are ridiculous.
Men who are taking this as a personal attack, good job really proving everyone right.
Toxic masculinity makes you miss out on relationships
This isn’t a gender war, plenty of men agree — including figures you might not think of as “feminist.” See, here’s Irvine Welsh, the author whose characters constantly insult one another as “cunts.”
And finally, manly men of the world, if you just let go, your life will actually be much more pleasant. You’ll have more friends and fewer injuries.
Twitter can often be a dumb, cluttered echo chamber — but every so often it sparks meaningful discussion. This is not a misandric crusade; it’s an issue of how to live. Traditional masculinity is toxic not only to the non-masculine individuals it victimizes but also to men who feel pressured to embody it. A men-only world is not, in fact, anyone’s world.