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As more and more men confront the fact that the white, heterosexual male is no longer the automatic default, more and more people cling to a fetishized ideal of “manhood” predicated on supposedly “natural” aspects of manliness that men should supposedly Of course, just saying the words “toxic masculinity” is enough to prompt some people to immediately become defensive and aggressive.
There’s a certain segment who will resist the idea that masculinity needs to be examined and refined; they leap to the accusation that “toxic masculinity” means maleness and masculine-identified traits are inherently bad and undesirable.
When women are the literal antithesis of men, everything that diverges from “manly” becomes suspicious at best and dangerous at worst. Many men will blame feminist firebrands like Andrea Dworkin for instilling a fear of women, rather than processing the ownership of their own fears and desires. Tyler Durden – who is unquestionably the representation of the toxic masculine ideal – says it outright: “We are a generation of men raised by women…” This codification of women-as-opponents falls into sex as well.
It takes the idea of a man who has traits that aren’t coded as “male” – not being sexually aggressive, being passive rather than violent, expressing his emotions or even simply not following the cultural narrative of what a “man” does with his life – and turns them into signs that he’s been corrupted, emasculated. The movie codifies the ennui and disconnect that men feel, not as men having been sold a load of bullshit about what it means to be a man, but that – as Dan Olson puts it in his excellent break-down – it was never delivered in the form that they expected. While men are sexual satyrs, forever horny and looking to fuck, women must, ergo, be the opposite.
Women are castrating bitches and whores, non-Gamer Gate-supporting men are cucks, fags and betas, Internet Tough Guys are lionized and the dictates of the group must be enforced through harassment and violence.
But people the “traditional” masculine ideal – speaks openly about the absurdity of gender roles and the need to abandon toxic masculinity.
Not following the narrative of traditional masculinity marks you as being the odd man out… Someone who doesn’t meticulously conform to the stereotypical masculine gender expression is someone to be pitied at best, to be “corrected” at worst.
People who are invested in “biotruths” – a form of naturalistic fallacy that assumes that “biological traits” agrees to play by the same rules.
Passive, submissive or emotionally expressive men put paid to the idea that men must be aggressive and stoic.
It’s the natural endpoint of “I’ve got mine, fuck you”, where everything is about the performance rather than the reality.
Even expressions of theoretical selflessness – the idea of “a real man provides”, for example – are at their core aimed at maintaining their masculine credentials rather than caring for the wellbeing of one’s spouse and family.
It’s a rhetorical trap; taking the bait and arguing about whether you’re a white knight or not inherently acknowledges the validity of the accusation, hamstringing the protestor’s argument.
Every successful derailment demonstrates a cruel irony: those who have been the most negatively affected by these toxic stereotypes often absorb and those stereotypes themselves and will be the first to defend them.
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People who diverge from its dictates threaten to undermine the “truth” in “biotruth”.