Weekly report of a young feminist #3: Man up! as a contemporary toxic sentence.
I recently realized the lack of (published) thoughts I dedicate to toxic masculinity and the unpleasant position of an adolescent man. Half of the population have a feeling that toxic masculinity is a term which we already tackled and is only recycled by women who depleted rational explanations of infelicitous behaviour of ordinary man. However, manhood is on its rise and I pity men for growing up along with the sentences such as man up, crying is for ladies or that gentlemen don’t exist anymore. What a bullshit.
Truly, if we want to achieve gender equality, we must focus on all genders. Men suffer from the urge of becoming the proper man, the one who doesn’t cry and protects his family. We further must realize the complexity of this issue since it goes even further. Young men are already aware of absurdity of an era when they had to supress their emotions and acquire solely masculine features. However, there is a new-established trend called caring behaviour, which requires men to care and functions as a countermovement to toxic masculinity.
According to a study, men consider themselves feminine when they care. Activities such as recycling or caring about the environment are labelled as jobs for women, similarly as childcare or housework. It might sound premature, but I know several men, who are affected by this behavioural scheme. I heard many arguments which illustrate the toxicity of prejudices and are related to the environmental protection. Once someone said that meat is a necessity in man’s life or that usage of non-invasive alternatives of traveling is only for environmental freaks. To be honest, I don’t want to become a vegetarian or skip flying completely, but I try to reduce the footprints I’m leaving on Earth.
When men admit their love for housework, people naturally expect them to be ashamed of this light affinity and subsequently start to question their dominant position in the household and start to pinpoint their feminine character. But why do men have to always be in the powerful positions? And why are activities such as cooking and taking care of a child considered women’s work?
Similar aberrant conclusions shape the image of a contemporary manhood, which in fact originates in the past and therefore is incorrect since the societal hierarchy already changed. We all noticed that men don’t hunt anymore and women already have human rights. Therefore, I wonder, why do men still have to be masculine and without any flaws directly linked to the femininity?
Mainstream culture often feeds these kinds of stereotypes. Once I witnessed three young male employees of a gallery in Prague talking about feminism. I came when they were in the middle of the conversation, but I think I joined in the right moment. One of the young guys said that he’s a feminist and another two guys wanted to make clear that such a thing doesn’t exist. The loudest one said that he can be either a feminazi or not a feminist. As always, the loudest the worst. The other day, I’ve read an article published in Czech Vogue, where the author asked that if all men are going to take care of their children and will be on a parental leave, who’s going to fight in a war…
I dare to think, that we all understand the absurdity of this reflection of a contemporary man and a weird comparison. In my opinion, we first must stop demanding certain type of behaviour from all men and support the “femininity” in them. I personally love when men are not angry and protective but rather calm and caring. Let’s hope it’ll gradually spread and affect the mainstream culture.