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Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Toxic masculinity: a symptom of a wider problem.

We often here the cry of Toxic Masculinity in recent years.
If not those exact words,  it will be some variation of how men are to blame for a cultural or social problem.
Teach men not to rape.
Mansplaining.
Manspreading.
Wearing inappropriate t-shirts (because people should not have the right to wear what they want to, right ladies?)

I think this is all a symptom of an aspect of human nature we could do with acknowledging, addressing and hopefully fixing.
Misandry.
The fear, distrust or hatred of men.
Sounds a bit far out there, doesn't it. A conspiracy theory about how the poor white man is oppressed?
It really isn't. It's not about systematic or cultural oppression, repression or suppression.
It's just a way of describing how society at large treats men.

First we must acknowledge the thing that prevents discussion of the subject.
The thing that has people scoff and laugh and mock.
That is, perhaps oxymoronically, most people (including those feminists we see deriding men and masculinity so often) love men.
They love the men that they personally know.
As a society we celebrate the men that touch our lives personally. We love our sons, our brothers, our fathers and uncles. We love to hold up heroes and point out the virtues of "good men."
How can we talk about societal neglect of men, cultural hatred of men, when this is true?
And that's the point. We love OUR men.

It is "other men" that are the problem.
Men we don't know are a danger.
Men we don't know are suspect.
Men we don't know could do us harm.
Simply put this is a bias that only effects men. It especially effects men from certain minorities, ethnic or racial.
Women simply don't have this bias against them.
A woman will rarely experience another human being frightened by their mere proximity. They will never need to worry about how they might be perceived by a stranger, or by a police officer, or by parents and staff at their children school.

None of this is because we're evil, or hateful, or because men deserve it.
It is not "because culture"
It is because we're animals.
It's an understandable principle both bred and socialised into us because it has been a FANTASTIC survival strategy for the entire history of our species and in many others.
The thing is, we're smart animals, so we should be able to learn to do fucking better.

When we tolerate the sort of open and explicit misandry done in the name of "equality" we are manipulating people with the most base of our emotions.
It devalues those it is attempting to protect as well as those it maligns.
Remember, those men you do not know do belong to somebody.
That stranger in the street is somebody's father.
The man in the playground is a doting uncle.
The man arrested for manspreading is somebody's son.
Not all men are good people, so of course caution is understandable and necessary, but we should be careful that caution doesn't become bigotry.
The monsters in the world are a small minority and they are not effected by posters telling them to be less monstrous.
Don't judge all men by the actions of the monsters.
Try to judge them as you would judge the men you love.
Then we might take the first step to overcoming the stigma that masculinity is often stuck with.

To those reading that wish to cry misogyny, or declare one more important than the other.
You are the monsters in this world.
Misogyny is awful, equality of opportunity and universal human rights are a great thing.
Misogyny is simply not a serious problem in the West, nor in many other places. We already seek to redress sexism targeting women, and that's a great thing. You however condone sexism against men and declare it either less important or even nonexistant.
Your equality is supremacy wearing lipstick.