The recent discourse concerning gender relations, made more vitriolic by the #metoo movement, started me to thinking and then analyzing the arguments from all sides, and I think I have identified the disconnect…
The people spouting the most vitriol, whether male or female and regardless of position, are confusing conventional masculinity with toxic masculinity.
Allow me to first define what I believe people mean by toxic masculinity…
According to Dictionary.com, toxic masculinity is defined as:
A cultural concept of manliness that glorifies stoicism, strength, virility, and dominance, and that is socially maladaptive or harmful to mental health
This generally accepted definition requires a bit of deconstruction with a tad of context added in…
Firstly, this definition attempts to relegate what used to be typical male behavior going back to the beginning of the human race to a caricature that lends itself to a frame that is considered deleterious to society and even dangerous.
Masculine virtues become dangerous faults in order to create a narrative that serves no one outside of a very narrow agenda. Being stoic and showing strength are usually outward signs of inner confidence.
Secondly, in relegating male behavior to an easily maligned caricature, it creates a political wedge issue very much like the race issue that most people in the Western world have mostly relegated the trash heap of history. It creates stereotypes that on the surface appear to be true, but are not.
This is not to say that the disgusting exploits of men like Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, et al should be acceptable in our modern society. Their actions and behaviors do not represent men in general nor are they the products of masculinity. Using coercion, power, and pharmaceuticals to take advantage of women sexually is the behavior of a punk, not a gentleman in touch with his own sense of masculinity.
The problem I see today is that men don’t act like men and women have to react accordingly, and thus, have to act more masculine than feminine.
All of us have masculine and feminine energy regardless of gender. The problem is that men have forgotten their role as men and are far more in tune with their feminine energy than they should be.
Male-female relationship dynamics are shaped by our natural instincts, which are hard-wired into each of us. There is nothing wrong with women serving in the military or taking on what was once considered masculine roles in the workplace. Leadership knows no gender and if a woman can handle the job, it should not matter what her gender is and she should be compensated accordingly. That isn’t where the disconnect is, in my estimation.
The disconnect lies with men not realizing that men have the burden of performance and women, consciously or subconsciously, want men to bear this burden. Allow me to elucidate…
Women desire men who display and demonstrate competence, confidence (not cockiness), compassion, and the ability to provide comfort (financial provisioning and emotional support). I call these the Four C’s (I should totally copyright that).
A woman does not want a man who acts like her girlfriends, so “emotional support” simply means being ready to listen to (but not solve) her problems after a long day.
A woman does not and cannot truly respect a man who does not work or lacks ambition.
A woman does not want a man who does not support her ambitions.
A real man knows what kind of woman he wants and lets her be herself when he finds her (whether she’s a career woman or wants a family).
A real man is competent enough to know his woman without having to “figure it out”, he will “just get it”. Unlike men, women are masters at non-verbal communication, and trust me when I say a woman finds it very attractive when a man can pick up on her non-verbal communication.
Men really need to ditch the “man-buns”, skinny jeans, and man purses. A nice, tailored suit on a man is to a woman what lingerie on a woman is to a man.
Men should always pursue excellence and look to improve themselves intellectually, physically, and spiritually. The man who does this will find that he does not have to chase women. Women recognize a quality man and go for him.
What I just described is conventional masculinity, and as you might gather, it is not “toxic”. It’s rational.
-The Rational Ram