Toxic Masculinity- A Short Story

Guy 1: So I was talking to my sister the other day during one of her study breaks, and she brought up something called toxic masculinity. You ever hear of that before?
Guy 2: Nope. What’d she say it is?
Guy 1: Apparently men as a whole are under pressure to be more aggressive, more masculine, that they don’t express themselves or ever cry, things like that.
Guy 2: Like our manliness in general is being brought up for debate- by who, though?
Guy 1: Society
Guy 2: I’ve never once ever felt this way. Not even by women I’ve dated. If anything, they’ve wanted the opposite.
Guy 1: For you to be more masculine?
Guy 2: I’m guessing you brought this up to me specifically because I have no difficulty with expressing emotions and such.
Guy 1: Right
Guy 2: So, yes, it’s sort of been requested- in a sense- that I stop being me. Once I had a woman tell me to “stop being a little bitch” but her tone suggested bitch was meant in the derogatory term for women.
Guy 1: Really?
Guy 2: Whenever I’ve tried actually listening to women and expressing myself they initially say “how are you single?” when “I’m glad you’re single so I can have you” would be a better statement, but I can tell they’re not used to it that it inherently becomes my fault they no longer are interested.
Guy 1: So what you’re saying is this….toxic masculinity, while obviously not the majority of women’s opinion, is still bullshit.
Guy 2: In all honesty it sounds like another excuse for women to try and change men while deflecting their own problems and blame us in the process. Think about this- you and I were raised by single mother’s. How many of our guy friends are in the same boat?
Guy 1: Ya know, I-
Guy 2: All but one.
Guy 1: ….Huh.
Guy 2: How can we know what being a man is like if we’re surrounded by women at home? Certainly male friends can’t count, especially if their home environments mirror my own.
Guy 1: Now that I think about it, George grew up with four brothers and a sister while being raised by his mother. He used to tell me he his mom tried telling him what a “strong black man” is supposed to be. But, wouldn’t that just be her perception or perhaps a projection?
Guy 2: I’d say so. Manuel’s Dominican. He used to say his mom coddled him, made him feel like a king, all that. I see on social media by Dominican girls that Dominican mothers do this all the time. How’s that teaching him to be a man?
Guy 1: Even white dudes don’t know since some dads aren’t around due to all the business trips they go on. Or if they were abandoned by their fathers. It’s not an exclusive problem to people of color.
Guy 2: See, even suburban life isn’t immune to it.
Guy 1: Jen used to tell me I yell a lot when I talk but that just happens when I get excited. Compare it to when a woman is on the verge of tears in the same scenario. It would be misogynistic for me to say “calm down” but not misanthropic for her to blame testosterone on my decibel level.
Guy 2: Remember when women were saying men don’t talk enough or we’re not expressive enough. Look what happens when we actually listen to them.
Guy 1: Yea I remember that. Somehow it’s our fault for actually listening when women speak.
Guy 2: Where’d your sister learn this term anyway? Sounds like someone’s poisoning her mind.
Guy 1: Not sure, but she definitely needs to hang around new people.

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