Let’s set better expectations for our men.
If I could sum up toxic masculinity with one Disney character, it would be Gaston from Beauty and the Beast. He’s gorgeous, adored by many and has bulging muscles. But these aren’t the reasons he exuded toxic masculinity. It’s his belief that he’s better than the rest of the world because of his macho behavior.
He hunts wildlife for sport, he continues to go after the girl even after she denies his advances and leads a whole mob to the beast’s home just because he’d felt threatened.
Toxic masculinity exists all around us. It’s this idea that men are supposed to be stoic creatures who never cry or feel anything. Men are supposed to be the breadwinners.
According to an article by Jacey Fortin in the New York Times, the the American Psychological Association released several guides for psychologists on “traditional masculinity ideology”. According to the guides, men “are often negatively affected [by toxic masculinity] in terms of mental and physical health,” and that toxic masculinity consists of various ideologies across different cultures, including “anti-femininity, achievement, eschewal of the appearance of weakness, and adventure, risk, and violence.”
Toxic masculinity also reinforces the idea that there is only one type of man, and if a man tries to act different from the norm, he’s considered an outcast. This creates a lot of pressure for boys who don’t even know who they are yet.
The issue with toxic masculinity is that it enforces the notion that men can’t have feelings and are weak if they do. Being human is hard, so how can you expect someone not to have strong emotions towards something? Men should be allowed to emote because it’s healthy and a natural thing to do in life.
Furthermore, toxic masculinity undermines a woman’s power because the “bad” traits are commonly associated with women, who cannot exemplify masculinity by nature (or so toxic masculinity claims). In short, being a man means being the opposite of a woman.
Here are 25 masculinity quotes about men that will help better understand toxic masculinity and why we need to allow men to share their emotions.
1. Choose your actions wisely.
“Being a male is a matter of birth. Being a man is a matter of choice.” — Edwin Louis Cole
2. Don’t play childish games.
“Manhood is the defeat of childhood narcissism.” — David Gilmore
3. Emotions aren’t a bad thing.
“There’s so much toxic masculinity out there. I grew up with the notion that the more masculine you are and the less you show emotion, the more of a man you are.” — Karamo Brown
4. Do the right thing.
“Waste no more time arguing what a good man should be. Be one.” — Marcus Aurelius
5. Material items come and go, but self value stays.
“Try not to become a man of success, rather become a man of value.” — Albert Einstein
6. There’s no winning this game.
“The male has paid a heavy price for his masculine ‘privilege’ and power. He is out of touch with his emotions and his body. He is playing by the rules of the male game plan and with lemming-like purpose he is destroying himself—emotionally, psychologically and physically.” — Herb Goldberg
7. Ask the most important question.
“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. This is the judgment. Life’s most urgent question is, what are you doing for others?” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
8. Actions speak louder than words.
“Manliness consists not in bluff, bravado or loneliness. It consists in daring to do the right thing and facing consequences whether it is in matters social, political or other. It consists in deeds not words.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
9. The love is still there, deep down.
“There is a time in a boy’s life when the sweetness is pounded out of him; and tenderness, and the ability to show what he feels, is gone.” ― Norah Vincent
10. Manliness doesn’t come with age.
“You become a man not when you reach a certain age, but when you reach a certain state of mind.” ― Habeeb Akande
11. They’re codependent.
“Masculinity cannot exist without femininity. On its own, masculinity has no meaning, because it is but one half of a set of power relations. Masculinity pertains to male dominance as femininity pertains to female subordination.” ― Sheila Jeffreys
12. Men are told to give up “feminine” traits, which is not okay.
“Our culture is now one of masculine triumphalism, in which transhistorically feminine expressions – empathy, sweetness, volubility, warmth – are seen as impediments to a woman’s professional trajectory in many sectors.” ― Antonella Gambotto-Burke
13. Treat men with tenderness.
“As a culture, we perceive men not as sacred or sensitive, but as things to be hurt, repeatedly and violently, in order to test their mettle. Manhood is a prize awarded to the most scarred.” ― Antonella Gambotto-Burke
14. Be a #BOSS.
“You telling everyone what to do does not make you the boss. You doing everything you told yourself to do makes you the boss.” ― Terry Crews
15.Masculinity can be a tough standard.
“Men weren’t really the enemy — they were fellow victims suffering from an outmoded masculine mystique that made them feel unnecessarily inadequate when there were no bears to kill.” ― Betty Friedan
16. Hold men accountable!
“When people defend masculinity as an inevitable part of our nature, it’s simply a way for men to avoid taking responsibility for their shitty behaviour, and allows them to inwardly justify a dangerous attitude on account of it being perceived as masculine.” ― Jack Urwin
17. We’re redefining what it means to be a man every day.
“The old ‘qualities’ of masculinity – a narrow focus on life, domestic incompetence signaling a mind on higher things, emotional reserve and acts of endurance – have become absurdities, signs more of incompetence, insensitivity, lack of intelligence than of strength.” ― Rosalind Coward
18. Let boys be soft when they need to be.
“But by far the worst thing we do to males — by making them feel they have to be hard — is that we leave them with very fragile egos. The harder a man feels compelled to be, the weaker his ego is.” ― Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
19. Bad behavior isn’t excusable any more.
“Boys never seemed stupider than when they were surprised by the bad behavior of other men.” ― Rebecca Scherm
20. Let’s all take care of one another
“I am tired of men hurting women and each other and themselves.” ― Carlos Andrés Gómez
21. Be your most unique you.
“Guys, you don’t have to act “manly” to be considered a man; you are a man, so just be yourself. Don’t let society make you believe you have to prove your masculinity to anyone because you don’t. You are you and you are worthy, full stop.” ― Miya Yamanouchi
22. The struggle is real.
“Male social conditioning encourages boys and men to aim to bed as many women as possible… So much so, that their self esteem and self worth become intertwined with the number of sexual partners they have; and when that number is low or even zero, so too is their self-confidence.” ― Miya Yamanouchi
23. Let boys have feelings.
“We must dare to face the way in which patriarchal thinking blinds everyone so that we cannot see that the emotional lives of boys cannot be fully honored as long as notions of patriarchal masculinity prevail. We cannot teach boys that real men either do not feel or do not express feelings, then expect boys to feel comfortable getting in touch with their feelings.” ― Bell Hooks
24. Allow our men to unfold in their emotions.
“Few men realize how much of their lives are lived in pursuit of the values our culture has traditionally associated with masculinity. These values – a primary focus on work, logical thinking and always being in emotional control – have many benefits to men and their families. When taken to extremes, the pursuit of traditional masculine values becomes a cage for feelings, a stranglehold on life itself.” ― Mary Crocker Cook
25. In fact, let’s get rid of masculinity altogether.
“Our goal should be not to redefine masculinity, but to abolish it.” ― Robert Jensen