Revoke my Man Card

Alexa, play “Toxic” by Britney Spears.

Photo+by+Chrystian+Noble
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Revoke my Man Card

Photo by Chrystian Noble

Photo by Chrystian Noble

Photo by Chrystian Noble

Photo by Chrystian Noble

Joey O'Kelly

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   Do you identify as a male? Are you sick and tired of being told to “be a man,” when showing signs of weakness, femininity, or emotions in general? If so, you may be experiencing toxic masculinity.

   Toxic masculinity is a problematic idea promoted by everybody’s B.F.F., the patriarchy. The term was pushed into the public realm by Australian sociologist, Raewyn Connell, who has written countless papers about genders and sexualities. Toxic masculinity usually involves taking traditional stereotypes of a man and transferring them into young boys’ heads. These stereotypes range from “boys don’t cry,” to forcing boys into sports and even to enforcing a “masculine” dress code that eliminates all possible hints of femininity.

Photo by Chrystian Noble

   However, it’s not just direct enforcement of toxic masculinity that’s the problem. There are products out there like Kleenex “man-size tissues” – because regular tissues are just too dainty for a big strong man. There are Yankee Candles with the scents “Mmm, Bacon,” “Camouflage” and “Man Town” – yes, these are real scents. Everyone knows men lose 15 percent masculinity every time they smell the Yankee Candle scents of “Cotton Breeze” or “Japanese Cherry Blossom.” There’s even places like Sports Clips, where men can avoid the femininity of getting a haircut by watching sports during it. This is just a short list of products that promote fragile masculinity.

   As easy and enjoyable as it may be to poke at fragile masculinity, there is a serious underlying problem. Toxic masculinity puts so much pressure on men to fit a certain stereotype. What happens when they don’t?

   While I understood many of Connell’s theories, there was one that resonated with me.

   “To recognize diversity in masculinities is not enough,” Connell said. “We must also recognize the relations between the different kinds of masculinity: relations of alliance, dominance and subordination.”

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