In this Digital Argument, I explore the impact of how society proliferates masculine ideologies and how this cycle further cements unhealthy behaviors and beliefs in our boys and men. We’ve adopted phrases such as, “boys will be boys,” and “man up” to dismiss and encourage aggressive or dominance-seeking behaviors. While ultimately, masculinity at its core is not negative nor “toxic,” the way it is perceived and encouraged through society is harmful to not only male populations, but women as well.
Moving forward, I strive to advocate for redefining our culture of masculinity. I hope to demonstrate that men and women are not opposite entities, but human beings with the same needs and ways of processing information and emotions. Rather than defining people based on gender roles, and the perpetuation of the male as an emotionless, dominant, aggressive figure, we should accept the fact that both men and women are on a spectrum of both masculine and feminine traits. It is only through society that we’ve labeled behaviors as masculine or feminine, when in reality, these behaviors at their core are simply human. It is about time that we raise our boys to be good humans—who not only think, but also feel— rather than teaching them to stuff down their humanity in order to uphold our society’s ideals of masculinity.