Toxic masculinity does not refer to truly masculine men

The virtues of classical masculinity have been ruined by the new term “toxic masculinity,” a term used by social justice groups for their inaccurate ideas of masculinity in order to lay the foundation for blame on men who indeed are toxic, but lack true masculinity. 

Toxic masculinity has been defined as, “a cultural concept of manliness that glorifies stoicism, strength, virility, and dominance, and that is socially maladaptive or harmful to mental health,” according to Dictionary.com

From the definition to its input on society, “toxic masculinity” is a farce. Typically it is used to define the actions of aggressively hyper-sexualized, undisciplined men. But let’s set the record straight, those kinds of men are not at a toxic level of masculine, because they are not even really masculine. The only thing labeling such delinquency as toxic masculinity is doing is ruining the name of the good men who seek true manhood and masculinity. 

Most Americans look toward the classical western interpretation of manhood in order to solidify their notions of what it means to be a masculine man. These ideals trace back to Aristotle and the ancient Greeks, who claimed that true manhood and masculinity were achieved through a virtuous life. 

The Greeks and modern Americans look toward the virtues of courage, loyalty, resiliency, personal responsibility and self-reliance, among others,  in order to judge the manhood of a man. Generally speaking, boys are only beginning to grasp these virtues, and while men may falter occasionally from upholding these virtues, they should have a reliable mastery over these qualities most of the time. 

Those who riot, take advantage of others, are sexually aggressive towards non-consenting women and possess the other undesirable reputations of society, do not uphold these qualities. It is not their masculinity that causes them to engage in such unfavorable way. In fact, if it anything, it shows a lack of true masculinity and manhood because they engaged in such behavior. 

Society is projecting the wrong notions of masculinity. The issue is it’s hurting our men who are trying to be better men, and more importantly, its hurting our boys who are trying to grow into men in the first place.

Foremost, strength is never a bad thing, and while the first image to mind is that masculinity is trying to forge a gaggle of macho meat heads, but classical masculinity teaches that boys and men should seek to develop strength in both body and mind. A truly masculine man is forever working on himself to keep himself at his peak performance to defend the life of himself and the ones he loves. There is nothing wrong with this notion, rather it should be celebrated. 

As far as dominance is concerned, society misconstrues the ideals of dominance to project a negative idea of what classical masculine teachings of dominance really include. Dominance, in regards to classic masculinity, is more related to dominating one’s own business and profession, not necessarily dominating others. 

The next misunderstood farce is stoicism, spurring from the miscalculation that classical masculinity requires that all men must be emotionless, with a stiff upper lip and surely never crying. Once again, this could not be further from the truth. 

Classical masculinity teaches that men should have a handle on their emotions, understanding how to control them to prevent emotions from controlling the man. For example, men are expected to have a control on their own temper, as to have uncontrolled outbursts can even be dangerous to others. The same logic applies to crying, as it is perfectly acceptable for men to occasionally cry, classical masculinity urges men to not allow the man to be a slave to his grief.

The final aspect of the definition of “toxic masculinity” is virility, which is the possession of traditionally masculine traits. Right out the gate, virility is not toxic. Once a man understands what it means to be classically masculine, he should seek to possess as many masculine virtues as possible. 

Boys will inevitably want to be men. Men should always seek to be better men. It is doing the male population no service to be perverting the ideals of what it means to be an actual masculine person. It is time society and reality got their definitions in check, and the term “toxic masculinity” is forever disposed of.

Brett Landry is a 20-year-old mass communication senior from Bourg, Louisiana. 

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