Toxic masculinity is one of the ways in which Patriarchy is harmful to men. The concept of toxic masculinity is used in social sciences to describe certain traditional standards of behavior among men in contemporary American and European society that are associated with detrimental social and psychological effects. Such “toxic” masculine norms include dominance, devaluation of women, extreme self reliance, and the suppression of emotions. Socialization begins in the infancy stages for boys and girls with boys roles idealizing toughness, dominance, self-reliance and the restriction of emotion. These norms are transmitted by parents, other male relatives, and members of the community.
Conformity with certain traits viewed as traditionally male, such as misogyny, homophobia, and violence can be considered “toxic” due to harmful effects on others in society, while related traits including self reliance and the stifling of emotions, are correlated with harm to men themselves through psychological problems such as depression, increased stress, and substance abuse. Other traditionally masculine traits such as devotion to work, pride in excelling at sports, and providing for one’s family are not considered “toxic”. Terry Kupers, a professor at The Wright Institute school of psychology, defines toxic masculinity as “the constellation of socially regressive male traits that serve to foster domination, the devaluation of women, homophobia and wanton violence”. The concept of toxic masculinity is not intended to demonize men or male attributes, but rather to emphasize the harmful effects of conformity to certain traditional masculine ideal behaviors such as dominance, self-reliance and competition.
Toxic masculinity effects the trans community as much as it effects cisgendered men. Some trans men try to so hard to be masculine that it becomes toxic and can cause a world of trouble for them. As trans men we need to realize that we are just as much a man as a cisgendered man and no one can take that away from us. We have to remember that our genitals don’t define who we are and where we came from doesn’t either. Who we are on the inside is what matters. Don’t try to be a stereotypical buff guy if that’s not who you want to be. No offense to Aydian Dowling, I like him and all, but he doesn’t represent most of the trans masculine community. We can be whoever we want to be whether we are masc for masc or a feminine guy. Just don’t let toxic masculinity take over your life or let it effect you.