Is masculinity really toxic?
This question comes as a result of the QOTD, asking what you thought were the best/worst parts of your gender.
I was totally shocked and saddened, by how many men mentioned masculine toxicity in some form or another. I guess, because I don’t follow any news and stay off all social media except for this forum and one other, I had no idea what it even was. First of all I googled it, and than I asked a friend who might know and could explain it.
So, these are my questions. Where do you men notice it? Homes, community, culture, church, social media, TMB, or anywhere else? What can we as womenfolk do? It seems like if its turned into such a big thing, there’s so little that can be done. What are some of your experiences where you felt like really toxic waste? What are some things that have lifted your spirits, in relation to this?
I lost some sleep over this last night, just saddened. In my mind, men are strong all over and sort of free of this kind of thing. And now, I feel rather shaken that so many feel this way.
It seems so strange, that many women feel like second class citizens, as also mentioned in the same thread. The men feel like toxic waste. Are we doing this to each other, or is this something that has been majorly blown up by society, or by a few people, perchance? I also wonder where I am in all this. Have I made men feel like toxic waste? I somehow think I have somewhere in life. I intend to ask DH as soon as I get a chance.
All the above is just thinking out loud. I hope it makes sense and that you all will have some input. Men and ladies all free to answer.
My sister often says to me, “Our husbands are in the most hated group in the country. They are white, Christian men.” That category of people are losing their voice and are lashed out against when they speak. They are “racist”, “bigots”, “chauvinistic”, and “misogynist” according to our media and the culture of all our “special minority groups”.
One thing I believe I have learned about men, and they can correct me if it’s not true of them…. if they have a wife who is behind him, loves him, supports him and believes in him, they can conquer their world.
I don’t think masculinity or femininity is bad. They are very good. Created by God to compliment the other and to enjoy the other in rightly-ordered relationships. Together they give us a greater glimpse into who God is and what He wants for His creation. Neither of them are meant to be toxic. Neither of them are that in their God-intended form.
But as we know, sin is a work in this fallen world, seeking to bring us under its rule instead of the rule of Jesus. His reign is loving and righteous. That of sin, is corrupt, violent, and debasing. One gives life. The other rules through death.
Sadly, much of history is rife with men abusing position and power and seeking to rule over others – particularly women. These were sin-induced actions – having nothing to do with the way of Jesus. The farther we were from Jesus, the worse it became. And finally the reaction erupted. Feminism and particularly extreme feminism has worked hard to right the wrongs and to blame many of the ills on men – especially what makes them different from women, their masculinity. Sin gladly enslaves whoever it can. So, under its rule, many social ills have been propagated – some even with apparent backing of Scripture.
I say that, not to excuse us men for the evils we have done, condoned, or given a pass to. We are guilty of much. But, let’s not pretend that sin is a respecter of persons – or of sexes (genders)! Since Eve, all women have also sinned. So to blame the ills of our present world on masculinity is simplistic at best and false at worst. Unless we recognize that our malady is caused by something much more powerful and sinister than masculinity, we are still blinded by our own perceptions of self-righteousness.
I feel that my masculinity is least appreciated by society in general and particularly the left. SJWs, extreme feminists, LGBTQ advocates and allies, educators, mass media, etc., have accepted and are promoting the narrative that if men were less masculine and more feminine, there would be less evil in the world. That still doesn’t address the primary and core problem of our need for the renewing, redeeming, and righteous-making work of God through Jesus in His life, death, and resurrection and the implementation of that by the HS in the community of faith.
To the extent that the church and Christian institutions have accepted that narrative, my masculinity is viewed as suspect rather than celebrated.
I look forward to what others will say. Thanks Brynna for raising this question.
I noticed the same thing. As a man, I don’t feel that way at all. I found it disturbing as well, but I know where it comes from. God created us in His image. Male and female He created us. The enemy is out to destroy. Culture has never been more set against humanity. Gender is central in this battle. I find that all this social distancing and mask wearing contributes in this same spirit, making us expressionless, distant robots. We need to do what we can to make great the name of our God throughout the earth. He did not err when he made us male and female. We ought to thank Him for His good work and appreciate the gender He chose for us.
@SC love this statement (with the edited out portion to confirm your supposition 🙂 )!!!
’One thing I believe I have learned about men, . . . . . . . if they have a wife who is behind him, loves him, supports him and believes in him, they can conquer their world.’
I’ll add. One thing I have learned about women, and they can correct me if it is not true for them….if they have a husband that loves and respects them, honors them by listening and valuing them and their perspectives (a Proverbs 31 woman), and encourage them, they can conquer the world.
I guess it depends upon where you get your information, but I feel as though denying that some men do display toxic behavior doesn’t do us any good as Christians. I don’t think that the original idea of Toxic Masculinity was that there was anything wrong with normal masculine behavior. Toxic behavior would include: glorifying violence, aggression, lack of empathy, no displaying of emotions (telling boys they can’t cry), and treating women like sex objects, etc.
I didn’t marry someone who displayed those behaviors and I didn’t raise my son to behave that way. Unfortunately, I think that 40 years have passed since the term came to be and people have twisted it to mean something else.
I’m in agreement with One Woman Man. When a group is held back and mistreated like women have been, the pushback becomes extreme and swings in the other direction, so that now men have become the second class citizens. What we are seeing with blacks in America right now is the exact same thing: a group who was mistreated for so long and now the pushback is harsh and we have white people who feel guilty based upon the color of their skin. None of it is good or right, but we live in a fallen world.
Don’t lose sleep over It.. Treat everyone with the Biblical commandment of Love. And since this is TMB, the best way to make our DH’s feel like they are NOT toxic is to accept their sex drive as right and good!
One other thought, not really related to this directly, but kind of is because it came from the same QOTD…
I honestly do not recall ever feeling like a second class citizen as a female, other than the one exception of an individual and his teaching here. I grew up being taught in school a woman can do anything a man does. The media, especially shows and movies, exalts us as women. Overall, all the men in my life are very respectful of women, I have not experienced any oppressiveness from them personally. Even being a homemaker has pretty much been praised. If I have encountered an individual or group that has that negative attitude, because of the identity instilled in me, their labels and opinions just don’t stick and have very little to no affect on me.
SC wrote: “If I have encountered an individual or group that has that negative attitude, because of the identity instilled in me, their labels and opinions just don’t stick and have very little to no affect on me.” and that expresses my thoughts about “Toxic Masculinity” perfectly.
Believers should already know that Satan only lies, steals, and kills (John 10:10) and is an active agent in this fallen world. So its not surprising that as OWM and others have already noted, he uses our gender differences to divide and confuse us in the same way he uses race and culture. The unsaved are especially vulnerable but believers are also misled when we rely on anything other than the Word and the Holy Spirit to guide us day-to-day in the choices we make in our interactions with others. Where we have sinned, the Holy Spirit is faithful to convict us and we must humble ourselves and ask for the forgiveness of both the offended and God… this to restore the joy of our fellowship with Jesus . And if/when we do, we are truly salt & light in this fallen world.
If we have done that our relationships with others are pleasing to our Creator and Savior… and accusations from others of “toxicity” by our gender, guilt over “privilege” bestowed by virtue of the color of our skin, and similar offenses are simply lies from Satan delivered through his (possibly well-meaning but still unwitting) proxies as he accuses us before our Creator day and night (Rev 12:10.)
For me, it boils down to respect, civility, and compassion. The best of us becomes the worst of us – male v. female, masculine v. feminine, etc. when either side of the v. is overweighted. When over-weighted or under-appreciated a sense of toxicity crops up. That toxicity shows up in demeaning, discounting, oppressing, controlling, etc. ways.
@SC–I wonder how many girls have grown up feeling like oppressed women who need to rise up and demand fair treatment, not because of any bad experiences they actually had, but instead because of growing up absorbing the “anything boys can do, girls can do better” theme song of the 70’s? I remember in elementary and middle school feeling a distinct sense of “boys against girls” that seemed to come from beyond the playground. I actually felt in a lot of ways like I had to compete with the boys but really don’t know why. FWIW, my favorite shows were Charlie’s Angels and Wonder Woman–definitely seen as empowering for women to a little girl (even if CA was called “Jiggle TV”). But my parents always told me I could be anything I wanted to be. (And I wasn’t actually allowed to watch Charlies Angels; I just liked it. Nancy Drew with guns!)
OTOH, I worked for 30 years in an automotive related business and men can be very condescending about a woman doing anything with a car.
It’s probably like anything else, the attitudes you absorb as you grow up. We enjoy watching old episodes of The Carol Burnett Show and there are actually jokes on there about wives needing more beatings! Men who grew up in the 60’s and early 70’s, watching humor that made light of beating a difficult wife might think nothing of treating her as not as important as he is.
I figured out what a Real Man should be like when it finally occurred to me (probably in my teens) that Jesus may have had feminine admirers and certainly would have been, as the perfect man, equipped to be a magnificent husband. I was puzzled at first because I compared him to the action heroes and the kick@$$ men who seemed so manly (it was the 80’s!) and since I couldn’t see him in a fist fight or carrying a gun I wondered if Jesus was, well, a wuss. Then I figured out that he is perfectly capable of all kinds of strength and acts of violence, and has actually shown his righteous anger when he turned over the tables of the money changers in the temple and he has and will become violent in his war with sin and with Satan. But he chooses to be controlled. He is power under control. Under his Father’s control. So that is how I see real masculinity now: power under God’s control. And the greatest power is God’s power, so the MOST MANLY MAN, to me, is one how wields the power of God under God’s control.