Toxic Masculinity and “being a man” somehow got mixed up into meaning the same thing. And it’s sickening. Toxic masculinity is not strength. It is weak. And it is good for no one.
The ‘manliest’ man struggles because he cannot ask for help. Men discourage men because the conversation can never be about the last time you cried or the person you care most about.
And what is the result? Nothing less than a swipe right movement. The conversations about how many women you’ve slept with. And it’s never about their names. It’s never about who they are. It’s only about the notches on the belt.
The same belt that beats down the hopeful imagination of young boys.
The same belt that hangs from a ceiling fan because a man would rather tighten his neck than loosen his heart.
The belt that holds up pants which cover up your real manhood. The pants that disguise your sense of being a man with a fake sense of belonging and a false confidence that spreads like wildfire.
Truth is real men don’t need belts. Real men wear pants that fit.
Pants that wrap around their bodies comfortably, accepting the imperfections of their body just as they accept the bodies of real women instead of sizing them up to unrealistic standards. Pants that trail down to the top of work boots.
Work boots that go to work for equal rights for all human kind.
Work boots that go to work using their strength to protect the people who feel weak. To use the power in their voice for the people who are not heard.
They are not boots that stomp over the people below. Crumbling their pride, their confidence, or their consent.
Real men grab a hat as they leave for work. Not a hat that hides their true intentions and protects them from any consequences. But a hat that humbles them of their privileges and sets them out to do good.
Real men take sticks of gum and take time to chew on their words instead of spitting out insults, judgments and sexist remarks.
Real men have eyes that see the beauty in women instead of casting down shame on their image.
Men are taught to measure twice and to cut once. Measure your self-worth, build it up, and cut others some slack. Don’t measure to show off how big you are and cut other people down.
Real men wear dirty shirts. Shirts covered in blood sweat and tears. The blood from their mother that taught them how to treat a woman. The sweat from chasing after their goals and passions. And the tears that they cry when it all seems a little too hard.
Not the blood of your victims, the sweat from others doing your work, and the tears of the girls you’ve left behind.
Real men go to work. You can pick them out of the crowd by the gas masks they wear to protect themselves from the toxic masculinity that surrounds them. The toxic masculinity that closes in on them and asks what notch of the belt they’re on.
But I say don’t worry. I know my privileges. I am a white male in North America. I have more opportunity than anyone else on the planet. And yet it sickens me to be a part of this stereotype. A stereotype that is all to true. A stereotype that reads ‘rape’ all over headlines.
To have girls tell me that my friends have taken advantage of them but no one else can know. Because the verbal assault that follows might be worse than the physical.
To have men all around me cheat and lie
And when they tell their buddies it results in high fives
Cause you got laid bro.
And this is what manhood is. But you’re such a man because you get up and go to work in the morning.
Real men go to work.
They go to work for the ones who can’t.