When the words “toxic masculinity” ring one’s ear, one tends to think about men being told that they should not cry and/or we think about how emotionally unavailable men can be. Although these two concepts tend to hold the spotlight on toxic masculinity, I believe there are a few more factors that also contribute to it, so I will be focusing on two that are often underestimated. Before I continue mentioning other toxic behaviors, I would like for you to be open in identifying possible toxic behaviors in yourself, may you be a man or a woman. Now, let’s talk about other contributing factors of toxic masculinity:
Passive-aggressiveness, as the word indicates, is a tendency to engage in the indirect expression of hostility through acts such as subtle insults, sullen behavior or stubbornness. Engaging in behaviour similar to the silent treatment tends to be a “go-to” for those who are passive-aggressive because it consists of completely ignoring another person, refusing to answer any questions from the person, and perhaps even refusing to acknowledge their presence. The reason why I consider passive-aggressiveness to be toxic behavior is because it causes hostility between two or more people. It is an act of immaturity, and only demonstrates an incapacity to silence ego and communicate transparently. Men (and women), we must do better and exchange an indirect expression of hostility for a direct expression of our feelings and thoughts, in order to prevent hurting others and create a dynamic of transparency in your relationships; may it be platonic or romantic.
Being stubborn can be a beneficial personality trait in some situations, especially when taking a stand and holding onto your position are important. However, sometimes stubbornness is merely a way to punish someone. The indirectly stubborn person will typically defend his position or viewpoint rigorously and have good arguments, so you cannot simply dismiss what he is saying on the basis of lacking reasoning. The reason why I consider stubbornness to be to be toxic behavior is that it can be used as a platform to not only defend one’s position in a discussion, but also used to simply annoy their counterpart or others who have to listen to him. Additionally, choosing to remain stubborn prevents you from listening to your counterpart, which indirectly may make them feel that their opinion is not valued preventing you from finding a center of reasoning and understanding. Men (and women), be less prideful and more open-minded, be patient and listen, give to others' opinions and feelings, the importance and understanding that you would like for your own to receive.
In conclusion, toxic masculinity has many contributing variables, but I wanted to highlight passive-aggressiveness and stubbornness because these were two factors that have affected my personal life and romantic relationships. It wasn’t until I took a step back to reflect on how my actions had affected others, that I realized I was being toxic to those that I love. With this being said, I want to encourage you to evaluate the areas in which these two key factors may be affecting your life and choose to become better.
Photo Credit: Demetrius Washington