Toxic masculinity damages men mentally, physically and socially. (Jonathan Bachman/Getty)
Toxic masculinity is harmful, limiting, outdated and should be scrapped in favour of a healthier view on what a “man” is, Australians say.
Researchers at the Victorian Health Promotion Foundation found that, overall, men tend to enforce and care more about masculinity than women, spilling over into men being less supportive, they said, of gender equality.
Toxic masculinity-adjacent men were found to be “less likely to see sexism as extensive and systematic, and more likely to endorse men’s dominance in workplaces, [….] relationships and families,” they found.
And around 63.8 per cent of the 1,619 surveyed disagreed with the statement that “a gay guy isn’t a real man”. While half of the participants believed that masculinity forces men to “suppress parts of themselves”, with adult men agreeing with the view the least.
Indeed, it’s rather limiting being a masculine man, many men have reported themselves. Often struggling with appreciating sunsets, fruity cocktails, comfortable chairs, recycling, or even wash their own genitals.
While experts have linked toxic masculinity to mental health problems, physical health problems, a lack of sleep, violence and has even led to men putting themselves and others at risk during the coronavirus pandemic
And over in Britain, survey-taskers were startled to find that 12 million Britons refuse to believe that toxic masculinity is a problem in today’s society and that almost a quarter (23 per cent) of under 35s don’t believe that toxic masculinity has ever existed.
Men are ironically less aware of the pressures of toxic masculinity, survey finds.
Researchers found that Australians, across all ages and genders, agreed that traditional gender stereotypes can snarl men, especially boys.
The pressure to “be a man”, they expressed, can be harmful and prevent guys from “living full lives”.
The survey also revealed that, ironically, men were less aware of the pressure society places on men to conform to traditional masculinity than female participants.
These gaps were also poked across the generations, with younger men (aged 16-17) holding more progressive, flexible views of masculinity than their older counterparts.
But researchers also found troubling trends among younger men, who were the most likely to support using violence against “to get respect” as well as endorsing homophobia and feeling that men should be in a “breadwinner” role.
“There is only weak support for the patriarchal idea that men should dominate and control women in relationships,” social scientists said, “although, troublingly, there is acceptance of this among large minorities of men and particularly young men.”
Such a role may not be around for long, the participants said, as six in 10 believed that men should be “free to explore and develop who they are without the pressure of gender stereotypes.”