In the wake of recent atrocities across the world where lives were lost in the name of power, a friend posted a link on Facebook to a Tweet referring to toxic masculinity and the fragility of the male ego.
I have no clue what the Tweeter was thinking when they Tweeted this and I could be wildly wrong, what with individual perception and subjective understanding, but when I see statements like that I don’t see “Men are evil/bad/wrong/deserving of destruction”.
I see recognition of an extremely messed up system, referred to here as toxic masculinity, which forces horrendously damaging expectations onto dude-humans and tries to deny them the opportunity for balanced emotional development, instead pushing ‘values’ such as violence, aggression and thoughtless confrontation as not only the norm, but the desired state of being.
The messed up system tells men, “You are not enough, you are not REAL, unless you are physically dominant at all times”. It says, “You are not permitted to explore natural avenues for processing your grief, your pain, your frustration”. It says, “You must not be weak. You must be angry”.
References to the fragile male ego aren’t, or at least shouldn’t be, meant as an insult. They aren’t insulting men’s feelings. The ego is not your emotions or your capacity for love. The ego is the thing that you are forced to build around yourselves to fit into a broken system that tells you, wrongly, that to fight is the only way forward. That IS fragile because it’s unnatural and unfair. The strength lies beneath that, in the parts of you that suffer loss, the parts of you that need to cry and the parts of you that know how to offer comfort and support to others.
As a non-dude-human who knows so many wonderful, kind, loving men who are constantly told by the world that they are not enough, this messed up system breaks my heart.