Can We Be Honest About Toxic Masculinity?

By: H.T., H.T.’s Blog

When Barack Obama talks about toxic masculinity, the reflex to get angry and call him a beta male is simply because (and I say this in honesty) being a toxic male is kinda fun if not constructive. Toxic masculinity feels like eating your favorite fast food over eating something much more healthy for you and to a degree it feels as though the outrage about it is that we’ve reached the point at which our bad diet has made it so we can barely function. The problem isn’t simply that we live in a time where women are still being beaten and killed by intimate partners, it’s that there are still people trying to justify women in bad situations by saying that this wouldn’t happen if we maintained a patriarchy in our communities. The problem with this logic is that rather than resolve to just be better people and hold one another accountable as men, we still think the solution is just treat women like children.

Toxic masculinity IS a problem, mainly because it’s resulted in a generation of men clawing for anything to starve off the reality that the only men today still able to be openly chauvinistic and awful are men who mire themselves in very attractive yet AWFUL women. Fact is, men don’t need to be perfect but we do need to admit a few simple but uncomfortable truths about the collective logic we all have with some of them being:

  1. There’s nothing wrong with fucking a lot of women, but there’s no need to act as though if you do that you’re better than someone.
  2. A lot of violence that happens between black men is pointless.
  3. “Game” or just being able to talk to women without being awkward is useful, but let’s not pretend you can “game” your way into every woman’s pants.
  4. Just because a woman dresses skimpy does not mean you get to be an asshole to her or worse…

When we live in a world where R. kelly is likely going to prison, Harvey Weinstein is battling for his life in court, we are given all the evidence that exists that men like this are bad yet we as a culture still try to justify it because women benefited on some level from their predatory behavior and because some women lie, a lot of people think even just investigations is bad. I’m someone who believes that with any rape case we should investigate, questions should be asked to weed out the liars, but when we go down the road that all women are lying as opposed to asking real hard questions, this is how you get men like this going so long of harming women.

I’ll say it again: of the high number of women that have accused Bill Cosby, R. Kelly, Harvey Weinstein, & Terry Richardson; what do they all gain bringing it up when the statute of limitations has long since passed? Fame? Do you really think a woman wants to be known as a rape victim? Money? Sure, they’d have a case, but if all the women that accused Bill Cosby wanted, they could have easily just done a class action lawsuit and left him penniless, but the man is left barely doing time in prison and likely will get out and come back to people that will treat him like a hero.

If anything, I understand things like “putting boys on game” as there are women in this world that take advantage of naive men, not unlike women who are taken advantage of by manipulative men. The problem is that men have turned “bitches be lying” into a movement to hurt women far more damaging than women who get mad at men for hurting them because in the end, a feminist who gets radical and gets all Andrea Dworkin on you is still in the fringe, but let’s be honest guys, SOME of us, even just the fringe is getting DANGEROUS, and the best course of action is at the very minimum stop normalizing the ideas that lead to men thinking it’s okay to be a terrorist. Not every terrorist is a misogynist, not every misogynist is a terrorist, but every misogynist who commits terrorism specifically against women has ideas about women that whether admitted or not, are common on some level. Honestly, the reason it’s so hard to feel sorry for guys like Elliot Rodgers or Richard Britton is because in the end, frustration can only really justify finding a path to betterment, not bitterness. I bring them up because as far as the discussion of toxic masculinity goes, we do at some point need to discuss the darkest end result of it.

In my state, a woman name Mary Unique Spears was murdered at a funeral when a man who was hitting on her didn’t take to being clearly rejected. I bring this up because while not every man who gets rejected has the proclivity for harming women when hurt, we do live in a culture where being told no is not viewed as another human being having a choice but as an attack on our manhood. Maybe, just maybe, the solution IS that we need to call out men who are shitty to women but also accept that we don’t live in a world where women are going to need to submit or be a mother if they don’t want. The idea that if women want to be saved that they need to come crawling back is why so many women often tire of many men’s logic and go it alone. I am not saying we need to beg, but do not be shocked when more women choose solace over solidarity with someone who still thinks a man is more suited to lead just because of a Y chromosome.

I don’t view feminism as a bad thing or as some sort of plot, but rather an inevitable result of a society growing in thought. Why do women need to be mothers? Why do we need to get married? Maybe the reason the black community is in such disarray isn’t because of a lack of marriage, but that the men aren’t acting right, the women haven’t adapted properly and yes, economic disenfranchisement.  But in the in between with men and women in the black community, I’m not going to place blame because in the end, both of us are victims of dominant culture influencing, but I’m not going to pretend that so much would be solved if women just acted right. In this logic, we’d be a community full of women dressed respectfully and acting right but men still going unchallenged on their shitty behaviors and possibly getting worse because of it. For all the talk of a war on alpha black men, I think the biggest thing that keeps us down isn’t a dress, it’s regressive behaviors that keeps us from being better and doing better.

Seriously, it’s 2019 and we still live in a time where we think it’s swaggerless to be an upstanding man in our community. When young black men get accepted to ivy league schools, WE joke that he’ll get no bitches off that. When a black man wants to be in the spotlight and dress clean cut and not hang in the club and whatnot, WE treat him like a leper. These things don’t make him automatically a better person than you or I, but why are you shocked when men like this go away from the black community and never go back and fix it?

But the risk is growing. Black women are checking out on black men because so many of us refuse to stop making excuses for other men’s bad behaviors and frankly it’s gotten to where the only women left are women willing to be complicit in their dehumanization by justifying black men’s bad actions, but people often forget there is a clear as day downside to letting anyone develop and normalize bad behaviors, especially when said behaviors negatively affect others around them. The idea of being a “real nigga” has done really nothing to better black people and done everything to justify the worst behaviors possible. Where are the real niggas that think being shitty to black women is bad, or the real niggas that normalize being in monogamous relationships with the mother of their children, or working towards building wealth? Why is “real nigga” always attached to “be an immature shithead with a readiness to use violence and overly promiscuous”?

And of course the argument against men like me is, “You’re just mad you don’t get as much pussy as me!” But in the grand scheme of things, this sad immature idea that strong masculinity is rooted in how many women have been conquered in one’s bed and how much they aren’t attached to any woman emotionally. This mindset along with things like fragile masculinity in the face of anything that challenges or so-call threatens their preconceived ideas of what it means to be a man (case in point: black men freaking out anytime they see a black man in a dress on tv) the toxic half of black masculinity is one that permeates when men try to fight their fragility by doubling down on the worst yet most ubiquitous parts of masculinity. And why wouldn’t they? The virus of toxic masculinity has poisoned the well to where the few of us that don’t drink from it are seen as weak and when most of the men around you buy into the idea that gayness is weakness, any man that isn’t swimming in women in their inbox is a pussy and that the only reason to treat a woman like a person is to get her to fuck you. It’s no shocker when men like me and others straight up side with black women because frankly nothing good lies on the other side of joining the misogynist horde.

I argue that black women should take over the cultural wheel of where black culture is going as black people as a whole haven’t learned to let go of the childish wants of the misogynists that permeate our culture. Every “savage” black man is just a immature child, every black man bragging about all the pussy he gets is insecure, every conservative black man who complains about black women not picking better men are men that fail to see their own flaws and why they weren’t picked. Flaws such as being a misogynist prick with a good income is still a misogynist prick, also unironically using the term “gender roles” to describe why black women lose along with saying things like “all they want is thugs and drug dealers” pretty much sums up why these kinds of men lose. Seriously, if the choice is between life as the baby mamma of a guy that might be gone a lot but gives room to raise a child less toxic than the father or being married to a well paid asshole who might in some way become abusive and normalize toxic behavior, why are you shocked they choose the former when the latter is torture and men like this also complain about hypergamous women?

I actually have to agree with Gil on one thing: the Pookie and Ray Rays are actually a problem in the black community and are what I see when I talk about toxic masculinity in the black community. People will argue that “Well, they’d just stop if women would stop fucking them” but it’s far easier to just tell women to stop fucking them than to look them in the face and say “stop fucking up.” It’s not a lack of gender roles, it’s not feminists, it’s us; black men being unabashed fuck ups and making excuses for it. You can’t use racism as an excuse for why things go sideways love wise, just don’t be a fuck up. Seriously.

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