If you’ve been paying attention to the news, it’s been a hell of a week for talking about sex and toxic masculinity.Of course, if you’ve been paying attention, it’s not entirely unreasonable that you may have been spending time flipping all the tables.Between teachers raping students, rapists getting off light and an ongoing culture of sexual assault, it’s been an ugly week in the news.That’s why today, we’re going to be talking about toxic masculinity. It’s a topic I return to frequently because one of the ongoing themes at my blog is the topic of what it means to be a man and how to be a with being a man.The problem isn’t about gender, genitalia or identity, it’s about what we allow to be the definition of what it means to “be a man”.Toxic masculinity is a narrow and repressive description of manhood, designating manhood as defined by violence, sex, status and aggression.It’s the cultural ideal of manliness, where strength is everything while emotions are a weakness; where sex and brutality are yardsticks by which men are measured, while supposedly “feminine” traits – which can range from emotional vulnerability to simply not being hypersexual – are the means by which your status as “man” can be taken away.
The need to “get” sex is all-encompassing because the more of it you have, the higher “status” you have as a man.You’ll notice how often sex and sexlessness comes up as an insult when a man wants to insult another man.“Mangina” and “pussy” are about implying that someone has no balls and thus no manhood; they may as well be women.“Beta” and “white knight” are also common, with the connotations that someone is unable to get laid in the first place.
“White knight”, in particular, is levied at men who stand up for women – the implication being that they’re only doing so because they think that this end up with them being rewarded with sex.
“Cuck”, the latest in the long line of “ha ha, you’re not a man” insults from various asshats, takes it another step further: you’re so emasculated that you watch men (especially black men – a vein of racist imagery rich in all kinds of toxic ideas about masculinity) take sexual advantage of what is supposedly “your” property.