The Harmful Effects of Toxic Masculinity on Men

2810 (6 pages)
Download for Free
Important: This sample is for inspiration and reference only

The fight against toxic masculinity has been around for many centuries and continues to be in our society. Toxic masculinity is defined as certain traits and behavior when men are seen turning emotional situations, and not knowing how to handle them and making them violent. The term was first used in the 1980’s by psychologist Shepard Bliss, as she separated negative from positive traits in men’s behavior. It is important we are aware of this issue because our society stereotypically puts these labels on men, that they cannot be emotional or do stuff that is considered “feminine”. Toxic masculinity is seen as men should always be dominant and address things in an aggressive manner in order to gain respect from others, along with themselves. When individuals talk about toxic masculinity, the purpose is not intended hurt or offend men, but rather bring awareness to the negative aspects of a term society has created and the impact it truly has over people. Looking at toxic masculinity it is important to realize toxic masculinity is socially defined by a man’s social expectations of dominance, emotions, along with other toxic traits and seeing a possible link with rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and overall violence toward others. Toxic masculinity is a horrendous term society has created for men that have create many psychological issues and other problems that are long term. It has so much potential to be ended in society from eliminating the definition of masculinity overall, but it is still an ongoing issue. Although some misguided individuals do not understand the importance of effects in toxic masculinity both emotionally, socially, and physically; society should take into consideration the normalization of this and psychological issues being created by defining what makes a man based on their norms.

Toxic masculinity is a social label where society defines men’s masculinity by certain physical traits and emotional behavior. In the article, “Editorial: is masculinity toxic?”, by Sam de Boise, expands the view of how to specifically deal and react with the notions of traditional masculinity. Boise worked with men and boys to gain better understanding of the emotions one feels on the whole harmful concept, in which is better defined as toxic masculinity. Boise explains, “The socialization of masculine ideals starts at a young age and defines ideal masculinity as related to toughness, stoicism, heterosexism, self-sufficient attitudes and lack of emotional sensitivity, and of connectedness” (15). This concept affects everybody, and even the past. Throughout the world struggles with what defines a man and affects both women and children due to this. Today society struggles with toxic masculinity more than ever, causing so much damage to individuals without knowing. Many other closed-minded people often view toxic masculinity mistakenly as a purposeful action, and not just a social label.

Some people mistakenly believe that toxic masculinity is a myth and only insecurity from men is the true cause of harsh violent actions occurring. In the article, “Toxic Masculinity is a Myth, but Insecure Men Lash Out at Women”, by Lauren Vinopal, show the readers that social media and society is not what is causing men to act erratically, it is the men who are doing it to themselves. She gets straight to the point that these types of issues come deep from within a man and others cannot be blamed for causing “toxic masculinity”. Vinopal claims, “Toxic masculinity is more of a sign of lack of self-worth and self-respect’ (Vinopal 18). It is being said that there are plenty of other psychological issues from males that create them to irrupt or violently lash out on women or other people. Men not having the correct form of masculinity that is needed is seen as wrong, and many men are held accountable for all their actions. Men are fully aware from what is right from wrong when committing these violent acts. However, more highly educated individuals on the concept don’t just blame men for creating toxic masculinity all on their own.

These people are in fact wrong because these men are not monstrous, but the masculinity society tends to often label on them can be. This error in thinking is known as stacking the deck fallacy. In the journal, “The Real Problem With “Toxic Masculinity”, by Samuel Paul Veissiere, elaborates on his ideas that toxic masculinity doesn’t start from men themselves, but rather the people around them who judge their masculinity. Men face this issue constantly, but they are not to blame for society’s way of treating them. Veissiere states,

The human mind is not well equipped to examine counterintuitive facts that violate our expectations. Our expectations are heavily modulated by cultural norms. These are norms we all know and obey, often without knowing that we know them. (16)

Toxic masculinity does not stem from problems within men, but rather the label these helpless individuals learn and are expected to act as the “alpha male”. Our minds are only accustomed to what people know and learn throughout life, and toxic masculinity being one of the issues. Society has created the vision and normalized toxic masculinity. This is a huge problem we face because we can only blame society for continuing to degrade males for showing “feminine” characteristics or emotions. People will follow along with others and it will be a continuous never-ending cycle of toxic masculinity that can only be stopped if individuals eliminate the role of male masculinity. There are many causes that contribute to the influence in toxic masculinity, one being college campuses.

In today’s society individuals can see influences of toxic masculinity in almost every area within the United States. These college campuses are a major cause and are constantly implemented with misogynist slang and many different fraternities that regularly participate in sexist projects. Bryant W. Sculos, in the article, “Who’s Afraid of ‘Toxic Masculinity?”, explains that college campuses are one of the most majorly influenced areas where toxic masculinity is very present. College campuses are constantly having the one of the highest reports of sexual harassment/ rape incidents coming from their own students and even on campuses. Sculos claims,

Some of the universities’ students and alumni had opined that these incidents had resulted in the creation of a “hostile sexual environment”- something we may reasonably interpret as a form of rape culture that is being maintained at the university through actions that support basic ideals of toxic masculinity by emphasizing the ability of men to have physical dominance over women. (21)

No time to compare samples?
Hire a Writer

✓Full confidentiality ✓No hidden charges ✓No plagiarism

Many students at these universities have encountered a form of toxic masculinity at parties, activities, and more. There are many victims at these campuses where the university will not take care of the incident as serious as they should be taking it. It is a reoccurring problem we hear about and face in our society, yet continue to ignore the problem of toxic masculinity that puts other lives in danger or even critical condition with traumatizing experiences/ encounters that could possibly be prevented if we caught on to these actions sooner. In addition to toxic masculinity being in college campuses, it is also in American politics through the controversy of the current United States president.

Current American politics are seen and influence toxic masculinity itself. Writer Jill Filipovic, in the article, “The Party of Unapologetic Misogyny”, expands her claims by explaining that the most evident in conservatism as the president of the United States, Donald Trump who was recently caught speaking about grabbing women by their genitals. While trump is controlling and governing the face of this country, is involved in this form of sexual harassment. Filipovic states, “It’s not a secret that the GOP has branded itself the party of white male power. Just look at who’s in charge. What is shocking and pitiful is how transparent they’ve become in being, so brazenly, a party of unapologetic misogyny” (14). This is a significantly impactful portrayal is shown from within this statement. President Trump has gotten off the hook with these allegations against him sexually harassing and lashing out on women. President Trump demonstrates toxic masculinity by the actions he does as the United States leader. It is something people see and is a true form of what toxic masculinity is defined as. Most citizens of the United States are aware of what is going on with the president and politics, yet no action is being taken upon. Claims that the president is grabbing women by the genitals and getting off the hook with it is simply not ok, but people choose to ignore the situation because of Trump’s title. In today’s society as well, toxic masculinity is ever so slightly implemented into our lives by influenced childhood films.

Toxic masculinity is even witnessed in our daily lives even if you don’t notice it completely, such as being implemented in the movies we watch. James Madison, in the article, “We are the Beast: On Toxic Masculinity and Social Responsibility in Disney’s Beauty and the Beast”, elaborates on the Disney original film Beauty and the Beast as an informal platform to explain the toxic masculinity relationship that is shown within the film. He uses the most prominent male characters that are presented, which are the Beast and Gaston. Madison states, “Beauty and the Beast,’ is one of the many Disney films used to carry messages for what a boy is supposed to be as a man and in manhood” (11). These types of films show what a man is to be described as, tall, handsome, strong, and embody manhood. In the film the audience is proven that man who does not embody toxic masculinity, is the true winner in life. There is so much a man has to offer, than what society labels on them in order for women to gain interest in them. The meaning behind these types of films are powerful and can influence how children grow up to view what being a man is defined as. Even situations that are not so straight forward such as this can benefit many people and even change lives of the youth, to give better examples instead of growing into society’s definition of masculinity. Not only do films influence society’s view of toxic masculinity, but also people must take into consideration the long-term effects that come with using this term and how it hurts many men without society even being aware.

Toxic masculinity has psychological effects, such as suicide and depression in men and is a vicious cycle that we keep allowing to continue hurting these individuals. Author Anne Goyne, writes in her journal, “Suicide, male honour and the masculinity paradox: its impact on the ADF”, speaks on how society puts so much pressure on men to live up to the world’s expectations. Goyne explains how suicide is associated with vulnerability, which only increases the risk of these horrible situations truly occurring. Society often makes men feel guilt or shame for expressing the emotional side of themselves, which ultimately leads to unhealthy behavior such as mental illnesses from this. Goyne states, “In the US and Australian Aboriginal men between 25-29 have an extremely high risk of suicide with a rate of 91 per 100,000” (21). These are alarming numbers individuals should take into consideration. Men in these countries are dying because they believe there are only two ways to cope with their emotional issues, which are coping with their problems in silence or taking their own lives from the humiliation that comes with these emotions they feel. It is true that not only men commit suicide, but only men are looked down upon, and feel a sense of disgrace for being emotionally vulnerable unlike women are seen. This is a deeply troubling issue we see men go through, but there are always possible ways society can help normalize and embrace this type of emotional behavior we see men struggle with.

Possible solutions to help get rid of the term toxic masculinity is to eliminate the social expectations from society for males to be emotionless, dominant, and express their true emotions to the world along with other masculine gender norms that fall under the same/ similar category. Writer Jaclyn Friedman, in her article, “Building better men: how we can begin to redefine masculinity”, better explains and dedicates how to respond to the sexual violence that occurs. Friedman is a member of CounterQuo and director of “Women, Action, and Media”, and had established organizations such as “Men Stopping Violence”. Friedman states,

This is going to take real work, which is why so many men resist it. It requires destabilizing your own identity and giving up attitudes and behaviors from which you’re used to deriving power, likely before you learn how to derive power from other, more just and productive places. (23)

Even though it is not exactly the easiest to get rid of in general, it is something society can take small steps into reaching the end goal to get rid of toxic masculinity. Toxic men ignore the fact that they need help in getting rid of the attitude they have stuck with for all this time. Instead of using their masculinity, or power to be toxic; there are better ways these men can benefit from eliminating their toxicity and prevent from hurting other individuals. Society witnesses many toxic traits men have gotten used to, but it is never too late to speak up when people see toxic masculinity occurring in front of them. Only society can truly make an impact for the better and remove toxic from masculinity, along with giving men the platform they need to help normalize their emotional instability they could be going through, without shaming. The end result could be lifesaving and help so many individuals from awful events from doing something as simple as spreading awareness and having a voice to society against fighting the term toxic masculinity. There are also similar ways to eliminate toxic masculinity, such as having a role model give a good example and create awareness during childhood.

A personal belief that will end toxic masculinity as a whole, is to end the idea of what defines “true masculinity” to children before it is too late. Paul J. Fleming, in the article, “Real Men Don’t”: Constructions of Masculinity and Inadvertent Harm in Public Health Interventions”, speaks out about starting the idea of eliminating society’s view of masculinity young is what is most crucial to make a change. By mothers and fathers doing this it truly sets up a great example of making the effort to have their children grow up without the social expectations of masculinity. Fleming states, “Teaching boys resilience is not the same thing as teaching them to follow received ideas on what a boy should be like; all you are doing in teaching them toughness is limiting their view, cornering them into a space in an old shed, and crushing their spirit” (8). The important thing is that these children grow without the expectation, and this is only possible if parents put the idea in their head during their youth. Resilience is much more different than trying to toughen boys up, it is being able to acknowledge and accepting stress, problems, and fears. People will not be able to eliminate toxic masculinity relying on others, but it is much more important to take matters into their own hands and start by making a small change to impact the future generations. Toxic masculinity has so many affects on individuals and causes multiple different complications in life, but only society can help get rid of it all together.

Toxic masculinity is a harmful socialization of negative masculine ideas society has created. The lack of emotional sensitivity needs to end, so the suicide and death rate of men will decrease. Society teaches men how to be tough, but what is failed to be taught is how to normally express their emotions without the shame being involved. Over the span of many years the term “toxic masculinity” has changed and morphed, yet society still faces many issues from the word such as death and violence. Masculinity manifests through toxic behavior, which ultimately leads to so much more potential dangers in the world due to emotions. Many people are followers in this world and will continuously bully or shame men for their choice of actions in showing emotions. Social media is a main cause of toxic masculinity because there are so many people who openly speak their mind, even if it is hurtful and offensive to men that are sensitive to this situation. Sadly enough, society views men who maintain feminine traits or emotions as less than what a man is meant to be. By raising children in a different manner and paying close attention to what they learn as they grow about masculinity, especially in young boys truly matters. Only people in society can make this change and help save the lives of others in need of guidance in expressing themselves without judgement.  

You can receive your plagiarism free paper on any topic in 3 hours!

*minimum deadline

Cite this Essay

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below

Copy to Clipboard
The Harmful Effects of Toxic Masculinity on Men. (2023, February 21). WritingBros. Retrieved March 25, 2023, from
“The Harmful Effects of Toxic Masculinity on Men.” WritingBros, 21 Feb. 2023,
The Harmful Effects of Toxic Masculinity on Men. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 25 Mar. 2023].
The Harmful Effects of Toxic Masculinity on Men [Internet]. WritingBros. 2023 Feb 21 [cited 2023 Mar 25]. Available from:
Copy to Clipboard

Need writing help?

You can always rely on us no matter what type of paper you need

Order My Paper

*No hidden charges