Toxic masculinity is a term coined in gender studies classrooms that now seems to be apart of the average millennial’s vernacular. Described as “what happens when expectations of what it means to be a man go wrong,” it demonstrates gendered behavior to an extreme. If you’re worried you’re exhibiting toxic masculinity, here are ten signs that you might need to check yourself.
1. You get mad at women for holding doors open for you
If you’re going off at women for having the common decency to hold the door open for you, you definitely need to check your toxic masculinity. The lines between gender roles are continuously being blurred, but this should have stopped being an issue a while ago. A woman holding the door for you doesn’t make you “weak” or any less of a man; it simply means that someone’s being polite and going out of their way to be nice. Which brings me to my next point.
2. You get mad when your date offers to pay
If you want to pay for your date’s meal, that’s fine. On the flip side, if your date offers to pay, or you split the check, that’s fine too. You shouldn’t feel the pressure to pay in our current society, and your ego shouldn’t take a hit just because a woman wants to foot the bill. It doesn’t mean you can’t afford dinner or can’t take care of your woman; it’s just your SO wanting to do something nice for you and take you out. Don’t overthink things so much.
3. You think you’re not supposed to cry
This is a big one; the stigma that men can’t cry has existed for far too long and needs to be broken. If you feel like crying is a sign of weakness and is something only women can do, that means that you think women are weak, which screams toxic masculinity. Your refusal to acknowledge pain may manifest in anger outbursts, which are far less productive and more toxic than simply shedding a few tears when you feel sad and overwhelmed.
4. You catcall
Yikes. If you think it’s okay to catcall, you need to take a step back and re-evaluate yourself as a human being. Catcalling is objectification at it’s peak, and reduces women to nothing more than a body that exists for your pleasure. If you spend your time whistling at women from cars or walking down the street, it’s time to check your toxic masculinity.
5. You tell your SO how to dress
Women should be allowed to wear what they want. Period. Your opinion on your SO’s outfits don’t and should never matter. If you’re uncomfortable with how your SO dresses and you make them change, you need to take a strong look at yourself and recognize that you’re projecting your own insecurities onto your loved one. A woman should not be defined by what she chooses to wear, and definitely shouldn’t be told to change her appearance because you’re scared by how she (and consequently you) will be perceived because of her outfit.
6. You feel threatened by women who make more money than you
The idea that men earn the most money in any household is outdated. “Girl boss” is a term for a reason; women are securing high paying jobs more than ever. Gone are the times of housewives and men being breadwinners; if you can’t accept that a woman can make more money than you, kindly show yourself out.
7. You push for sex after being told no
It’s honestly baffling how so many men think no means anything other than… no. If you try to coerce women into having sex with you after being explicitly told no, you need to take a hard look at your values. Women are not obligated to have sex with you, and you shouldn’t even want to have sex with someone who isn’t just as invested as you are. Sex should be a mutually enjoyable experience and one hundred percent consensual, no ifs ands or buts.
8. You can’t call yourself a feminist
A lot of men have a twisted idea of what it means to be a feminist. Being a feminist doesn’t mean that you believe women come before men, it’s simply supporting the idea that women and men are equal. If you can’t call yourself a feminist, that means you think that men are the more important gender, with women coming second seat. Being a feminist doesn’t require anything more than supporting the notion of gender equality.
9. You use the phrase “like a girl” in a negative way
“Play like a girl.” “Run like a girl.” “Throw like a girl.” Men have been teaching their children that boys and girls shouldn’t play together for who knows how long. It’s teaching boys at a very young age that they should perform better than girls because they’re better than girls. It’s time to stop the stigma that doing anything “like a girl” is a bad thing.
10. You think you can’t wear pink or like feminine things
Liking certain colors and wearing certain things shouldn’t and doesn’t emasculate you. Being a man doesn’t have to mean only liking “masculine” things; it can be a dialectic. You can wear pink and carry a purse and that doesn’t make you any less of a man than someone who is stereotypically macho. Society’s idea of what it means to be a man doesn’t matter; only yours does.