Toxic Masculinity is a broad term that describes the cultural pressures on men to behave in a predetermined masculine way. Toxic masculinity promotes male domination, aggression and homophobia to fit a mold of what is deemed manly by society.

The power play toxic masculinity feeds into negatively and affects how men are deemed to act in society. Dangerous behaviors such as male violence and anger are glorified by this idea of toxic masculinity and acceptance by society feeds into these dangers.

The situation between rapper Tory Lanez and rapper Megan Pete also known as Megan Thee Stallion highlights the consequences of toxic masculinity, especially how it is harmful towards women.

In this specific circumstance, during an argument, Lanez shot at Pete causing a bullet to hit the latter’s foot. News outlets exploded with the story, however, misogynistic comments towards the victim exposed these negative attitudes brought upon by society’s justification of male violence towards women. Comments deeming Megan Thee Stallion as lying due to her large stature compared to her assailant’s smaller stature ignore her suffering. 

The ideas that place categories on what is deemed manly are fruitless in a society that constantly changes what is masculine and what is feminine. The ever changing gender and nonbinary norms fight against conformity.

Although society is changing, toxic masculinity holds onto outdated forms of masculinity.

Masculine activities such as smoking, drinking, careless sex and violence promoted negative stereotypes that cause harm to men ingrained with these ideals. 

Homophobia, which is emphasized by toxic masculinity, introduces harmful actions and attitudes against members of the LGBTQ+ community and puts their lives in danger. It is important to understand that toxic masculinity invites consequential effects.

In a newly released Netflix documentary Conversations with a Killer, serial killer John Wayne Gacy fed on the toxic masculinity of the police and society to ignore the disappearances of gay men and boys, allowing his murders to take place for a long period of time. Gacy understood the disregard for these individuals based on their sexuality and used homophobic attitudes to work in his favor against his victims.

Society must work to dispel toxic masculinity by encouraging transformative and personable ideals towards masculinity and what it means to be a man. No one can tell anyone what it means to be a man, only oneself. 

The counterpart to toxic masculinity is toxic femininity, a term that describes the cultural and societal norms that are placed on women to fit the idealized version of a woman.

Toxic femininity encourages submission and the objectification of women. Toxic femininity dangerously promotes the adherence to patriarchal acceptance and emphasizes the uneven power dynamic between men and women. 

Moreover, toxic femininity can play into the manipulation of others by women through the exaggeration of their femininity.

The ongoing trial between actors Johnny Depp and Amber Heard reveals the harm of toxic femininity towards victims of abuse. This case examined how Amber Heard, a white woman, allegedly falsified a narrative of abuse for financial gain in hopes of defaming her husband. Although the trial is currently ongoing, evidence coming out has revealed Depp’s own abuse at the hands of Heard.

Toxic femininity creates false images and harms those affected by these artificial ideals.

In society, the toxic feminine form of a woman emphasizes docility and submission and negatively impacts disadvantages how women are seen and treated. Setting back equality for women, the cultural norms that promote toxic femininity hold women back as well.

When women are forced to abide by harmful societal norms, they are forced to submit to the dangers of violence from toxic masculinity.

Society must work together to disregard these toxic norms and create healthy conversations of masculinity and femininity. The acceptance of non-binary norms is helpful in expanding the world’s view and moving away from what is manly or what is feminine and instead what is human.

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