I’m gonna start off this piece by warning everyone that it may be a bit controversial, but this needs to be put out in the open, by someone who’s making a balanced argument and not just getting swept up in this male vs female battle of the egos revolving around people hurting each other. That being said, in this article I’m gonna focus more on the male perspective of things.
Just a quick disclaimer as well, everyone can be just as much of a nasty bastard. Everybody can be mean, everybody can hurt someone, everybody can do wrong. Women are likely guilty of this behaviour too, but the saying goes “nice guys finish last” and this whole concept is tiresome and toxic.
I’m not gonna sit on a high horse and say that I know exactly how everyone is raised, how could I ever even go there? I’m only gonna speak on what I’ve seen and put my observations in here.
Here goes the pattern that I have seen (generally). Often times, a guy is thrust into the world being raised to treat girls (in particular) well, to be a gentleman. To be quite protective. This is absolutely grand. This is a wonderful concept and I agree with it whole heartedly, however what is problematic about it is that it automatically segregates boys and girls into gender roles which can become more toxic as children grow into adults. It not only makes girls more submissive, but it also puts immense pressure on boys and pits them against each other as competition.
I stand by the idea that boys and girls should be raised the same way, to naturally go towards what gravitates them, to treat everyone with kindness and respect because that is love and that is what breeds happiness. No good ever came from somebody being rude and egocentric. There needs to be a balance in everyone of their masculine and feminine energies so that we can all be whole and stand on our own two feet without depending on one another. When we don’t depend on each other, we cannot be let down, we can simply share life with each other and form deeper connections.
When you raise boys differently to girls, influencing them to take charge more and to be stronger and to go out of their way to be good to girls in particular, boys will grow into subconsciously believing that being nice gets you things. This isn’t the case. Being nice might get you things just because it puts you in a higher state of mind where people naturally gravitate to you more, but being nice does not give you entitlement to a certain treatment. You’re not being cheated by the world because you treated someone with kindness and respect and got nothing in return, you’re being cheated by your own belief that somebody else owes you something for being good.
Raising boys like this, by getting them to be “the man” from day one, can sometimes put pressure on them to constantly be needing gratification, constantly be needing to earn materialistically or have girls swoon over them in order to have a sense of worth. It puts pressure on them which can scare them into feeling like they’re not this big man that they’re taught they should be, so they need to keep up appearances. Thus, toxic masculinity happens. It’s all rooted in early development.
When men grow and realise that they won’t always get what they want because they followed this plan they were given (eg/ take a girl out and pay for her meal so it’s guaranteed she will fall for you right there and then), they can get confused and lose faith in kindness all together. Kindness is not the issue, it’s the programming.
Additionally, when a person is done wrong after having been raised with this idea of “being good gets you stuff because you’ve earned it” it makes people believe that when they are done wrong (had their heart broken, got mistreated, teased, etc) it’s their fault. It’s not, it’s not their fault, but it’s this guilt which makes them spiral and lose faith- because people just don’t get it. People need to learn to be kind to others out of self love before anything else.
Toxic masculinity is just men feeling like a scared kid who has to overcompensate for what he feels he can’t naturally earn. Toxic masculinity is lad culture feeling like men conquer a woman by sleeping with her, gaining some kind of power over her. It’s objectification, it’s belittling the next man in order to feel like the alpha, it’s determining worth based off of what you have, it’s needing to own rather than exist alongside.
There are people out there probably going “well being an arsehole works on girls”. Listen, no it doesn’t. Listen to yourself. It might get someone the odd shag once in a blue moon out of luck or whatever, but what was it that made you feel that way? Was it you feeling inadequate for not getting all these girls while your peers were? Was it you getting heartbroken then thinking “what did I do wrong? :(“ when really it wasn’t your fault? Men need to learn to go inwards and heal when they deal with pain so that they don’t end up searching for external distractions and causing destruction and hurt. There’s a quote which goes, ‘if you don’t heal your own wounds you will spend a lifetime bleeding over those who don’t deserve it’ and that is the truest thing. The strongest, bravest, most courageous and respectable thing a person can do is heal and love.
Raise boys and girls the same way, give them freedom and treat everyone with kindness and respect. Men can grow into horribly behaved, nasty and violent people (as can women), but this can all be reversed or just simply nipped in the bud by raising them with less segregation. We are all humans trying to get on with it.
I’m not condoning hurtful behaviour or the way that people are hurt as a result of toxic masculinity- I’m just explaining the root of it and giving it a voice so eventually, the issue can be resolved.