Let's Bitch About It: Toxic masculinity

Tuesday, April 10, 2018 - 7:10pm

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Illustration by Roseanne Chao

Do you love being interrupted? Do you revel in people underestimating you? Does it warm your heart to see loud, aggressive or gross behavior? Then you are going to love this thousands-years-old concept: toxic masculinity!

The angry commenter

If you’ve been a loyal reader of this column, then you know that it is somewhat controversial. With that, I have a lot of haters, most of whom are unsurprisingly white men.

Here are some of my favorite comments posted on my previous columns:

“Here’s the summary: Blah, blah, whine, whine, blah, blah.”

“You’re very opinionated on something you admitted you don’t have any interest in, or know much about.”

“This is the most uninformed, unintentionally satirical, mind numbingly poorly thought out article I have ever read in my entire life.”

“While I mean to criticize your article I only mean to educate you on how misguided your article today was.”

And they say mansplaining is a myth.

The internal urge to correct someone on the internet always astounds me, especially when these comments are made by men. Who are these men? What causes them to feel the need to correct me? Do they not realize that this is satire? I await their answers to these questions in the comments.

It is also worth noting that many of these criticisms focus on what they think is my lack of knowledge or understanding on any given subject, when in fact I'm merely presenting my opinion on topics I'm well-versed in. Additionally, angry internet commenters are a weird (and personally amusing) part of a large issue of men feeling like they are smarter than women in the workplace, in academic settings and in life. It’s toxic, and not in a Britney Spears jam kind of way.

The man-child

I would like to kindly request that cis-men stop doing the following in public: spitting, touching your crotch, peeing, other generally disgusting habits. Why is manhood associated with being dirty? How do body odor and poor hygiene prove that you are more of a man? Why is cleanliness a womanly thing?

Perhaps it is just my association with mostly college-age men, but the lack of household cleaning skills is really astounding. There is nothing less attractive than showing up at a man’s home to find dirty clothes on a floor that has definitely never been mopped or vacuumed. If you’re sitting or lying in a man’s bed, you are probably better off just not asking how long it’s been since they’ve washed their sheets. The lengths some men will go to avoid laundry both amazes and disgusts me.

I’ve heard horror stories about men’s bathrooms with toilet rings stronger and darker than the rings of Saturn. I’ve seen kitchens with dishes permanently encrusted with grime and living rooms littered with months-old beer cans.

Why does society allow men to be like this? Almost every college boy I met has an incredibly stunted maturity in terms of domestic tasks. Meanwhile, my parents had me doing dishes and sweeping since I could walk.

Next time you’re deciding between his place and yours, remember that no skincare routine can fix sleeping on that dirty-ass pillowcase.

I want, I want, I want

I once knew a white boy who was failing a class but was astoundingly sure that if he went to office hours he could cozy up to the professor and get his grade raised. Unsurprisingly, it worked.

Some days I wish I had the blind confidence of a white boy. To walk around not understanding the meaning of the word “no” must be freeing.

There’s a sort of indescribably yet subtle sense of entitlement that white men (especially rich ones) have. I do not know any women, people of color or members of minority groups who assume the way white boys do that they will, of course, land that internship or be selected for that position.

I have heard stories of a white man who lectured my female friend, saying that he has a superior understanding of what racism and sexism is because he is a white man.

One of the greatest embodiments of male entitlement is a made-up concept called the “friend zone,” in which men feel that all women they are nice to should have sex with them. The sense of entitlement to a women’s body ranges from the creepy, ruthless hitting on a girl to the nice boy “I talk to her and I am nice to her, how is she not in love with me?” ways of thinking. It even goes so far that women have repeatedly been attacked for rejecting men.

No woman should ever have to date you, have sex with you or even talk to you just because you are a man who did something you thought was nice. If you think otherwise, then you are part of the problem.  

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It makes me happy that as a society we have mostly accepted the universal truth that men are trash. Women are constantly calling men out for their unacceptable behavior from humorous tweets to the more serious #MeToo movement. Men are no longer able to systemically adhere to problematic social norms like it’s the 1950s because they are only one viral tweet away from being the next meme.  

If you are a white man who believes you are not part of these issues as described, remember that there are many other reasons that men are toxic that I did not mention. If you still don’t believe that you are part of the problem, remember that the patriarchal system you are a part of is a legitimate issue and if you implicitly allow it to exist then you are still part of the problem.