In these past years, the #metoo movement has seen an intense and passionate argument phrased as ‘toxic masculinity’.
It’s important in times of these changes to keep perspective of the situation and to understand that an uncovering of one gender behavior doesn’t make the opposite gender divine.
Table of Contents
- Comparing Gender Toxicity
- Male Female Polarity
- Different Genders are Wired Differently
- Aesthetic Differences
- Subtle Differences
- 4 Biological Gender Facts
- Solutions for Toxic Masculinity
- Shadow Work for Women
- Changing Toxic Masculinity and Toxic Femininity
- Solutions to Heal the Masculine and Feminine
An increasing amount of men are feeling afraid to speak up and be honest about their thoughts on the #metoo movement.
As well as the phrase ‘toxic masculinity’ and their current treatment because of the seemingly relentless backlash these opinions receive in the tense gender debates.
This blog post is a personal opinion which many males share during these turbulent times, it will be an honest, open and candid account of how this movement is affecting both genders in a negative way.
To be clear from the beginning, I support the original message of the #metoo movement – ending sexual misconduct is a positive standpoint.
What is being discussed here is the use of this movement to falsely attack people and fuel a gender war.
Comparing gender toxicity
Both genders have elements of toxicity within them.
If we’re using the phrase ‘toxic masculinity’ then we should also use the phrase ‘toxic femininity’.
Gender cannot be toxic itself, but people can be toxic, some are male and some are female.
The original point of this toxicity may be their gender in some instances, but this doesn’t conclude that the whole gender has the same issue; this blanket statement does not stand.
Masculinity and femininity are like a relationship on a global level; we need to listen to each other to create the solution together.
I think we can all agree that if only one voice was heard in a romantic relationship then more issues would grow rather than gaining solutions.
Both males and females need to be heard for solutions to grow.
Male female polarity
Continuing with the romantic relationship analogy we can discover some of the biological differences between the genders.
During the first phases of a relationship polarity begins within the seduction phase, a lot of the time before any real communication has begun.
Males are designed to approach women, this isn’t just a natural situation within humans, but also within the animal kingdom.
Just one example can be the male peacock huffing and puffing their feathers out, making themselves larger and more attractive to the females.
The female then decides if he lives up to her standards – this is a natural and beautiful dynamic that works – this is not toxic masculinity.
Men should feel comfortable to approach a woman that he is attracted to.
A lot of the time women will make themselves seem more attractive, by dressing up and wearing makeup.
This isn’t always solely for approaching males, but some women do naturally enjoy this encouraging stage to gain more males approaching them – more males naturally means more choice.
Of course, it’s not okay to cross any boundaries and these boundaries should be clear to all genders, but that has nothing to do with polarity.
Different genders are wired differently
Another way polarity shows up is in the biology of the brain.
Men and women can be equally respected, but we cannot be the same.
Nature and biology created us differently.
This is a beautiful thing that should be celebrated.
The problem with the gender war is the fact that people instead of trying to understand these differences, they are trying to put all genders in one box.
If we can succeed in this while simultaneously avoiding crossed boundaries (from both genders) then we may have the solution of toxic masculinity.
- Our bodies look different: We have different physical strengths and different advantages which have happened throughout the history of evolution.
- Male and female brains are wired differently: We come up with different solutions, we have different standards.
- How we communicate is different: We deal with people differently, we negotiate in different ways, we avoid or engage in more aggressive conversations or discussions.
Males and females have different chemistry within their biology, they both get satisfaction from different environments, either internally or externally.
This, along with many different factors that are outside of my expertise, shape who we are.
- The left-brain hemisphere is the analytical masculine side: Yes, some women also excel at using their left-side, but the majority holds true.
- The left-brain has more dopamine – the motivator hormone.
- When you tick off things from your To-Do list you raise dopamine – it’s internal and controlled.
- The right-brain hemisphere is the creative, sensual, feminine side: It is different because it has more serotonin – the happy hormone.
- You raise the serotonin levels from the external environment, by interacting with people around you.
4 biological gender facts:
Below are some facts on how these different interests affect our lives and our learnings (yes there are exceptions to these rules, but this is generally how the differences in genders guide us:
- Men have twice as much dopamine levels in their brain than women do. Thus, women need twice as much positive reinforcement from their own environment to get to the same levels of dopamine. (Remember males gain their dopamine highs from internal control. Females gain theirs from external factors.)
- A female will develop her language skills much quicker than a male because of higher estrogen levels in the brain.
- Females are, in general, better at reading nonverbal cues and body language.
- Women need to talk things out more than men do. This is in order to heal by getting that positive reinforcement from the environment.
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Solutions for toxic masculinity
Looking forward, how should we communicate better with each other?
What can each gender do differently to create a safer, more comfortable environment?
What can we learn and gain from the #metoo movement to improve ourselves?
Shadow Work for Men
Let’s begin with what is called ‘shadow work’ for men.
Shadow work basically means being reflective.
Looking inside yourself, and owning behaviors that you may take part in, even maybe subconsciously, and understanding that it’s not acceptable.
The aim of shadow work is to accept and change some behaviors.
By firstly understanding that you may be part of, or contributing to, this toxic masculinity means that you are capable of changing these behaviors.
An example of what might be found is a male that is repressing emotions that from a young age was taught as feminine.
For example, being bullied or picked on for crying at school, being told that men are strong and able to cope with complex emotions.
This leads to subconsciously suppressing natural feminine attributes that each individual has.
If males can reconnect with these emotions and accept that they are natural and ok, there is a better understanding between the genders.
So, what is causing this disconnection and confusion with emotions and gender and toxic masculinity?
If we want to fix this issue, we need to look at what our society is telling boys at the schoolyard and in kindergarten.
When you hear people telling boys to ‘stop being a sissy’, speak up about it, intervene, and educate.
So, the solution for me, and I think most men will resonate with these points:
- To break out of what social programming tells us about what it is to be a man.
- Get in touch with neglected and suppressed emotions.
- Understand that it’s not a strength to be alone and not reach out for help.
- Being able to cry and let emotions out.
This along with the understanding that anger issues are not ‘men’s issues’ but instead a societal constraint will lead to a greater understanding of each other.
The problem is not that men are too aggressive, it’s that we never learned how to express anger in a healthy and responsible way.
43% of boys are raised by single mothers, and 78% of school teachers are female.
This means that about 50% of boys have only feminine influences.
Toxic masculinity is not the problem; lack of masculinity is the problem.
Shadow work for women
The responsibility isn’t only on the males, females can also reflect upon themselves to make some better understandings and try to understand what ‘toxic femininity’ might be.
The feminine shadow shows up more like emotional violence & manipulation which is not talked about often.
The conversation is usually about physical violence being done by men.
Emotional violence is actually far more culturally accepted than physical violence possibly because it’s an invisible abuse, making it harder to fully understand.
When reflecting upon themselves to change the ways of toxic femininity, women find that their shadow consists of using their sexuality to manipulate and control.
Females are also a victim of societal norms and are taught to believe in the image of ‘Prince Charming’ coming to save the princess on the white horse.
What can be understood here is that the fulfillment of these things that females are taught to need from a young age, can be found within.
It’s not only external factors that can make people feel fulfilled and connected, but that you can also get these needs internally, from yourself.
Instead of looking for someone else to fulfill these ideas you can fulfill them yourself and become in-charge of your own happiness.
Changing toxic masculinity and toxic femininity
The tense environment between men and women in the aftermath of #metoo has led to the bashing of natural sexual tension.
Men seducing and approaching women have occasionally falsely been claimed as a violation and this is even sometimes used to falsely accuse innocent men.
This comes from miscommunication and resistance to fully understand the other sex.
What the real problem is, and when toxic masculinity is a problem, is when boundaries are being crossed and people are being violated and abused.
This is never ok.
When I asked women what they find is missing from a male partner their answers are mostly that they are not conscious or connected enough to themselves and the world around them.
Or that they are not tough, mature or ‘manly’ enough.
Another common issue that women find with men is that they are not in touch with their emotional side.
From a male perspective, it seems as though that when a male becomes conscious, connected and emotional they no longer become attractive as a partner because they are no longer a typical ‘manly’ man.
This sends a message of a double standard, which is of course confusing.
Unfortunately, this comes from a society that tells females that this is what they need to become satisfied with a mature and adult relationship.
Instead of reaching out for men with conflicting qualities, if a woman does her shadow work and heals herself and her codependency. She will vibrate on a different level and thus send out that frequency to attract a man with an integrated shadow as well. Who is also connected to himself and the environment around them.
Solutions to heal the masculine and feminine
Let’s stop complaining that there are no conscious men or women around, and instead become those people!
Since I work with predominantly men I’ll focus on addressing the solutions of the male bodies.
The solution looks like an initiation process from boyhood to manhood. These solutions include working on:
- Emotional awareness.
- Reflective shadow work.
- Educating boys that’s it’s okay to cry and show affection.
These solutions for toxic masculinity are about both mental and physical health.
If you own your sexual energy and desires this will transform within the male community and help everyone connect to their own masculine energy.
I have chosen to speak up about the term ‘toxic masculinity’ and the #metoo movement. Because I think it’s important to understand each other wholly, not from only an aggressive and defensive standpoint, but from an honest and open discussion.
Let’s focus on listening to the boy’s emotions and needs and educate them to grow into emotionally stable males.
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Men's Relationship Coach
Steffo is the founder of The Tantric Man Experience, the #1 masculine mentorship program in the world. There he helps men in relationships reignite the passion to restore their marriages from the brink of divorce. And single men attract their dream women naturally with success. He's on a mission to guide men towards an intimate and meaningful relationship, and end the war with their sexuality, so they can finally become integrated men, fathers, brothers, husbands, and leaders in the world.
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