The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School




The Student News Site of San Luis Obispo High School



Toxic masculinity harms men more than women


  Why keep a system that is detrimental to everyone?

Good question.

Toxic masculinity has been a plenty talked about subject among San Luis Obispo High School students over the last decade, full of stories from frustrated women and support from men speaking out in solidarity.

That’s great.

However, because of a deeply rooted fear of change and a need for conformity, even the most progressive straight men are a product of toxic masculinity, only damaging themselves in the long run.

  According to senior Penny DellaPelle, the ways in which men harm themselves with toxic masculinity are “innumerable”. 

  “We see men who have never been taught to process their feelings who become dependent on their female romantic partners because they don’t have any other emotional outlet when really what they need is therapy,” said DellaPelle.

Emotional expression is a crucial part of healthy relationships, and withholding feelings is detrimental to someone’s mental health. The constant “suck it up” mentality that’s burned into men’s brains from when they’re children teaches them not to ask for help when so many of them need it. 

  For junior Draygen Nadal, talking about toxic masculinity creates a vicious cycle. 

  “I think how the word is used leads men to dismiss it because they don’t think it applies to them, when maybe it does,” said Nadal.

In discussing toxic masculinity, men automatically assume they don’t have that characteristic because they aren’t blatantly sexist. The irony and brilliance of Nadal’s comment is that the dismissal of having those flaws is a perfect example of toxic masculinity. Even the least chauvinistic men can learn new things about what they can do to avoid misogyny, so when men don’t think the word applies to them, they are displaying exactly what they deny.

  For me, what men are missing out on the most that is caused by centuries of toxic masculinity is gender expression. A straight cysgender girl can feel comfortable admitting that her gender expression is fluid. Sometimes girls wear boys’ clothes. Could a straight, cisgender boy get away with that? I think not.

Aside from the rare David Bowie and Harry Styles, straight men wearing feminine clothes to express themselves is basically nonexistent because boys and men feel pressure from their peers to avoid femininity. A tomboy is socially acceptable, but as soon as a boy puts on eyeliner his sexual orientation is compromised. Even men who are comfortable in their masculinity don’t explore other forms of gender expression because it’s just “not what boys do”. 

  Even though women are greatly harmed by toxic masculinity, they are only harmed in one way and that is gender oppression. Even though that’s a biggie, men harm themselves in a multitude of categories by continuing to suppress their feelings, deny their contributions to a misogynistic society, and not allowing themselves to explore gender expression. 

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