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The Term Toxic Masculinity and What it Means Today, by Teddy C., 19

male wearing a white hoodie in a pink background holding a heart on a stick over his face

There is a very hazy picture when talking about “masculinity.”  The movie industry and social media have really blurred gender expectations, making people think they have to act a specific way based on their gender. Men have been expected to always be tough, to never show emotion or be vulnerable. However, there’s no clear reasoning for why men should be this way. Why shouldn’t a man be able to show his true emotions? Is there a reason to hide behind a wall of stoicism?

Currently, these expectations of men are pushed by the movie industry and social media. Growing up, young boys' only role models are superheroes who only show characteristics of bravery and physical strength. Rarely do they cry or show any kind of vulnerability. That would be “out of character or weak.” Or so those young boys’ are supposed to think. 

These toxic patterns have been encouraged for centuries. They are deeply ingrained in the mindset of the world. However, while the media has perpetuated these stereotypes they also are changing them for the better. Trends in fashion, where clothing has no gender, are helping to break the rigid beliefs behind gender. In addition, TV shows where women are made the protagonists help young boys create more accurate expectations of society.

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