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Old 05-17-2019, 08:24 PM
you with the face is offline
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Laurel, MD
Posts: 12,545
Originally Posted by Textual Innuendo View Post
Honestly? Being men. Not "toxic masculinity," just being male, which is reliably associated with higher risk-taking and higher rates of substance abuse, higher rates of suicide, and other things.
I’m just going to respond to this because I couldn’t disagree more with this one sentence.

There is nothing inherently masculine about substance abuse and suicide. You shrugging these problems off as “men being men” is problematic because it suggests no matter what the stats say, you are going to conclude it’s because of innate nature. No questions asked about social pressures and the environment. No attempt to probe whether risk taking and violence might actually be promoted in men because of macho cultural influences. Because to you it’s all about just being male.

I'm glad that we're here on this topic, because it speaks to my first objection (is this even a problem), but you're really just taking a bunch of bad stuff associated with being male (you left out higher rates of violence, incidentally), and saying "it's because of toxic masculinity" with no proof or evidence.
And you’re not doing the same thing, just in another way? Where’s the evidence that “just being male” is behind the male suicide epidemic?

You know, 200 years ago, it was conventional wisdom that women were too fragile to do anything except stay at home and take care of kids. It was commonly believed that women befuddled with complex problem solving (like math) was “just being female”. Fainting at the first sign of danger, vanity to the point of disability (like foot binding), and inability to physically exert themselves without taking ill for days afterward were other pathologies associated with “just being female”.

Well, we now know the truth was that these afflictions largely arose from a culture that rewarded women who conformed to certain gender expectations and stigmatized those that didn’t. Women who were smart, decisive, and strong were punished in both subtle and unsubtle ways. If you weren’t likened to a man outright, maybe you were treated to fear-mongering about how no man wants to marry a woman who is smarter than him. Maybe not universally was this the case, but commonly enough to have a real impact on behavior.

But times have changed. The stereotype of the fainting and child-like waif that typified the feminine persona in the 1700s has been replaced by a much less helpless and weak one. Women can be emotionally, mentally, and physically strong and not have their gender card revoked.

If we could change how women expressed their gender identities by raising awareness of sexism and continuously challenging stereotypes that reinforce the “fainting and child-like waif” model of femininity, why should we treat men as if they, and only they, are immutable creatures driven purely by biology?

If it's steadily decreasing, why are we worried?
I don’t think male substance abuse and suicide are decreasing, and neither is mass violence perpetrated by men. Do you have stats to support your opinion?

What do you want ME to do?
A start would be to begin questioning the whole “just being male” thing. If more people did that, perhaps we’d be capable of countering the social pressures that have been doing men a disservice for a long time.