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Old 05-15-2019, 06:31 AM
Manda JO is online now
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Join Date: Jul 1999
Posts: 11,608
Originally Posted by DSeid View Post
Let me start out by pointing out how immaterial the crying discussion is.

It doesn't matter if current society considers crying something unmanly or not. What gets stereotyped as manly can change ... one generation it may be being stoic and another braggadocio ... the point is that there are stereotypes that become internalized, which in general are ones of toughness and assertiveness.
I agree. It's leading to a boring hijack.

I do have no objection to the idea that sexist stereotypes, often internalized, are problematic.

I am pointing out that the phrase "toxic masculinity" is crap at communicating that concept and actually counterproductive. I would likewise object to labelling racist stereotyping and its myriad effects (including how they can be internalized, be implicitly held, and play out by institutional factors) as "toxic whiteness" or "toxic Blackness." Or even the phenomena of white privilege as "toxic whiteness" and Black thuggery as "toxic Blackness." They'd be crap in pretty much the same way. I'd doubt monstro would promote use of that phrase to discuss these issues because of toxic nature of the message of not getting mental health help, or because of the celebration in some cultural circles of "thug culture."

The phrase does not well communicate the problem of monstro having considered certain traits as feminine and weak (to be avoided in a "man's environment"), nor how she plays to the crying woman stereotype with females co-workers but tough cool chick who mocks women who cry with men.

What it messages to those who are not steeped in reading deeply, i.e. most myself inclusive, is that there is some subset of men that are a problem because they act excessively manly, with the traits we expect men to have if they are "manly men". Not me and certainly not a problem that women contribute to with the stereotypes they hold ...
Even if we stipulate that "toxic masculinity" is somehow inadequate, "sexist stereotypes" also doesn't cut it. The problem here is that these behaviors are rooted in people's core sense of themselves. "Stereotying" is super broad; one can stereotype engineers, Americans, cat-owners. Gender (and race) identity is more primal.

I'm going to shift to race again. I work in an intensive academic environment. As is pretty typical in this sort of environment, I deal with a lot of imposter syndrome and a lot of kids who worry they aren't really "smart". Some deal with this by working really, really hard. Others, however, deal with this by not working at all, and even lying about how little they work to make it sound like they do nothing at all. They seem to deal with the anxiety of potentially not living up to expectations by creating the impression that they don't try at all, and considering that, the fact that the do so well must reveal impressive inherent abilities indeed.

Now, all sorts of kids display this sort of behavior, but it's fundamentally different with the Asian kids that display this behavior. On both extremes--the hard-working and the extreme-slacking--there is more intensity to it. Furthermore, they persistently bring up their Asian-ness in relationship to their intelligence. Furthermore, in private conversations about their academics/college aspirations, this comes up all the time. Being "smart" is much more closely tied to their self-identity, and falling short of that standard is a threat to their identity. It's a fundamentally different thing than the pressure to excel non-Asian kids might feel: this is pressure not to meet the minimum standards for your self-concept. And it comes both from within and from without--and, again, both from other Asian and non-Asian kids. It's a pervasive thing.

Now, being smart isn't a bad thing. I also think we'd agree that being "Asian"--a term that encompasses half the world--doesn't indicate a genetic increase in intelligence. But the fact is that in the current construction of society, the stereotype that Asians are "smart" leads to a particular set of toxic behaviors that are counter-productive for everyone. I'm comfortable calling that "toxic Asian-ness". It's not enough to call it "internalized stereotypes".

I also think that no matter what the phase, people are going to complain because the issue is with the underlying concept. ANY discussion about how qualities associated with manliness might be negative is going to inspire defensiveness in some portion of the population. As has been pointed out, we started having this conversation centuries ago about Toxic Femininity, and were allowed to have it. But anything perceived as an attack on masculinity has to be shut down before it starts.

Last edited by Manda JO; 05-15-2019 at 06:32 AM.