Toxic Masculinity

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On Breakfast Television, a young boy from Montreal was reviewing toys.  He could not contain his excitement for one toy in particular – a giant pink Barbie plane, complete with true to scale seats, drink/snack trolley, seat trays – you name it! The host of the show made two attempts to redirect this boy’s attention to the massive Nerf gun, (thankfully) to no avail. It wasn’t until the boy had expressed completely what made the Barbie plane so cool that he turned his attention to the gun.

One of my lovely “Mom-friends” was at wits end a few years ago. Her husband would not stop trying to push her seven year old son into aggressive sports. He would belittle their son when he would cry or express his feelings. “Why is he being such a baby?” “When is he going to ‘man-up’?” “That’s it! I’m putting him into MMA fighting when he is old enough!”

toxic masculinity

This month’s topic was a challenging one.  These stories are not meant to offend but simply to shed light on the unrealistic, unreasonable and unattainable standards and stereotypes we have for men in our society today.  Where is the gentleness? Why can we not honour the sensitive child and allow him to grow into a balanced human being? We are conditioning our boys in a world of toxic masculinity.

To offer insight, the father in my story speaks from what he knows. He was raised in a culture that glorifies the alpha, the macho, the “manly-man”. I expect that he might have endured similar shamings as a child. It does not have to continue to be this way. Change is coming. Check out Plan Canada’s campaign around this topic.

This toxic masculinity is a power struggle. We are unconsciously instilling in our boys to see the feminine as weak or lesser. Why the need for control? Our weakness is just that… our need for control.

There is a place for all of us in this world. We have the ability and power to break free from self-doubt and trust that we can create equality.

I can only speak from my perspective, but it must be so hard for men and boys to be bombarded by societal and cultural pressures.  Let’s all try to make a conscious effort to find balance in gentleness.

With gratitude,


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© 2014 Odessa Gill

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