Editor’s note: dapperQ’s Community Voices is a platform for and by the community to share stories, opinions, and essays. We embrace diverse points-of-view and welcome you to join the discussion in the comments section below, on Twitter, or by pitching your own pieces for publication via [email protected]. The following is a response by dapper Editor Ryley Rubin Pogensky to an article recently published by The Cut.
“Let’s not call that toxic masculinity. Saying ‘toxic masculinity’ implies that masculinity is the core problem here, and suggests that a tiny bit of masculinity might also be a tiny bit poisonous. Using the word masculinity suggests that all men have a toxic core. I don’t buy that…Equating every man with the very worst, most repugnant, infantile robot-men alive is, pragmatically speaking, a very bad idea.” – “This Isn’t About Toxic Masculinity. These Are Sociopathic Baby-Men.”, Heather Havrilesky, The Cut.
Inherent in the cause for protecting masculinity is the the patriarchal need to protect whiteness and those who benefit from it. To call masculinity toxic you must also accept the fact that racism is an endemic and intrinsic part of American society.
Toxic masculinity has built cities. It has colonized countries. It has started wars. It has wiped populations of humans off the map. The ego produced by simply being a cis male, has produced as much as it has harmed; and because of the former it’s hard to call out. It’s hard to reject. And it’s hard to fight against.
But it is reckless and careless to not call out masculinity for the toxicity it produces.
Why are we so scared of calling masculinity out for the toxic brand it has become?
How do you make the master understand the plight of the slave, when that master seeks no forgiveness from god in his prayers. If he is not wrong, and his methods have not only gone without question but also have produced success, why would he?
Why would a white woman not want to call masculinity toxic? Well as often as she will suffer at the hands of masculinity, she also benefits from it. She is protected by the myth that she must be protected (owned). And while that can result in horrifying acts, she is still prized.
But at what cost you say? When will enough be enough? Well, it’s been centuries, and here we still are.
The past few weeks have seen a takedown of white men like no other. Why now? There behavior has been known for years. It has been accepted for the “greater good”. That good being the production of award winning films, the publication of hard hitting articles. Their behavior while known had to be put into a corner so that money could be made and egos could go on being stroked.
We have Trump to thank for the sudden trend of being more than simply appalled by someone’s behavior, but actually making them suffer for it.
How could it take so long? Well, the patriarchy demands that we accept forms of oppression. Activism tells us that we should not, and that we should rise against and fight it. But the actual practice of life, the need for a job, it demands that we excuse the actions of those in power.
The masters keys jingle in front of us all.
So while the Hollywood elite march in Pride parades, and tell us to get out and vote, they allow their closets to fill with skeletons, because at the end of the day they want to be cast. They want to be movie stars. And if that means they have to ignore allegations and word of mouth accusations, well they will.
And that is how most of our country – most of our world – operates.
Those of us currently alive and under 60 have never seen someone in power like Trump in the U.S. We have read about politicians like him, but we have never had our world upturned at home.
Comfort will always get in the way of true uprising.
But once your first world comfort is shaken, you will look anywhere to right it. You will even allow those skeletons out of your closet.
2017 it seems is the year of the skeleton. It is the year of whispers becoming rally cries. If we could elect someone like Trump, with a Vice President like Pence, someone who not even rich white liberals rights are safe from, well then enough is enough.
Black folks, queer folks, women, we’re used to our rights being taken away. We’re used to living in fear. A white man was never meant to be a slave. And that fear alone will bring so many minorities justice. Don’t ever think for a minute that the reason for that is some kind of reflection of self. It is fear. It is the fear of being treated the way men have always been able to treat everyone else.
It is toxicity masquerading as Savior.
To call men’s actions and behavior infantile is grossly inadequate. A child has the capacity to grow. To learn. And to have behaviors changed. Excusing a mans behavior as childish allows him to go on clumsily through life with an axe. He is allowed to never emotionally mature, while being given immense amounts of power.
*Feature image via Lupine Lane Design