Why Hypermasculinity is So Toxic


      In this day and age, you may have heard the term "hypermasculinity" being used quite a lot lately on the internet, especially by feminists. Typically, when the term is used, it is in a negative and derogatory sense as a response to men who try too hard to portray themselves as "manly". This notion of hypermasculinity is immensely prevalent in our society, and has gained a lot of attention recently, as exhibited in the popular #MasculinitySoFragile hashtag on Twitter that got a lot of people talking. But what does hypermasculinity really mean, and what is the problem with it? For those of you who don't know, hopefully this article will provide you with some basic introductory information about why hypermasculinity is such a problem. 

     Hypermasculinity is defined as "the exaggeration of male stereotypical behavior, such as an emphasis on physical strength, aggression, and sexuality." Hypermasculine standards place gender roles and labels on everything -- and I mean everything-- and confine everything into a strict cis-normative dichotomy. If you have scrolled through any of the tweets in the #HypermasculinitySoFragile hashtag on Twitter, you know exactly what I'm talking about. Cisgender men have somehow found a way to make everyday products gendered --from clothes to colors to scents to writing utensils to personal hygiene items to hairstyles to bookmarks to drinks. I even saw a picture of a loaf of bread that said "for men" on it. Something always has to have "man" explicitly attached to it before men who strictly believe in this unnecessary gender assignment can even look at it. Despite how ridiculous this may seem, companies largely feed into this, and often specifically target their products to hypermasculine men and enforce strict gender boundaries on items in order to please hypermasculine men by reinforcing patriarchal standards, and in turn, reel in the profit when their products are purchased. And it's not just products that are gendered, but actions and behaviors too. Many cis men today will find the most ludicrous and uncorrelated reasons to call another man out and question his masculinity or "lack thereof". 


      Speaking of cis men using the actions of other men to question their masculinity, LGBTQ+ men and non-binary men are often large targets of these kinds of attacks. LGBTQ+ men and non-binary men are typically ostracized by other cishet men, as hypermasculinity totally rejects any man that is not cisgender and heterosexual. As a result, abuse rates against men who do not comply with these standards skyrocket, and many LGBTQ+ men and non-binary men live in fear of coming out and being themselves due to this constant threat to their lives. Aside from the threat of abuse, LGBTQ+ and non-binary men are sometimes shunned in the work force, with some companies refusing to hire them in order to maintain their "image." 

   
    Continuing on in the aspect of how hypermasculinity affects marginalized men, hypermasculinity also puts physically and mentally disabled men at a large disadvantage. In the hypermasculine world, having a disability is seen as a sign of "weakness" and as something that detracts from true masculinity (as if that even makes sense). As a result, many disabled men shy away from seeking proper help to assist them in working through and coping with or overcoming their problems. In many cases, this leads to higher rates of depression and/or suicide. 

    Another thing that leads to increasing rates of depression and suicide in men is what results when men are not allowed to express their emotions. Ever heard of the phrase "boys don't cry"? Yeah, well, in the hypermasculine realm, that saying is taken to heart as a golden rule. Hypermasculinity forbids men to outwardly display emotions of "weakness", such as being sad/crying or being scared. In their eyes, these are only emotions that only weak little women are allowed to show. For example, hypermasculinity teaches men that it is impossible for them to get raped, especially by a woman. They are told that if a woman forces herself on them, they should not be afraid or traumatized by it, but rather, they should enjoy it. In turn, many men do not seek help after they have been raped or abused in any form because they believe that they should be able to take it with no problem. 


    As a result of all of these things combined, hypermasculine men are prone to be extremely aggressive towards women. They see women as objects that can easily be claimed and acquired like property. Hypermasculine men often take out their frustration of not being able to express themselves fully for fear of being seen as less than a man on woman, and are typically extremely abusive and misogynistic in general. They see themselves as being above women in every way, and ensure that women are fully aware of this by attempting to degrade and subjugate them at all times.


   So there's a brief outline of hypermasculinity for ya. If you still don't believe me and want to see some actual evidence, feel free to Google the number of LGBTQ+ men that are abused by other men every year, or the correlation between suicide and hypermasculinity. I assure you that you will find plenty of articles and official documents and statistics to provide you with proof and give you the answers you need. Make no mistake, hypermasculinity is dangerously real and alive in our society, and it is doing irreversible damage to people everywhere, every single day.



text: anéya sousa
visual: seye isikalu
  
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