STUDENT WRITERS PROGRAM
This week featuring: ERSKINE ACADEMY
by Autumn Boody
(from Washington, Maine)
“The constellation of socially regressive [masculine] traits that serve to foster domination, the devaluation of women, homophobia, and wanton violence.” That is the definition of toxic masculinity used by Journal of School of Psychology, but it is noted that this definition can change due to the complexity of the issue. Toxic masculinity is a phenomenon that plagues our culture and society. Toxic masculinity is negative because it can lead to aggression, repressed emotions, and psychological trauma.
Aggression in males is not an unusual phenomenon. Men and boys of all ages can demonstrate different types of aggression including: physical aggression, verbal aggression, and sexual aggression. Toxic masculinity is a large contributing factor to this. Part of the stereotype of masculinity is being strong and unemotional. Trying to keep up with both of those can lead to bottling up your feelings and becoming aggressive.
Similar stereotypes are being dominant and assertive, which can easily lead to sexual aggression. When in a relationship, specifically heterosexual relationships, the male may feel that he cannot have emotions and that he has to be the dominant figure in the relationship. There are direct ties from this to sexual assault and harassment. Promundo, an organization that focuses a lot of their work on toxic masculinity, says, “Young men who believe in these toxic ideas of manhood most strongly were most likely to have ever perpetuated sexual harassment.” Some examples the young men said were, “Guys should act strong even when they’re scared or nervous,” and even said things like, “Real men would never say no to sex.” These extreme ideals have led to aggression in all forms, proving their toxicity.
One of the aforementioned stereotypes was suppressing one’s emotions. This has many side effects of its own. Not allowing yourself to feel and cry when necessary can lead to higher amounts of stress, larger depression rates in men, and substance abuse. While substance abuse is more visible, with about 9.4 percent of men over the age of 12 struggling with it, depression isn’t so easy to see. Men with depression are four times more likely to commit suicide. Along with the oppressive symptoms of depressions, suppressing your emotions can make it harder to deal with stress. When you never let out what you’re truly feeling it’s easy to let things bottle up. When you have all these things bottled up you implode much quicker.
The last of the effects of toxic masculinity is psychological trauma. The influence of toxic masculinity can not only come from society but also inside the home. Many men experience their first struggles with toxic masculinity from their parents or relatives. Fathers telling them to toughen up and not “act like a girl” or encouraging degrading words and ideals. This can be damaging to their mental health as they get older. They are faced with the conflicts of what they’re feeling and what they’re told to feel. As many studies and therapists will attest, it’s incredibly difficult to undo that damage that has been done. Once you’ve grown up with the pressure and toxicity it isn’t easy to reverse.
Toxic masculinity is a negative, oppressive phenomenon that not only affects men but also everyone around them. Toxic masculinity is negative because it can lead to aggression, repressed emotions, and psychological trauma.
Student Writer’s Program: What Is It?
The Town Line has many articles from local students under the heading of the “Student Writer’s Program.” While it may seem plainly evident why The Town Line would pursue this program with local schools and students, we think it’s worth the time to highlight the reasons why we enthusiastically support this endeavor.
Up front, the program is meant to offer students who have a love of writing a venue where they can be published and read in their community. We have specifically not provided topics for the students to write on or about, and we have left the editing largely up to their teachers. From our perspective this is a free form space provided to students.
From the perspective of the community, what is the benefit? When considering any piece that should or could be published, this is a question we often ask ourselves at The Town Line. The benefit is that we as community are given a glimpse into how our students see the world, what concerns them, and, maybe even possible solutions to our pressing problems. Our fundamental mission at the paper is to help us all better understand and appreciate our community, our state, and our nation through journalism and print.
We hope you will read these articles with as much interest and enjoyment as we do. The students are giving us a rare opportunity to hear them out, to peer into their world, and see how they are processing this world we, as adults, are giving them.
To include your high school, contact The Town Line, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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