Toxic Masculinity – Is This The Best A Man Can Get? – Jessica Dunne

It is 2019 and we constantly hear about feminism and inequality for women. But do we talk about men enough? One area of concern is toxic masculinity. Toxic masculinity is the exaggerated image of masculinity. It is media and society telling men that they have to follow certain guidelines. Men have to look and act a certain way with big muscles and violence, that they can’t express their feelings and that they should maintain an appearance of hardness constantly.

My adolescence consists of lots of fun things but a big part of it is gaming. In today’s world, it is way more accessible to play games whether it’s on a mobile phone or gaming console. Games such as Grand Theft Auto and Saints Row are played by young boys and girls all over the world, even though they are both rated eighteen. They can still get their hands on it. Grand Theft Auto contains scenes showing stolen cars, prostitutes, dealing drugs and killing pedestrians and police officers. There are many negative aspects that surround playing violent video games. These video games can increase aggressive behaviours and thoughts in young children and adolescents. They can make young children think they can do whatever they see happen in these video games in real life such as steal a car, do drugs and treat women badly. Why can’t teenagers play action games without losing their sense of morality?

The suicide rates in Ireland for men are very high. In fact, suicide rates are three times higher in men than in women according to The HSE. Why is the number of suicides in men so high? Well, one reason is that young men are afraid to talk about their feelings or find the help that they need. Men are more likely to avoid their problems, allowing emotions to build up in them. This reinforces the idea of how men can’t talk about their feelings. There are lots of wonderful services that can help prevent suicides and self-harm such as Pieta House.

Earlier this year the razor company Gillette released an advertisement referencing the #MeToo movement and it attracted a lot of backlash and controversy. The ad plays on changing its 30-year-old slogan “The Best A Man Can Get” to “Is This The Best A Man Can Get?”. The nearly two-minute long video with 30 million views features lots of major problems such as bullying, sexual harassment, assault, sexism, catcalling and violence. It encourages men of today’s world to be cautious in their behaviour and to be good role models for the young children of today “because the boys watching today will be the men of tomorrow”. This ad was an excellent example of how men are portrayed in today’s society and how it can spread awareness of this matter. Despite the backlash from several groups maybe the core message is that men can get better, just like women can too.

There are a lot of problems in today’s world such as toxic masculinity. Hopefully, people begin to understand more about this matter and some of the problems that men face too. Mental health and wellbeing are buzz words at this moment in time, but are we really caring for men’s health? Are we creating this perfect image of men that they have to live up to? Do we all have to examine the way we do things and try to eliminate the stereotypes that exist today?

 

Jessica Dunne -TY Press