Diversity and Inclusion
“Toxic masculinity” and man box culture impact everything by implying or insisting that there is one “right” way to be a man.
Ideas of masculinity can be restrictive and place a lot of pressure on men. If men don’t fulfil this certain portrait of manliness, they can face social exclusion. Even positive expectations can put men in a box or can even come packaged up with damaging behaviours.
Even though such behaviours are destructive to the self and society, the reinforcement of masculinity is especially addictive and infectious.
In the workplace, men who ask for help or show emotions like sadness through crying are thought to be less competent than a woman doing the same thing. At a higher level, these damaging ideas manifest themselves through masculinity contest culture.
Researchers credit four norms of masculinity that underpin this culture:
While masculinity isn’t a fixed or finite concept, the Venn diagram below is useful to show where “toxic masculinity” comes in.
“A diagram of toxic masculinity” by u/Melancholism on Reddit
“Toxic masculinity” can look like this:
❇️ Remember! Not every gender issue affects every member of the gender in question equally. Conversations like this don’t take away from the positives of manhood, they broaden them.
So, if some of the following doesn’t apply to you or the males in your life, think carefully about who it may apply to and how your actions can make masculinity better for everyone.
To answer that question, take a look at the effect in numbers:
🚷 80% of suicides are committed by men and suicide is the biggest killer of men under 45.
👨👨👦 In 2013, attempted suicides included 0.4% of all heterosexual men and 3% of all gay men.
🙎♂️ Only 24% of men that feel high levels of stress discuss it with family or friends.
😫 33% of men feel suicidal due to high levels of stress.
👊🏼 Men are 24% more likely to victims of violent crime compared with women. (However, women are twice as likely to fall victim to sexual violence.).
In the UK, 1 in 3 victims of domestic abuse are male but this isn’t represented in the media or men seeking formal help according to charity ManKind.
🔫 110 out of the 114 US mass shooters between 1982 and 2018 were men.
👦🏻 Boys are three times more likely than girls to be permanently excluded from school.
📉 More boys achieve ‘below standard’ for reading and writing between ages 5 to 11.
The bottom line?
Masculinity affects many social structures including the workplace. It creates expectations and norms — even if those norms don’t accurately reflect the people within each space.
While the expectations of masculinity might not affect everyone, the behavior and ideas it promotes are widespread across the world. When you take a look at its impact, it’s clear to see that the expectations toxic masculinity promotes are harmful to men and society as a whole.
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Fiona Young (she/her) >
Having previously led Learning and Development for 3,000 people at Europe’s leading venture builder, Blenheim Chalcot, Fiona knows a thing or two about how to build high performance culture. As Content Director at Hive Learning, Fiona pioneered the organisation's leading guided content programmes which are designed to turn learning into action. Most recently, Fiona led the inception, development and delivery of Inclusion Works by Hive Learning - the world’s first diversity and inclusion programme focused on turning unconscious bias into conscious action - created from over 1,000 leading sources.
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