When We Give In, They Lose: A Three-Step Response to Toxic Masculinity

Nov 8, 2018Latest, Pro Victoria, Toxic Masculinity

A Three Step Authentic Response to Toxic Masculinity

The task before us in response to Toxic Masculinity is to be strong, kind and firm in the face of wounded but dangerous, sometimes vicious opponents who attack us. Do not be fooled by the Toxic Masculinity attack. It is a ruse. The only effective response to it is more masculinity, not less.

Bottom Line Up Front: While the charge of Toxic Masculinity is an attack on masculinity, ironically it describes too little masculinity, not too much. It describes what happens when men neglect their masculinity. In a very troubling way, both the symptoms described by Toxic Masculinity apologists and the charges themselves are of our making, as men.

We, as men, either created the Toxic Masculinity mess or we allowed it to be created by being neglectful and underestimating our enemies.

Here’s what we’ll cover today:

  1. First, what is Toxic Masculinity? Toxic Masculinity is a concept as well as an accusation that is anti-masculine, anti-feminine, and anti-child.
  2. Second, what are some mistakes to avoid when addressing Toxic Masculinity? There are many mistakes to avoid, but three I fell prey to were resentment, defensiveness, and guilt.
  3. Third, what’s the best counter to Toxic Masculinity? The best way to counter Toxic Masculinity is to double down on virtuous masculinity, what we call Authentic Masculinity.

Remember three things as you read this piece about Toxic Masculinity:

1. In any battle of ideas, he who controls the vocabulary controls the conversation.
2. In constructive debate, the first thing you do is define terms, and
3. The side that goes first sets most of the definitions. Anti-masculine activists have taken the initiative and set a lot of definitions. They are clever predators who seek to change men to minimize our influence by re-defining masculinity.

Part I: What is Toxic Masculinity?

We asked some men in the Authentic Masculinity network for their thoughts on Toxic Masculinity. Some said it’s just bad behavior. Others said it depends on the definition of masculinity. One man summarized a group’s thoughts as, “It’s a weapon to destroy men. Those who use it hate men.” Each of these perspectives has an element of truth in it, but there are problems with each of these responses as well.

Yes, Toxic Masculinity describes bad behavior, but its genius of linking toxicity to masculinity reveals its true malignancy. Saying in response to Toxic Masculinity that it depends on how you define masculinity means we must concede that masculinity is up for definition. If we acknowledge that masculinity is now open to definition, we must be quick, precise and aggressive in reasserting a definition of masculinity that is timeless. We must in any case remember the destructive genius here is in linking masculinity to toxicity. Toxic is an adjective. Toxicity is not masculine.

Finally, defining Toxic Masculinity as a weapon is close to the mark. The bold assertion that there is such a thing as Toxic Masculinity is destructive, but then the symptoms it lies about are also. Together they are a destructive hybrid concept designed to wound, debilitate and then destroy. So, each of these suggestions is partially correct, but incomplete. Toxicity relates to poison and does not address human agency. Linking toxicity to masculinity is politicized, reductionist shorthand. Reject it, but recognize it is an assault on all that is good about being a man.

We have reached a point where others, those who need us to be more masculine as men, also need us to define and reassert traditional masculinity both to help them and defend ourselves. When we give in, everybody loses. We must never give in.

So—Authentic Masculinity’s working definition of masculinity is as follows: having the qualities or appearance traditionally associated with men.

(Weak) Academics Go First by Seizing the Initiative

Weak, wounded academics have seized the initiative by conjuring offensive terminology like Toxic Masculinity.

Wikipedia defines Toxic Masculinity as a subset of Hegemonic Masculinity. Hegemonic means “ruling or dominant in a political or social context.” Wikipedia defines Hegemonic Masculinity as follows:

“In gender studies, hegemonic masculinity is part of … gender order theory, which recognizes multiple masculinities that vary across time, culture and the individual. Hegemonic masculinity is defined as a practice that legitimizes men’s dominant position in society and justifies the subordination of women, and other marginalized ways of being a man…Conceptually, hegemonic masculinity proposes to explain how and why men maintain dominant social roles over women, and other gender identities, which are perceived as “feminine” in a given society.”

But wait… Toxic Masculinity gets better:

“…(Toxic Masculinity) is the constellation of socially regressive male traits that serve to foster domination, the devaluation of women, homophobia and wanton violence. … (Toxic Masculinity) serves to outline aspects of hegemonic masculinity that are socially destructive, “such as misogyny, homophobia, greed, and violent domination”. These traits are contrasted with more positive aspects of hegemonic masculinity such as “pride in [one’s] ability to win at sports, to maintain solidarity with a friend, to succeed at work, or to provide for [one’s] family.”

So that’s the on-line definition of Toxic Masculinity. Reject it all. Quite simply, Toxic Masculinity doesn’t deserve a definition. It’s not that complicated. Beware of people who over-complicate things. The term Toxic Masculinity is a fabricated weapon wielded to define you and put limits on you as an individual man. What kind of person invests time and energy thinking up things like Toxic Masculinity or Hegemonic Masculinity?

Misogyny and Misandry: Watchwords of Weaponized Sexuality in the 21st Century

Misogyny means hating women. Misandry means hating men. Misogynistic describes woman-hating behavior. Misandristic describes man-hating behavior. Toxic Masculinity is a misandristic charge. Those who make it are misandrists.

Enough defining for now.

Part II: Common Mistakes to Avoid When Addressing Toxic Masculinity

Here are some mistakes I made trying to get my head around Toxic Masculinity.

My first reaction was to resent the charge.

My second thought was, “If something’s toxic it’s not masculine,” because I knew the Toxic Masculinity accusation is a ruse, a feint, a pretext, which renders its apologists disingenuous.

Then I found myself hostile—defensive—to a discussion with disingenuous people. However, we defend when we are attacked, and gentlemen, masculinity is definitely under attack.

Next, I felt guilty for being hostile to insanity, which is crazy in itself. See how quickly we can get sucked in?

Finally, I second guessed myself and did some more research. Once I did that I realized the proponents of Toxic Masculinity are misandristic.

Ah, sweet clarity.

Once I realized that, I pitied them because they are wounded, but realized they remain, indeed, a threat.

I realized some Toxic Masculinity apologists are willful while others are hapless tools of those smarter than themselves. Learn to
distinguish the two.

These were my worst mistakes. You may make similar mistakes as you come to grips with this toxic topic. What I have learned is that Toxic Masculinity is part of a whole range of misandristic nonsense designed to cripple boys, disable men and attack families.

Toxic Masculinity is part of a whole range of misandristic nonsense designed to cripple boys, disable men and attack families.
-Shannon McGurk

The real irony is that Toxic Masculinity as an idea is anti-woman as well as anti-man, because nobody can protect, defend and honor women as well as men can.

The Toxic Masculinity accusation is an effort to control, characterize, define, contain and ultimately destroy masculinity, which is essential to a healthy world. But Toxic Masculinity is especially treacherous because its willful apologists say they’re helping when they know Toxic Masculinity’s ultimate aim is to destroy.

Part III: Embracing Your Own Masculinity Counters Toxic Masculinity: The Five Privileges of Authentic Men

Authentic Masculinity obeys an authority. That authority is God. Put God first and everything else falls into place. Put God first and the pale artificial counterfeit of Toxic Masculinity is revealed as the merely poorly defined bad behavior and weapon that it is.

Authentically Masculine men fulfill five privileges simultaneously that are the opposites of Toxic Masculinity: Prince, Priest, Prophet, Provider and Protector.

As a Prince, you lead those you love. You should love everyone, but your inner circle first.

As a Priest you put God first.

As a Prophet you read the signs of the times in which you live and take appropriate action.

As a Provider you provide for the physical, spiritual and emotional welfare of those you love and lead. Food, shelter, clothing, stability, emotional sustenance. Everything. You are responsible for providing it all, brother.

As a Protector you must protect the Beautiful, the Innocent and the Good. Start with your inner circle.

Conclusion: Read the Signs of the Times

Toxic Masculinity is a sign post indicating danger for everyone, especially women and children. Toxic Masculinity is a sign of trouble that points to a world where men are attacked for playing by rules that allow men—encourage men—to be irresponsible and treat women badly.

Those who promote terms like Toxic Masculinity want it both ways. On the one hand they tell us sex is transactional and not sacred and that men and women are the same and that sexual distinctions are fluid and irrelevant. On the other hand, if women use sex to get what they want and men play that game, men are wrong when women change their minds.

They advocate a world that creates vituperative distrust between the sexes and blames traditional men for the resulting chaos. The intellectually dishonest fabrication of Toxic Masculinity is a mess. The only way to clean it up is for men to act unilaterally in ways that protect everyone.

The way to do that is to decide today—decide today—to devote the rest of your life to being an Authentic Man.

An Authentic Man is a man who is virtuous and protects women and society from his own lower nature—but more importantly, from men in the grip of their own appetites who are too cowardly to confront their own weaknesses and lack of virtue.

Toxic Masculinity apologists are anti-child.

See the Toxic Masculinity scourge for what it is: anti-masculine, anti-woman and anti-child.

The vast majority of men are willing to sacrifice and work full-time so women can exercise the option to have children. It’s a very good model, men have done it for decades, now, and it’s admirable.

Authentic Men shoulder responsibilities so women have choices.

Good men do this freely because they love the women they marry and know it’s a sacrifice well worth making. It is a privilege to love a woman and in loving her it is a privilege to work out with her as an equal the balance necessary to establish a home, have children and raise them.

Women sacrifice for this to happen and so must men.

Again, not complicated, just difficult. It requires love and self-mastery.

It requires virtuous men.

Shannon McGurk

Shannon McGurk


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