Toxic Masculinity, The Label

Recently Gillette decided to take a break from losing market share in the razor business to make a political statement when they released this ad.

The ad has everybody talking about “Toxic Masculinity”.

I hadn’t heard this term before.  That did not surprise me.  Society’s lexicon is filling up with so many nonsensical buzzwords and terms these days.  So I looked it up.

I came to realize I had, in fact, heard the term before.  It was in this Jordan Peterson video.

Dr.Peterson speaks to a question about an organized effort to de-emphasize or punish masculinity.  The Gillette ad could be part of that effort, although it is more likely an attempt to cling on to the #MeToo movement in an effort to regain lost sales of overpriced razors.

The ad begins, “Bullying.  Harassment.  The #MeToo movement. Is this the best a man can get?”

Bullying?  I didn’t know that was a solely masculine trait.  Harassment?  I was under the impression that women and all other genders are capable of harassment as well.  So why pick on the men?

Because historically men have been so violent and oppressive.  As Peterson points out, that is a piss-poor way to view our human history.  He reminds us that “fundamentally, human history is a cooperative enterprise”.  That’s right folks, men and women have been working together for centuries.  We are the yin and yang, complementary and interconnected.

We live in a time where we’re told we shouldn’t label people.  So why do we need Toxic Masculinity, the label?  It is here to tell us that men are inherently rapists, bullies, and harassers, but if we suppress those behaviours, some of our good qualities just might shine through.

Appending the word toxic to the word masculinity is no better than saying “Dumb Blonde”.  It is a stereotype that inexorably ties masculinity to something poisonous.

Let’s call the behaviours we don’t approve of, “Toxic Behaviours“.  Then we can leave masculinity out of the equation and let boys be boys.


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