"Homo Obnoxious: Is Toxic Masculinity Really Taking Over the Country?"

Article here. Excerpt:

'Yikes. But before we concede that toxic masculinity has suddenly reasserted itself as the dominant force in the cultural universe, let’s pause to take a breath. Let’s admit, for example, that although arenas of male experiences differ depending on where you live and how much money you have, Homo Obnoxious was never just a creature of any one party, class or region. The truth is that he is nurtured at every stage of an American boy’s journey into manhood, and without trying to understand what our society does to promote his development and how boys and men might be persuaded to reject his allure, he will continue his rampage across the land.
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Teaching kids the value of creative collaboration and offering rational guidance on sexuality or gender relations at school has to be a part of cultivating a different path to manhood. American sex education, for example, if it is taught at all, often consists of either shaming abstinence lessons or alarming medical discussions of STDs and pregnancy, with little acknowledgment of the need to develop compassionate ways to express sexuality or the importance of challenging sexual stereotypes in media and culture. It doesn’t have to be that way; in a New York Times op-ed, Pamela Druckerman highlighted how topics like the complexity of love are openly discussed in French sex-ed, while Dutch teachers work to inculcate respect for people who don’t fit traditional sexual and gender molds.
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College men — and young men who don’t go to college —need to have positive narratives that allow them to feel good about being men and being men together. Challenging sexual assault is important, but they need to learn much more than “no means no”: they need guidance in emotional honesty and intimacy, the challenges of navigating relationships and masculine ideals to strive for in which cultivating large numbers of women as hookups and drinking into oblivion are not the marks of masculine status. Beyond this, they need to see that life offers them more than the prospect of being a loser in the workforce that awaits them when schooling is done, and they also need opportunities to see that work in areas like caregiving, for example, are rich in positive masculine values. When a male nurse can be viewed as stronger and sexier than a Wall Street parasite, we will have gotten somewhere.

Popular culture reflects a hunger for a vision of masculinity that rejects Homo Obnoxious. Jesse Pinkman, the young meth cook in the TV series Breaking Bad, illustrates the despair of recession-era young men without decent job prospects who search for status, meaning, and self-worth. There’s a lot wrong with Jesse, but in his evolution as a character we see his growing resolve to form intimate, caring bonds with the women in his life and the men in his posse, too. The blockbuster franchise Fast and Furious shows the need for even the most testosterone-driven men — racecar drivers in this case — to develop respect and lasting relationships with the men and women in their social group.
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Unfortunately, much in the manosphere openly promotes the far more noxious stuff, like sexual predation in the pickup community, where guys give each other creepy tips on “mind-controlling” women and duping them into sex. Other sites, like Mensactivism, boil with anger at feminists and take a paranoid stance against what they imagine is an epidemic of false rape claims and women who will take advantage of them at every opportunity. Mensactivism buzzes with articles like “Men are the downtrodden sex” and blogs expressing hope that a Trump presidency “could radically change colleges’ response to sexual assault.” In these sites, loneliness and fear are vented as rage — the rage that comes when people don't know what to do with their suffering.
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Men are confused, and how could they not be? Ever since the 1950s brought women into the workforce en masse, and the Pill released them from reproductive shackles in the ‘60s, a profound change in human relations has been happening in painful fits and starts. In the grand scheme of history, a few decades is an incredibly short amount of time to adjust to such a cataclysm. No wonder we’re still flailing about trying to figure out how to cope. Identity, expectations, culture and hormones are a complex dance. Social construction is a dynamic process, and hardly linear.'

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MANN gets a dishonorable mention! :)

Anti-male but nonetheless, the author has some observations about the way society has evolved these past 30 years and its effects on males -- well, supposed effects -- that some MRAs may actually concur with. Her suggestions re the right direction to go in are not so much incorrect so much as they don't exist in her writing. My guess is she planned on making some but never got around to it. And aren't we flattered, MANN folk, she takes a big swipe at our site in it, too!

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A few valid points marred by an anti-male feminst perspective

A few of the points were valid (I'm trying to be generous here) but much of the article was from an anti-male feminist perspective. Some of the observations may apply to some men in some ways, but the tone of the article is so pessimistic and hostile to men in general and misses the much greater contributions that men have made to society while exaggerating the negative aspects of men many times over and generalizing them to all men.

Some men do fall into the trap of venting loneliness and fear as rage, but that doesn't mean such feelings aren't justified (though rage can be maladaptive and destructive). Yet the article fails to grasp that there may be legitimate reasons for such emotions beyond reactionary "misogyny" for its own sake. Also, men generally aren't of a monolithic hive-mind that seeks to oppress and abuse women under the guidance of some mysterious group called "The Patriarchy".

It's unfortunate for many men's advocates that PUA (pickup artist) terminology has become intertwined with men's issues. I find that such a mindset (which starts with some valid observations) ends up demeaning both men as well as women. Men are grouped into alpha/beta (and so on), and having sex with as many women as possible is the ultimate goal. Such a crass attitude indeed harms true intimacy and only further antagonizes women, resulting in yet more hostility and mistrust toward men.

The whole area of "men's issues" and MRAs is composed of many individuals with differing viewpoints and is, like many other groups, far from perfect. Men may struggle with resentment and rage at times, yet they have few outlets and little guidance in modern Western culture that is male-positive and constructive. Men and boys don't have large organizations dedicated to their welfare as do women and girls, and are left to fend for themselves if they don't accept the mainstream opinion that they are collectively to blame for the world's problems. In such a vacuum, men struggle as individuals to create a narrative that is realistic and fair to both sexes. Hopefully in the future we can all move toward such a goal.

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i agree

I agree with both comments...

There are some things to agree with here. And I think this is a sign that the men's rights activists are having an impact.

She did concur there are problems for men and she did shine a light on possible paths.

The fact that she never got beyond her feminism is really a sign that we are changing the narrative.

She has not yet confronted the toxicity of feminism, but that is inevitable.

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One observation

Sex is now de-regulated, as the author observes, and that means all women bring to a relationship is sex. Women complain that men see women as sexual objects--yet women offer nothing more in a relationship than sex. If a relationship is not leading to, say, marriage, there is little reason for a man to invest any more in a relationship than what is necessary to get the woman to bed--because there's going to be nothing more in the relationship. Women aren't offering any more. Men are simply adapting to what women are offering.

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Tangentially related

From: How Women in Media Missed the Women’s Vote

'Remember: it wasn’t very long ago that journalists were scuffed-shoed beat reporters—almost all of them men. Their siblings and cousins were nurses, cops, and firemen. They were both the sons, and the interpreters, of America’s vast blue-collar middle class.

But in recent decades, journalism has become an enclave of the college-educated, inhabited by the sons and daughters of lawyers and professors who can afford to help them during their many years on campus, in graduate school, and working at internships and low-paying entry jobs in New York, Washington, and other luxury cities. By the outset of the 2000s, a majority of fledgling educated journalists were women—or, more specifically, relatively well-off, Title IX-empowered women thoroughly indoctrinated in the history of white-male wrongdoing.

Of course, journalism had attracted prominent, educated Second Wave feminists (those who waged the battles of the 1960s and 1970s). Both Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem started their careers in the media. But this new cohort was lucky enough to graduate just as the Internet began taking over the public conversation. The web was the perfect petri dish for developing the voices and politics of the young women who would become feminism’s Third Wave. Where once the young and naïve writer had to apprentice herself to seasoned media veterans at establishment publications, now she might well find her first job in the new-media adventure park. Instead of submitting to the traditional discipline of old-style “objective” journalism, she could help remake the blah, blah, blah into something more personal, irreverent—and activist.'

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