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The problem of masculinity, in men’s words

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oca250

Maybe just maybe after decades of record breaking criticism of masculinity, the real problem isn’t that we don’t criticize it enough. Maybe the criticism is what's causing “toxic masculinity” to spike. Just a thought.

HopefulObserver

Would this play happen in France? In Justin Trudeau's Quebec (speaking of a guy with a problematic father)? In "Hamilton"'s Latin Carribean take on the "Founding Fathers" (not to be confused with the actual Framers of the US Constitution - and its historical antecedents in Shakespeare's English Midlands)? Methinks not. Voila, on peut comprendre English Midlands-driven Brexit from the Frenchman-driven EU.

The "Anglo-Saxon feminists" (Catherine DeNeuve's term for English women lawyers) who've been warning for years that the EU was badly framed - and that women in particular (even Scottish women!) would choose English law over the Giscard d'Estaing-driven craptacular "European Constitution", were ignored.

guest-ajalease

The progressive left wants to remove gender differences and emasculate men because they hate biology. Yes, that's right. They resent what God gave to them and have a twisted desire to usurp His decisions about their existence. These nutmegs are so selfish that they hate the fact that they cannot chose their own sex, heredity, sexual preferences, race, body type, intelligence, or even the food that they like or pretend to like. Overcome with pathological urges to control everything--including themselves and everyone around them--they refuse to admit that biology plays an important role in determining who and what you are. No, just because it's Wednesday, you cannot decide to be a girl, wear a plaid skirt, and skip into the women's rest room.
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In the recent "olden days" when sanity tended to prevail, natural law determined your general fate. Individuality was rightly restricted to the confines of your race, gender (two), and intellect. Women were women and men were men. It was a wonderful thing.
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Today, the progressive left has confused everything. They have muddled academia to the point where academic achievement is a thing of the past and has nothing to do with higher education or intellectual development. The SJWs have confused academics with supporting a leftist cause. They have even confused sexual identity to a state lower than primitive New Guinea mud dwellers. These pathological tautological confused and socially schizophrenic miscreants have relegated sexual differentiation to nothing less than canine butt sniffing. Their alarming rejection of thousands of years of natural selection has revealed a dysfunction normally addressed with careful psychiatric care. But in today's society, these sickos seem to control social media and the main stream news outlets.
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This social sickness will not last. From an evolutionary perspective, it is a flash in the temporal pan, a dead ended aberration that will burn itself out and get buried in the sediments of time. Unfortunately for the rabid and extreme left, these radical social trends will not last as they pit their absurd notions of reality against the pervasive and dominant forces of nature that support what most of us define as normal. Have fun lefties, the party is nearly over.

6gFd2NNAE8

Hi there,

The problem of masculinity, in men’s words.... coming from a relatively young man, such as myself born in Dar es salaam however raised in Holland, I reckon is a very vague... with concepts such as alpha male not to mention beta male.... I think society and your upbringing defines whether one is a man or not. For starters men were considered hunter gathers, fending for the woman and child or children was seen as a key determining factor to whether one was considered a man.

However, these days in the 21st century, men and the what makes a man, is misconstrued. You can be a man, if you stay at home... and take care of children or be a traditional approach such as jobs and providing for the family. Women nowadays, along with television have their own view on what makes a man these days. Men and what makes one has been thrown around loosely.

In my opinion, being a man is not just showing masculinity or doing manly stuff.... being a man is being able to take care of yourself, in so many ways. Standing on your own feet, or just being able to defend those you care about, taking more responsibility.... being mature, in touch with oneself. Whether work wise or in social context.

Being a man, is not necessarily, about how many women, you get with, or being flashy, showing how macho one is. It is being able to respect, and when one says respect I mean, a total understanding of others. It’s not purely economical, it is not how much money or clout you have.

James Dobrev

I wonder how many of the negative commenters on here have, in the past, mentioned the issue of male suicide in reaction to a specific feminist event or movement.

The disproportionate amount of male suicide is caused by our society's toxic norms about how men are expected to act and express (or repress) their emotions, an issue raised in this play and this review.

Would these commenters who pretend to care about male mental health now refuse to try to solve the problem just because solving male suicide means supporting ideas and movements typically regarded as "feminist"?

ashbird in reply to James Dobrev

In the beginning, what was known by the name "feminism" was the simple idea that women ought to enjoy the right of egality via the means of economic egality (Simone de Beauvoir, 1908 -1986). Economic egality meant the ability to make a living independent of a man. What was necessary to give rise to economic egality was equal right to EDUCATION.
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With economic egality comes social egality and political egality (cf. women suffrage movement) , so that the days of being a second-class citizens by virtue of being born a "second-class gender" is no more.
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That was ALL. Still is, unless the concept is misused.
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I don't know whom you are pointing your finger at by "commenters who pretend to care about male mental health".
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I have, in the capacity of a board-certified clinician and neuropsychologist, personally treated many male patients who suffer from severe depression, indeed, a good number of them suicidal.
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I have also worked on suicide hotline in a few counties in one state.
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Many of the men who were my patients lost their family in an acrimonious divorce where they would lose the house, the car if there was only one, the kids, and sometimes the dogs too.
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I do not pretend to care. I care. Enough to make a lot pf noise on this TE site about what I perceive as anti-male bias based on some of the articles it publishes. I have written many comments where I advocate equality means equality, not more equality for one over the other.
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I need not here speak about what was disclosed to me by my male patients, nor the clinical technique to guide them out of depression. This forum is no place to begin that exploration. You either believe what I say to you or you don't. It is immaterial to me either way.
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Suffice it to say the "feminism" we see in the last 5 to 10 years reminds me a lot of reverse discrimination in affirmative action in racial discrimination.
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When I see a case of inequity, I protest it. I do the same in whether the issue is racism or feminism, in the latter case at the the risk of raising the ire of various obnoxious name-calling males (the present blog provides exquisite examples, and they come from men), and losing the trust of females.
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I think any ordinary decent person, male or female, if they are sufficiently adult, should know this much: DO NOT take out whatever personal anger there is on a target who neither deserves it or elicits it. That behavior has nothing to do with feminism or not-feminism. It has to do with not being civilized, male or female.
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The number for suicide hotline is 1-800-273-8255. Website suicidepreventionlifeline.org. The lifeline is 24-7, free and confidential. A caller can request to speak with a male or female, or if the person is gay, speak with a gay person. The line is staffed by all.

James Dobrev in reply to ashbird

It sounds like you highjacked my comment to make a good point but a point that is unrelated to what I was saying.

There is a lot of good in what you said, but, regardless, it is ironic to see men call other men "man-hating feminazis" for caring about oppressive gender norms that harm men, just because these ideas happen to line up with branches of "feminism" (in quotes like in my original comment because the discussion about what is or isn't feminism is irrelevant here) that they despise.

These people who prefer to attack men trying to solve the problem only perpetuate that problem.

You talk about patients who lost their family, their house. Well, what I see every day on the internet are men saying that these people should just "man-up", even if on the next post they'll bring up the problem of male suicide, but purely as a tool to dismiss women's problems and their idea of what "feminism" is.

They hate that "liberals" (another term used rather liberally) want to end the shaming of male sensitivity, thinking that it somehow translates into the castration of men (a word that you'll find in this very comment section), completely oblivious that this traditional structure of society they support is the cause for many of the problems men face every day.

ashbird in reply to James Dobrev

I truly appreciate your reply, @James Dobrev. It gives me a chance to clarify a couple of things.
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First, my profound apologies for sounding like I hijacked your comment. That was not the intent at all. Second, I don't frequent the internet all that much, so I didn't know what people write there on the subject.
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Here are more of my views, if you would permit me.
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Men, as a collective group, get few and little support. I personally see that as an evolving FACT in our society. They are expected, as you put it, to "man up". I personally don't know what "man up" means, just as I wouldn't know what "woman up" means if someone were to say: "woman up". The closest support they ever get from their peer group, to my knowledge, is go in a bar and get drunk together.
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Men also, again as a collective group, do not talk about their feelings (heaven forfend, that's "not manly"). Many do not have the vocabulary to address feelings (I am saying even in private). As a result, the only thing they experience is anger, which they act out, either by suicide or homicide. This is, of course, a gross simplification of the road from normality to abnormality, assuming or accepting both suicide and homicide are indicative of a pathological process gone the entire distance to the ultimate end.
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I cannot agree with you more on "completely oblivious that this traditional structure of society they support is the cause for many of the problems men face every day." That's right! As a result of this traditional structure, they are caught in a double-bind which rope to untie it is in their own hands.
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The sensitivity of male can be found in a lot of good literature in all languages. The most sublime of poetry, the most heart-aching of - sorry, have to use the word, there is no substitute - intimate *feelings*. The best transcends all expressions of narcissistic conflicts, for indeed, these men have reached a state of inner serenity, which is what mental health is about.
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I hope it is OK I shared some of my perspectives with you in the above manner. Men are good. So are women. Neither need to fight tooth and nail at the end of the day. For that matter, at the beginning.
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Again, appreciate your thoughts and comments.

guest-aawnaajn in reply to ashbird

You are the salt of this Earth.
I can very easily relate to everything you say.
Back in 2009 I was at the university and studied the art history. As much as I enjoyed classics, I had one compulsory course in modern art through a feminist lens. As much as I disagreed with my tutor almost at any point raised by her, I was frequently silenced and ostracised. I am a white, straight male who in the eyes of my over 80% female classmates, was tremendously privileged by dint of my gender/race.
It didn't matter to them that I was an immigrant from Eastern Europe who would argue against Marxist notions of equality and come from a country which forcefully experienced the so called communism for 44 years after the second world war.
I passed the course within 2.2 thresholds but the amount of indoctrination I had to spew out during my exams was beyond pale.
The worst part is that the feminists are gloating in the light of male misery, they really see it as a zero-sum game where our suffering is an award for years of their reputed "oppression".
Never again.
If I ever have my kids ambitious enough to go to university and read some degree in humanities, I am calling the administration and ask them if there is going to be any kind of ideological "equalitarian" indoctrination of my kids taking place. The education is too expensive today to let yourself be screwed over by the vile professors of gender/female studies.

sanmartinian in reply to ashbird

to ashbird on slowly getting back to my average level of activity here
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Your two comments above are among the best you have written, and that is saying a lot. Enough said.
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I was born when the whole word accepted men as men, women as women, end of story. Prejudices and injustices galore.
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In the early sixties, I was one of the first men to join the feminist movements in the USA, and as a consequence, I suffered some criticism from my women friends which amused me. I gave up active support because of lack of time and the usual silly exaggerations such as women burning their bras and defying men to beat them at tennis. I did think of burning my underpants, but then I am a shy person and didn't.
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A bit vaingloriously, I've always been very proud of the judgement I made in my late teens or early twenties:
Women and men are equal in dignity and usefulness to humankind. They have precisely the same rights to their independence, freedom, and benefit or their rewards. To copy a well-divulged document, both have equal rights to pursue their happiness. Including that of acting as members of the other sex in any sphere if so is their preference.
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But different they are and thank God for that. The world would be very dull in more than one issue if the two sexes were wholly alike.
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So please let's act in full tolerance to differences and difference to be different as long as we don't harm others and even ourselves. But let's keep common sense and moderation: the two genders are different both physically and psychologically. And let's be thankful for that: acceptance of this simple fact somehow builds happiness.

ashbird in reply to guest-aawnaajn

Hi @aawnaajn,
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Thank you for your reply. I am so glad, so very glad I was able to communicate the point I wished to make. It means a lot to me. I have a father (doesn't everybody?) and 3 brothers. And a mother, and 2 sisters. It is very easy for me to put myself in all of their shoes. I am also extremely lucky my dad loved my mom and my mom loved my dad (they are both deceased now). I do not believe in "original sin". I believe in "original examples (or role models)". My mom and dad gave me all the education I needed to understand the "plight", so to speak, of being a man and a woman.
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It pains me equally to see a man mistreated and a woman mistreated. The mistreatment has got nothing to do with any "-ism". It has to do with basic human decency. That is all. Basic human decency is gender-blind, as it is color-blind.
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Why people got all stuck up with all kinds of "-isms" and as a result get mad and take out their madness on innocent targets is something I have spent decades observing and studying and eventually "treating", where folks would get so mad they literally end up crazy.
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Craziness is also gender-blind and color-blind. That really sums up how "God" is fair, if one believes in "God".
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I hope your life after that art history class, one infused and suffused with the speech of a "tutor" who would go the extent of ostracizing a male person in the class has now moved away from all the unpleasantness, and your view of women has been restored to "normal" (for lack of a better word), not "damaged" by the stupid tutor. That's very important - not damaged by some of life's "shocks" along the way between cradle and grave. "Damage" means you have not become a woman-hater on account of one bad experience with one representative of the female gender. Chin up. Not "man up". All best to you. :)
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ashbird in reply to sanmartinian

Hi dear sanmartinian,
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hahahaha! So good to hear from you! Glad you like those 2 posts.
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The one thing I still am trying to fathom regarding this genderism thing is why a woman, for the sake of Gender Equality, would want to act like a man???? Is that not at the outset the firmest statement conceding a woman has to be a man in order to be "equal"? And they call that "equality"!
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So many fights we see every day are so unnecessary. They are outright silly. As I said in some previous posts over the years, people are angry but don't know what they are angry about. So they keep going in a circle in a ritual dance called the "-Ism Dance". Any time they are angry, just make up a new "-ism" and start fighting over it.
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Glad you didn't burn your underpants. :)
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guest-amjssian

Those who use the term toxic masculinity pejoratively are always coming from feminism as it is the male feminist gender-role to pretend to be an Insider or relate with other men merely to act as a trumpet for feminism. They are deliberate pseudo Representatives often coming from feminism's activist puppet discipline of "masculinities" what you merely uses radical male feminist who have a distinct for men generally as a pseudo representative.. they never use random samples but select from the man who say whatever they want them to.

Beware of men who all the sudden talk about showing one's emotions or feeling liberated for being feminine.. beware of anybody who speaks in terms of multiple masculinities. That's always from the enemy.

guest-amjssian

Those who use the term toxic masculinity pejoratively are always coming from feminism as it is the male feminist gender-role to pretend to be an Insider or relate with other men merely to act as a trumpet for feminism. They are deliberate pseudo Representatives often coming from feminism's activist puppet discipline of "masculinities" what you merely uses radical male feminist who have a distinct for men generally as a pseudo representative.. they never use random samples but select from the man who say whatever they want them to.

Beware of men who all the sudden talk about showing one's emotions or feeling liberated for being feminine.. beware of anybody who speaks in terms of multiple masculinities. That's always from the enemy.

guest-amjssian

Toxic masculinity is a radical feminist construct was just used to be called masculinity and such men who talk about it like that are merely pseudo Representatives speaking on behalf of anti males.

guest-aansjeom

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Sempervirens

Compare the messages boys and girls are given growing up:
For girls:
You go girl! You can have it all. You can do anything a boy can do, better in fact. You can be the next president. You can be an astronaut. Challenge men. Belittle them. And if you kick them in the balls, everyone will laugh. Your vagina is a work of art and we have a whole theatrical production to celebrate it. You can get shitfaced drunk, have sex with some total stranger and its not your fault, you were raped!
For Boys:
Shut up, sit down, stand back and give girls your place you genocidal rapist. Everything wrong is your fault, from slavery on down. How dare you make a comment about an attractive woman? You rapist. Your penis is ugly, don't ever show it to anyone. Girls are allowed to hit you and you can never hit back. Everything your forefathers built is due to male privilege and is thus tainted by it, Quit mansplaining and go away!
Society has treated men like shit and is now surprised when men act out in return. #RepulseGynarchy

ashbird

The headline of this article: "The Problem.....", not its text, as many other headlines that TE is in the habit of producing as click-baits, is gratuitously divisive.
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You deliberately put men on the defensive, when there is absolutely no such need, nor does the text of the article even point to that need.
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Same on you, TE headline writers. When will you cease your ceaseless men-bashing?? You call that "Liberalism", eh?? You defile the word.
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Once upon a time, everybody had a father. Not true? A father is a man, not true? Should every woman - you call them "feminists" - hate their father? You do not promote your cause, TE. You demote it.

California Man

Why is it that Liberals are so unhappy with men and masculinity? Why are they so angry with the precise characteristics that built our culture and our society?
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Liberals insist of feminizing their own male young. It's the best way to guarantee that they'll be both ineffective and useless as adults.

Bravo!
As a gay man, I couldn't agree more. Liberalising types have managed to destroy and dumb-down our societies which have taken millennia to develop. So what, if a few men take advantage of others, that is a consequence of the damage wrought upon societies by pathetic political correctness and it does not describe the vast majority of us. For too long, female submission has encouraged such behaviour, in manipulating their prey for selfish motives.

oca250

What's causing "toxic masculinity" is precisely the neglect of traditional conventions of masculinity, the degrading and ridiculing of such in our culture. And so "dysfunctional masculinity" is the result: you reap what you sow, or in this case you have what you always wanted feminists. More things to complain about and an excuse to step up attacks on masculinity in general which will drive a vicious cycle of dysfunctional masculinity, more criticism, ad infinitum.

guest-theritz

If it is so that 105 males are born for every 100 females, perhaps boys are made for risky activities like hunting, fighting and impressing the girls. Civilization is only 5,000 years old, and I think it obvious that our physical evolution is not aligned with our cultural evolution. How to change that except, as we have, through a slow process of adjustment escapes me.

vWETbdcFLU

Women are frequently criticised in public discourse. Until political correctness took hold, they were criticised quite savagely. And even thought today most avoid open denunciations of women as weak and stupid, the subtle insinuations are always there. When women complain, we are told to toughen up, stop being a princess, and be mature enough to accept a frank exchange of worldviews.

So to all those complaining about "anti-male" bias, I will now play the worlds smallest violin.

guest-ommeoli

Gosh, what is up with The Economist now? They're at two articles like this a day.

It's funny how this "toxic masculinity" bullshit always put nothing into perspective. Men do bad things, but men still do the vast majority of society's back-breaking and dangerous labour, drive most innovation, pay more taxes and write lots of novels and poetry, so clearly emotions are not *really* out of their league either. What do they get in return? Basically, their tax dollars pays for 0 programs tailored to help them and dozens of millions of dollars for feminists to demonize them. I don't think I've ever heard anything positive said about men in the media in my entire adult lifetime. Y'know, maybe *that* could be the problem? Plays like this don't help, they're part of the problem.

KillingSpree

"These horrors would once have been thought of as separate issues. Now many file them under toxic masculinity, the inevitable result of narrow conventions of manhood which limit male behaviour to dominance, violence and sexual aggression. There is a creeping sense that something is profoundly wrong with the institution of masculinity, skewing men’s perception of the lives they are expected to live. It is hurting women and children, and it is hurting men. Where is this toxicity coming from? How can it be stopped? "

Also, classify this under anti-male dirge

ashbird

Very nice. I wish I could be in London on June 23rd to see the play.
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Men, for the most part, are culturally programmed to suppress their emotions, be they joy, sadness, exuberance, despair or hope. It is as if owning any of these common human emotions is a point of character weakness. Forget about tears, that is most un-Rambo. So what else is there left that is permitted but strange anger directed at illogical targets?
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This state of affair, I quote, "... is hurting women and children, and it is hurting men." Glad the writer includes "men". in fact, men are the ultimate victims.
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How can it be stopped? Not that hard. Just change the visage of what is sexy. Not Rambo.

Swiss Reader in reply to ashbird

Yes ashbird, you are quite right: Change the visage of what is sexy! If women want men to behave in a certain way, they should reward them with their favours accordingly. It's supply and demand - men will try to do what's needed to get the girl. Unfortunately many girls keep falling for the Rambo thing, thereby encouraging men to emulate the macho ways who apparently give success.
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Just look, how many women voted for Mr. Trump, or Mr. Berlusconi? And those nice fellows aren't even sporting Rambo-like looks, just the macho attitude.
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The sad truth is that there are about as many stupid chicks as idiotic machos, and one encourages the other.

ashbird in reply to Swiss Reader

Yes Swiss Reader, "The sad truth is that there are about as many stupid chicks as idiotic machos, and one encourages the other." I could not agree with you more!!! It is very very sad. Much as I am a woman and am inclined to close ranks when women issues come up, on this, I I00% agree with you. Men stupidly allow women to mold them into these idiotic fighting bulls, charging at a signal color when it is waved about in front of their field of vision. It takes two to tangle in that game, and who is the controlling side? Not the bull. Nay, in this game, women are the perpetrator, men the victim. This is not politically correct to say. I will get a thousand spears thrown at me by women. But I will keep saying it. Men need to be smarter in gender politics, not by doubling down on the blind bull act, but by *quitting it* and using their brain a little. I also cannot abide by this notion that men and women are somehow born foes - the message something called "feminism" proselytizes. Men and women are born to love each other; in the end, they have only one another; they both were chased out of Eden, right? So, be friends! It's that simple.

KillingSpree

If this is just one of those wrong-headed schemes to convince men to be less stoic by people who then take advantage of men for being less stoic then I am not interested, as should every other well-adjusted man.