First of all, here's wishing a happy Fathers' Day to all of my readers. Last year, I wrote a post about masculinity, and the worrisome backlash against the advances that women have made in society. To a large extent, it's an online phenomenon, but it periodically manifests itself in the real world, with deadly consequences- most mass shooters have a history of violence against women. Once again, it seems like our society is failing its boys and young men. I was fortunate to grow up in an environment in which the older kids had a protective attitude towards the younger kids... the boy who lived across the street from my grammar school was three years ahead of me in school, and when he was in high school, he would still stop by to make sure that we were all doing well. I won't say that bullying didn't occur, but it was typically nipped in the bud by other kids.
I chose my 'nym years ago as a send-up of tough-guy masculinity... paradoxically, I think it's ridiculous while being able to draw upon it on those rare occasions when it's handy (sometimes, coming across as someone who'd be perfectly happy to rip someone's head off is a useful skill, especially when backed up with the ability to rip someone's head off). Part of me believes that much of the current crisis of masculinity is due to the synergistic effect of poor job prospects, lack of physical activity combined with a toxic gamer culture, pop-cultural depictions of largely-unattainable physiques, and an echo chamber of disaffected misogynists who want to blame women for the woes of young men rather than blaming the effects of the metastatic stage of current capitalism. Thankfully, my brothers, my male cousins, and my friends are involved with their children, and the next generation of my social circle is made up of well-adjusted kids with impressive accomplishments. It's imperative that we, as a society, break this cycle of radicalization.
Men just have to do better, and part of it is making sure that masculinity isn't seen as a straitjacket which limits boys' and men's emotional expressions and life experiences, masculinity shouldn't be monolithic. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: The problem with toxic masculinity is the toxicity, not the masculinity... and we need poison control badly.