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leftous wrote (edited )

I actually think one of the ways that men are hindered from loving their "femininity" is the fact it is put in gendered terms.

Whenever I talk to cis men about this, I am able to get through to them using terms such as emotional intelligence, or understanding. This frames it in terms of the skill it is, rather than something they dont identify as (feminine). Then I can point out where these skills would have been applicable in their personal life. If I use gendered terminology, they immediately think that the basic compassion and sensitivity I am describing isn't for them. Moreover describing toxic traditional behavior and beliefs as "masculine" encourages men to identify with, and moreover euphemizes these negative traits as "being a real man".

I would say finding ways to use gender neutral terms is really the first step to getting men to recognize these conditioned negative traits and how they can develop their "feminine" skills.


selver wrote

On the other hand, confronting the uncomfortability with the gendered term is probably part of the project men need to undertake anyway, isn't it?

I was actually going to make a post about that earlier today, is there a decent list of resources for learning that stuff? A podcast I listen to has got me thinking about toxic male behaviour a lot lately.


leftous wrote (edited )

Absolutely, men need to face this.

However, immediately confronting men with "feminine" terms is the equivalent of telling a liberal "you have to join the proletariat struggle". These are charged terms that will immediately activate their conditioned defenses. Similarly, toxic masculinity has built in defense mechanisms to counter perceived femininity, e.g. reactively questioning someone's sexuality or strength, discrediting them as "not real men", etc.

I think only once men understand that 'femininity' is not a sign of weakness, fragility, or exclusive to women and instead see its real application - they will be able to confront their conditioned beliefs about it. To give a leftist analogy, it would be like oppressed workers becoming conscious of their exploitation and how organizing can help them. Only once they achieve this consciousness would they come to terms with the fact anti-leftist and anti-union propaganda was a ploy to beat them into submission.

I am not sure about resources on toxic masculinity, but would be interested to learn and read more as well.