Toxic Masculinity describes the idea that men are inherently less emotional than women, as well as being more violent, stronger, and more able to tolerate pain and stress. A man who presents as emotional or un-aggressive is deemed effeminate and weak. This leads to many men repressing their feelings and cutting themselves off from people in times of stress. In the UK, the suicide rate for men is three and a half times that of women. Our ‘boys don’t cry’ mentality is making men feel unable to reach out for help when they need it.
We need to abolish the idea that being ‘strong’ and self-reliant is masculine, and that being emotional is feminine. This is a damaging misconception which is leading to unnecessary suffering. Whatever your gender, you should feel able to express your emotions, and to cry if you need to.
I made this illustration after talking with some of my male friends about how they feel stifled and held back by the patriarchy’s rigid view of masculinity. I wanted to make people think about why we view some traits as effeminate, and why femininity is a bad thing; to challenge our society’s problematic view of gender. I’m looking forward to the day when everyone is true to themselves without feeling like they have to conform to gender stereotypes.