toxic stops here

know the signs of toxic masculinity

Being a man doesn't make someone toxic. Being violent, aggressive or abusive does. But, toxic masculinity isn't always easy to spot. It can be as obvious as groping or fistfighting, or as subtle as a leering stare or whispered insult. Here's a quick guide to help you recognize toxic behaviour, so we can all do our part to stop it. 

the signs

  • The idea that “real men” are tough, and showing any emotion (other than anger) emasculates them.

  • The myth that interactions with women should be competitive rather than cooperative.

  • The expectation that “boys will be boys” and they do not need to be held accountable for their actions.

  • The assumption that “real men” cannot be victims of abuse.

  • The perpetuation of rape culture and “locker room” talk.

  • The reinforcement of gender stereotypes which highlight that men are aggressive by nature while women are submissive.

  • The glorification of pimp culture.

the solutions

  • Develop emotional literacy. Don’t get caught up in the flawed perception that you either have “masculine” or “feminine” traits. We all have human qualities that are not separated by gender. It is okay to show emotion!

  • Understand that masculinity is a social construct. There is immense pressure to conform to hypermasculine norms. However, these norms are maintained through the fear of “not fitting in”. If you feel secure in your own body, you can ignore what insecure people have to say.

  • Understand that toughness comes in a variety of forms. Providing emotional support to vulnerable groups of people demonstrates toughness. So does uplifting people who face sexist attacks. You can demonstrate strength in more ways than just having big muscles and a six pack of abs.

  • Be accountable for mistakes you have made in the past and be willing to change. Being accountable requires you to have an internal focus when you make mistakes rather than pointing the finger at others.

  • Understand that abusive behaviour is a choice. Toxic masculinity makes it easier to embrace pro-abuse beliefs. Everyone faces challenges, but abusive people allow themselves to be abusive while non-abusive people do not.

  • Choose mutual respect. Relationships are not competitions. When mutual respect is practiced, both parties can be heard. But if you compete against your partner like it’s a championship game in order to get what you want, there can only be one winner and one loser.

  • Choose compassion & empathy over homophobia & transphobia. To confront toxic masculinity, we can become more inclusive by educating ourselves about gender and sexual diversity.

  • Be an ally in the fight to end violence against women and girls. You can do so by confronting your own male privilege, social norms that support sexism, and oppressive behaviours.

book a workshop today

Our Redefining Masculinity workshops aim to prevent toxic behaviour, encourage bystander intervention, and promote men’s accountability. To book a workshop, click here.