Note: This post mentions toxic behaviour by men in it and discusses it in what I hope is an understanding and open way. Over the last year I’ve seen lots of examples of men’s toxic behaviour online and decided I’d needed to get this off my chest.
Don’t you hate it when as a guy you’re involved with a woman and then all of a sudden she doesn’t acknowledge you anymore? She replies that she’s not interested, then stops replying and maybe even reports you to the authorities online for harassment. Course you know the real truth, she’s a lesbian. She just couldn’t handle your masculinity and decided you know what “I’m gonna turn gay”.
Or maybe, you as a guy go online and you see people talking about women’s day everywhere. Hashtags everywhere about women’s mental health, there problems and their issues. You think to yourself “when is men’s day though”? “Why don’t us guys ever get any recognition. All these ‘feminazis’ are talking about women’s rights, equality and mental health and you know what, men are dying every day”.
One last example I swear! Maybe you’re a guy, who cares about mental health awareness and promotes it online everywhere. You know, you’re one of the “nice guys”, not one of those arseholes out for sex. You actually care. In fact you care so much, you Direct Message (DM) women you see in trouble. You DM them every day to see how they are and let them know you’re there for them. But you only ever DM women, not guys, you don’t know why but you just do. Often though the women you’re messaging don’t reply back, so you have to keep messaging them. Until that is they tell you to stop or block you, which is kind of rude as you were only trying to help them even if you were messaging them morning, noon and night.
I think I’ve tired myself out there with all these examples. Anyway, chances are you can recognise someone who’s done this right? This is toxic masculinity in all its glory. Sometimes it’s obvious (guys with dick pics for example) but sometimes it’s subtle like badgering women through direct messages and invading their online privacy.
Male mental health accounts set up with the express idea to promote mental health awareness for guys. Sounds a good idea right? Men are killing themselves at a rate of 84 per week and we have to do something.
You know what that something doesn’t include though? Spending all of women’s awareness day trashing women, moaning about why men don’t have a day (when they bloody do!) and using your platform to encourage hate on women.
Do men doing this not see the irony? Sure, make things worse for men, by making us all look like complete wankers only using mental illness to attack women and bring out tired cliches of ‘feminazis’ taking over and letting men die.
It’s not all guys though is it?
Oh boy, do I love this one. So much so, when I die I want “here lies Peter, he was one of the nice guys and not like the others” written on my tomb.
Alright joking aside, this phrase is absolute trash and anyone saying needs to be educated on its toxicity. The argument seems to be that because you yourself have never done anything therefore you are exempt from needing to be educated or told about men’s toxic behaviour. Well obviously we all need to be continually educated otherwise our viewpoints become outdated.
Alongside this, I would highly doubt that you actually don’t know any women who haven’t been affected by this behaviour. Maybe not from you, but from others and you will undoubtedly have met women who’ve been victims of men’s behaviour, so your actions matter too. Not only that, but inaction and doing nothing which seems to often be the example these “not all guys” people trot out, is at best worthless and at worst validating the toxic behaviour. Doing nothing isn’t a way out, in fact it’s an endorsement by proxy.
As the wonderful Lindsay at Seeds in the Wasteland wrote: “I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again. It doesn’t matter if you nor anyone you know has committed an act of violence towards women – although I will hasten to add that you probably know more perpetrators than you realise. It may not be ‘all men’, but it is all women. Did you think of that?”
Women everywhere are scared, angry, tired and upset about the behaviour of men, whether it’s as up front as sending a nude image or more sneakier by constantly messaging without reply and taking advantage of vulnerability (such as mental illness) for their own gains.
This needs to be called out by more men and more men need to step up and step away from tired cliches of “not all guys” or “I’m one of the good guys”. As the amazing Lindsay also wrote (and honestly you should just read the whole post at this rate): “Your reward for being a decent human being is not a woman. We are not prizes for you to earn by displaying good behaviour. Either we like you or we don’t.”
Men also need to stop trashing women through the lens of caring about men’s mental health or caring about men’s rights. You don’t care about equality or support for mental illness if you are happy to bash one whole half of society in your agenda.
If you read on this far, well done! I’m sure my writing on this topic can be far better and far more nuanced than it is. Hell if I can do a better job, either on here or elsewhere let me know and I’m happy to improve.
For now though here’s a quick guide to remember around respecting women and calling out toxic male behaviour:
- Respect women’s privacy, their respect their rights to not be harassed and just basically exercise human kindness and respect to them. You shouldn’t have to imagine they’re your mum or sister to do so, but if it helps go for it.
- Care about support for mental illness across the board, not just for men. Definitely don’t bash women for not supporting it as you can’t claim to care about equality by doing this.
- Always ask consent. For anything really. If consent isn’t given then respect it and move on.
- Don’t use tired cliches when women discuss men’s toxic behaviour. Instead support them and recognise their anger and their viewpoint. Don’t shut them down.
- Educate yourself and recognise you can always improve, always learn more and be happy to do so. Don’t be happy with your own lot and think you’re fine. There is always room to learn more and understand more.
Hopefully this is good as said, please do feel free to leave a comment if you feel I need to raise something I haven’t here, or need to learn more on a certain topic. There will likely be more posts like this in a similar vein as over the last year I’ve seen some disturbing and toxic behaviour by men.
Thank you for reading and have a lovely day,