By Nupur Kudapkar and Adam Sarsfield
In 2020, the suicide rate among males transcended females by a ratio of four to one. Society expects young men to be “manly,” to act or believe a certain way, to suppress their emotions, and to tolerate abuse. Furthermore, the American dream predominantly presents to males as a set of ideas in which freedom encompasses the chance for prosperity and success, as well as upward social mobility for the family and children, attained via hard effort in a society with few restrictions. All of which means men’s lack of emotional vulnerability and social upbringing prevent them from evolving into better men.
In a society where norms instruct men to repress their emotions and immerse in toxic masculinity, emotional vulnerability proves tough. Men lack emotional vulnerability since they are generally discouraged from discussing their feelings, which can lead to poor mental health and jeopardize their relationships. Depression, anxiety, and anger issues represent just a few of the numerous consequences of not communicating your feelings. Unsurprisingly, men in society are often times portrayed as utilizing drinking, sex, drugs, and other substances to compensate for the fact that society does not allow them to express their feelings seems quite common. When males suppress their emotions for fear of how others would respond, they ignore their own experiences. This may appear helpful to avoid confrontation and emotional discomfort, but it typically backfires. Proving that denying feelings and failing to speak out can frequently keep men from evolving into emotionally mature men.
Furthermore, men denying their emotions and experiences can threaten their relationships. Many men can corroborate the fact that they come from a line of hardworking men, which can evidently appear as if they have no time to weep over their feelings because they feel as if they should be able to cope on their own as they present themselves as continual workaholics, all of this can jeopardize their relationships. Romantic, family, or friendships- many people may find it hard to connect with men on an emotional level since they struggle to explain their needs and how they are feeling. It can become aggravating and questions such as: Why didn’t you tell me your work stresses you out? Why didn’t you tell me that your past still hurts you? Arise quickly. Many females are portrayed as emotional in today’s society so there are not many social repercussions to sharing them, yet many men are told to hold their feelings in. When men have someone there to help them convey and process such emotions, they can mature emotionally and become better men by utilizing their feelings and processing them rather than repressing them. Although many men mature, some do not change as readily; they frequently rely on trial and error to mature, which proves to be a painful process. Unable to rely on society and loved ones, men who are not allowed to express their feelings, can turn down the road of toxic masculinity.
Toxic masculinity refers to the belief that certain people’s definition of “manliness” encourages control, homophobia, and aggressiveness. Some men enjoy wearing skirts, painting their nails, and applying false lashes, while others enjoy engineering, planes, and cars, yet society only inspects and tears down one of these stereotypes. Toxic masculinity can cause men to become conservative, turning to domestic violence against women they believe have “wronged them.” Making a new generation of boys who will not grow into better men. Andrew Tate, a professional boxer and podcaster who has appeared in the headlines for his toxic masculinity, illustrates what occurs when males lack emotional vulnerability. On his podcast “King of Toxic Masculinity,” he urges his listeners to engage in toxic masculinity, treating women as property and using them for their bodies. His followers consist of many young men who revere him and might later apply his teachings to the women in their lives. Unfortunately, society usually categorizes men into a heterosexual masculine stereotype, dismissing their feelings as invalid; by not allowing men to express themselves and their emotions, they do not progress into more emotionally mature men.