Masculinity means the traits, characteristics and qualities that we associate with men. By Toxic we mean harmful or poisonous. Toxic Masculinity in this context means those characteristics or qualities of men that are harmful to women or society in general.
Firstly, we will discuss the hurdles and then the possible solutions.
Hurdles in stopping Toxic Masculinity:
Firstly, we will discuss the hurdles in stopping Toxic Masculinity. The discussion is particularly in the context of Pakistani society and the world in general.
- The lack of mutual understanding between parents towards upbringing of their children.
- The burden of children upbringing only on the shoulder of the mother (wife) but she cannot decide what is best for her children.
- The burden of children’ mistakes, failures and bad habits on mother while father prefers to enjoy the success.
- The interference of grandparents, especially from father side. Mostly in Pakistan, there is a joint family system. The grandparents stop the mother to scold the child for bad behaviours, as they think the child belongs to them and they have more right than the mother.
- The toxic masculinity forcefully injects in the male child by giving him the special treatment which his sisters are not getting.
- The small household chores that can make both male and female child a useful person later in their lives is associated with femininity. A male child mind is prepared by everyone to not get a glass of water for himself.
- He does what he sees and he follows the same as what he sees in his father. If a man lends a helping hand to his wife and does not scold her in front of everyone. There are high chances, the child will follow his father footsteps or if he does the opposite, the child will follow the same.
- In our society, daughters are usually taught to stay away from strangers, be careful while walking on the road, lower their gazes, wear modest clothes, do not talk loud even in the house, do not express their anger. On the other hand, a male child is not even taught to respect the opposite gender.
- Before marriage, a girl is taught everything. The girl’s mother tries to make her a perfection so that there will be no problem after marriage. She is taught to be silent if there would be any misbehave from in-laws or husband in future. She is taught about the rights of her husband. On the other side, no one makes their son sit and tell him about the rights of a wife. Even his own mother never teach him what she has gone through. We feel shy to discuss many matters with sons and they teach it from the outer world, from that world that is not true.
- While gossiping (after listening to any incident), people put every blame on a woman. Be it some harassment case, marital problem, rape incident or anything on earth. This thing is instilled in our mind and even after centuries, we are unable to change it. This thing produces toxic masculinity.
- The mentality of “woman should be careful in every matter as he is the man and it is in his nature to destroy everything” is one of the reasons for toxic masculinity.
In this scenario, if a man treats his wife good, knows what he is doing, give freedom to his wife about the children upbringing, discuss matters and problems with her, this is a great thing.
How we can stop Toxic Masculinity:
- Firstly, we need to stop feeding male child mind that he is superior. Children feel everything, they know who you are treating better or worse. Times has changed no doubt, but this inequality produces toxic Masculinity.
- Secondly, children should learn basic home chores skills without gender discrimination. This will not only help mothers but also it will be good for their future lives. It will also make them understand that no chore is big or small.
- Thirdly, parents should stop arguing in front of their children. They should stop making each other feel inferior in front of their children. Children should know that their parents love and respect each other and they cannot take advantage of anything. The reason is, if one partner disrespect another in front of family or children, that person loses its worth and no one will listen to them.
- Fourth, we should stop associating anger with a male or male child. Anger devour wisdom and it snatches the ability to take the right decision. It is bad for both genders and it should be taken seriously in both cases.
- Fifth, a male child should also encourage to express love and care emotions. We should stop putting every blame on man’s nature and make our male child learn how respectfully he can express his love emotions. A man learns how to express hate and anger freely but in the case of love and care, he does not learn to express.
- Sixth, as a member of society, we should stop blaming girls in every matter while gossiping about people. We should prefer to be silent on matters that we do not know instead of blaming women.
- Seventh, Parents should give each other enough time to discuss the matters about their children and agree on a point with mutual discussion.
- Eight, respect your spouse and there are high chances that your male child will learn to respect others while growing up.
- Nine, try your best and then leave him to decide what is best for him (for a child). Do not fight with your spouse because of your child. You both are together in celebrating success and you should be strong against failures.
Note: We are not stereotyping the gender role or men, however, this is what we can see in the common household of Pakistan or in any other society.