You may have heard the term toxic masculinity a lot more recently, which is great because it means people are talking about and challenging what it means to "be a man". You will have undoubtedly come up against toxic masculinity in your life, regardless of your gender identity or sexual orientation.
So what is toxic masculinity? The phrase, as expertly explained by Urban Dictionary is "A social science term that describes narrow repressive type of ideas about the male gender role, that defines masculinity as exaggerated masculine traits like being violent, unemotional, sexually aggressive, and so forth. Also suggests that men who act too emotional or maybe aren’t violent enough or don’t do all of the things that 'real men' do, can get their 'man card' taken away."
Women took to a recent Reddit thread to share their most outrageous stories of toxic masculinity, whether they experienced it in romantic relationships, within their family, or at work. And, just, wow...
1. "My SO refuses to use sunscreen. Is skin cancer manly? Have to surprise smear it on his face like he's a toddler."
2. "I had a bf who thought any form of non-sexual affection was 'gay', and so would want to have sex any time he was sad or whatever. It was years after we broke up that I had a lightbulb moment and realised why he got so pushy about sex because it was the only affection he ever got."
3. "Had a male flatmate refuse to put a plaster on his finger, which was dripping blood on my kitchen counter. His reasoning? 'Because I'm not a little bitch'."
"What's wrong with owning and using a fucking bag?"
4. "A man refused to use an umbrella in the rain because it had a phallic shape and he didn’t want to appear as if he were 'holding a penis'."
5. "My boyfriend's brother keeps making fun of my boyfriend because he uses this leather messenger bag, and keeps telling my boyfriend that it's a handbag, implying it's feminine (and even if it was, what's wrong with that?) Like, what are men supposed to do if they don't want to carry stuff in their pockets? What's wrong with owning and using a fucking bag?"
6. "On one first (and last) date, I was very aggressively told that I wasn’t to wear heels if I ever saw him again - he was short, I’m tall. When I told him I wasn’t happy for my sartorial choices to be dictated by a virtual stranger, his response was that I 'look like a man in drag' in heels and he didn’t want anyone who saw us together thinking he was gay."
7. "I asked a customer to sign something and handed him a pink pen I had taken from the bank. He wouldn't use it, he seriously asked around for another pen."
8. "My friend wanted to sell a really huge stack of games, and she was carrying them in an Ariel from The Little Mermaid tote bag. She gave it to [her boyfriend] so he could go sell them for her and he literally took all of the games out and carried the huge stack of them to the counter because he didn't want to be seen carrying his girlfriend's Ariel tote bag for five seconds."
9."A coworker who refused to use a pink stapler."
"Many men see getting a massage as a 'girl thing'"
10. "Dated a guy. Two weeks in he took my phone while I was asleep and went through every single message, account, old pictures, etc. He found old flirty messages from 2015 with a guy who was clearly physically bigger/stronger than him and lost his shit. Locked himself in the bathroom with my phone while I pounded on the door yelling at him to give it back and let me leave."
11. "My older brother refusing to play with his three-year-old daughter by wearing her wigs (she has alopecia) because 'wigs are for girls'."
12. "As a massage therapist, I’m always shocked at how many men see getting a massage as a 'girl thing'. One actually told me that if his friends found out, they’d take his 'man card' away. Because if it’s not a rub and tug, it’s something only women do. I also see a lot of men who refuse to see a male therapist because, 'I don’t want some guy rubbing on me'. They’re often the same ones who don’t want their female partner seeing a male therapist."
13. "Went on a Tinder date. We played a basketball game together, I beat him by a LOT. He got so mad about it he decided the date was over."
14. "My ex husband didn’t laugh when I made a joke. Women can’t be funny."