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Started by donttellhimpike on Aug 2, 2021 11:08:31 PM
Toxic Masculinity, my part in its downfall.

Thread for men to discuss negative aspects of being a man, the toxic masculinity most if not all of us have been conditioned into. How we recognise it within ourselves, and what we do to counter it.

Everyone is of course welcome but I would respectfully ask women participating not to offer solutions to any issues raised, I think it would be better for men to think about solving their own problems.

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donttellhimpike - 02 Aug 2021 23:12:35 (#1 of 566)

OK first post.

Crying, how many men here cry openly in front of others?

I was raised like most blokes, to see crying as a sign of weakness, and truth be told I rarely cried. That is until my daughter was born, which seemed to awaken that side of me, and now I cry at every bloody thing, songs, movies, adverts.

I was told by a female patient I was nursing a few months ago that I "was very in touch with my feminine side" and while I appreciated it was a compliment, part of me resents that any tenderness exhibited or expressed by a man is regarded as feminine.

widenation - 02 Aug 2021 23:16:55 (#2 of 566)

I'll well up during emotional moments on film/TV, but can't think of any other times I've actually sobbed as such since childhood. Neither of my parents were 'criers' as such.

widenation - 02 Aug 2021 23:20:04 (#3 of 566)

Even this brings a tear to my eye, despite knowing that it's a totally manipulated production, by a bunch of c*nts (Susan aside):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RxPZh4AnWyk

bossab2 - 02 Aug 2021 23:42:37 (#4 of 566)

I could have spent the last 7.5 years crying.

But it would have achieved nothing.

AdonisBlue - 02 Aug 2021 23:43:56 (#5 of 566)

The older I get the more easily I cry.

bossab2 - 02 Aug 2021 23:45:29 (#6 of 566)

The shitter things get the less I cry.

You gotta man up.

widenation - 02 Aug 2021 23:48:37 (#7 of 566)

Quite - I've never thought of having a good cry as really achieving anything much. As a 'pragmatic' type, I would have a good long think and get into a funk about something yes, but with a view on resolving why I felt that way.

Of course I'm lucky, in that I've never experienced serious trauma in my life.

AdonisBlue - 02 Aug 2021 23:52:10 (#8 of 566)

#4 That's a long time to live with cancer for, you've handled it better than I probably will.

A good mate was diagnosed with bladder C seven years ago and has carried on well. It recently came back as it does and he's just had an operation so finger crossed.

Anchorman - 02 Aug 2021 23:53:37 (#9 of 566)

The older I get the more easily I cry.



Same here.

From aged maybe 7 onwards I didn't cry at all but since I turned maybe 35-40 I have become more and more emotional. Some music makes me cry and great sporting achievements.

donttellhimpike - 02 Aug 2021 23:55:16 (#10 of 566)

Last month a work colleague committed suicide. This was a colleague from a previous hospital I worked at, massive work force, over two hundred staff but extremely close knit, given the nature of the work. Even though I am now at a different hospital, these people are still the ones I consider family. Staff were brought in to the manager's office in small groups and told of his passing. Word is that it was the men who openly wept at the news, completely broken by it.

This wouldn't have happened twenty years ago. I can't help thinking it's a good thing.

widenation - 02 Aug 2021 23:56:53 (#11 of 566)

It is a good thing - no doubt. Sorry to hear that though - very tough.

popstar7 - 03 Aug 2021 00:08:07 (#12 of 566)

I would guess I've cried half a dozen times in the last twenty years. Through bereavements, breakups, some pretty awful moments and some pretty sad films. The last time was after talking to my mum on the phone at her care home. The last few months, as her dementia progresses, she's started talking in a tiny, high-pitched little girl's voice when she's unsettled. She's clearly frightened. But it sounds like she's possessed. It was extremely creepy.

Until last month visitors hadn't been able to come into the care home at all. I hadn't been in the same room as her for sixteen months. At the end of that conversation I cried for maybe thirty seconds. I don't feel like I was told or pressured not to cry growing up. It's not the sort of thing my parents would have tried to discourage - the opposite, if anything. I don't know. It's very rare and it shocks me when it does happen.

pranzingfrogg - 03 Aug 2021 00:18:37 (#13 of 566)

I’ve spent much of the past couple of weeks close to, and occasionally in, tears, over a loss that many people might consider unimportant in the big scheme of things. I am not usually this way and I don’t like it much, but I think it’s probably true that denying or suppressing strong feelings is unhealthy. Nonetheless I was brought up very much in the “big boys don’t cry” tradition and for quite a long time believed that I fell short of some ideal of tough, cool, brave manhood.

LobsangRampa - 03 Aug 2021 07:50:47 (#14 of 566)

Anybody like to have a stab at defining toxic masculinity?

I get the impression that the idea that the difference in character between men and women is all down to nurture has been largely disproven. There has for example, been a lot of research into the effect of testosterone. Of course there's huge overlap in traits like height, strength, etc.

Psychologically we seem to be left with the agreeable/aggression spectrum. Men tend to be more aggressive. This appears to be across all cultures. Men are overwhelmingly the perpetrators (and victims) of violence. This surely has to be at the core of any definition of toxic masculinity.

I guess this gives rise to the twin questions. Is this agression (assertiveness?) always a negative trait? And how can it be controlled?

LobsangRampa - 03 Aug 2021 07:51:27 (#15 of 566)

Good idea for a thread btw.

bossab2 - 03 Aug 2021 08:33:18 (#16 of 566)

#4 That's a long time to live with cancer for, you've handled it better than I probably will.

I've generally been too stressed to cry.

You dont cry under stress.

HerrWalrus - 03 Aug 2021 08:39:22 (#17 of 566)

You must get very tired at times Boss, and not just because of the big C. Stress over a long time can take away all your energy.

peacalmer - 03 Aug 2021 07:52:27 (#18 of 566)

I think the "boys don't cry" thing is part social, part innate, and isn't necessarily toxic.

Emotional intelligence is conflated with the idea that because you empathise with more stuff, you are not ashamed to cry, you get righteous indignation, etc. Which is great if you're wired up for it - if you're not, it's toxic to be told you should be that way inclined.

If you deal with stuff rationally and introspectively, rather than outward emotionally you're now seen as the problem child and there's a hunt for a spectrum disorder. "Disorder" as a word boils my piss, it's synonymous with people thinking there's an inherently right way to feel and cope with stuff, and if you're different then you're malfunctioning.

At school, the most emotional lads were the bullies, the extroverts, the class clowns, the ones who talk over everybody else. Those who quietly got on with their work were nowhere near as controlling, aggressive or toxic - these days they're just waiting to be told they've got a disorder.

I never cried much as a kid. Part of that was autism, another part was being fostered for 6 years. By the time I hit the age of 5 I'd got so used to being whisked away from a family I'd just started to bond with I just kept a bag packed ready for the next time, and shrugged it off when it happened.

I didn't suppress emotional response to that - I had no emotional response to repress. To me Practical Mode was as normal as riding a bike.

So as relatives and pet's die, even with a bond I never spend more than a month mourning.

Dad's death hit me hard - for the four hours between being told and driving to Mum's, anyway. Again at the funeral a few weeks later, due to the unexpected turnout of over 100 walk in attendees and people I hadn't seen in years. But in between I was in Practical Mode. I saw him at the funeral home and talked to him.

When my birth mum and sister died, both totally suddenly, I didn't feel any impulse to cry; I was far more concerned with seeing their kids through the shock and getting all the funeral arrangements in order, dealing with the coroner etc. Practical Mode.

Same when Mum died earlier this year. All my worst emotions were spent watching her dying, and then the frustration of not being allowed to see her in hospital for the final 2 weeks because the consultants wouldn't put her on the end of life care plan so I could visit. I got to the hospital 30 minutes after they said she'd passed, and she was still warm as I had a chat and held her hand.

Her death released me to go into Practical Mode and work through it. I still haven't cried since she passed, because I don't feel any need to. Practical Mode is just a far more effective way of me dealing with grief, and it's almost always about ensuring other people's needs are supported.

bossab2 - 03 Aug 2021 08:58:37 (#19 of 566)

Say for the example of a first time parachute jump: crying is what you do after you are safely back on the ground.

Of course if you never make the ground and fall forever you never cry.

popstar7 - 03 Aug 2021 08:59:45 (#20 of 566)

Suddenly, I want to cry.

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