What Actually Is “Toxic Masculinity” Anyway?

What Actually Is “Toxic Masculinity” Anyway?

Oh, no, B&T regular and industry rabble-rouser, Robert Strohfeldt, has weighed into Gillette’s “toxic masculinity” debate. As a caveat, the views expressed here are not necessarily those of the publisher…

The latest Gillette ad has made the topic of “masculine toxicity” front and centre, but it has been bubbling away for a long time now, at the top of popular gesturing, ready to explode like a volcano.

Masculinity is a biological and evolutionary fact. But the tsunami of PC flotsam and jetsam has washed away fact and logical thinking.

We even see birth certificates being left open so the child can determine, when they have matured at the age of six or seven, whether they are in fact male or female. It seems the purveyors of this bullshit believe children are born with no genitalia – give the child fire trucks and other items that young male children have always been drawn to and they grow a penis. Give them a doll and voila, you have a vagina.

It would not surprise if these idiots believe a whore is a derogatory term for the world’s oldest profession and a hormone is what you hear if they are suddenly hurt.

Through the evolution of humanity, we have become smarter, not just scientifically to make our lives easier and last longer, but also far more rational. We don’t sacrifice virgins to appease the gods in times of drought or flood, for example.

But in the past decade, in particular, we have done an about turn and regressed socially as fast as we have increased technology.

Men are men and women are women. Without such a basic fact, humans would die out. At first, I found it amusing and now quite disturbing the attitudes and beliefs that have become mainstream.

My Grandfather was on the first wave to land at Anzac Cove and later went onto to serve in the hell of the trenches of the Western Front. Ironic that after surviving such killing on an industrial scale, he died in a coal mining accident in Newcastle. (NSW, not England).

My father served in the jungles of New Guinea in World War Two. The things they saw and the experience they had never really left them. But if not for millions of men like them, many of whom died or were horribly maimed, the whole world would be under the oppressive heel of dictators to whom acts of genocide were perfectly normal activities.

They saw enough violence to last 100 lifetimes. Their definition (and most from their generations) of a man/masculinity was a person who respected everyone equally, non-chauvinistic and violence against not just woman, but anyone was abhorrent to them. And these men did not have all the support structures in place to help them deal with psychological damage many suffered. Yet the majority just “got on with it.” Being a gentleman is almost frowned upon today. Anyone who has been to war, a real war not just a tiny skirmish, is ardently anti-war and violence. They have horrendous first-hand experience of what occurs. But they also had the courage to stand against bullying and for what is right. Unfortunately, nearly all these veterans have passed on and many people today have never had the opportunity to talk with them and see what a real man stands for and it sure as hell is not toxic.

Most of today’s violence in developed countries can be attributed to the plethora of movies and video games where people are killed at the rate of 100 a minute and life is depicted as cheap. Every second hit movie is some shit about a Superhero, using violence to the save the day.

It is not masculinity that is the problem, it is the twisted definition now applied to it.

I have two daughters and naturally worry about their safety. In January last year, whilst on the way to catching her bus to work in East Melbourne at 7.20 am, my elder daughter was attacked and almost killed. I was on the phone talking to her when the assault occurred. An experience I would not wish upon anyone. But my daughter’s attackers were three women.

Yes, domestic violence is a major problem and must be stamped out. But during the same period these women were attacked and murdered, more men were bashed and died or suffered irreversible brain damage, So, it is not just violence against women the community should be pushing to solve, it is violence against anyone – be they male, female, child or elderly. All suffer inexcusable violence.

It is a biological fact that men are the stronger than women. This is how we evolved.

Giving boys dolls to play with and fire trucks to baby girls will not change nature. Flo Jo Joiner, who died from a heart attack widely regarded to be due to excessive use of steroids, ran the fastest 100 metres ever by a woman – 10.49 seconds in 1988. That was 21 years ago and still stands.

This time was not fast enough for a man to even qualify for the 2012 Olympics. So, of course men are stronger than woman. But that does not make them any better.

I seriously doubt Einstein could bench press 100kg, the minimum by any player allowed to play first grade rugby league in the NRL. But that has zero bearing on the comparative contribution the average first grade rugby league plays make to humanity compared to Einstein.

Speaking of first grade rugby league players, there are 16 clubs each with 29 contracted firstgrade players – a total of 464 players. We constantly hear of bad behaviour by rugby league players. But this is around 15 different players in a year, or 3.2 per cent. Well over 50 per cent of the players are engaged in activities for not for profit organisations. Only 3.2 per cent act like arseholes and 96.8 per cent do the right thing. Pretty much the same proportion across society as a whole

But as the old saying goes “If it bleeds it leads” and hence rugby league players are held up as examples of toxic masculinity.

When I was in grade seven, there were over 150 students in four different classes and out of 150 plus students at a state, not some exclusive private school, only one had a mum who worked.

The father went to work and the mother stayed home and looked after the house and the kids. People today forget, that dishwashers, microwaves, even washing machines (my mum had to hand wash cloths in a copper) are recent additions. There were no day care centres and managing the home was a full-time job. Many couples viewed their relationship as an equal partnership – both parents had duties to perform.

The economic issues are vastly different today. Where once a single average income was enough to support a family, both partners must work. Full female participation in the work force is relatively new and yes there are men who believe that women are less valuable. There can be no rationale reason to support this.

It was a cultural issue, that is now looked back and down upon. Yet extremist Muslims who treat women as second- class citizens and force genital mutilation are excused by some as being cultural issues and hence accepted.

That some universities have turned down the opportunity to offer a course on Western civilisation, deeming it an act of white supremacy shows just how twisted the academic world’s thinking has become – none of the great books, the development of calculus, without which today’s scientific advancements from electricity to flight, engineering to medicine, would not be possible.

And these idiots are the leaders of tomorrow? One can only hope the old saying “if a person is not a socialist at age 20, they have no heart, if still a socialist at 40 they have no brain.”, is true.

I am sure this will bring howls of disapproval, but the #metoo movement has morphed from a very worthy organisation into a lynch mob. Some, not all, want to blame men for everything. There are women who slept with men in the hope of advancement and later regretted it. They were not raped or assaulted. They just made poor decisions and now want to blame someone else for it. Anyone who believes there are not some woman who have used their feminine charms for advancement are living in fantasyland.

Equality cuts both ways.

No wonder men are confused. The original definition of a gentlemen has been twisted and to be “manly” has somehow been turned into meaning they engage in acts of violence against women.

A real man doesn’t assault or bully anyone, he conducts himself with dignity and is kind and considerate. But in the face of bullies, he steps in and takes a stance against them.

One day, you may need a real man, but there will be none left. They will have been neutered by society gone crazy.  Thanks, Gillette, for your contribution.

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  • Christopher Holder 3 years ago

    Thanks for having the nerve to write this Robert. What isn’t addressed by you or the #metoo movement (and, for the life of me, I don’t know why) is the scourge of pornography (and violent porn, especially). The world is absolutely awash with it (the stats are truly staggering) and it permeates men’s lives (especially) in negative and sometime dangerous ways. Surely, as a society, we can all agree that porn isn’t great for women?! Seems so obvious, yet it remains a dirty little secret.

  • Chris Dodds 3 years ago

    WTF did I just read?

  • John Eustace 3 years ago


  • Simon Gross 3 years ago

    Hi Robert. Polite society needs people like you. Contrarians, who hold the rest of us to account. Fine. But it’s clear you’ve missed the point. Maybe it’s deliberate. Maybe you’re just a big old troll. But I’ll bite.

    Next time, before you rattle off your fancy numbers, perhaps check with the ABS first. Men are responsible for most violence in society, and almost all violence against women.

    This is not the same as saying all men are violent, a distinction I’m sure you understand better than me. Should we defend male violence? Should we try to rationalise it as biology? ‘Couldn’t help it’ has always been a pretty shit legal defence. That’s why those men are in jail.

    #Metoo isn’t about emasculating men. It’s about redefining what masculinity is. It’s about looking at what we accept as acceptable and doing something about it. This is what the conversation is about.

    There are many aspects of traditional masculinity that are great, some are admirable. You describe a lot of them. And you know what? You get to keep them. But that doesn’t mean we also have to keep those masculine traits that exist at the expense of women, or other groups in society. Why hold onto that stuff? Where is the value in that? What’s the point? What do you lose from giving those up?

    Meanwhile, if you’re having a little tanty over the fact a lot of people think men should treat women with more respect, what sort of man are you?

Gillette Robert Strohfeldt

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