Posted in Verbose Redactions

Why toxic masculinity is an essential topic for the further development and evolution of social and relational interactions.

We’re going to start this off with a statement that may be controversial to some and may piss other people off. Toxic femininity does not exist. To me, that is like saying that there is a reverse to systemic racism. It’s just not something that exists because it is related to power. Now the women’s rights movement (in “white feminism,” womanism, black feminism, intersectional, et cetera.), has made incredible strides in women’s liberation, especially in the western countries where we see a lot of predominant fights for gender equality.

Now notice that I said gender equality because the battle isn’t men against women, it is inclusive to every gender that exists. Unfortunately when we say that we are battling patriarchy people assumed that must mean that we are in a fight against men and we’re not. We have been fighting to destroy the concept implemented that say that men have to be in control, run things, be and exist in a certain way. We struggle to say that women and all other genders have the right to be who they are and forge their paths. It’s destroying oppressive gender constructs that way us down and giving the power back to the individual to choose their path. Yes, women had to fight to get from under men’s rule, but the premise of the movement was never about men versus women. That’s so self-oriented thinking.

To do this however we have to tear down the concepts of a patriarchal society that dictates how people should exist in the context of culture, and with that comes the understanding that we have to break down what traditionally has been seen as masculine. Now, this doesn’t mean that we are waging war against men and their ability to be masculine. It says that we are creating a dialogue to expand upon the ideas of what is masculine and what has been necessary for our past that no longer serve society as a whole; The archaic social dictates that may have been necessary for the “cavemen” eras.

I know some people will try to argue that society should not try to dictate how men should be. As this is an opinion piece, I don’t feel the need to do a blow-by-blow of all of the articles that I’ve seen since I was a teenager that have told men, women, transgender folx and non-binary people how they should exist. Ever since the days where there were certain ways to court a woman for a man to be the head of a household, there is always something telling men how they should act and in turn telling women what their place must be. That is where the concept of “toxic femininity” really comes from. Not so much as a matriarchal society that was telling women that men have to treat us a certain way, but the patriarchal rule in which modern society it has been constructed that says this is how men should act and be so, therefore, this is how everyone else. Many women demand men should be a certain way and have lopsided views of their gross behavior because patriarchial concepts have reinforced that their projections are standard or less damaging.

No some of this, of course, has been reinforced by social and biological sciences and the misunderstandings from the past concepts that were unearthed. In the budding days of scientific discovery of any topic, over scientific evolution, there are bound to be theories we realized were inaccurate. That doesn’t make it a bad thing; it just means that we know better now. We know that men don’t have to be stoic. We know that men can be just as expressive as any other gender. We know that men can experience various types of trauma like any other gender. That not every man necessarily desires or is capable of being the head of a household. We know that not every home needs one person to be the head of it. We know that not every family will have a head of it. We also know a penis is not what makes you a man. You are more than an appendage.

So many people that still push the idea set up a little boy cries he’s weak. If a woman is a breadwinner for a household that she is a part of and the man is also a part of that household he is subpar or a disgrace. If a household doesn’t have a man or in a hetero appearing relationship the person that appears to be a woman (whether they are or not) is too opinionated in the man lacks discipline. Let’s tap into queer culture. In a male-male relationship, there’s are still questions of who is the man in the relationship. It often happens with women-women and visibly queer groupings as well. There have been quite a few articles about butch and stud culture and how toxic masculinity has touched it. In non-monogamy, we can’t seem to get away from the idea that our relationship must inherently mean polygamous. If it’s not monogamous and the only way that it can be polygamous is if there is one male and two women. If anyone who is a part of non-monogamous culture knows that this is not the truth, it’s just a representation that we’re constantly battling. Because you know a real man would never let his woman step out; He has to mark his territory, right?

So let me throw a few quick definitions at you and then we’ll contextualize them.

Toxic 

1 : containing or being poisonous material especially when capable of causing death or serious debilitation
toxic waste
a toxic radioactive gas
an insecticide highly toxic to birds
2 : exhibiting symptoms of infection or toxicosis
the patient became toxic two days later
3 : extremely harsh, malicious, or harmful
toxic sarcasm
4 : relating to or being an asset that has lost so much value that it cannot be sold on the market

~merriam-webster.com

These are some pretty powerful definitions right here. Relating it to toxic masculinity, we are saying that this concept is talking about whether something is poisonous. It has infected the way that humans interact and exist with each other. That it is abrasive and even harmful to our existence and evolution. That masculinity as it is currently prescribed is no longer an asset to our development and needs to be re-evaluated.

Masculine 

1a : MALE
masculine members of the choir
b : having qualities appropriate to or usually associated with a man
a masculine voice
2 : of, relating to, or constituting the gender that ordinarily includes most words or grammatical forms referring to males
masculine nouns

~ merriam-webster.com

So this is where the hang-ups are because you know what defines a man. We say that masculinity defines the man but how do you define masculinity. That’s the thing we are mainly as a culture demanding that masculinity as a supposition is redefined because we’re noticing on a wide scale that traditional constructs are hurting men. Let’s think about it for a moment. Women are considered to be the best option for caregiving, even legally and, we know that’s not the truth. It’s patriarchy that is the problem with its predefined ideas of masculinity that we have been working with. What about domestic violence and sexual abuse? How often are we discussing the fact that men can be abused in their relationship, or they can be sexually harassed, or they can be raped? Because again if you are a man and your partner is out of hand it’s because you’re weak. If you are sexually abused, you are either weak or “damn man that’s every guy’s wet dream.” What we have to realize is that masculinity and femininity are constantly evolving concepts that are described by the overarching themes of the society that we live within. This consequence of masculinity and feminity not being used as flexible descriptions; they’ve been prescriptive and rigid in nature. This consequence is a dangerous and detrimental outcome of a patriarchal structure – How “patriarchy” has fucked men over, which has fucked women over, which has fucked all the genders over, and it’s hazardous to us all.

Patriarchy

1 : social organization marked by the supremacy of the father in the clan or family, the legal dependence of wives and children, and the reckoning of descent and inheritance in the male line
broadly : control by men of a disproportionately large share of power
2 : a society or institution organized according to the principles or practices of patriarchy

~merriam-webster.com

So right here I want to be a little bit transparent. I am a queer woman in a hetero appearing relationship to my white CISHET spouse. He also happens to be our agreed and negotiated head of our household. That confuses many people because I am an intersectional feminist, profoundly rooted in the ideas of womanism. I always want to emphasize that my relationship purposely seeks to deconstruct the idea that if a household chooses to have a head of household that it can be a negotiated discussion and the head of household does not have to be a man. I mean honestly, it came down to who was more willing to make phone calls and the fact that we have a negotiated power exchange style relationship.

Neither of us believes in the concept that men reign supreme in society. I honestly don’t think I know anyone personally that believes that men should be in charge. I do know people who have that belief, and I know there are many people within the broader context of our society with that belief. Those folks are not welcome in my inner circle. You see as a feminist I can’t entirely agree that any gender should have overall authority over everyone else in a culture nor do I believe that a society should be built on the principles of that concept. However, historically we can see that our society (and others) has slowly relied on the fact that there is a man who is the head of a family. A man who is in charge of a larger society, then a group of men who are in charge of a larger society on top of that. It was fairly accepted that that was the way of things, then women decided that we weren’t okay with that (I won’t get into the gory details of racism and queer erasure in that its a whole different discussion). Unfortunately, women doing something about it has been seen as hate towards men or even the attempt for role reversal. The reality is that men themselves as persons are not what’s being challenged. Its men are having their privileged place in society disrupted. That can be scary. It feels like the rights and privileges that you have are being stripped away when they’re just being extended to everybody else because they are just as deserving of those rights.

Toxic masculinity

“Toxic masculinity is a narrow and repressive description of manhood, designating manhood as defined by violence, sex, status and aggression. It’s the cultural ideal of manliness, where strength is everything while emotions are a weakness; where sex and brutality are yardsticks by which men are measured, while supposedly “feminine” traits—which can range from emotional vulnerability to simply not being hypersexual—are the means by which your status as “man” can be taken away.”

~ “What We Mean When We Say, “Toxic Masculinity” . December 11, 2017. Tolerance.org

So here is a straightforward definition of what toxic masculinity as a term and concept is supposed to embody. We all know dictionary definitions lack nuance and context. That is why general definitions for large societal discussions reduce the accuracy and the ability to have a real conversation. Toxic masculinity is a multi-disciplinary term representing a concept that embodies the intersections of sociology, psychology, and politics. Honestly, there is a lot more to it than just those disciplines, but those are the big three that this topic focuses on.

As you can see the term toxic masculinity is about broadening the definition of what masculinity and femininity mean in society. This expanded definition is a necessary reflection of how language and our interactions as humans. Society changes as more people are introduced into it, as our needs as humans change, and as we have scientific and technological advances. As we learn more about who we are and our place in the universe we grow and the way we view and describe ourselves has to change. Toxic masculinity is pointing out that we’ve been so focused on violence and sexual repression that we have hurt ourselves and men. The use of “Toxic masculinity” is a call to make sure that in the movements of gender, sexual, and relational freedom we are leaving no stones unturned. I want to point out that not only was this a robust activist push. It’s also a psychological push where the American Psychological Association is asking our society to look at our definitions of masculinity because it is psychologically hurting men with the current state of masculinity repressive views and that is something that is becoming a crisis for everybody.

I’m going to drop some links that way you can do more research on your own get different perspectives other than mine and form your own opinions about why this topic needs to be discussed. We’re not trying to isolate anyone we’re trying to build a better future for all.

 

Links:

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Posted in Shalyse Speaks

Pansexuality is not biphobia; bisexuality is not transphobia.

The idea that pansexuality is intrinsically biphobic is ridiculous.

One of the things that pansexuality has done is emphasize that gender is not binary.

It has never said that a bisexual person is relegated to Binary interest.

Any it has simply bolstered the acceptance of trans and non-binary individuals.

Over time people have become more accepting and identify as bisexual or pansexual, but the idea that a sexual orientation developed to revolutionize the acceptance of non-binary and trans people must meet biphobic it’s just ignorant.

It took me a long time myself to be willing to identify as pansexual because I already valued the idea trans and non-binary people whoever they were. I’m an asexual who behaves pansexually. I identified as bisexual until my partner introduced asexuality to me and I realized I was ace. I only claim sexuality as a specific political statement. A lot of people that are bi still stick to the idea that gender is binary because they focus on genitalia. For me identifying with pansexual what’s the political and activist move challenging transphobia.

There is a super harmful article by bisexuality.org that is reinforcing myths about sexuality furthering the misunderstood of it political nature. A quick Google search shows more articles of the same.

That’s one of the reasons why it is important that the is invisible sexualities have visibility and education surrounding them. Because we keep propagating harmful misinformation about the creation of these ideas and labels pitting ourselves against each other in fear of being erased or misunderstood by cishet folks or GRSM people who don’t take time to learn something outside of their own identity.

Posted in Shalyse Speaks

“Now y’all kids need to get involved in politics.”

Oh that beauteous howl of our parental units and those well-meaning older generation folks who are often so wrought with their own assumptions about us.

” You need to learn about the political system.”

Oh buddy, we have.

We have become acutely aware of just how f*#ked the political system and our government have gotten.
I mean it wasn’t super fabulous, to begin with.  How can it be when we built a nation based on hypocrisy and I don’t know, the backs of other people.

Equal rights?

No. Only if you fit into a preconceived notion of what is right. Otherwise you have to fight for your rights, and struggle  get by in a world  that views you as less than or deficient in some way; and for what? Because of the color of your skin and the ingrained  stereotypes and even some very stupidly conceive prejudices. Yo, don’t event get me started.

Or because your sexual or romantic attractions are deemed unnatural, because of a very narrow view humans hold and call it being evolved. I mean have you seen our culture being ravished by the  ideology of toxic masculinity and possessiveness.

What about ignoring the gender and sex spectrum, and calling transgender and non-binary confused when you are the one is confused because this is new to you. Or better yet calling intersex people monsters or needing to be fixed.

OMG, gender equality, because we have ridiculous predispositions towards all genders.

Y’all! VETERANS. How long has it taken us to move forward with helping to take care the people who risked their lives to defend all of our so called rights. Bruh.

I’ll stop right here. That “All  men are created equal”, not so much. And you can have the “pursuit of happiness” and the “American dream”but if you don’t reach it it’s your fault for not climbing out of poverty because you are lazy and uneducated. Even though you probably work full-time and maybe even went to school and couldn’t find a job that allows you to meet your basic needs and get out of debt.

I read somewhere that America needs a moral rebirth. I agree. On more levels than just economic, we need to care about more than just getting where we are going.

We ( the younger generations)  are out here educating ourselves and noting all the shit that is happening. We see a system that in theory was suppose to work, but we let greed and power take over and we want to fix that.

“You need to vote.”

Welp, I don’t disagree with that either.

We do. We have to use the current system to some degree to change it.

But we don’t know a lot about certain political processes and how to get involved.

I grew in an apolitical household because that’s what our religion told us. Government  class didn’t teach you all the real things you need to know and I was AP. Our teacher tried to get in as much extra stuff into the curriculum, but even in 2009 they were still testing us for test.

Onward college, I started seeing things a lot differently.and trying to figure out what to do.

Now this is definitely not the we didn’t know excuse.

I mean some of us don’t know at 18, but we have resources, but we only have them after we realize that there is so much more than the major elections.

See, what happens is that you are busy telling us what you think we don’t know, that you aren’t telling us what we really need to know. But this isn’t the blame game. This is just a synopsis of how screwed up education and politics are.

My life partner was into politics. She wanted to be a politician before she died. One of the major things that she helped me to see is that no, the current system doesn’t serve a lot of the younger generations interest and needs, but we can change that.

She believed in activism and using the current system to get what we want.

Voting falls short. Some of the major reasons we don’t vote include:

  • We are away for college, interning, or traveling for experience so we don’t have stable addresses or can’t be there for most local elections,
  •  but that is also if we do know about the local elections. This is a problem that can be addressed to some extent by better outreach and education before we get out of high school as well.
  • If we work, we may have conflicting work schedules that make it hard or near impossible to make it during election times.
  • Being busy is a real thing if you are balancing an education, gaining experience, and even having a job just to get by. I think sometimes the older folk forget things like that.
  • Some people just don’t deal with politics because they don’t see how it helps.

The last one is really for everyone. Since when we are tiny children, we are told to avoid the topics of politics and religion because they cause issues. We aren’t taught to respect differing opinions, respects people right to be able to have the same rights as you, have a healthy debate, and explain ourselves, we are taught to avoid the subject (Which is why many activist get the to the “shut up” point when dealing with people). Like let’s talk about the weather and shit instead. BTW I can turn that political too. Please, stop with the small talk y’all.

Essentially this avoidance of political discussion has caused younger folks to not see the importance of  political discussion in our everyday lives. My personal experience has showed me that many of my peers don’t care until something affects them negatively.

We also have the problem that people view activism in a negative light. Sorry folks, but you don’t get to say what types of activism are ok to use. There are various audiences out there and not all methods work for all people, but it gets people talking. Don’t white-wash any revolution and pretend it was all peaceful. America’s freedom wasn’t even won with a “Pretty please with sugar on top.”

So yea, we may be apathetic and we may not know what to do sometimes, but as our parents. mentors, and predecessors its your job to foster environments of political involvement and education. Not the version where you force us to follow your beliefs, but to really think for ourselves. You want to guide us, do it. Hiding from politics helps no one.

We should be able to critic, explore, and discuss the reinvention of the political system without the words entitled, selfish, ignorant, lazy being thrown at us.

The economic and political environments have been experiencing a shifts for a long while now. We can’t necessarily keep doing things the same way. That’s just something you have to deal with.

xox,

Shalyse

Posted in Verbose Redactions

Happy Birthday to Me

Today, beautiful people and econuts, is my twenty-fourth birthday.

Yay?

In honor of the day I was born into a world that often seems so cruel and devoid of humanity I am reflecting on my personal goals, professional ambitions, and all the choices I’ve made that have lead me to who I am today.

I am embracing my growth and my mistakes. I am analyzing how much I have changed and why those changes occurred.

I know that for certain,one of the best decisions I have made was to move away from home and give my family and I some distance. As bad as that may sound, for me it was a much-needed requirement.

I needed to find myself. I needed a chance to understand why the beliefs I had were so different and deemed wrong by my parent’s world. Was it morally wrong and corrupt of simply a different way of viewing the world?

One of the major things I have learned in my personal reflections and musings is that at my core I have not changed. I’m still the same sweet and good little girl. I’ve just grown up some and figured out how to express myself rather than be a model of what other’s expected.

Honestly, I’m still learning that, but I feel a lot better about where I am with my expression of self.

 

I grew up as a Jehovah’s Witness and while I don’t feel my experience was extremely oppressive because my parents at least believe in allowing me to live my life as long as I don’t force it on them, in some ways it was still limiting in the terms of experience.

By the time I finished college, I realized that:

  • I was an activist that believed heavily in the idea that ALL men and women are truly created equal and deserve their basic human rights because basic rights are not a violation of someone else’s.
  • That the earth is alive and we have much to be thankful for. We have a symbiotic relationship with this planet and we take for granted that our mistreated and callousness towards the environment affects us all.
  • I believe that there is a basic societal order of Dominant individuals, submissive individuals, people who present both, and people who present neither. No one is necessary on top of the other, but agreements of interactions are quite crucial. I feel that we have ignored that.
  • I don’t believe that any social construction of how people work is binary.
  • I don’t believe people are inherently monogamous, but that people have become used to it. Our social and family structures do not support the idea of monogamy to me.
  • I don’t believe that men are head of households. I believe it should be equal or that the person most capable should lead.
  • I believe in the old religions’ ( plural) interpretation of the world as being healthier than modern religion.
  • I believe that religion is harmful, but that spirituality is something everyone should embrace.
  • I do not believe that non-human animals are lesser beings.
  • I realized that the political systems everywhere are essentially fucked.
  • I realized that I was queer as all get out.
  • I realized that I was still a confused child, and from then on out I considered myself a half adult like human.

That is not everything I had figured out over 4 years of community involvement, social experimentation, and professional development, but that is the gist.

Now after about 2 more years of self-reflection, getting married, having one of my significant others die, being introduced to a family cultural that I don’t understand ( the things that apparently come with marriage), and a quarter-life crisis, I think I am starting to really get down to where I am headed.

Ok I know what you are thinking. Quater-life crisis. Yeah, but it is a thing and for me it was actually triggered by a guy. *giggles* What a cliché. UGH.

You see one of the major parts of my life was when my husband and I reconnected and then it changed so many of plans. I never wanted to be married, have kids, keep house, or really deal with family.

I wanted to be and international business liaison. I wanted to travel, be freelance, and have my dates ( guys or gals) for all the places I traveled. I just wanted fun.

And honestly without my hubs that is still the life I want, but he is in my life, so plans change. I want a stable job, with minimal travel. I want to be able to take care of my family. Like with the kids and all ( but in like 5 – 10 years).

Hell, I’ve even manipulated my goals to help make this work.

In the last year, I’ve begun my journey to taking Design and Scheme from portfolio turned blog, to a website and business. I also established other goals that I will not divulge as they are only relevant to the parties involved, but I am super excited to get all of this going. It is my hope that by this time next year the beginning steps will be completed and we will be on the way to phase 2. I’m super excited!

Oops! I said that.

I took some time off. I was a housewife this year to facilitate my husband’s growth, our move, and to give myself time to figure out the next direction for my plans. I wasn’t as productive as my original 5-year plan I created in 2014 had me being, but I am happy that I actually used that time for D&S. It made me so sure that this is what I want and that I am grateful for all the people that have helped me.

I’m so ready for this next year of activism and professional/ personal development.

 

So peace out babes.

This blogging pagan, asexual , polyamorous, activist and lover of all the pretties is off to do accomplish more this year.

xox,
Shalyse