Here's how toxic masculinity feeds rape culture

Originally published at:


I agree that it is horrible and dysfunctional when society tells people that these are qualities embodied in masculinity. But I think that it is just as bad that anyone would unthinkingly believe and internalize whatever society tells them without exercising some discernment.

Do you believe everything that you are told?


I now believe that I believe everything that I am told.


You can, but do you have evidence that it is true, or optimal?

Sure, in an ideal world we all think independently and live out our inner selves. But these social constructs aren’t just given through sort of abstract messages in the culture, but they are reinforced socially, between individuals interacting in the real world. Think of men’s sports team or a fraternity, or a corporate office… this sort of toxic masculinity is enforced socially in any number of places and in any number of ways, all of which individuals are prone to in different levels. Deviating from what’s considered “the norm” by any particular group of people can have varying degrees of consequences for individuals, which they respond to in any number of ways from fully conforming to fully rejecting… So, it’s not just about buying into the dominant cultural constructs, but about what deviation actually means for an individual and how they navigate that.


To amplify what @Mindysan33’s saying: you can’t opt out of culture. You are born into it. You absorb it before you know what you’re doing. It’s a part of you and your identity.

Even the value of “don’t believe everything you’re told” is a cultural value, inherited from a tradition of respect for the individual and a Protestant attitude toward authority. In fact, being able to reject the dominant culture is seen as a powerful, masculine ideal, and is as harmful as any stereotype. It’s why we can’t talk to climate change deniers, why Trump might be president, why we treat the elderly like garbage in this country.

We cannot opt out of our participation in society. The best we can do is seriously question it, and try to curb it’s most egregious horrors in some way.


Agreed. It is important as men that we not only question our ideal of proper manly behavior, but that we can become examples of how deviation from the status quo can be set as a good example for others.

My fallback has always been looking to the advice of people like uncle Rosey:

Although I have to admit, it’s a very hard battle to fight in some cultures more than others, and for varying reasons.


Accepting existing social norms (at least to an extent) is part of what it means to be a social animal. We’re hard-wired from birth to learn from example; nobody makes up their own society from scratch.


That song is on my daughter’s dinnertime playlist, along with the rest of the album, followed by Really Rosie…I’m used to it now, but the first few times my wife put it on, I wanted to curl up in a ball on the floor.


How grating – all y’all rabid, shrill, nagging, feminists need to get your psyche evaluated! Culture is not reinforcing anything…




But the problem is that the world we live in is far from ideal.


Unless one goes completely off the grid and moves oneself to an uncharted deserted island, that’s about right.


You’re doing it, again.


Right… this was my point to @popobawa4u - we don’t and the ability to be more independent is often related to who we are and how the world around us perceives and how our culture categorizes us.


Honestly, I think a huge amount of social life is based upon obscurity and fictions, and that’s what I struggle to deal with. I did not suggest anything philosophical, the point is that what society is depends upon what you and others actually DO. Society does not change without people’s actions changing, and sometimes change starts with you - or me, or whoever else.

The weird idealism is people insisting that society is separate from us, and that nobody has any direct effect upon it. When I say “decide how you socialize” I mean that in pragmatic terms.

Fine, I’ll “take the fifth”, so that others can discuss this how they prefer to. But it looks to me like people hoping for change without doing anything differently.


“And also question why “man” is a category deserving of such significance. What behaviors are socially acceptable (weasel words!) to brunettes, blondes, and redheads? To some people, “masculine ideals” might not be any more meaningful than “redhead ideals” or “people who are 5’ 5” ideals”. What categories are useful to some people might not be useful (or even exist) for others."

My statement about men is set forth in direct relation to the arguement in the video - the perpetuation of ideals that promote rape culture among men. The topic is not directed at redheads or people under 5’5" specifically.


Seconded. I just finished “Galileo’s Dream” by K.S. Robinson, and it was outstanding not only for the story presented, but that the protagonist is essentially made to look back at his life to consider how he, personally, created poor outcomes due to his own behavior. Self-evaluation is, for me, difficult at best, but it’s also provided me a number of AHA! moments that have all led to positive change.

That and a little empathy goes a long way.


Mod note: Stay on topic. This is not a debate on being individuals. Start a new thread if you want that philosophical debate.


You do realize that I was referring to a fifth of alcohol, and not the Fith Amendment right?

I wasn’t telling you to “shut up”; you have just as much right to express yourself as anyone else.

And I’m too lazy to retype everything else that just got eaten, even though I was getting back on topic and my point was salient; so I’ll just say this:

As a survivor of sexual assault I fully and emphatically agree with the topic at hand;

#Toxic masculinity is directly correlated to our misogynistic society and the rape culture that it fosters.

That’s all, because I’m fucking tired of repeating myself and of having my comments disappear, even when they are not in violation of any rules.


I’d like to echo this with the note that the culture of individual responsibility is part of what enables this society and this culture. Too many people are happy to say “I’m not personally a rapist, so the problem must be in the personal choices of others!”, and thus excusing the role of society in general in perpetuating the crime and protecting and producing its perpetrators. If the flaw lies in people, we don’t have to do the hard thing of changing systems, we can just blame someone for being a monster and think that they’re exceptional and that we’re good for not being them.

The individual vs. collective ethic is kind of at the heart of why rape culture is difficult to change (and it’s part of what the video points out: it’s the design of the system that ennables the behavior of individuals), IMO.


There are like three people on this planet I know of that know Really Rosie… with your fam, thats now up to six.

That vinyl was on repeat my entire childhood. With breaks for Jesus Christ Super Star, Oliver, and The Muppet Movie album.

I’m really Rosie, beleeeeeiiiiive me!