Impact and consequences of toxic masculinity

As individuals, many men don’t recognise the inherited power or privilege they experience in their day-to-day lives due to their presented gender. Of course, there are levels of intersectionality, such as ethnicity, wealth, education and health, which influence the experience of male privilege in society. However, with the institution of male privilege and the patriarchy comes societal pressures to conscribe to the ideals of what it is to be a  masculine man. Toxic masculinity refers to the rigid psycho-sociological behaviours that uphold the patriarchy and the ideals of masculinity. Toxic masculinity robs people of their authentic expression of themselves, damaging themselves and others around them. 

Consequences of an environment impacted by toxic masculinity

Rape culture 

A society or environment whose prevailing social attitudes have the effect of normalizing or trivializing sexual assault and abuse. 

Toxic masculinity ideology treats cisgender women as sexual objects and conquests, contributing to the proliferation of rape culture within a  patriarchal society. Rape culture contributes to the transference of blame from sexual assailants to the victim. “Boys will be boys”, “What was she wearing”, and “They were asking for it” are phrases many of us will be familiar with and show exactly how rape culture looks to place responsibility for sexual assault and harassment on anyone but the aggressor. This discourse facilitates the continued mistreatment of women and allows aggressors to avoid any sense of accountability for their actions. 

See also: Rape Culture | Reagan Williams | TEDxArkansasStateUniversity 


Toxic masculinity also teaches that masculinity requires aggression and violence to resolve issues and approach relationships. Avoiding these behaviours is considered a weakness and may threaten a person's masculinity status. The resulting violence, which manifests in many forms,  including intimate partner violence and gun violence, can have far-reaching effects on those who aren’t even directly involved. In addition to creating more violence, this line of thinking also robs men of learning other, more effective coping skills and communication techniques. 

Social exclusion 

Again, there are plenty of men and masculine-identifying people who don’t display traits of toxic masculinity. Still, these folks might be impacted by those who display those traits in the form of social exclusion. Especially among children and teens, those who don’t fit inside that predetermined box of what it means to be masculine might find themselves ostracised because of it.  

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