Estimated reading time: 11 minute(s)
Often times, there is a common toxicity in the way we handle young boys. That dangerous method of upbringing carried out into male adulthood is often known as hypermasculinity.
Hypermasculinity is the exaggeration of what a stereotypical man should be. It usually shows men as aggressive, heartless, and sexual beings. Hypermasculinity puts up expectations that are honestly hard to live up to. How can a human being be so insensitive, lack humanity and love, yet still be whole? But that false image of what a man does is often used to invalidate their pain, and silence any kind of abuse they are undergoing.
Have you ever wondered why it seems as though some men are heartless and refuse to give any emotion besides anger? Even giving a hug becomes forbidden, unless you put “no homo” in front of it. Crying has become a thing that “isn’t what men do”. No, men do cry and that’s literally ok. But why would they think like that? Why has crying become a feminized
expression? Often times, the true emotions and frustrations of young men and boys are looked at as though they are wrong for feeling that way. Too many people, even family members, say “Stop it, man up”, or “Real men don’t cry”. This over the years can stop a lot of men from truly opening up to someone. Aggression becomes the main characteristic of a “real man”, instead of a healthy balance of emotions. It doesn’t stop here though. Hypermasculinity can get worse and escalate into approval of sexual assault.
Many young boys who have been sexually abused are sometimes said that it doesn’t matter because they should’ve liked it. Do you know how many times I see on social media alone, the constant praise men get when they are the rape victims? It’s an uncomfortable and cringe worthy exchange of celebration among men who found that criminal act acceptable. When a story goes around that a little boy was raped by a teacher for instance, many say he did a good job because he simply had sex with an older rapist. They cheerlead the assault of these boys. There is some sort of unspoken right of passage in this society that says any sexual contact that boys have with women means that their manhood is validated. It has unfortunately become a culture and tradition, specifically in this American society. Sometimes the boys themselves have accepted this, and brag about their assault as an accomplishment. They would boast about losing their virginity at age 10 to much older girls, as though they have reached manhood early. Ok 1). Who are these disgusting girls who won’t leave these children alone?? And 2). Why is this normalized? Why is this ok? Why does that get a pat on the back and a high five from their peers and the older men in their lives?
It has gotten so ridiculous with this hypermasculinity. People are literally buying “Man Candles” that smell like bacon, because apparently having a scent of meat on your body enhances your manliness. Wow.
But seriously, there needs to be a dismantling of harmful and stereotypical behaviors of men. If you look at Minister Louis Farrakhan, whom many say is the greatest example of a man for them, his favorite flower is Birds of Paradise. He cries. He hugs and embraces his own fellow brothers and sometimes will literally kiss their cheek. Yet at the same time, you know when he speaks, he speaks with power and passion. To me that’s dismantling hypermasculinity.
This might get taken out of context and misinterpreted. For clarification: I’m not saying that if you’re naturally aggressive and just really don’t like flowers, then you’re automatically contributing to a harmful society. I’m saying if a someone is soft spoken and loves orchids, that doesn’t make them any less of a man. I’m saying that however many girls you slept with or how less often you cry doesn’t validate your manhood. I’m saying that an exaggerated idea of what a man is should not be the standard by which we judge manliness. Recognize and put an end to hypermasculinity. It hurts more than it will ever help.
(Follow Nzinga Muhammad on Twitter @QueenNzinga13)