Toxic Masculinity Is ‘Overly Damaging’ – A Nurse’s View
Many of us still experience gender pay inequity and gender-based discrimination at work and elsewhere. If we’re to improve as a society and change for the better, we need to have discussions about various causes of these issues while acknowledging the different groups affected. Jarrod Wolfhunter is an RN who shared his views in this essay…
Let’s talk about The Patriarchy. Patriarchy can be defined as a social system in which males hold primary power and predominate in roles of political leadership, moral authority, social privilege and control of property (Oxford Dictionary).
Patriarchy is a pervasive system that governs various different models where typically a small archetypal group of powerful and influential men use positions of authority – bestowed upon them generally through inherited wealth and power – to maintain a society that seemingly benefits other men by virtue of gender, gender preference, age, at times, but not always skin colour, physicality and genealogy.
The origins of The Patriarchy date back to pre biblical times with examples arising in ancient Greek texts; some Anthropologists identifying it with the rise of agriculture and domestication.
The Patriarchy is most heavily opposed and fought against by Feminist groups because, broadly, and by definition, The Patriarchy puts women in a diminished role that is unequal to men, leaving them vulnerable to decisions made by elite groups of men in power.
The trickle down effect – though absent from Capitalism – is alive and well through The Patriarchy with it’s fundamental message of male superiority quickly adopted by the broader community of men where benefits occur through the systematic place-ism of women insofar as goal-setting, job types, objectification; meaning that men are likelier to earn more money and hold authority, and women more likely to make less money, and be in positions with less power. This is exemplified in politics, science, and medicine. If we lived in an egalitarian society surely there would be an equal representation of women and men in these fields.
This is a huge, and complex topic that is complicated by not only gender but race and culture too. Equal representation of women to men is often criticised by the apparent rise beyond the glass ceiling of The Patriarchy of white women while women of colour still face unfair obstacles not encountered by white women only by virtue of skin colour.
As a white male who disagrees with the Patriarchal model I don’t want to go in-depth into this issue too much from a Feminist perspective, but I do unequivocally support the Feminist movement.
I’d like to talk about how The Patriarchy really only benefits the archetypal minority while having hugely negative impacts on those who subscribe to it while not fitting into the archetype. There are reasons why:
- The overall suicide rate in 2015 was 12.6 per 100,000 in Australia. This is the highest rate in 10-plus years
- The most recent Australian data (ABS, Causes of Death, 2015) reports deaths due to suicide in 2015 at 3,027
- This equates to more than eight deaths by suicide in Australia each day
- Deaths by suicide in Australia occur among males at a rate three times greater than that for females. However, during the past decade, there has been an increase in suicide deaths by females
- The suicide rate amongst Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples is more than double the national rate. In 2015, suicide accounted for 5.2% of all Indigenous deaths compared to 1.8% for non-Indigenous people
- For every death by suicide, it is estimated that as many as 30 people attempt to end their lives
- That is approximately 65,300 suicide attempts each year
(ABS, Causes of Death, 2015)
This, in my opinion, is because The Patriarchy is not only cruel and unfair for women but it is the same for men who don’t fit into the Alpha Male archetype. Depending on what personality trait model you prefer: the Myers-Briggs; Alpha, Beta, Omega, Gamma etc; Hartman Personality Profile, one thing is for sure that there is an abundance of different personality types that make up the personality spectrum. The Patriarchy is more aligned with authority, misogyny, violence, suppression, and dominance over those who do not subscribe to the same. The Patriarchy’s beneficiaries, “the alphas” strong-arm other personality types to adopt their dangerous doctrine and if you choose to stand against it you become isolated, ostracised, and vulnerable to unfair treatment. This becomes a mental health issue for the other personality types because of the sub-conscious cognitive dissonance experienced by those coerced into acting out behaviours that go against there personal values for fear of violent reprisals and less violent character assassinations imposed upon them by the Alphas of The Patriarchy.
The term “Toxic Masculinity” is garnering more and more momentum. This refers to what is described above. Toxic Masculinity is the culture, soul, and life-force of The Patriarchy. It objectifies women and vilifies men who do not.
Emotions are something freely afforded to women. It’s not uncommon for women to openly cry and this usually warrants sympathy or empathy from their friends and support networks who will offer comfort in an attempt to reassure the women experiencing distress. Many times I’ve heard women discussing the benefits of this expression of emotion by saying their mood has vastly improved though their situation remains the same. This seems healthy.
Times are changing however the “harden up and have a glass of cement” culture imposed on men by The Patriarchy is still alive and pervasive throughout society. Men who express emotion are ridiculed and shamed for doing so; asking for help is seen as a sign of weakness, little is offered for emotional support and suicide is seen as the only masculine thing to do.
Why else would the suicide rates of males by three times that of females?
Men can learn a lot from women in many respects, and emotional support is just one.
Suicide rates in Indigenous among groups is higher still and that too is something of deep concern, but like my support for Feminism, I additionally and unequivocally support Indigenous groups globally in their bid for equality and human rights, but will not go into it any further here.
The message I’m trying to convey is, The Patriarchy and it’s culture of Toxic Masculinity – though exceptionally overt and brutal for women – is also brutal for men; and just like Capitalism and Neoliberalism: only a tiny few benefit from this model while the rest of us, women and men alike are overwhelmingly damaged by it.
What’s your view on the patriarchy and toxic masculinity? Let us know firstname.lastname@example.org