Elwyn and Zach host a podcast, Black Guy White Guy Talking. They have created a unique space where men lead the discussion on racism. It's not scholars educating us on history, women who are often leading the movement for equity, or even one Black man giving his view. It's a regular Black guy and a regular white guy who have open and honest discussions about racism.
I am honored that they invited me to participate in a conversation about toxic masculinity. What is it? Is it different for white men and men of color? Can it be subtle? Who is allowed to talk about how trauma informs their behavior? Who receives sympathy and who receives condemnation?
I stated that I think toxic masculinity is when gender norms are taken to the extreme. That means that men in our society are expected to be leaders, providers, protectors and more. Those are all good things. And when they are taken to the extreme, they become abuse. Leadership becomes "my way or the highway" or "you do as I say or you will suffer the consequences". Providing becomes controlling the bank account, believing that because they earn the most, their decision counts more, or being passive-aggressive in their spending, leaving their partner to figure out how to make ends meet. Protection becomes isolating people from friends, loved ones, and other forms of support.
Toxic masculinity is men never learning how to nurture themselves, much less other people, so they often express everything as anger. Toxic masculinity isn't just harmful to the women and children who suffer under its manifestation. It hurts the men who perpetrate the harm.
Click the photo to listen to the podcast.
To hear a Elwyn and Zach's conversation about toxic masculinity, click this link.