Why Is #MasculinitySoFragile?

Behind the curtain of masculinity

By Cliff Leek. A few weeks ago #MasculinitySoFragile trended on twitter and, for the briefest moment, the world looked behind the curtain of what it means to be a man. The conversation quickly devolved into a screaming match between those who were trying to point out how toxic our cultural understanding of what it means to be a man can be and those who are invested in the current construction of masculinity and wanted to defend it.

Through all of this, what is most telling, is the ways in which efforts to defend the status quo masculinity proved defensive and fragile masculinity really is. One of the major criticisms of modern masculinity is that it masks emotional fragility with violence and physicality. The efforts to defend masculinity did exactly that. Rather than showing that men can have emotional maturity and strength, they recreated the problem by emphasizing men’s capacity for violence and physicality.
Here are some examples of individuals challenging harmful notions of masculinity:

You can't date a woman who gets paid more than you. #MasculinitySoFragile

— Beauty in Color (@PoCBeauty) September 23, 2015

#MasculinitySoFragile that men are afraid to give their boys barbies and other traditionally "feminine" toys as that makes their child "gay"

— ˗ˏˋ blige ˎˊ˗ (@THECAROLDANVERS) September 23, 2015

#MasculinitySoFragile even the food they eat has to be "tough". pic.twitter.com/Og1mRaoP1n

— Cocky McSwagsalot (@MoreAndAgain) September 23, 2015

And here are some of the examples of the attempt to defend modern masculinity:


I challenge any female tweeting unironically with #MasculinitySoFragile to last three rounds against me in a fight. We'll see who's fragile.

— Mech of Justice (@MechofJusticeWZ) September 23, 2015

#MasculinitySoFragile NEVER in history will "ANY 5 Woman" equal or beat the Los Angels #Lakers in a series of 5 games - Females never equal

— jeffery Stone (@MrJefferyStone) September 24, 2015

Instead of spending so much of our time and energy proving our masculinity, to ourselves and others, it is time to redefine it. It is time to cultivate new masculinities that are more inclusive and flexible and less defensive.
d8a11676c36532306c60e9bc9abf8387-huge-10625156_10202232035744827_7583229007405345016_n.jpgCliff Leek is the MARC (Men Advocating Real Change) Research Fellow and Community Manager. He is also a PhD student in the Department of Sociology at Stony Brook University (SUNY). He has worked as Prevention Specialist for the Oregon Attorney General’s Sexual Assault Task Force and as a consultant for a variety of gender-focused non-profits. Cliff is currently writing his dissertation on the growth patterns and effectiveness of organizations seeking to engage men and boys in gender justice work around the world.  He is also a founding editor of Masculinities101.com, a blog that connects activist and scholarly work on men and masculinities.
Posted by MARC Catalyst on Oct 15, 2015 11:00 AM America/New_York

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