The new Gillette ad has opened a debate on toxic masculinity.
This got us thinking whether our website is part of this toxic masculinity and we came to a conclusion that we are. But, we are not alone, society loves toxic masculinity but we pretend to hate it.
Scholars have used the term toxic masculinity to refer to stereotypically masculine gender roles that restrict the kinds of emotions allowable for boys and men to express, including social expectations that men seek to be dominant (the “alpha male“) and limit their emotional range primarily to expressions of anger.
We did some research and found a number of studies that show women actually like certain aspect of toxic masculinity.
And a 2014 study from Cardiff Metropolitan University found that men pictured in a luxury apartment were rated more attractive than those in a control group.
A 2011 University of British Columbia study revealed a curious finding: Heterosexual men and women prefer different emotional expressions on potential mates.
This study found that men who had an expression of pride were more attractive to women taking part in the study. Sure too much pride can be a bad thing, but a man who believes in himself is more likely to be successful with women despite this being a trait of toxic masculinity.
A 2014 study led by researchers at the University of Alaska at Anchorage found that women are attracted to men who take what the researchers call “hunter-gatherer risks.”
It seems that society seems to like aggression, we love seeing a big tackle in football, we jump in excitement when Lebron dunks on someone.
“Hunter gatherer risks” include mountain biking, deep-sea scuba diving, and extreme rollerblading. The respondents in the study said they found men who take part in more dangerous activities were more attractive.
The thing women in the study found less attractive were modern risks which included plagiarising an academic paper, casually handling chemicals in a lab, and not updating the virus-protection software on your computer.
What these studies show us is that there is nothing wrong with masculinity, and the phrase ‘toxic masculinity’ is a generalisation of a complex issue. There are some male behaviours that need to be eradicated, but there also some male behaviours that society appreciates.