Masculinity is a category that reflects both mental and physiological characteristics, referred to as male. This also includes the behavior, characteristics of the reaction and the flow of mental reactions, secondary sexual characteristics. The concept of masculinity is used both to denote human characteristics, and to describe the categories that distinguish gender in animals. In a conceptual context, many confuse masculinity with masculinity, but these categories denote different parameters.
Depending on the paradigm that considers masculinity, it is interpreted either as biological differences of individuals (sex-role difference), or in a socio-cultural way (behavior and social roles are considered to be the basis of differences).
The opposite of masculinity as masculinity is femininity - femininity. Each person has the features of both of the specified categories, only manifested in varying degrees.
The norm-centered approach emphasizes the norm, where masculinity prevails in men and femininity in women, respectively. In the variants when these characteristics do not coincide, one can speak of a violation of gender self-imitation, and if only one pole is excessively expressed, one speaks of toxic masculinity.
What it is
The definition of masculinity includes multiple parameters considered as male (somatic, psychological, behavioral). It cannot be said that any characteristics are sustainable, since any parameters vary according to cultural characteristics. It is believed that there are more masculine social societies, as well as those where femininity can prevail even in male behavior. At this stage, social development seeks to ensure that the boundaries are blurred, and an increasing number of social circles are becoming unisexual and lacking the limits of masculinity as such. Manifestations of masculinity and its definition changes over the course of historical periods.
Among the factors determining the formation of the characteristics of masculinity, distinguish both ethnic and class identity of the person. Some nations are characterized by great aggressiveness, which is considered a truly masculine feature, just as higher classes in their totality are more inherent in the manifestation of feminine features. Age and self-determination, peculiarities of upbringing directly influence the construction by man of his / her gender identity construct, the ability to manifest at the level of masculinity, and this applies to both sexes.
This is a very important point for the correct definition of this concept, since It is impossible to give it once and only correctly for all categories, including its formation. A man from the feminine society, born and brought up in the upper classes, will be extremely feminine compared to the average woman from the masculine society, where coarse survival strategies prevail. There is an urgent need to conduct research each time to determine the level of manifestation of this trait at the psychological and behavioral level in different social groups, whereas signs of masculinity on the physical manifestation do not have any particular differences in any continental framework.
The category of masculinity is indicated by biological parameters only in the medical and near-biological sciences, but basically it is justified by social categories, and even more by stereotypical phenomena. Thus, in each culture there is a set of predetermining models that determine male behavior, reject or, on the contrary, encouraged qualities, actions and forms of communication that are available only to men.
In the female version, all this is perceived as rude, strange or inadmissible, although there is no direct prohibition or negative consequences of such behavior. Just a few centuries ago, in every ethnic complex or age group, there were clearly defined rules of behavior or response in the context of masculinity, which at this social stage of development do not stand up to criticism and existence in androgynous society.
The strict adherence to masculine models leads to destructions of both the self and the structure of close relationships. In the context of changes in society, it is not possible to fully withstand the old ideas, including masculinity, to be effective and productive. The most adaptive are people who have features of both genders in approximately the same ratio, and there is also a variation of behavior that allows the use of creative adaptation, manifested in the variable use of their skills.
The social gender of a person, determined by the parameters of masculinity, includes a number of characteristics due to which it is possible to determine a particular behavior, self-perception, reaction, or social interaction, as courageous. The stereotype of masculinity implies features characteristic of an ideal collective male image, which in its pure form does not occur in humans, but always includes strength, domination and successful activity in the outside world.
Among the classic ideas of masculinity, it is customary to single out the self-confidence, the choice made, the acts committed, i.e. This is the feature by which a person is able not only to be responsible for the choice made, but also its consequences, it is also the ability to calculate in advance all possible outcomes of the situation. Steadfastness on the way to something is also important, as long as the feminine manifestation tends to worry and doubt, to change its decision and look for safety options, masculinity acts firmly and does not move from the intended path. This is not always a positive and effective manifestation, since in its extreme cases it comes down not to stability, but to stubbornness.
The ability to focus on one thing, to identify goals, to determine the main thing - these are the features of the masculine manifestation of the psyche. In principle, even in differences between male and female thinking, there is a difference in concentration, while women can simultaneously hold several processes, the male psyche is always narrowly focused on one variant, problem, or event. In a situation of extreme importance, severity, complexity, it is precisely such concentration that helps to solve a problem in the most efficient way, but when multitasking is needed in solving not so important but constant domestic issues, such centrality can delay the time needed to complete the tasks.
The desire for domination, ability to command, dedication - the qualities listed in the characterization of soldiers or specialized units, commanders, but they all originate in true masculinity. Decisiveness not only in choosing and defending one’s opinion, but also in any struggle, striving for a comfortable state, when external processes correspond to internal processes, a sense of one’s own freedom are important characteristics of masculinity. Femininity as opposed to the tendency to submission, dependence on someone's opinion, focus on the opinion of the group and the desire to preserve the relationship, rather than personal freedom.
At this stage, there is some substitution of concepts, when masculinity is reduced in its characteristics to external manifestation, reflected in clothing and image, instead of manifesting itself by actions and reactions. Commercials and mass media dictate that a man should, forgetting that he himself always chooses his own path; they show that the more money or status things acquired and shown, the greater the success of women and in the world in general.
However, the material has never had anything to do with socio-gender manifestations, just as the spread of the idea of female superiority and a successful career, service in the army somewhat changes the classical perception of this term. Society goes in the direction of androgyny and the former classical characteristics relating to men or women are no longer relevant, but at the same time the characteristics of masculinity and femininity remain and can apply to any sex exclusively in the format of personal orientation.
The concept of toxicity in the manifestation of gender characteristics is used in psychological science in the context of harming the excessiveness of male behavior to society or its individual elements. Usually, masculinity is not considered here as an exceptional negative, but only the degree of its manifestation and orientation. This characteristic is not only positive and, like any personal quality, has also negative sides. We can talk about toxicity when a person is more guided by stereotype than by sound logic. In life, the frustrating nature of masculinity is manifested when confidence and dominance begin to manifest themselves in the format of dictatorship. The need for control and command is beginning to manifest itself as a woman-nevonism and a principled position, forcing everyone to accept this point of view.
For many, the burden of true masculinity in the standard version becomes a fix idea, but this is physically impossible. Such attempts to achieve an ideal dictate little personal freedom of manifestation, and then a person begins to fear everything that may pose a hidden or direct threat to their reputation. Hence, there is cruelty to crying boys, intolerance to other people's weaknesses, homophobia. As an extreme version of the rejection of feminine traits in the self and others.
The need for dominance and the ability to command also in its extreme forms manifests itself as toxicity in interaction with others, because such a person ceases to take into account the opinions of others. This is the first factor provoking domestic and sexual violence, a tyrannical attitude and the non-recognition of the opinions of others as important and worthy. Such relationships always humiliate and infringe another person, do not allow his personality to develop and form in a free direction, which causes the destruction of the personality core, the formation of complexes, and with prolonged exposure and serious mental disorders.
The concept of toxicity speaks of completely discrediting the concept of masculinity and masculinity as something favorable and denoting strength and reliability. Self-reliance, a tendency to various dependencies, increased libido, without social and material realization in a constructive manner, is becoming increasingly apparent. Those. all that a person can manifest in a position of social toxicity is increased ambition and lack of social utility.
People with increased masculinity, passing into the rank of toxic, do not know how to create close relationships, because their own needs and the realization of the needs of the eternally hungry ego, striving for the ideal, are paramount. The second problem is a high level of stress, leading to health problems, which is already destructive, not only for others, but also for the person himself. The high level of stress is constant, because the sense of rivalry and struggle does not disappear. These men lack their own place, an understanding of their merits and skills, the ability to divide the territory according to their influence and impossibility.
The tendency to unjustified risk, the desire to solve any problems by force, strengthening and activating their own perception (adrenaline, drugs, alcohol, etc.) lead not only to a violation of personal processes, but also the physical body. Many factors that cast a person to the primitive level of the male leader in the modern world are destructive not only for social life (this behavior is treated as antisocial), but also of concrete physical existence, since it is non-adaptive in modern conditions.
The concept of having positive and negative manifestations may not be accessible to awareness in its literary or encyclopedic perspective, but rather be understood at the level of examples. So masculinity is often shown in examples of heroic deeds, when a person removes fear, personal gain or ambivalent decisions and goes the only way chosen. The whole industry of cinema in the genre of action films shows exactly the masculine features, and among women as well. When it is the role of a soldier or the head of a serious company, when it is necessary to put a person in place, to defend their rights - it does not matter, events occur in a peaceful life, in a family or in a martial situation.
Responsibility for the whole family, the ability to choose the general direction of movement, when not only the main part of expenses is planned, but also leave and the future of children Ability and constant willingness to protect. Protection includes both the defense of one’s own territory (home, work), close people (wife, children) and psychological boundaries (one’s self-esteem, achievements). All this can occur in various ways - in the extreme version (sometimes it is necessary, as a radical way of solving problems) by force, in a more socialized way with the help of psychological pressure or argumentation.
Masculinity always implies leadership and healthy competition. A man who does not want career advancement, who does not seek to increase his income or to achieve another recognition does not possess sufficient masculinity. Setting a goal and achieving it is one of the main characteristics; therefore, when a person sets priorities, develops strategies for achieving and eventually gets his plans, this is done with masculine energy. Femininity will not allow to concentrate, it will disperse forces and try to keep everything within the usual, but understandable situation.
Adrenaline, athletes, military - people with clearly manifested masculinity, because there is always a need to show strength, competitive moment. Negative examples can be people with toxic masculinity, using their power to make others suffer or unreasonably submit. When a man beats his family, demanding respect, this is the same manifestation of masculinity as when he tries for his loved ones and explains the motivation of his actions and what they can lead to for the good of all. The difference is that in one embodiment this is a favorable development of quality, and in the other is its pathological side.