Since the dawn of time, men have been stereotyped as the physically and mentally strong gender of the world. Whether it was hunting for mammoths as the women cook, or not being able to cry on your wedding day because you would be called a woman’s vagina. The proper term for this objectifying action is toxic masculinity, the route of men’s insecurities.
On Google, the definition of a man clearly states they are “adult male human [beings].” However, society’s interpretation of a man is a male 5 feet 11 inches or taller, athletically fit, working, emotionless, shirt & pants, powerful in society, the list goes on and on. As a female, I do believe that some of this interpretation is our fault. We ask for the impossible in men, and in return they feel the need to keep up with our requests, trying to win our affection and imitate the impossible.
Harry Styles, known for his former experience with One Direction and his hit song Watermelon Sugar, defied the laws of toxic masculinity with Vogue, an international fashion magazine, for one of their cover photoshoots. Styles wore traditional female garments, skirts, dresses, and tuxedo jackets with a Harris Reed Victoriana crinoline *explain what that is.*
As Vogue mentioned, Styles was criticized by the “straight people on Twitter,” saying that “society should bring back manly men…” Being a man and dressing like one are two different things. There are not limitless possibilities for your gender, but there are for how you dress. If a male wants to wear a dress, let them wear a dress.
As feminism is rising in society, females are starting to click in their heads that it is ok to incorporate themselves with “manly” features, such as getting muscular, so why are “feminine” features coinciding with men degrading? *insert quote*
The more that men keep hiding their “feminine” sides, the more their mental health keeps getting worse. According to www.pausemeditation.org, “when [masculine and feminine energies] are balanced, [people] experience a greater sense of harmony and fulfillment [in their lives].”
Just like Styles, defying the stereotypes of toxic masculinity can lead to a happy and healthier life, even if you don’t make millions of dollars like him. Normalizing the balance of masculinity and femininity cannot only improve your well-being but also society’s. If you would like to know more about toxic masculinity, check out Men’s Center.