Men’s Toxic Masculinity Group: Understand and Overcome Toxic Masculinity [2021]

Are you looking for a men’s toxic masculinity group? Do you think you practice toxic masculinity? Do you know male friends who exhibit toxic masculinity traits? Are you interested in becoming a better man? Are you interested in learning more about toxic masculinity? If your answer is yes to any or all of these questions, this article is for you.

Hi. My name is Sean Galla, a facilitator for men’s movements and support groups like men’s toxic masculinity groups. In my line of work as a men’s group facilitator, I create a platform where men can meet other men in a safe environment that allows them to address issues affecting men, including toxic masculinity. I have seen firsthand how important it is for a lot of men to have a support system. If you are interested in understanding toxic masculinity or overcoming it, this article is for you.

This article will learn everything you need to know about toxic masculinity and men’s toxic masculinity groups.

Written by

Sean Galla

An experienced facilitator, community builder and Peer Support Specialist, Sean has been running men's groups for 10+ years. Read Sean's Full Author Bio.

What Is a Toxic Masculinity Group?

Men's Toxic Masculinity Group

When you set out to find support groups for men the first time, you will come across popular organizations like mensgroup.com, Man Tribe, Mankind project, sacred sons, and EVRYMAN. In these groups, men share their concerns and issues while challenging gender norms in free space. They are also safe places where men can come for help and support whenever they need it. A men’s toxic masculinity group is no different.

A men’s toxic masculinity group is a type of support where men come together to educate themselves on toxic masculinity, help overcome their toxic masculinity traits, and learn how to be men with masculine ideals without toxicity.

To overcome toxic masculinity in the wake of the MeToo movement, it is important to take time first to understand what it is.   

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What Is Toxic Masculinity?

Toxic masculinity is a commonly used phrase, one that is often misunderstood or misrepresented. The concepts that define masculinity are complex. Most people find it difficult to challenge their historical and societal thinking to move past the negative aspects of masculinity, often referred to as toxic masculinity.

The exact definition of toxic masculinity keeps evolving. According to a journal from the School Of Psychology, toxic masculinity is defined as “the constellation of socially regressive (masculine) traits that server to foster domination, homophobia, devaluations of women, and wanton violence.” In the modern-day, people use the term toxic masculinity to refer to exaggerated masculine traits that have been gloried and accepted for generations.

This harmful ideal about masculinity also defined manliness as:

  • Lack of emotion
  • Strength
  • Dominance
  • Self-sufficiency
  • Sexual virility

Based on traditional concepts of manliness, any man who does not exhibit these traits falls short of being a ‘real man.’ Overemphasizing the need for these traits causes a harmful imbalance in men who try to live up to the expectations.

This harmful imbalance can often lead to physical aggression, sexual aggression or control, inability to show emotion, suppressing emotions, hyper-competitiveness, the need to dominate or control others, a tendency towards violence or glorification, isolation, low empathy, entitlement as well as chauvinism, and sexism.

Common expressions that drive the toxic masculinity agenda

Some expressions uttered throughout generations have contributed to toxic masculinity and patriarchy in the modern-day. These expressions highlight how societies and cultures view men. While they may seem innocent, these expressions cause harm in the long term and flaw the ideal of masculinity. This brings forth a generation of men with toxic behaviors and attitudes.

A good example of toxic masculinity is when a man shuts down another man to show emotion by asking them to ‘man up, which means that they should not show emotions as men. This goes to show that toxic masculinity defines emotion or vulnerability as unmanly.

Another common example used is ‘boys will be boys.’ This is a common phrase used to excuse unruly behavior among boys and men, including aggression, carelessness, and other damaging behavior, instead of teaching men about being responsible and owning up to their errors.  

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Issues Caused by Toxic Masculinity

Issues Caused by Toxic Masculinity

Toxic masculinity can be dangerous. It limit’s a man’s growth and flaws their idea of what it means to be a man. This causes a conflict between the man and his environment. The idea of gender roles presented by society places a strain on a man who fails to meet these masculine norms.

When growing up, men feel pressured to live up to these obscene masculine behaviors for fear of not being accepted in society if they do not live up to them. When it goes unchecked, toxic masculinity can cause several issues to the individual and the society around him. Some of the most common issues caused by toxic masculinity include:

  • Lack of friendships or genuine connections
  • Bullying
  • Gender identity crisis
  • School discipline
  • Failure to excel in school
  • Poor socialization skills
  • Jail or prison time
  • Stoicism
  • Psychological trauma
  • Domestic violence
  • Sexual assault
  • Substance abuse
  • Sexual harassment
  • Risky behaviors
  • Suicide

According to some theories, toxic masculinity can impact men’s health cause health problems. For fear of being labeled weak or not man enough, most men avoid seeking health care for health issues and other health problems. Because of the deep-rooted belief that men are strong, asking for help can often leave a weak and inadequate man.

Toxic Masculinity and Mental Health

On the other end of the spectrum is a man who tries but fails to meet these ideas of what a real man is. When a man fails to meet the toxic expectations about a man, it often affects their mental health.

According to the American Psychological Association mental health service, the need to meet these exaggerated masculine traits and expectations can be dangerous to a man. Men or boys who are forced to live up to these traits experience certain mental health issues, including depression, self-esteem issues, poor socialization function, stress, and substance abuse.

There is also the added risk of being unable to express their mental health challenges since seeking help is regarded as weak and goes against their idea of masculinity. The inability to seek help or talk about their mental health struggles is often a leading cause of suicide and addiction amongst men.

How to Fight Toxic Masculinity

Fight Toxic Masculinity

The best way to fight toxic masculinity is to teach boys and men a new way of being masculine without necessarily having to live up to negative behaviors. The new definitions of what it is to be a man can include human experiences like feeling and showing emotion, vulnerability, interdependence, kindness, softness, and cooperation.

Even as they seek new ways to be masculine, they can still hold on to positive aspects of traditional masculinity, like strength and adventure, as they discover and define their masculinity. It is important to remember that masculinity is not something society can instill in men the same way it cannot be taken away. Men should be given the freedom to define their masculine identity.

Joining a Men’s Masculinity Group

One of the best ways to fight toxic masculinity is by joining a men’s toxic masculinity group. In this group, men are taught men and masculinities, including the difference between positive and negative masculinity and the importance of practicing positive masculinity.

Some of the best toxic masculinity groups for men include:

Everyman

This benefit corporation brings men together in a space to freely exercise their emotions to lead a fulfilling and successful life. Everyman men’s toxic masculinity group uses life-coaching, events, and retreats as part of their service delivery to allow men to be themselves in a natural habitat.

This is a community of men dedicated to promoting emotional wellness amongst men, even as they make lasting changes in their lives and masculinity.

Guy Burstein 

This is a self-help forum that encourages healing, growth, and transformation amongst men. Guy Burstein is a men’s toxic masculinity group created to help men achieve a higher sense of self-awareness. They are also ideal for men looking to learn how to cultivate better personal male relationships.

Mensgroup

Men’s Group is a men’s toxic masculinity group where black men and white men can acquire skills by learning how to remain dedicated and disciplined even as they overcome the negative aspects of masculinity. This is a space where young men can harness their full potential by learning leadership, emotional intelligence, integrity, and accountability from positive role models.

As an online-based men’s toxic masculinity group, you can join a meeting from the comfort of your home or office. Whether in New York in America or the United Kingdom, Mensgroup ensures regular meetings online so that men can get the support they need at any time, especially in this pandemic.

Conclusion

Joining a men’s toxic masculinity group is the best way to overcome toxicity and be comfortable in your masculinity, whatever you define it to be.

The best toxic masculinity groups organize outdoor activities where men can bond as they enjoy shared outdoor activities to strengthen friendships. In Mensgroup, you will be amongst your peers who offer support and accountability to ensure you are consistent in your growth as a positive masculine man. Here, you will enjoy all the benefits that come with being part of a male support group. 

*Sources:
1. The Dangerous Effects of Toxic Masculinity
2. How Toxic Masculinity Harms Men and Society As A Whole
3. Australian study reveals the dangers of ‘toxic masculinity’ to men and those around them
4. Toxic masculinity is unsafe… for men
5. No, men don't learn toxic masculinity from their fathers

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