If toxic masculinity exists, what is non-toxic masculinity to you?

Breaking down the term

The term ‘toxic masculinity’ highlights a particular specific set of norms, expectations, and practices to do with masculinity which are toxic and unhealthy.

The term ‘masculinity’, defined simply, refers to the meanings given in any particular society to being male and the social organisation of men’s and boys’ lives and relations. ‘Masculinity’ refers in part to the dominant or most influential ideals or norms of how to be a boy and man in any particular context.

The term ‘toxic’ qualifies the term ‘masculinity’. It emphasises that the object of concern is a particular form of masculinity which is toxic – that there are particular norms and practices which are unhealthy, constraining, dangerous, and so on. Norms and ideals of manhood – that is, masculinity – are diverse, and there are contexts and cultures where those norms and ideals in fact are healthy.

The term thus does not mean that there is something fundamentally wrong about being male. But there is something fundamentally wrong with some particular versions of how to be a man.

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