Masculinity: what to do when it turns toxic

Every time we talk about feminicide and violence and gender discrimination and what can be done to improve the situation – deconstruct the patriarchy, destroy the current system of power and create a better one – we always feel like a hole, or. miss, where a man should also act, a man who identifies as such. We talk to each other, we try to carve out space for action and reaction, and what about them? These men, while we take to the streets and mourn our victims, what are they doing? Some are actively committed to defending the system, like little soldiers frightened by the loss of power, money and protection, others they found very young and promising groups, give a hand to yourself and subsequently to us and to society, which needs to be re-evaluated. We put questions to one of these collectives, Mask.Youborn in Brescia from the idea of ​​three friends and now ready to start a series of meetings to understand how much work still needs to be done.

The word Mask You

“Mask. You were born from the need that appeared throughout the country for spaces intended for men, in which deconstruct gender stereotypes. Our project is extended to all men who identify as men and feel the need to challenge the standards of masculinity they grew up with and want to emancipate themselves from to imagine a different man, freed from constructs and cages,” they told us. Carlo, Vale and Edoardo, founders, focus on intersectionality and inclusiveness, but also on personal awareness consider our role as men in the transfeminist movement and how could we contribute significantly to the cause. We started from these evenings of reflection to create a space that was as safe and inclusive as possible where we could openly discuss and facilitate discussion between men.”

Patriarchy also harms men

“The gender stereotypes they play a significant role in reinforcing the idea of ​​a strong male from birth. This can happen at different scales through societal influence, educational benchmarks, through parental behavior that rewards behavior associated with traditional masculinity, etc.,” they add. “A man (or perceived as such) who, for example, pays dinner for his partner, who does not help with housework and does not educate his children about feelings, often expresses expressing angerit does not fully express its emotional component, it suppresses it”.

What does it mean to deconstruct toxic masculinity?

“At Mask, we try to do. You is to introduce men to all aspects.” problematic masculinities so they can really listen” and then deconstructwhich “primarily means freeing oneself from all the ideologies associated with the victorious, successful, impenetrable, self-confident man, which prevent having and expressing one’s own identity. Deconstruction serves primarily men and those who identify with gender, embodying all its categories, but reflexively serves the entire communitybecause the idea of ​​another man without role models creates interpersonal relationships healthier“. And women? It may seem controversial, but Mask. You decided, at least in the early stages, not to include women to attend meetings. The reason is very simple. PrimarilyThat is a question responsibility: “As men, we have two responsibilities: to recognize that we have toxic constraints that need to be deconstructed, and that we have the privilege to remove them. The responsibility for these actions must necessarily rest with men, because women have until now borne the brunt of oppression. Men and women can together to fight, but it is time for the former to take responsibility for self-education.” Secondit’s a matter of acceptance and trust: “The group we envision must be a safe space in which men feel free and can express their doubts about it, without any judgment and without the risk of offending the sensitivities of those who suffer every day.” discrimination perpetrated by a patriarchal society By creating a space of this type, we can encourage all men who feel the need to inform themselves, but currently do not have the tools for self-deconstruction”.

With the help of feminism

“Most of the personal, relationship, and professional problems that men have come from the same system that feminism fights against. Through the last wave of feminism, the so-called intersectional feminism, the battle against the patriarchal system to achieve gender equality involves all identities and the battles become cross-cutting, rejecting any form of discrimination and leading to the liberation of man from the macho cage in which he grows up. Transfeminism laid the foundation for our training and permission to structure our values.” Not just words. In the meantime, an Instagram profile and soon also events. “Our first activity, which will start in April this year, will be developed through series of meetings led by one or more mediators who are already familiar with the topics of feminism, gender identity and equality, during which we will talk about: health, relationships, body image, gender equality, current events, gender roles, social pressures and much more”. : “What we’re talking about is a complex process which requires commitment at individual, social, institutional and global levels. Born as a direct result of feminism, Mask.You aims to engage men by educating them about male privilege by supporting positive masculinity and nonviolently.”


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