Hello! I don’t know if it’s ok for me to continue this thread and change the subject to me, but I think this title and thread is pretty relevant to me as well, and I’ve shared a lot of similar feelings to BunsenBurn.
I grew up in a progressive household, so I was never really given the ideas of regressive, toxic masculinity(in fact I didn’t really have a male role model) apart from the ideas that I passively obtained from pop culture. For the longest time, I’ve been informed about many of the ways that toxic masculinity has hurt people. Yet, at the same time, I’ve seen those traits touted as what men are, and desirable in pop culture. So I’ve grown up with the two messages of “those traits define what men are”, and “those traits are toxic.” As a result of these simultaneous messages, I’ve conflated masculinity with it’s toxic, drunk uncle. Granted, I know very well that I don’t ascribe to toxic masculinity, and I’m ok with that. The issue comes with me feeling that as a man, I’m inherently “an oppressor.” Obviously, that’s a bit ridiculous, and I know that who I am isn’t inherently toxic, and that I’m still a man despite that. I made a similar post before, but that was in the context of sexuality, which I’ve since mostly reconciled with. But furthermore, there’s a little part in my head that feels hurt whenever a generalized, not even false statement is made about men. Even though I know that I’m not one of the people that’s being referred to, that part of me still can’t stop conflating the two, and feeding into my internalized message that masculinity is harmful.
The answer is logically simple, as masculinity should just be whatever I’m comfortable with, but I guess I have a hard time applying that idea. It certainly doesn’t help that my idea of masculinity was developed from mainstream culture where like only 2-3 types of men are allowed to exist. It’s not great that I have such negative associations with the gender I identify as.