Editor’s Note: This post is a part of What's A Man, a series exploring masculinity in India, in collaboration with Dr. Deepa Narayan. Join the conversation here!
Toxic Masculinity has become a buzzword these days. It seems as if the word has become a hotspot for Twitter and Instagram activity at this point. Its relevance is forgotten at times, but as we look closer. It’s embedded deeper into us than we would imagine. The sad part of it all is while we often disregard its existence, we fail to acknowledge that it has a trickle-down generational effect.
Kids that grow up with toxic-ly masculine role models tend to believe that is the only way for one to exist, they see no other way of life. They see no alternative. By the time they do start to see some difference in how one could operate, their ideals have been fixated so strongly into their conscience that anything different from what they’ve known is not just foreign to them, but an attack on their identity.
This anecdotal account while partly rooted in personal experience holds a lot of truth, there is not much that can be said about the West, but as someone who lives in South-East Asia; I, along with millions of others can testify not just the existence but the rampant existence of toxic masculinity in our day to day lives.
From escalated road rage fights to domestic abuse, it’s all too common a picture to ignore now. While we are trying to enforce and cultivate laws that deter these things, it is not enough if we, as a society, collectively do not work to erase the root cause.
We erase the root cause by showing the current generation a way out. A different way, an alternative way. A way of love, respect, emotions, understanding, compassion, empathy and more. That’s how we go for the root cause. Making changes in curriculum, challenging societal norms, helping children name and identify their emotions, teaching kids and teens to be kind and compassionate and loving.
This is a plea, do your part, help the kids around you connect with their emotions. I do not have petitions for you to sign or a framework that we can use, but if you have an idea or some framework that will help stop this generational trauma. I am all ears. You can find me here, just drop me an email.