Message in a Bottle
In 2016 the term 'toxic masculinity' exploded into the social media sphere and immediately became part of pop culture. It has no official definition and is mired in controversy.
Many people view it as nothing more than a trendy male-shaming pejorative used by progressive activists for identity politics. Others defend its use.
The only indisputable truth about this term is that when it is used as a political tool it is divisive, counterproductive, and potentially harmful to the psyche young men.
This is why a growing contingent of psychologists, sociologists and millions of everyday men and women want it eliminated from sociological discussions.
So we turned it into a whiskey.
From here forward the only question about Toxic Masculinity is how do you like yours - neat or over ice?
The term 'toxic masculinity' was coined by a men's health movement in the 1980's but was dropped because of its negative connotations. In recent years it has been usurped by progressive gender activists and used primarily as a male-shaming pejorative. Use of the term exploded into the social media sphere in 2016-2017, often used part in parcel with radical narratives that seek to paint all males in society as dysfunctional.
'Toxic masculinity' is not a medical term, it is pop culture slang. It is not used professionally in psychology or sociology, it is used primarily in sociopolitical debates. Health professionals view it as a socially divisive pejorative and potentially harmful to young men, and believe it should be eliminated from the vernacular.
The only 'definitions' of the term exist in the social media sphere and communal internet sources like Urban Dictionary, Quora and Wikipedia where it is continuously manipulated. The Wikipedia page entry was only created in November 2016 and has been carefully controlled and curated by a single user, who also happens to be the top editor for 'Male Privilege' and related topics.
More Than Just Annoying
The anti-male movement has gone from annoying; to dangerous. It could not come at a worse time. Boys and young men are struggling more than ever to figure out who they are and how they fit into the increasingly complicated world. Global health data indicates that young men are hurting themselves at record levels. Mental health professionals believe that gender labeling terms like 'toxic masculinity', and the shaming narrative that inevitably comes with it, are negatively affecting the psyche of young men.
More than ever, boys and young men need community support and strong role models, not ideological gender bullies trying to label them and convince them they are somehow defective.
The most 'toxic' thing about 'toxic masculinity' is the use of the term itself. Whether you agree or disagree with them, millions of men and women find this term absurd and insulting. Not because they think men are flawless, but because they perceive this term to be nothing but an ideological gender attack hiding behind false virtue.
This perception leads to exactly what you would expect; further social division and disengagement from actual constructive discussions.
'Qualifiers', 'Adjectives' and other Myths
Some defenders of the term will say "but we're only talking about the toxic aspects of masculinity". Yet hundreds of thousands of social media posts, articles and videos say otherwise. In practice, 'toxic masculinity' is the term du jour for gender activists to pathologize whatever they don't like about men. It is often accompanied by other absurd anti-male non-problems like 'mansplaining' and 'manspreading'.
Other defenders like to use the "it's just an adjective" argument. This is also dishonest. In the English speaking world there is a good reason we don't prefix names of any identity groups (gender, race, religion, ethnicity, nationality, etc.) with pejorative adjectives like 'toxic', 'poison' or 'disgusting'. As an experiment, prefix any other societal group with 'toxic' and say it a few times. If it starts to sound like a hate label, that's because it is.
It's time to stop using the divisive gender label 'toxic masculinity'. Let's drop the name calling and get back to honest conversations about the issues.
In the meantime, we will make it our mission to subvert and ridicule the pejorative 'toxic masculinity' out of existence. We're going to start by redefining it.
From here forward...
Toxic Masculinity is nothing more than the name of a great tasting whiskey.
Men are not perfect, and never will be. But if you believe, as we do, that most men are doing their best, and masculinity is an overwhelmingly positive, powerful and necessary force for good in the world, we hope you will join us.
All you need to do is kick back with your friends, enjoy a cigar, some good conversation and a three finger pour of Toxic Masculinity Whiskey over a cube or two.
Celebrate masculinity. Stay strong. Stay good.