Certain forms of masculinity can be toxic especially in the west where a monochromatic view of what it means to be male used to be the norm. The Marlboro man was perhaps one of the best exaggerated archetypes of this.

American rugged individualism created a stereotype for men that contrasted sharply against a perceived effete European intellectualism which wasn't needed and hence not celebrated in this fledgling new frontier.

Even to this day there seems to be an anti-intellectualism to American male culture particularly among rural Republicans. As a result, the American aesthetic for manliness continues for some to be a cartoon of a man whose primary features are to celebrate ruggedness and aggressivity; the man who takes control and commands attention. This is of course a fallacy but it served as a model ideal that would haunt men for many decades.

I have noticed that this has begun to change with today's youth and both women and men are helping to break that toxicity.

My father wasn't permitted to cry when he was young and expressing any form of weakness was prohibited. The psychological pressure of having to adhere to rules that didn't contribute to the emotional health of males didn't do generations of them any favors.


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