Many males take offense immediately after the term “toxic masculinity” gets bandied about, and mostly because they believe masculinity is toxic of itself. However, that’s not what the term means.
“Toxic” masculinity is a form of masculinity, and it manifests as suppressing emotions, maintaining an appearance of hardness, using strength as an indicator of power, etc.
Maya Salam wrote in The New York Times that toxic masculinity is what can come of teaching boys that they can’t express emotions openly and that they have to be “tough all the time”. Anything other than that makes them ‘feminine’ or weak.
One perfect example of a man who rejects the negative aspects of the toxic masculinity, yet still has the positive characteristics of masculinity, like humor, strength, and courage, is actor Terry Crews.
This is what he defines toxic masculinity:
Crews surprised everyone when he came out as a victim of assault as part of the #MeToo movement, and he was approached about toxic masculinity because of a larger debate happening between him and comedian D.L. Hughley.
Hughley said back in August that he was surprised Crews – a dude with all those muscles, couldn’t tell the agent not to touch.
Rapper Billy the Goat was inspired by the exchange to start #SlapHimTerry in order to support “men holding other men accountable”.