Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of listening to Terry Crews speak on Toxic Masculinity at the One Young World Summit in The Hague. He said one thing that really stuck with me. That in societies today men are manipulated by pride and women by fear. It made so much sense finally on how men and women relate to each other and the world around them.
Toxic masculinity is the cultural ideal of what manliness is. It privileges strength while emotions are weak. In the 21st century it is sad to say that we still live in a world that hardly lets men wear their hearts on their sleeves. To be considered fully male you must have some sort of dominion over those you consider less than you and perceive as weak. Unfortunately, this bracket of toxicity also covers women who are constantly perceived as weak. Should this perception of power shift, it threatens your pride, your ego as man and I suppose your biggest worry could be that everyone will think you are weak.
Women on the other hand are conditioned into a state of fear with society playing a major role. Crippled so much that you can barely function. Conditioned to believe this ‘safe haven’ you have (no matter how toxic it can be) is all you can truly have. Fear of the unknown, of being alone, of being out there in the cold all by yourself. The world has you convinced of two things, that it is out to get you and that you cannot thrive without its approval. Hence you are in a constant state of fear, you retain your current state because that is familiar. This was my favourite part of Terrys’ talk, he said the greatest thing his wife ever did for herself and evidently for him was leaving him. She defied her fear of an existence without him by leaving. This act alone made him face his true nature with a renewed vulnerability. That he did not have to be hard, he could face his weaknesses without demeaning another human being to feel stronger. He understood that pride was nothing but opium for troubled men, and so is fear to women.
I have had my fair share of crippling fear and encountered quite a few men who are crippled by pride. Both are experiences I would love to forget but I keep at the fore of my mind as constant lessons. When it comes to me finding an ideal spouse, the plan is to ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ it with a great human, take it on together and love each other while doing it. I do not want to be dominated into a state of fear, instead maybe into a state of power. I do not want to drive a man into madness but rather into a state of greatness. The idea should be teamwork, an empire built by two greats, rather than a crippled king and an even more crippled servant.
**Note from the editor: This article was originally written by Mukuka for her blog The Woman I am Today**
Featured image | Terry Crews | Gage Skidmore | flickr
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Best of Africa.
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