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Forums Forums Magic, Witchcraft and Healing International Men’s Day Discussion Thread: Celebrating Men and Masculinity by Challenging Patriarchal Expectations

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    Note: This post was discussed and approved by the mods prior to being posted.

    Hello again to all the kind folks of this wonderful sub! Today is International Men’s Day!

    International Men’s Day was created to help create awareness about men’s physical and mental health and celebrate their contribution to families and communities. It’s undeniable that we live in patriarchal societies designed to (usually) keep a small number of wealthy men in power. When discussing the topic of the patriarchy, we often explore the abuse, exploitation, subjugation, and discrimination faced by women in these systems, but sometimes overlook the devastating impact that these systems have on men and boys throughout their life.

    From infancy, boys quickly learn from their environment that there are steep expectations that need to be met if you’re ever going to be considered a “real man.” You must be constantly productive, wealthy, muscular, heterosexual, tall, smart, talented, and confident in everything you do. Attributes like artistic creativity, emotional intelligence, empathy, caretaking, open-mindedness, emotional vulnerability, or even a love for cooking or dance are actively smothered in young boys in favor of the previously mentioned masculine traits. To say nothing of men with mental or physical conditions that leave them severely-restricted or unable to contribute to society in traditionally masculine ways. Where does this leave us? With generation after generation of men and boys who never even learned that it’s OK to experience the wide spectrum of emotions, and that replacing vulnerable emotions with rage, ego, or stoicism is preferred to looking weak for even a moment. At the same time, many men are being conditioned to feel entitled to relationships and sex, two things that require emotional vulnerability, empathy, open-mindedness, and an ability to work collaboratively. When entitlement like this meets unpreparedness, confusion, anger, and heartbreak are often all that’s left in the end.

    Masculinity is not inherently toxic. Men are good. Men have been responsible for some of the greatest inventions and advancements in the history of our species. Men are capable of phenomenal acts of kindness, empathy, and compassion. Patriarchal systems push a toxic version of masculinity because it is understood that emotionally intelligent men are FAR more dangerous to the status quo than those that have been told to “man up” and quietly suffer. What we do moving forward will determine the type of world future generations grow up in.

    So I’ll put forward a few questions:

    \- What are some non-traditional examples of healthy masculinity that you’ve seen or heard about?

    \- How do you personally differentiate between masculinity and toxic masculinity.

    \- Did you grow up seeing or experiencing any bizarre expectations for men in your area (growing up it was cool for guys to skateboard, but rollerblading was seen as “gay”)?

    \- Who do you think is a well-known person who embraces healthy masculinity.

  • International Men’s Day Discussion Thread: Celebrating Men and Masculinity by Challenging Patriarchal Expectations

  • KirbyTheDevourer2342

    November 24, 2022 at 6:28 am

    First of all, love this thread. I have been really going through some stuff specific to my relationship with my masculinity and I appreciate the kind consideration on display here.

    -Non traditional forms of masculinity I’ve seen firsthand eh? Well one thing I’m proud to have seen is that my sister and BIL are raising their boys to be a lot more communicative and open minded, their oldest boy is confident without being aggressive or arrogant, is open to sharing his feelings and isn’t afraid of doing things that are traditionally feminine like painting his nails. I love how my nephews are growing up and I can’t wait to see the men they become (unless they’re trans in which case I will love them as whatever gender they land on)

    -For me, the difference between toxic and non toxic masculinity is security. Toxic masculinity encourages an insecure fragile form of masculinity that is difficult to perform, is policed harshly, and is in constant threat of being denigrated by one’s peers. It is more of a cover for a lack of strength than it is a source of strength. Healthy masculinity allows for all expressions of masculinity to be valid, it doesn’t set men against each other, it allows them to feel like men even when they aren’t being confident, productive, or strong at every moment. It complements femininity without dominating it and allows for men to be whole people, not simply providers. It allows men to have a full and healthy relationship with their emotions and have their human needs met without scorn.

    – Funny story, I actually spent some years in what turned out to a masculinity cult (ended up leaving of my own free will, long story) and something that was really emphasized was hiding ones emotions from family and friends. Like literally, this was mostly Boomer dudes tryna to give outdated and chauvinist advice to Millennials and Gen Xers. Gems like “learn to spin good bullshit to your wife and kids about your true feelings and never burden them about them”, “wear a mask of stoicism and ONLY let it down around the men’s group” and it struck me later that this is an isolation tactic that cults use to increase your dependence on them.

    – Good men who represent positive masculinity off the top of my head:
    *Steve Irwin
    *Fred Rogers
    *Neil Gaiman
    *Jack Black/Kyle Gass
    *Jason Momoa
    *Bruce Lee
    *Alan Watts

  • Kosmikdebrie

    November 24, 2022 at 6:28 am

    The thing that always gets me is that if something is unhealthy for one gender it’s unhealthy for all genders. As an ace I am always quietly exploring the idea of how purity culture effects men. It seems to me like when every adult you know has the belief that all boys your age are only thinking about one thing, and that one thing is something that no one explained or will acknowledge other than to demonize it, that only leads to one of two things. Either blind confidence and entitlement like a lot of the guys at my religious school, or the exact opposite, a fixation on understanding something that you don’t actually desire and the more you grow to understand it the less you have in common with the other guys, so you have to prove how pure you are and how different you are from those gross guys. I don’t think that way now obviously but for most of my life I whole heartedly believed that all sex outside the confines of a biblical marriage was shameful and deserving of punishment, so how much of my asexuality is left over trauma and religious programming and how much of it is knowing my body and living my best life? Ironically by “saving myself for marriage” I likely did damage my sex life with my life long partner, which was supposed to be the reason that I was sexually repressing myself. Purity culture is bad for women, but it’s also bad for men.

  • Unlucky_Degree470

    November 24, 2022 at 6:28 am

    This is a great discussion, and I don’t have much to contribute other than to say I’ve been thinking about Brendan Fraser a lot lately in relation to how we can understand a positive form of masculinity. Keanu Reeves might be another. Like – they don’t talk shit, they express their emotions, they’re stoked to be there, though each in their own way.

    I’ve also been thinking about how talking about “men” often conjures the image of toxic masculinity, but “dads” doesn’t. Not the fact of being a parent, but the overall vibe. The things that people love about “dads” is a peek into a worthwhile masculinity.

  • Ironoclast

    November 24, 2022 at 6:28 am

    It’s probably the most unlikely place you’d EVER think to find examples of positive masculinity…but I just watched a wrestling PPV (All Elite Wrestling’s *Full Gear*) and there was a beautiful moment in the pre-show.


    A wrestler by the name of Eddie Kingston was about to wrestle his childhood idol, Jun Akiyama. The guy that made him want to become professional wrestler. In the backstage interview he was clearly emotional, and stated as much to the interviewer: “I don’t know what to feel, I’m numb, it’s hard to focus…my mind is out there [in the ring].”

    The two wrestlers square off in the ring, have an absolute banger in the ring in the classic Japanese King’s Road style, and >! Eddie comes away with the win .!<


    After the match, Eddie is just openly sobbing in the middle of the ring, and not even bothering to hide it. This 40 year old half Irish, half Puerto Rican Yonkers native had just gotten to wrestle a dream match of his – and it brought the house down to boot.

    There’s also the small matter of his [Player’s Tribune article](, where he discusses his struggles with mental health and the bottle.

    So I’ll nominate Eddie Kingston as an example of flawed positive masculinity.

  • RPGesus4554

    November 24, 2022 at 6:28 am

    Straight guy here, I agree 100%. When I was a kiddo my father wasn’t present too often, work and such, so I was predominantly raised by my mother. Taught me a whole bunch of what OP mentioned rather than typical “man” stuff. And when my father would see what my mother was shaping me into it was almost as though he was ashamed of me. It was devastating.

  • Main_Capital_7033

    November 24, 2022 at 6:28 am

    As a male-presenting(primarily out of convenience) who regularly hovers around this sub and it’s lovely vibes; I will say it’s really nice to see a thread about Men’s Day here because while I’ve seen stuff in other places, it hasn’t felt genuine, but seeing it discussed in a sub that focuses so much on female empowerment and patriarchy-burning feels more real. So thank you OP for showing up on my dash tonight.

    – Healthy masculinity has been the friendship I have with my online friends. It’s pretty much a 30-30-30% shot of male-female-nb(my party, kinda, I dunno gender is bullshit) peeps in the group, but I’ve lately been really exploring my emotions surrounding my male friends and just how much I love them. How much their laugh makes me happy, how angry(in a good way) their dumb jokes make me, how much I want to reach through the screen and hug them when they’re struggling and just let them cry like I know they need to.

    -Masculinity to me is strength, compassion, and a willingness to fight to defend your ideals and needs(these are not exclusive to masculinity, but they’re important parts to me). At least, these are things that make me feel masculine when I practice them. Toxic Masculinity is a craving for power, a need to see people as weaker than you, and a willngness to harm/kill for your wants/desires. They feel to me as twisted(or “toxic,” as the case may be) versions of what healthy masculinity is.

    – I was really lucky to grow up in such a social group that I never really got any weird or negative messages about masculinity except what is so ingrained by this point that I can’t even point it out. I was never told not to do something because it was girly, even if I never did them anyways because my interests never fell that direction. As I grow more and more I’m learning to let myself do more and more non-masculine things, like collect stuffies. I love stuffed animals, they’re super cuddly and cozy and bring me so much joy, and it’s been amazing to finally let myself experience it rather than hide it or not engage because it’s “childish” or “stupid.”

    – My personal hero is Wil Fucking Wheaton. I do not have the energy to talk about all the lovely things Wil has done, not only professionally but also in his personal life, but suffice to say that I look up to that man for all that he’s done not just for men but for mental health and so much more. UGH. Wil Wheaton is a lovely person. Look him up. Read his books. He actually spoke for [NAMI]( once, so listen to that. It’s great stuff.

  • thealienamongus

    November 24, 2022 at 6:28 am

    Brother Bear (2003 Disney movie) has a lot of examples of positive masculinity. I rewatched it a couple of years ago and was struck by that. The whole film is about brotherhood, empathy, understanding, responsibilities

    Kenai own character arc of hating his totem for being unmanly, shirking responsibilities, and blaming others for his actions to take responsibility for the cub >!he orphaned!<, realising that empathy, understanding and love are important. That he is not less of a man for *feeling*that it made him a **better** man not a weaker one.

  • Ironoclast

    November 24, 2022 at 6:28 am

    I’ve already talked about pro wrestlers in this thread, but as an Aussie witch I would be remiss if I didn’t mention [Isaac Humphries](, the only active male professional basketball player that is openly gay (and the first Australian player to be openly gay too).

    Even before he came out he was not afraid to discuss his struggles with depression, and talked about playing piano and singing as coping mechanisms. Isaac does regular concerts to fundraiser for charity as well – I have had the privilege of going to one of these and his voice is beautiful…just so expressive. His version of [‘Say Something’]( always makes me well up. 🥺

  • anxiouslesbean

    November 24, 2022 at 6:28 am

    > What are some non-traditional examples of healthy masculinity that you’ve seen or heard about?

    My favourite guys that I’ve known personally have all been in the LGBTQ+ community. My best friend/housemate is a trans man and he is a great example of healthy masculinity everyday. He isn’t afraid of appearing “feminine” in terms of behaviours (obviously his dysphoria is a thing, but he isn’t worried about things like watching girly movies and enjoying hobbies like sewing and crafts). Some of the other guys I’ve known have been gay guys, and they are so lovely and kind. One of my old housemates was a cis gay dude and he was great, he was a typically masculine guy but he was very respectful of women and he cared about feminist issues.

    > How do you personally differentiate between masculinity and toxic masculinity.

    I will use the example of my best friend again. He is very typically masculine, he loves men’s fashion and has a lot of typical masc hobbies like building things, woodworking, leather crafting. The way he presents/dresses himself is very masculine. He likes to collect bow ties and socks with fun patterns on them. Anyway, he has all of this typical masculine stuff as natural parts of his personality. He is a straight guy, but he doesn’t care if people think he looks gay, or like a feminine guy. We joke that he is like the Darren Criss of the trans guys, because people often assume he is a gay guy, like how people thought Darren was gay when he played Blaine lol. My friend’s masculinity is very healthy. He doesn’t view it as superior to femininity. He calls out misogyny and sexism when he notices it, whether it’s coming from cis or trans dudes. He likes to do the typical chivalrous guy thing of holding doors open for people, however he does this for everyone, not just women.

    This stuff is a good example of healthy masculinity to me. I’ve seen a lot of toxic masculinity, mainly from my father and other male relatives. They’re full of misogyny. They view their masculine hobbies and interests as superior to feminine stuff. They think that women who deviate from traditional femininity are disgusting and offensive.

    > Did you grow up seeing it experiencing any bizarre expectations for men in your area

    In my family, the male relatives would make fun of “feminine drinks” like wine, champagne, cocktails and fruity mixers. They would make fun of women drinking it, saying it’s a girls drink, saying it’s not real alcohol, and if a guy was drinking it, they’d call him gay. They thought the superior “masculine drinks” were things like beer and whisky. It was *so* confusing and bizarre to me, even as a kid, to constantly see people gendering alcohol!

    > Who do you think is a well-known person who embraces healthy masculinity.

    Hmm, there are many examples. I think Chris Hemsworth seems like a cool, chill guy who is very typically masculine but in a healthy way. I like watching when he does documentaries.

  • BugsInABigWorld

    November 24, 2022 at 6:28 am

    Thank you. I’ve noticed that the mods are especially picky about men’s issues being posted here. So I’m glad someone was able to open the discussion today.

  • Character_Narwhal_38

    November 24, 2022 at 6:28 am

    Thanks for opening this discussion! So many great points.

    One thing I’ve been thinking about recently is how much the patriarchal expectations seem to limit some men’s friendships. Everyone should get to experience non-sexual intimacy and affection, and give and receive compliments without it being a reflection of masculinity (or lack thereof) or sexual attraction. I think this is starting to change, I hope it is.

  • ArrogantDan

    November 24, 2022 at 6:28 am

    To all my beloved trans brothers, welcome to Manhood brah! The Respect Women Juice is on tap, and we stan a dude who likes traditionally feminine things. There will be a lot of armed forces messaging but we do our best to ignore it – your body is not just a machine to be spent up, it is you. I hear there are a lot witches around, and we love any woman who’s got an awesome style of magic related to the earth – those babes fuckin’ rule. To my enby siblings, feel free to stick around in the house as long as you need, if there aren’t enough beds we’ll knock some out for ya in a half-hour!

  • Hallonsorbet

    November 24, 2022 at 6:28 am

    When I was 7 or 8 years old, I got a piercing in my left ear because having it in your right ear was somehow gay. I hardly knew what being gay meant at that age but I sure as hell didn’t want to be gay. Incredibly sad.

    To this day (I’m 34) I still don’t cry when I’m sad. Been to funerals, had two children, two miscarriages, highs and lows in life but at most my eyes went a little wet. It’s not that I don’t feel things. But I am just incapable of crying. I have a feeling that that’s not very healthy, and it’s been taught to me all my childhood by other boys in school and other places. Crying is for girls and small children. Crying makes you weak.

  • crycry_chemtrails

    November 24, 2022 at 6:28 am

    Im glad to see the sub is celebrating! Healthy masculinity is possible with the right social support. I’d like to see boys grow up not having to unlearn dangerous ideas that are misconstrued as “natural to masculinity”.

  • Lord_Nyarlathotep

    November 24, 2022 at 6:28 am

    To me, masculinity becomes toxic when you force it upon people.

    When on others, this can be anything from forcing others to accept your help/knowledge,
    getting violent when people don’t treat you as an authority figure, and our favorite, not taking no for an answer (I wonder if this comes from men being supposed to be stubborn and assertive).

    When ok yourself, it often looks like forcing yourself to not open up to others (in a healthy way at least), rerouting all your vulnerable feelings into anger, etc.

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