In praise of Non-Toxic Masculinity

Sunday 19th November 2023

Today is international men’s day so I thought it was a good opportunity to celebrate non-toxic masculinity and what makes those men so bloody great.

There are loads of wonderful men in my life; my sons, my marvellous boyfriend, my nephew, brother-in-law, my dad and a handful of really great friends. It frustrates me then when I’m accused of being a “man-hating feminist” I love these men and I’m blessed that my life is full of great guys who teach my sons what it really means to be masculine.

When feminists complain about “toxic masculinity” we aren’t complaining about “masculinity” … toxic men aren’t examples of real masculinity, rather they’re examples of a lack of masculinity, of something weak and fragile. We spend a lot of time talking about this toxicity, and maybe we should spend more time talking about what good looks like, what real masculinity is, and how much we appreciate it.

The real men in my life are kind and thoughtful. My boys defend smaller children, or more vulnerable children. They look out for their friends and are not afraid to talk about their feelings or ask others how they are feeling.

The real men in my family cook, brew up and lift things down off the top shelf for me because I’m a shortarse. They fix stuff, tell bad jokes and revel in their eccentricity, being comfortable with who they are, comfortable with their masculinity whether they love cats and cross-stitch or loud shirts and birdwatching. The men in my life do not shout, they deal with conflicts calmly, quietly and with regard for others. They all do things for others, whether it’s my boyfriend who fixes broken things, my brother in law who runs my website and doesn’t charge me a penny, or my nephew who instead of being out on the town with his 20 something year old mates, spends his time running a scout troop and teaching archery. My friends are generous, with their time, with their resources, with their skills, and all the good men I know work hard, be it at their studies or their jobs or simply at being the best person they can be. They learn, they mess up, they take responsibility and they grow. Real men aren’t afraid to admit when they are wrong, and even the most stubborn, set in his ways man in my life has been known to say “I was wrong”, to grow and to change.

The world is full of good men, good men who are masculine, who know what a real man looks like, who are not abusive, are not toxic, the world needs these men, we love these men.