I can hardly blame you. I would not be able to have a discussion with the obnoxious individual who you are describing either. I invite you to have a discussion with me instead.
“If you see an organization like The Good Men project … as the enemy…”
After thoroughly scouring every word I have written so far in this conversation I can find no instance where I stated that The Good Men Project is my enemy. Having enemies takes more effort than an ambitionally disabled individual like myself is willing to exert. The Good Men Project has done me no harm and I bear them no ill will. I don’t always agree with the articles published on their site, but the authors are entitled to their opinions. You must have mistaken me for that obnoxious individual who you described above.
While I bear no ill will towards The Good Men Project, their mission statement does inspire some questions —
“…to advocate for equality…”
…equality according to whom?
“…to challenge the stereotypes around masculinity…”
…and replace them with other stereotypes?
“They actual want to advocate for letting men be who they are as individuals…”
No one is preventing me from being who I am as an individual in the first place (although Feminists are trying), so there isn’t much left for The Good Men Project to do in that regard.
“…instead of fitting into some pre-fab box of masculine ideals..”
I imagine you’d prefer I fit into a pre-fab box of Feminist ideals.
“…there’s nothing left for me to say…”
Of course not; I have said all there is to say.
I stand corrected. Apparently there is something left for you to say.
“The traits described as toxic are harmful to both men and society — that’s why they are characterized as toxic.”
We mustn’t forget to note that they are also harmful to the interests represented by Feminism.
We’ve already established that you disapprove of certain traits (mainly, those that don’t conform to Feminists’ expectations), but I suppose it never hurts to express your disapproval of them again, using stronger language.
If there are men who find that some of their traits are harmful to themselves then they are capable of identifying and modifying those traits on their own initiative. Feminists applying the term “toxic masculinity” to those traits would contribute nothing to the men’s efforts. Applying the term “toxic masculinity” accomplishes nothing. It merely provides some points of useless, irrelevant information. To wit:
- It reveals that you are a Feminist (congratulations)
- It signals that you disapprove (which is irrelevant to them)
- It tells people that you attribute the traits to “masculinity” (also irrelevant)
Applying the term “toxic masculinity” to traits that a man deems beneficial to himself is futile. Your disapproval would be irrelevant to him.
In any case, applying the term “toxic masculinity” to a man’s traits will cause him no harm, so if it pleases you to do so, I welcome you to apply the term “toxic masculinity” as you deem appropriate.
“…aggressive (rather than assertive)…”
There are times and circumstances when it is appropriate to engage in assertive behavior; there are other times when aggression is appropriate. Under some circumstances acquiescence would be more effective. In his journey through life, each man must seek the wisdom needed to discern the circumstances under which it is to his benefit to express a particular trait.
“…you want to defend your right to be…”
I exercise my right to be who I choose to be, rather than accede to the self serving demands of others with regard to who they want me to be.
…a healthy society.
…healthy according to whom?
I of course recognize that it is in my best interest to be a member of a just, prosperous and stable society. I do not find, however, that conforming to Feminists’ expectations and seeking to win their approval is likely to produce the kind of social environment in which I would prefer to live.
“…it’s not going to give you a truly happy or fulfilling life.”
I have reached a time of life where I have a great deal more history than I have potential. My life has already either been happy and fulfilling or it has not. I have paid the consequences of my mistakes and reaped the rewards of my successes. I am aware of which of my actions and thoughts have contributed to long term happiness and fulfillment and which have not. I have not found Feminist ideology to offer useful guidance. Applying the term “toxic masculinity” to actions or thoughts of which you disapprove is of no consequence to me, it neither benefits me nor does it do me harm. It is simply irrelevant.
With regard to my having a happy and fulfilling life at this time, let’s just say — These are the Good Old Days —
“It’s not acting masculine…”
Have I just been ridiculed for not being a real man?
“…it’s acting like an asshole.”
The language just keeps getting stronger. Your disapproval has been solidly established.