Learning about Toxic Masculinity


Retrieved from www.timeforanawakening.com

Toxic masculinity word cloud concept

Tommy Kolinski, Staff Reporter

The last Teach-in of the semester occurred on Nov. 30  in the Student Union Theatre. The event consisted of four panelists who discussed their own experiences and stories about what is called toxic masculinity.

The panel consisted of the four following panelists: Director of LGBTQ+ Services & Programs Willem Van Roosenbeek, Educational Studies Assistant Professor Dr. Roi Kawai, Associate Professor of Psychology Dr. Ryan McKelley, and Student Affairs Administration Associate Professor Jörg Vianden.

Each panelist spoke at length about the current issue of Toxic Masculinity in today’s society as well as their own experiences and how they have attempted to deal with them. The overall message was that toxic masculinity exists and it is up to us to put a stop to it.

Toxic masculinity is not a common term being tossed around in many people’s daily lives. However, it isn’t a term that only applies to a specific group. A common statement by the panelists together was that everyone perpetuates toxic masculinity and we all play a role in how we treat the issue.

What is toxic masculinity? McKelley stated his own running definition of the term as “attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors culturally associated with boys/men/masculinity that result in covert and overt bias/prejudice/subjugation/oppression/victimization of self and/or others.” This includes “the domination of others, misogyny and devaluation of women, homophobia, transphobia, and violence (including homicide and suicide),” stated McKelley.

According to McKelley, toxic masculinity appears everywhere and can be in the form of common slurs, modern music, at school and outside of school, etc. It is an issue that is continuously being perpetuated both by people who don’t know they are doing it and by those who are intentionally doing it.

This teach-in event was an opportunity for UWL students and community members to learn more about this reoccurring issue. Serving as a space to learn, audience members were able to discuss amongst themselves to obtain a deeper understanding of the topic.

“I am currently in the Men and Masculinities class, so I’ve had a lot of opportunities to understand more about what toxic masculinity is, so I know that it’s men’s behaviors that either diminish, stereotype, or belittle other groups such as gender or racial backgrounds,” UWL Junior Hayden Webber commented.

UWL Sophomore Ariel Thomas shared a similar comment about the event, “I took away a broader spectrum of how the things we say can impact the toxic masculine culture and how easy it is to influence children with that language.”

If you weren’t able to make it to this teach-in, have no fear! There are plenty more to come next semester so stay tuned for more! If you haven’t considered attending one, Thomas highly recommends that you do.

“None of it is bad information. You’re in college to learn and this is an opportunity that you’re not going to get, necessarily, as often once you’re done with college,” Thomas stated.

So, get out there and learn while you can! These events are free for everyone where you get to safely discuss and glean more information about topics you might not have been aware of.