Toxic masculinity is like those weapons in RPGs that deal damage to you when you use them, but you deal twice as much damage to everyone else. Men don’t care if toxic masculinity hurts them because the damage done to everyone else and the small “boosts” they get balance it out. After a while, even the damage done to them seems like a plus because it works well with so much other stuff.
In a game, it’s easy to see that those weapons are largely crap because you get actual numbers on damage dealt to both you and other players. You also get to see how much damage is done to you in comparison to NPC enemies. The trade-off is never that good. In the real world, we don’t get those damage numbers. People just assume they’re not really being hurt by it and wield it recklessly.
Even in a game though, you’ll still have people who will build entire characters around that one weapon. They’ll carefully craft a character whose stats sync up with that weapon so they can use it exclusively. People do this in real life too. Since we don’t get actual damage numbers in reality, more people are prone to do this.
They become so enamored with this weapon that damages them as well as others that they’ll defend it to the death. You can show them that the stats are off, you can show them that in the long run they’re taking lots of damage, but it doesn’t matter. Nothing you say will sway them away from this horrible weapon that hurts everyone in its proximity.
If you look at toxic masculinity this way, the people pushing back against it are sorta like players trying to get the developers (men) to fix the bug (patriarchy). They see other players running around with this massively OP weapon with screwed damage stats and they say “we need to fix this.” They go to the forums and email the devs letting them know that this is way off. They try over and over again to get it fixed.
The devs aren’t listening though. Turns out they think that weapon is their best piece of work. They think everyone who complains about their weapon is overreacting and/or are mad they don’t have the stats to equip it. The modders (activists) can come in and sorta, kinda fix it in a couple of places or a platform or two, but they can’t fix the whole game. Only the devs have the power to fix the entire game over every platform, but they’re not doing it.
If you want the game to be truly fixed permanently, you gotta get the devs to do it. Same goes for toxic masculinity and patriarchy. If we truly want toxic masculinity and patriarchy to go away permanently, men have gotta step up to the plate and get it done. The way our society is set up, women can only do so much. It’s way past time for men to accept responsibility and fix this.
Originally published at theangryfangirl.com.
Published by Brittney White