Toxic Masculinity: What is it and why should I care?

“When I was young, I used to, uh, I used to have these night terrors. Where there were all
these monsters and they would just sit on my face. And I would wake up screaming, just
yelling at the top of my lungs. And my Ma… she’d tell me to shut up, but my Dad, he’d get
up, and he taught me this mental trick. Whenever I had a nightmare… I’d just imagine I
was a rooster. Nothing can hurt you when you’re a rooster.” – Gil Pepper, Year of the Rooster

In Olivia Dufault’s Year of the Rooster, the characters are mired in a culture that perpetuates toxic masculinity. Gil in particular may never escape the cycle, and he may drag down everyone he knows with him. Vulnerability is forbidden, showing emotion is weak, and having compassion for others means you deserve to be taken advantage of. This culture often prevents men from constructively dealing with their emotions in favor of remaining tough and stoic, which can lead to rage and violence. This culture encourages the rest of society to reinforce misguided expectations of masculinity, often excusing bad behavior because “boys will be boys.”

This cartoon, originally published on The Nib by Luke Humphris, sums up what we mean when we use the term “toxic masculinity” and how all human beings can begin to break the cycle that supports it.












































Year of the Rooster runs through November 18. Tickets available now!

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