Turn Toxic Masculinity into a Positive

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It’s not a term that you ever want levelled at you, but you can embrace some of the advantages of toxic masculinity with a little effort.

The term toxic masculinity has been around since the late 1980s and equates to a concept of manliness that glorifies strength, virility and dominance and suppresses female traits such as talking about emotions. The term is often used to describe how masculinity affects other people, especially women, who can fall foul to male aggression. But acting in this way is not good for men, either: a recent study co-authored by the University of Michigan found that men who endorse hegemonic ideals of masculinity can become isolated as they age, which impacts health, wellbeing and overall happiness. 

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The good thing is, you can direct those masculine traits into healthy, positive outlets; joining a kickboxing class means you’re channeling that aggression in a positive way, while taking a solo travel trip can help build confidence and push yourself to the limits. We’re here to give you a strong, manly handshake with our best tips on embracing masculinity sans the toxicity.

It's not a term that you ever want levelled at you, but you can embrace some of toxic masculinity's advantages with a little effort.

Embrace Your Strength

The stereotypical man is strong and powerful – so why not get in touch with your physical side by exercising and working out more? Pack away those takeaway menus and make a start by signing up for a gym membership if you don’t have one already. Allow yourself to be aggressive but direct that negative energy into something like kickboxing or a martial art such as karate, taekwondo or jujitsu. Not only will you get rid of your anger but you’ll also tone up that bod.

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Embrace Your Power

Speak in a deeper voice and see if you can command respect from friends and colleagues. Walk with greater purpose, don’t slouch but instead stand up straight – embrace all those physical masculine traits. Ditch the tired suits and separates and brush up your image by visiting the tailor and getting a suit cut to enhance the contours of your body.

It's not a term that you ever want levelled at you, but you can embrace some of toxic masculinity's advantages with a little effort.

Travel Solo

Stereotypically, masculinity is all about self-reliance and not asking others for help. Embrace it by packing your rucksack or suitcase and going on a solo trip where you can enjoy your own company and give yourself plenty of time to think. Who knows, you might work out how you can get that business idea off the ground you keep meaning to finalise or figure out what your next steps are in your career with all that time on your own. 

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Get Back to Grooming Basics 

If you like your designer threads and know your way round the male grooming counter at your local department store a little too well, then consider curbing your manscaping spend and just get back to basics – soap and water, and maybe some moisturiser. Just choose a good quality soap that won’t dry out your skin. Channel James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause with a white t-shirt, some Lee 101 riders and work boots for that macho, rebellious look. 

It's not a term that you ever want levelled at you, but you can embrace some of toxic masculinity's advantages with a little effort.

Socialise More

Get together with your pals – no girls allowed – and kick back and enjoy some male company over a coffee or a few beers. Debate the pros and cons of Scottish and Japanese whisky. Share your best jokes. Dissect the strengths and weaknesses of the latest signing to your fave team in utmost detail without worrying about what anyone else will think. 

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Shun Therapy for Meditation

Toxic males are renowned for suppressing their emotions and would never visit a therapist or talk to their partner or friends about how they are feeling. Instead of booking a session with a counsellor, use meditation to calm and soothe your mind – even 10 or 20 minutes a day can help regulate your emotions, give you a sense of perspective and enable you to see things more clearly.

It's not a term that you ever want levelled at you, but you can embrace some of toxic masculinity's advantages with a little effort.

Get in Touch with Your Inner Geek

Strong men are accomplished and unafraid to master a new skill. Always wanted to learn how to play guitar, complete a Rubik’s Cube or build a robot? Then set some time aside and put your mind to doing just that. 

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Take A Risk

So-called macho types love to take risks. Too often in life, we carry on with our own little routines, scared to rock the boat or step out of our comfort zone. The theory goes that strong men are not afraid to take risks, so why not embrace that? We don’t mean putting yourself in danger, or doing something that makes you feel uncomfortable, but asking for that pay rise or promotion, approaching the new girl in your office and asking her out on date, or getting round to booking yourself for a paragliding or kitesurfing session.

Feel the fear and do it anyway…

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About Author

Contributing editor to Alpha Men Asia and Jetsetter magazine, Helen Dalley loves profiling trendsetters – be that a new chef or a gallery owner – and writing about up-and-coming destinations. Now based in the UK after 12 years in Hong Kong, her favourite destinations include Norway’s Lofoten islands, the small towns dotted along the Italian Rivieria and Yosemite National Park. She has written for the South China Morning Post, Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia, Business Traveller Asia Pacific, CNN Travel and several inflight magazine titles, including Discovery, Silver Kris and Silk Road.

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