“Toxic Masulinity Must End” by Melanie Testa
This is one in a series of posts featuring an artist whose work is included in the Threads of Resistance exhibition.
Toxic masculinity describes a socially constructed role that values domination and control of others above emotional connection, compassion, intellectual and fair exchange. Toxic masculinity is an expression of patriarchy and limits all who come in contact with it, especially men. Toxic masculinity is the fetid, all consuming, cancer of our time.
Unfortunately, women often pay the price for these unquestioned behaviors. We have internalized the fear of being raped to such a degree that we blame ourselves when it happens. We are reviled as whores as quickly as we are praised for our beauty, even when it is our intellect we value most. We bring home less money for similar jobs held by our male counterparts. Our bodies face highly regulated access to health care; we are charged more for haircuts, clothing and personal hygiene products and more.
When I heard the tape of the “man” who is now president of the United States of America say, “Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything,” I felt rage. As there is no female equivalency to emasculation, I use breast cancer as a metaphor in its place. Breast cancer removes our breasts, cuts our ovaries out of us, distills us to the very essence of our beings, but nevertheless, we persist.
It is time to dismantle these unworkable storylines and create space for a broader more diverse equality.
Hear a message from Melanie about her piece below: