Welcome to day 1 of the April Blogging A-Z Challenge! Over the course of the month I will be discussing lots of different topics linked around the theme of gender. Today I am going to be talking about the idea of an ‘Alpha’, the toxic ideas this promotes and my own views on the topic.
When you google the term alpha male, a lot of results appear. I was looking predominantly at the images and so many of them are just… Yeah.
Growing up a lot of guys are taught how to be ‘men’. They are taught that there are certain responsibilities they must undertake to be taken seriously as an adult, and this is perfectly fine for the most part. However some of the things men are taught can be very damaging to both themselves and the people around them.
Something I began to hear when I got older was guys talking about being ‘Alpha’. They would call other guys ‘Beta f**ks’, because they cried when they were hurt, because they couldn’t finish a pint in 0.5 seconds (or some other ludicrous time), or because they were still virgins. There were dangerous ideas fronted, and it could be damaging to a lot of people – the guys being called out especially.
This brings me onto the idea of Toxic Masculinity. It is a term that is banded about a lot in feminist circles that I think has a real root in society. It is about the socially-constructed ideas that describe the masculine role as as violent, unsettled, sexually aggressive, dominant, aggressive, etcetera. It is an idea that is damaging to men, because it puts certain rules in place for men and if they don’t match them they are seen as somehow lesser males.
It suggests the idea of ‘real men’. There are certain things ‘real men’ don’t do. Such as cry, they can’t be victims of abuse, all men have to be interested in is sex, men can’t show emotion – unless it is anger. The list goes on.
Unfortunately the portrayal of a ‘real man’, can lead to damaging effects even in the Trans Masculine community. This can stem from both the other trans masculine people, and society around them. Some examples include being told you can’t be a man because you cry at the movies, you are too ‘girly’, you’re asexual – so no way could you be male, you enjoyed playing with Barbies as a child and boys don’t like that sort of thing. It leads a lot of trans masculine people to put up this facade – or indeed end up becoming like the rest of society sees them – and harden themselves.
When I first came out I too heard some of these things. I was told it was impossible for me to be male because I was far too into ‘girly’ things and I cried too much. I apparently displayed too much emotion to be male. Honestly, it made me second guess myself, it did send me back in the closet for quite a while, but when I went online and did my research I realised just how damaging it was.
It is important to realise not everything has to be the same, there are softer men and harder men, men do cry and that doesn’t change their gender identity, some men are asexual and that is totally fine, a lot of guys enjoy ‘girly’ things more than ‘boys’ things. That is totally fine too.
I hope you all enjoyed reading this post, and do check back tomorrow for letter B, Binding. If you want to check out more of the A-Z Challenge, go to this link here and browse the blogs that are taking part. You can even take part yourself and join the linkup still for the next few days!
I look forward to reading your comments and ideas on this article, and seeing you again tomorrow!