The Urban Dictionary defines “toxic masculinity” as a collection of “repressive type of ideas about the male gender role, that defines masculinity as exaggerated masculine traits like being violent, unemotional, sexually aggressive and so forth”. (Urban Dictionary, 2018).
In more basic terms, this means that in order to be a man, you have to be aggressive and detached from your emotions. This definition, needless to say, is harmful for everyone, but the topic of toxic masculinity was not something I had a lot of experience with growing up. Lucky for me, I met Ashley Kaylor, a blogger from South Carolina, in the process of creating my podcast, who stepped up and volunteered to discuss the experience she’d had with it.
About the Speaker
Ashley Kaylor is a mental health advocate who focuses on dismantling stigma by sharing her personal experiences with major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. She blogs about these experiences at CandidlyAsh.com. Ashley grew up in a wonderful home environment, but faced toxic masculinity in school and in her church environment. We discuss these experiences, and how they impacted her educational experience growing up. Ashley describes being bullied simply for using her intelligence. But today, Ashley uses these experiences to move forward, and create a much different environment to raise her family in.
Ashley provided us with a great perspective on what it is like to grow up in an environment where toxic masculinity is overt, but the one thing that we did not touch on is how toxic masculinity can impact men. This is where we turn to you, the audience.
Please share any experiences that you’ve had with toxic masculinity by commenting on this blog post, and if you’re a man, please share any ways in which toxic masculinity has impacted you. We’re looking forward to hearing your stories, thank you for sharing!
Also published on Medium.