Toxic masculinity refers to the belief that men must be dominant, callous, and strong to truly be considered men. She was at the center of the #MeToo movement, which forced a discussion of sexual harassment and violence by influential men.
But toxic masculinity doesn’t always mean physical violence; it can also show itself in subtle ways in everyday interactions, even in seemingly loving relationships.
It doesn’t always come out on purpose. Many men and masculine people develop such traits unconsciously, because the toxic masculinity standards are deeply rooted in all of our perceptions of “masculinity”.
According to Jacqueline Mendez, a family and sex therapist based in Los Angeles, there are four ways you can tell if the toxic masculinity has invaded your relationship as well. Only when you become aware of the problem can you work on it with your partner.
He controls your financial decisions
As Mendez explains, there is a clear sign of toxic masculinity in your finances. Often times, men in the relationship take control of the financial decisions that need to be made in the household, whether that is intentional or not.
“If he wants to buy a motorcycle, he goes out and buys a motorcycle,” says Mendez. “But before you If she can buy something herself, she has to see to it that the children are looked after and that the house can be paid off. If there is still something left, she can buy something herself ”.
Some women and female persons have internalized this “norm” and force themselves to make this “maternal” sacrifice. And that even though her male partner doesn’t specifically ask for it.
Pay attention to statements or behavior from your partner like these:
- “It’s my money, so I don’t feel comfortable with you spending it.”
- He buys something for his own entertainment – like a PS5 – but makes negative comments when you spend something for yourself – because the essential costs are not yet covered.
- You buy him small gifts that he seldom or never returns.
- He takes care of all the bills and taxes and says, “Don’t worry about it.” That may seem nice, but it will make you lose track of your financial situation.
You do more housework even though you both work
Classic gender roles dictate that the woman or female in a relationship should do chores such as cooking, cleaning, and looking after children. This, too, is often a sign of toxic masculinity that is spreading in your relationship.
“Many women postpone their appointments or their work so that they have time for the household,” says Mendez. The US therapist advises you to talk to your partner if you notice that the household is divided according to classic gender roles. Especially when both partners have a full-time job. And these are the cases you should be suspicious of:
- You do all the washing up and cook most days, even though you both work full time.
- You are expected to take care of all childcare.
- You keep cleaning the house and your partner never helps.
- He offers to do chores, but you have to tell him what to do and when to do it.
His needs come first
Toxic masculinity results from the long-standing sexist dynamic in relationships that puts man’s needs first.
This can be noticeable, for example, when you cancel meetings with your friends in order to take care of your partner’s needs. Sometimes women put their partner’s wellbeing above their own work or their entire career.
Often times, men and males are unaware that they are doing all of these subtle things that are so ingrained in their perception of gender roles.
So watch out for things like this:
- He asks you to cancel your plans with friends to hang out with or do housework. Conversely, however, he never cancels his own plans.
- You always have time for his feelings, but he doesn’t seem to have the same energy for you.
- You ask about his work and his day, but he doesn’t answer with the same interest.
- You hand him a plate at family gatherings, but he never does it for you.
Your body belongs to your partner and not your own
Toxic masculinity can be even more drastic in relationships when it comes to physical autonomy. If you make decisions that concern your body – with regard to clothing, tattoos and piercings, your weight, your diet – primarily with a view to the preferences of your partner, then this is a clear warning signal.
“There are women out there who still feel that their bodies are not theirs. It belongs to her husband and it is up to him to dispose of her body, ”says Jacqueline Mendez.
In this regard, watch out for subtle things your partner may do or say:
- He makes negative or dismissive comments about what you wear before you leave the house.
- He expresses disgust for your piercings, tattoos or other body modifications – or wants to persuade you to do so, even though you don’t want to.
- He tells you which birth control methods to use.
- He comments on how much you eat and / or how much exercise you do.
This article was translated and edited by. You can read the original here.