Today is a good day to discuss toxic masculinity.
I am mildly pleased that people are getting annoyed at the term ‘woke’ and what it means. This is because I have always felt that most of it was pretentious nonsense.
In every single situation, I see some sense. But the problem is that it is decorated in a shiny wordy gauze of self-righteousness. The most annoying part is that it was replacing the word ‘right’. So, anything that didn’t agree with the woke way of thinking and doing things was wrong. No grey areas and no middle grounds.
But like most things in life or about life, nothing is ever two dimensional. Most situations exist in a varying grade or a spectrum and this makes it hard to say absolute truths or absolute lies.
I bet this is one of the most confusing intros I have ever written. But I had to do it. I have sort of been anti-woke from the moment it became a thing. I admit to going through a phase in which I too started sounding woke. It was a momentary lapse. Having said it, I think I have more balance in how I see things.
For example, there was a time I spoke heavily against toxic masculinity. Then I started reconsidering and finding the term toxic masculinity as toxic and damaging to men.
But they say don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Toxic masculinity exists. But I am not going to go all out crazy to the finer points that are beyond my patience. I want to stay with the basics that everyone understands and agrees with.
On the 31st of March, a man allegedly set a house on fire with his wife and brother-in-law in it. They both lost their lives and he is on the run. He claimed the house caught fire and he was able to escape. But the brother-in-law lived long enough to explain what happened.
The woman, who was visiting from Scotland the previous day, was dead before 24 hours expired; leaving behind four kids.
Apparently, the couple had a long-standing history of a relationship with issues. It was said that he had chased her with a machete at some point and that led to years of separation. They were reconciled after a while. The man had been trying to sell of a property bought by the woman and she did not want that. He later on discovered that the property was in her name. He was enraged by this and had been sending her death threats.
So, this was what allegedy led to him killing her.
It struck a chord of fear in me. A lot of women who are top earners married to men who make less go through this sort of thing.
Just last week, I had a long conversation with a good friend who told me of a colleague who was the earner in the household; but who was getting pummeled and insulted and bullied by her spouse. He commanded how the money was spent to the point of being the one with her ATM cards. One night, she got so fearful of her life that she had to call for help.
This was how she got separated from the man.
On a milder note, you know of women facing a lot of micro-aggressions from their spouses who earn less. They are accused of being high-handed or not being submissive. Some of these men rebel by being moody and difficult to live with; all in a bid to maintain an air that places them above the women.
The women will tiptoe and dance around while handling all the financial responsibilities. The women shrink in these situations just so the man feels like a man. But this doesn’t make their relationships any better. For some reason, a lot of women get punished for being more successful than their spouses.
Do you know why?
We live in a society that tells us that men should be more successful. The man should bring the most money. The man should be the one in the position to buy properties and he should give the woman money.
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So, when a man isn’t doing all these things, he feels emasculated. Then he finds ways to still keep being the ‘man’. Some men would take money from their wives and go spend on girls outside. This is because a man handing out money to a woman is a masculine thing to do and they must feed their ego somewhere since it is being depleted by a successful woman.
Contrary to what a lot of people think, these women sometimes try their very best. They fund the projects the men bring. Hand over the money for the bills to the man to pay so that he is ‘respected’. They try to be traditional wives when they are home.
But it is never enough.
At some point, the women begin to realize that they are not in a good situation. They become fearful of many things. They sense hatred and they are afraid of losing their lives in such a relationship. Or they feel as though the men don’t deserve their estates when they pass away. Hence, they buy things in their names and make provisions for the kids to inherit such.
This, to me, is the toxic masculinity conversation that is meaningful. How men don’t think they are men when they have less or no money and so they suck the essence from their wives or accuse them of stealing their star; or even killing them out of frustration of not getting their hands on the woman’s earnings.
This can’t be overhauled overnight. It is also two-fold. Women are socialized to accept a man with more money. So, if they make more money, they don’t feel comfortable or even loved because the men are not doing things for them.
I don’t know how we can change this.
May the souls of the many women who have lost their lives to toxic masculinity rest in peace.
Was that dramatic of me?
I think not.