Yes, you read that title correctly. We’re talking about toxic male beauty standards today. This may seem a bit surprising coming from me, someone who is always talking about toxic beauty standards for women, but hear me out.
This post is in reaction to the April 20, 2021 article in Femalista, This Is Why Hollywood’s Toxic Male Beauty Standards Are Not Healthy. There isn’t a particular author credited, but the article was written in reaction to comments made by Game of Thrones’ Natalie Dormer. A bulk of the article is a compilation of posts from social media on the topic.
I’ll post the link below, so you can read the article yourselves, but my purpose is to explain why this is important. The link that led to this (which I unfortunately no longer have) said that Natalie Dormer’s comments were controversial. I’m not here to weigh in on that–you’ll have to decide for yourselves if it is controversial–but merely to say what my opinion is on all of this.
Reading this article and the link that led to it reminds me a lot of the Mens Rights Movement or MRAs. I did a report on MRAs in grad school, and at first glance, they seemed like a lot of toxic male types that whined a lot. Then I met with one of them.
While MRAs do tend to whine a lot without doing much else, they do have a legitimate cause.
Let me let that settle in for a moment. Yes, I know, I, Andie Campbell, self-professed feminist is saying that she agrees with the MRA movement? Well, the reason is because the feminist movement and the MRA movement, at their core, are exactly the same thing.
Feminism is about advocating for women’s rights and, in particular, equality with men. MRAs aim to gain additional rights for men. On the surface, even as I type that, it doesn’t sound right. Men have more rights than women, so why do they need more rights? Because while they have more rights in most areas, women to have more rights in a few select areas: in family court when custody for children is being decided, and men still outnumber women in the military and in the police–there are reasons for that, but for the purposes of this post, I won’t be getting into them.
All of these issues are rooted in one thing: rigid gender roles and expectations. Women are seen as being more nurturing and better with children, so they have more rights in family court, but fewer rights in the business world. Men are seen as being more aggressive and have more rights in the business world and virtually everywhere else, but this also leads to a mostly male army and police force, as well as fewer services for men. It is the same with Hollywood beauty standards.
These unrealistic beauty standards come down to rigid gender expectations. It’s sort of understood that women are to be skinny to the point of being unhealthy, and for men to be larger than they should be, however, I didn’t know it was to the point that men were hurting themselves to get there. The article was illuminating.
In order for change to happen, we need to change the way we look at this issue, because issue really comes down to the way we think. I know that was circular reasoning of a sort, but it really is true. As long as we continue to expect women to measure up to traditionally feminine characteristics and characteristics that are often unattainable and for men to adhere to traditional masculine characteristics and unsustainable characteristics, we are only hurting ourselves. We need to break out of traditional expectations and be true to who we really are.
~”Everyone should be free to be who they truly are.” Andie Campbell