20 Men Who Weren’t Afraid To Open Up About The Times They Experienced Toxic Masculinity

Published 3 years ago

As kids, a lot of men experienced toxic masculinity without even knowing it, as it was often disguised with phrases like “man up” or “boys will be boys”. Sadly, this problem doesn’t really go away as people get older, and the really depressing part is that men are often made fun of when they try to publicly talk about it. However, things are slowly changing for the better, and more and more men are choosing to share their encounters with toxic masculinity online.

Recently, one Reddit user asked males to share some examples of toxic masculinity they’ve experienced in their lives, and received numerous eye-opening answers that might change the way you look at this issue. Read some stories shared by men who weren’t afraid to open up about their experiences in the gallery below!

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Image source: YikesWazowski_

I got made fun of for wearing lifesaving safety gear on job sites. There are people now who can’t taste, smell, or hear properly because they were too stubborn to put on earplugs and safety glasses, since it’s ‘not manly’ to protect yourself apparently.


Image source: OlDBY37

People act like I’m suspicious or dangerous when I travel alone with my daughter.

Every time I go out in public without her mother I get people watching me closely. I parked my car in a parking lot to feed her lunch a while back (didn’t want to take her inside due to COVID) and a group of people gawked and circled our vehicle in their truck a few times. That is not an uncommon experience for me.

I’m legitimately afraid to take her into a family bathroom because I fear some Karen is going to call the police and tell them I am doing something unspeakable because God forbid a man act like a nurturing parent in public. I’m scared I’m going to get a gun pulled on me in front of my daughter.

A lot of people assume that a lone man with a child or adjacent to children is a predator by default.

If they’re not assuming I’m a predator, I still get comments like “Babysitting for mom?” No, I’m not babysitting for mom. I am her parent and I’m every bit as capable at it as her mother. Me taking my child to the park and feeding her lunch isn’t “babysitting” just because I am doing it alone.


Image source: ChrisIsaPrickX26

Getting sh*t on for not caring about sports. I’m sorry, I just don’t want to spend my time watching people run around a field. And no, I don’t want to play sports video games either.


Image source: raymondspogo

My favorite color is purple. I’ve tried to wear purple, and nope, too many dumbass comments.


Image source: ReadingBagder

I got raped by an ex. Nearly everyone I’ve told starts by arguing the toss that it wasn’t actually rape.


Image source: TacoHellDriveThru

My earliest memory of toxic masculinity was when I was on my first grade basketball team. We got to pick our jersey numbers. I chose 14 because it was my aunt’s number, who was a D1 college player at the time. When I told them this, the coaches laughed at me. Apparently looking up to a non-male athlete was frowned upon, even though none of the coaches made it past high school.


Image source: AmunPharaoh

I’ve been called ‘gay’ for rescuing a starving kitten and taking it to the RSPCA.


Being harassed by women multiple times and having it dismissed because I’m a man.

Image source: paintedCrackWise


Image source: SnooFox5

I always wear seatbelts in cars, but every so often, someone will scoff or poke fun that I put my seatbelt on when we share a cab or an Uber. I don’t feel like smashing out my front teeth if the driver gets into a fender bender.


Image source: FullMetalDuck89

Men in a group tend to sexualize any and all women

I hate that

Also growing up I got s**t for not knowing about cars, like cause I’m a dude I should have the knowledge of a mechanic


About five years ago, I feel into a deep depression. I have been wrestling with the problem since I was a teen. I refused to see counselors for years until I snapped. As a man the expectations are to “hang tough”. “Real men” don’t need counseling was sort drilled into my head because it exhibited weakness. When I became suicidal, I had to leave my job and quite a few people insinuated I was weak. I sought treatment with the help of a psychologist and a counselor. That’s when I realized the “manliness” garbage was toxic. I hate sports, cars and bullshit. I spend my time with my awesome wife not weekends with “the boys” ignoring my family. I haven’t looked back since.

Image source: RawPower66


Image source: TacoHellDriveThru

Oh another one for me is when I grew my hair out. Most guys called me gay and that it looked girly. Yet, I was dating more women than ever during that time because a lot of the women I dated loved the hair. So I guess being straight is gay?


Apparently guys are absolutely required to like any attention from a girl even if it’s invasive as f**k or borderline rapey.

Image source: Cuttlefish_Crusaders


Image source: Billiesoceaneyes

My old roommate was the definition of toxic masculinity. He told his parents the other night that all other guys who go to the gym are ‘betas,’ while he is a ‘biological alpha’ and then proceeded to make fun of out-of-shape people at the gym.


I am currently in therapy to unlearn all the toxic behaviours I learned growing up. I learned in my 30s that feelings aren’t a burden to be suppressed and ignored.

Image source: WastaSpace


Image source: SharkPerson

I remember in high school (I went to an all-boys school), I would go to watch my older sister play hockey, and I’d get made fun of. I never understood what the problem with going to watch a women’s hockey game was, especially one where my older sister was playing.


Image source: rafferty85

For being straight but exclusively using the gay trainers on Peloton. They are more fun and have better music, sorry not sorry.


I work at a grocery store.

I was ringing one day and one of the other register employees was giving this older gentleman a really hard time about wanting a bag to carry his stuff. She said something to the degree of “Come on! You should be able to carry that on your own; you’re a man. You’re supposed to be strong!” The dude had a cane with him. I’m not even sure if she realized what she was saying was demeaning and toxic. I turned around and gave her a WTF look.

She didn’t last too long.

Image source: Jshilts85


Image source: I_dont_even_care1986

When I told someone I was a chef, they told me that career path was for women.


Image source: SSDD1

Mainly how boys are raised to disregard pain and view emotions as a nuisance to be avoided and stifled. It’s helpful for getting things done but not so good for being mentally healthy.

Aušrys Uptas

One day, this guy just kind of figured - "I spend most of my time on the internet anyway, why not turn it into a profession?" - and he did! Now he not only gets to browse the latest cat videos and fresh memes every day but also shares them with people all over the world, making sure they stay up to date with everything that's trending on the web. Some things that always pique his interest are old technologies, literature and all sorts of odd vintage goodness. So if you find something that's too bizarre not to share, make sure to hit him up!

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men, men's health, toxic masculinity, toxic masculinity stories
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