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Revisiting toxic masculinity and #MeToo [podcast]

Revisiting toxic masculinity and #MeToo [podcast]

Globally, an estimated one third of all women have been subjected to physical or sexual violence; however, out of fear and socio-economic disenfranchisement, less than 40% of women who experience such violence seek help. In the United States alone, one in four women have suffered rape or attempted rape in their lifetime; for men, this figure is closer to one in 26.

The disparity is staggering; statistics on gendered violence reveal men are more likely to commit violence crimes, whereas women are far more likely to be the victims of violence.

Despite greater visibility and awareness of crimes against women, notions derived from what is understood to be “toxic masculinity,” and its proponents, are a growing influence over men, and especially young males.

In 2022, the US Secret Service released a report detailing the rising threat of domestic terrorism from males identifying as “involuntary celibates,” better known as “incels,” a network of mostly young males who uphold the misguided belief that sex with women is an entitlement to which they’ve been denied. This report considered misogyny not only a threat to women, but to national security itself.

So how do we stop the tide of violence and hate-speech stemming from the circulation of such misogynistic rhetoric, and how can we move forward while best supporting its victims?

On today’s episode, we explore two recognizable components in contemporary conversations on gender and gendered violence: that of “toxic masculinity” and of the #MeToo movement, the awareness campaign that came to global prominence in October 2017 after the public downfall of Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.

First, we welcomed Robert Lawson, the author of Language and Mediated Masculinities: Cultures, Contexts, Constraints, to share how language intersects with masculinities in media spaces and how it may be our best weapon in combatting rising misogyny, especially online. We then interviewed Iqra Shagufta Cheema, the editor of The Other #MeToos, who spoke with us about the origins of the #MeToo movement, how it has been received around the world, and how it has changed—and will continue to change—to meet the needs of the victims for which it advocates.

Check out Episode 85 of The Oxford Comment and subscribe to The Oxford Comment podcast through your favourite podcast app to listen to the latest insights from our expert authors.

In his interview with us, Robert Lawson discussed positive masculinity as represented by the various characters on the American sitcom, Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Read this chapter from Language and Mediated Masculinities: Cultures, Contexts, Constraints an in-depth look at how the characters subvert and destabilize hegemonic forms of masculinity through their use of language in building relationship with each other. Language and Mediated Masculinities is part of the Studies in Language and Gender series.

Read this chapter by Asmita Ghimire and Elizabethada A. Wright from The Other #MeToos on protest signs and placards written in Global English that allow women from very different contexts to identify with each other and builds on how people in non-dominant spaces can engage in semiotic reconstruction to adapt dominant languages for their individual needs. The Other #MeToos, edited by Iqra Shagufta Cheema, is part of the Oxford Studies in Gender and International Relations series. 

This chapter from Credible Threat: Attacks Against Women Online and the Future of Democracy by Sarah Sobieraj explores how women who attempt to participate in public discussions about political and social issues online confront a hostile speaking environment analogous to the hostile work environments identified in policies addressing sexual harassment in the workplace.

Why is it the case that men perpetrate the vast majority of all violence against women and girls? This chapter from Jacqui True’s Violence against Women: What Everyone Needs to Know® explores the argument that masculinity is in fact dynamic, rather than fixed by biology or any other factor, and that it is the social constructions of masculinity within and across almost all societies that have encouraged and rewarded male aggression and violence toward themselves and others.

Read the following Open Access articles from our journals:

Featured image: Mihai Surdu, CC0 via Unsplash.

Recent Comments

  1. caig fritch

    When I was a little boy, in the 50’s, it was a truism that you don’t hit girls. A lot of the entertainment industry has undermined that rule.

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