Hypermasculinity Toxic Effect on Black Men

Hypermasculinity is a complex that men of all colors share. It’s using masculinity to communicate different messages of what it means to be a man. It’s the exaggeration of what is considered traditional masculine behavior such as being forceful, strength and sexuality. Being “tough” means not wearing pink or hugging because it’s gay. This image is forced on our men, and this is something worth talking about. As a Black male child, simply crying when you fall can get you scolded. Showing your emotions can get you whooped, or called a punk. This is because the world is harsh on Black men. There is no room to cry as a man who is abused in this country.

No Feelings Allowed

I know many men who demonstrate hypermasculinity in one way or another. Black men aren’t allowed to feel. Their depression is brushed off as an “overreaction” or weakness. Mental illness affects Black people and is swept under the rug as if only white people can be depressed, stressed , or anxious.

Black male children aren’t allowed to communicate because Black mothers feel as though they’re trying to be “too grown” in their house, and once she comes to that conclusion, it’s over. Even Black mothers are threatened by the strength of the Black men they raise. These young boys become men, thriving and being able to adapt to anything that comes to them. These Black men can also grow up to abuse drugs, and alcohol because they were never taught to deal with their emotions. Not being allowed to express feelings stunts your communication skills and is the beginning of using violence as a means of communication.

Black Men Masculinity Around The World

Black men of many countries in Africa become men while they are young. For example, the way a boy from the Zulu tribe becomes a man is to face a bull and defeat it. These young men don’t have the chance to be children, rushed into adulthood by shedding blood. These customs are tradition to many Africans, and I fully respect it. This is not meant to demean or berate the culture of non-Americans, but as a way to connect Black people to each other. Black men are not allowed to be a boy, not just in America, but globally.

A young African-American male is not given a childhood. Poverty pushes young men to start working too soon. At fourteen years old my dad was supporting himself and my grandmother. Although he was able to get an education, many Black men had to give up on learning. You can’t educate yourself if you don’t have proper supplies. You can’t educate yourself when you’re hungry. School can be really hard on the poor. You feel that you have to stop people from achieving when you didn’t and those who can’t stop others feel alienated.

Being poor in school can be quite embarrassing, to say the least. Black men are not allowed a childhood, so they are always men all the time. People can see a Black baby and can’t imagine anyone hurting that child yet somehow when that Black boy turns into a Black man his life is diminished. We spend most of our adulthood running away from our childhood.

We Must Break The Chain

Imagine how hard it is to part from hypermasculinity. Masculinity is becoming more and more fragile, and I attribute that to the world being ushered into a new era. It’s hard for men to separate themselves from hypermasculinity. Masculinity is deteriorating because of this new era.This era of bringing light to feminism, and womanism while not acknowledging the cruelty men go through. When people see young men with certain hairstyles, people say, “you’re raising him to be a sissy”, “men can’t cry”, “he’s gonna be gay.” These are examples of people with an ingrained image of what a man should be. It sticks with you day-in and day-out.

Hypermasculinity, isn’t hard to spot when once you are aware.

Hypermasculinity is rooted in Black men’s desire to take back their identities. When you’re broken down, you use something to build yourself up. It works as an aid to the wounded, giving them a sense of self. Black men don’t cause their hypermasculinity, but they do project that onto the women and male children in their lives. Examples include coming down harshly on their boys for wanting to wear certain colors and speaking in certain tones of voice. Boys are often not allowed to smack their lips because it’s considered “feminine.” Black women also aid to the worsening of this.

The Key To A Brighter Future

We need to help out children with their depression. Let our children be sad. Let our children communicate why they are upset with us. Let our children wear whatever colors they want. When our male children express vulnerability, we cannot drag them and tell them to “be a man.” That is disgusting behavior and it makes your children feel like you don’t care and that they’re weak if they show emotion. Black women, we must stop asking things from our Black men that we don’t have ourselves.

How are you angry at a man who doesn’t have a car when YOU don’t have one? That encourages hypermasculinity, making men feel like they have to uphold certain standards, otherwise being deemed as feminine or a bum. Compassion and understanding that people have emotions, and expressing them will help us fight hyper masculinity.

 

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Raquel White

Raquel White is a student at Grand Valley State University majoring in Criminal Justice and African American Studies. She is a womanist and loves the Black community.

Raquel White

Raquel White is a student at Grand Valley State University majoring in Criminal Justice and African American Studies. She is a womanist and loves the Black community.