Men Who Take Baths

A.J.

Toronto, 2019
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I think toxic masculinity highlights the inherent power that men have regardless of whether they want it or not. From that platform of entitlement, it can be hard to see the plight of others.

What do you think when you hear the term "toxic masculinity"?

I think toxic masculinity highlights the inherent power that men have regardless of whether they want it or not. From that platform of entitlement, it can be hard to see the plight of others. I say this as an openly gay man who doesn't really get pegged as traditionally feminine. I get told “oh, you’re not too gay—so to me, I find that it’s not just towards females, it’s also men who aren’t really accepted by other men and it’s the power those men have in certain positions that others don’t.

Would it be different if it were called toxic entitlement or does it need to be called toxic masculinity?

Masculinity opens the door to entitlement so it goes hand-in-hand. Regardless of race or class, it’s the fact that you’re a man and you get away with saying certain things and moving certain ways. I personally think that regardless of the name it would still mean the same thing.

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Life isn’t just about individuals, it’s about interactions.

How are you navigating being a man in our changing world?

I am finding solace in being by myself. As a Leo, I used to run in big crowds and I used to like noise and tension—and don’t get me wrong, if I’m at a party I’ll still find the stage—but I am now my own best friend. It’s about being comfortable enough to say when I’m not comfortable. A lot of times in both Caribbean culture and male culture, we’re taught that emotion is frowned upon. For years, if I cried we never talked about why I was crying and I was told to “man up.” For me today, it’s okay to cry. I get to the root of what’s happening, and if not for me, then for others. Life isn’t just about individuals, it’s about interactions.

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Regardless of race or class, it’s the fact that you’re a man and you get away with saying certain things and moving certain ways.

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I personally think that regardless of the name [toxic masculinity] it would still mean the same thing.