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The 10 Most Ridiculous Responses to the #MasculinitySoFragile hashtag

It's Toxic Masculinity Man!
It’s Toxic Masculinity Man!

The #MasculinitySoFragile hashtag took off yesterday after a Buzzfeed article highlighted a bunch of products being marketed to men with some of the most cartoonish evocations of old-school masculinity you could possibly imagine, from grenade-shaped shower puffs for men to Man Chocolate.

The point of the hashtag was fairly obvious: to look at, and mock, the ways these ads try to capitalize on male insecurities and suggest ways men can free themselves from destructive stereotypes of masculinity.

Because, as these ads make clear, masculinity and femininity aren’t inscribed in our genes the way eye and hair color are; they are to a large extent cultural constructs, ways of seeing, ways of thinking, ways of acting that we learn from parents, peers, and, increasingly, the media  — hence the insecurity many men feel about their masculinity, and the ease with which advertisers are able to play on these insecurities to make money.

Talking about these constructs as constructs can help us to free ourselves from aspects of masculinity and femininity that are toxic or unnecessarily restrictive.

The #MasculinitySoFragile hashtag, like the Buzzfeed article that got the conversation going, broaches the subject in a funny way, telling guys that, yes, it’s ok to buy yourself a pink shower puff for $3 instead of shelling out twice that much for an Axe Detailer Shower Tool that looks like it came straight out of Gears of War.

So, naturally, the hashtag was quickly flooded by antifeminists and anxious men who saw the whole thing not as a deconstruction of the sort of toxic masculinity that’s making them anxious in the first place, but as an army of evil feminazis calling them a bunch of wusses.

Not realizing that the feminists were talking about the surprising fragility of cultural definitions of masculinity, the critics of the hashtag assumed the feminists were accusing  men of being fragile.  I don’t know the last time I saw such a colossal outbreak of not-getting-the-point.

As one observer sympathetic to the original aim of the hashtag noted,,

How did the “critics” of the hashtag get it so wrong? Let me count the ways.

1) They declared that it wasn’t MEN who were fragile, but FEMINISTS so there.

https://twitter.com/Bayonethics/status/646646983617175553

https://twitter.com/alWPWtom/status/646657930574569472

https://twitter.com/Luisedgm/status/646657724852342784

2) They offered to fight any feminist comers, to show the world just how unfragile they are.

3) They accused feminists who weren’t shaming men … of shaming men.

https://twitter.com/The_Extrange/status/646646321563176960

4) Meanwhile, others in their camp tried to shame women for being (allegedly) inferior to men at pretty much everything.

5) Sometimes they forgot to make an argument and just said “suck it.”

6) Others fell back on random insults.

https://twitter.com/matthewhummel/status/646783223867965440

https://twitter.com/_Jiggz/status/646830406885507072

7) They cast aspersions on the motivations, and the masculinity, of feminist men participating in the hashtag.

https://twitter.com/PolitiBunny/status/646816129902510080

https://twitter.com/AVoiceForMen/status/646843565478309888

https://twitter.com/LucasTemple/status/646832952702140416

8) Some of them decided to take the opportunity to cast aspersions on Barak Obama’s masculinity as well, because isn’t he like a feminist or something?

https://twitter.com/HensleywkAo/status/646664691146694656

9) A few used the hashtag to promote white supremacy, because why not?

https://twitter.com/UncuckTheRight/status/646887485566377984

https://twitter.com/ElStatelo/status/646752815168233472

10) They warned feminists that if they kept talking about how men are fragile — which, again, they weren’t doing — well then, these women wouldn’t be getting any more help from men with stuck jelly jar lids, and they could forget about having doors opened for them ever, much less having dudes treat them to dinner!

https://twitter.com/NotOne2bPC/status/646831693643542529

https://twitter.com/ThinkingWeasel/status/646769296899764224

https://twitter.com/juhawh/status/646829131175448576

Ladies: You have lost a POWERFUL ALLY today.

Never again will you have a nice dinner. Or eat jelly.

Tauriq Moosa probably did the best job of summing up the whole parade of nonsense.

Yep, that pretty much covers it.

 

 

 

 

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EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
5 years ago

Yesterday I had an issue with some code that I didn’t know how to fix. So I called over my friend and colleague Becky and asked her if she could help. As it turned out, she could. Win!

I’m not sure how MRAs would want me to respond to that. Should I not have asked her, and put up with broken code? Should I have persevered alone and thus not have had time to fix other things?

Perhaps the solution is for me to magically become a better programmer. I’m sure my Y chromosome will help me do that because rational scientific biotruths.

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
5 years ago

I kind of wonder if there’s a “One-drop rule” for asking a guy to help. Like, am I an evil feminist harpy because I can clear out most bog clogs myself, or am I a helpless girl because I ended up calling a plumber when last year’s floods lodged an entire tree branch in the u-bend? Am I an evil feminist harpy because I enjoy rebuilding computers, or am I a helpless girl because I recently took one I didn’t have the parts for to a shop that did?

Wait, I know – I don’t care! =P

EJ (The Other One)
EJ (The Other One)
5 years ago

@M:
You’re whichever of the two will shame you into acting in a manner beneficial to the MRA in question at this moment in time, silly.

Ellesar
Ellesar
5 years ago

Someone – I am sure you have solid evidence to back your assertion, and are just waiting for someone to ask you for it. So here I am- what is the evidence that feminism is less popular in the general population than it has been in recent years? Remember citing from blogs, gossip sites and ‘your friends’ doesn’t count!

Ghost Robot
Ghost Robot
5 years ago

Eccch, Michelle Malkin. Classic example of a right-wing woman who dismisses feminism despite benefiting herself from it. Too busy seeing feminism as some evil lefty construct to look at it with any nuance. That she’s pals with many Brietbart contributors says it all.

Prios
Prios
5 years ago

Listen if a basilisk wants to put me on a leash they’re perfectly welcome to regardless of gender.
But that’s just me. Pay me no mind.

Jack Remiel
5 years ago

https://xkcd.com/380/

That basilisk needs a man to put on a leash. Look at its hopeful little face!

pecunium
5 years ago

I had some strange interaction because of that hashtag. I made some comments about how my comfort with my presentation (I wear kilts, and have long hair) often makes other people feel their sense of “masculinity” is threatened (these people are usually, but not always, male).

I’ve had them seek me out/follow me down the block (and into buildings), and try to insists I speak with them, after I’ve told them I don’t wish to.

So this person (who had just started following me a couple days before; and probably thinks himself some sort of feminist ally; based on the tweets I saw) tells me this is probably because I’m being aggressive/seeking conflict. I tell him no, It happens when I’m minding my own business. A bit more back and forth goes on, which is getting more patronising (including a “I’m not expressing this well in writing, can we SKYPE). and he tells me

If you are having problems you need to get some one to defend you.

Whut? I need “someone” (implicitly, I think, a man) to defend me because I’m being harassed by people who think I’m not “manly” enough. Just…. wow.

John "Ratty" Arbuckle
John "Ratty" Arbuckle
5 years ago

Maybe guys just like buying masculine shower accessories and being thought of as tough and manly? I mean, maybe females should realize that guys let them have all their pink frilly crap and awful chick flicks and One Direction and we don’t complain so maybe they should cut us some slack if we want to eat grenade-shaped chocolate? Is that maybe okay with feminists?

Tracy
Tracy
5 years ago

That’s… odd? What a weird conversation! You need to get someone to defend you???

Alan Robertshaw
Alan Robertshaw
5 years ago

@ pecuniam

But kilts are the most macho item of clothing going!?

http://1aled.fotomaps.ru/scotts-porage-oats.php

katz
katz
5 years ago

Maybe guys just like buying masculine shower accessories and being thought of as tough and manly? I mean, maybe females should realize that guys let them have all their pink frilly crap and awful chick flicks and One Direction and we don’t complain so maybe they should cut us some slack if we want to eat grenade-shaped chocolate? Is that maybe okay with feminists?

Yay, a new chew toy!

http://24.media.tumblr.com/d1d91db5b6373140b45b3616b45077ae/tumblr_n68gj1RCaO1sig16bo1_250.gif

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

John Arbuckle,
Female what? Are you talking about female rabbits? Mosquitoes? Grizzly bears? If you’re talking about female humans, there’s a word for us. It’s women. Next time use that. It’s proper etiquette and less confusing.

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, what are you talking about? Since when do men not complain about and denigrate products and media that are targeted towards women? Half of all bad stand up is dedicated to whining about the interests of their wives or girlfriends. I also find it creepy that you’re complaining about One Direction. Unless you’re very young, you probably don’t encounter too many of their fans. Why on earth are you upset about a pop group teen girls like?

It should also be noted that nobody is actually mocking men for enjoying traditionally masculine things. We’re mocking the people who market them and we’re mocking the notion that being a man depends on only using masculine coded products. Of course, you’re proving the point about fragile masculinity by saying that many men like to be thought of as manly and tough as opposed to actually being either of those things or using the products because of genuine enjoyment or interest.

Bina
Bina
5 years ago

John, I think you need to go back to the Garfield cartoons and lecture Odie or something. Feminism is obviously not your speed.

boogerghost
boogerghost
5 years ago

Yeah, John, like weirwood said, there is no shortage of male disdain for “feminine” things, as you yourself just demonstrated, in fact. Disdain for the feminine is what started this whole aggressive masculinization of “girly” products, so men would feel comfortable using them. Also, last I checked, we feminists have a lot to say about gendered market segmentation targeting women as well. Feminists are famously critical of feminine dictates as represented and pushed by advertisements, films, TV, and other media, and would like to return pink to its gender-neutral status. In future, please try to distinguish between “feminine” and feminist.

Kilts are the manliest. Though the fact that that may have changed in the popular imagination just goes to show how constructed clothing gender is.

@Jack Remiel lol

Someone please draw a basilisk walking a dog. Or a man.

weirwoodtreehugger
5 years ago

I also just noticed how the troll is saying that men let us have girly things. I’m not much of a fan of pink and frilly things but if I want to watch Beaches or drink a cosmo, I damn well don’t ask for permission from Ratty, Roosh or any other asshole misogynist.

RosaDeLava
RosaDeLava
5 years ago

@boogerghost
I made a sketch
http://i790.photobucket.com/albums/yy190/MetalAmaya_photo/WP_20150925_22_27_47_Pro1.jpg
Afraid my style isn’t particularly funny, though.

Arctic Ape
Arctic Ape
5 years ago

Prios:

Listen if a basilisk wants to put me on a leash they’re perfectly welcome to regardless of gender.
But that’s just me. Pay me no mind.

If I’m going out for a walk with a basilisk, I’d probably want to wear a blindfold for safety reasons. Then a leash would also be highly practical accessory.

jaygee
jaygee
5 years ago

This not the first time I am overcome with “Words mean things!!” frustration. Masculinity =/= men, and femininity =/= feminism =/= women.

GardenGallivant
GardenGallivant
5 years ago

#1 shows the cartoon person being “triggered” in a manner snonymous to being angered. Once more this actally demonstrates the limited options strictly polararized gender roles allow to men trying to fit in them rather than offer a definition of triggering a persons memories of old pain..

Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
Scented Fucking Hard Chairs
5 years ago

@GardenGallivant

I wouldn’t even say angered. The facial expression looks more exasperated and confused, mildly annoyed at worst.

Still closer than the usual “LULZ TRIGGERED HURR HURR” meme, though, which really just looks like she farted.

Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
Pandapool -- The Species that Endangers YOU (aka Banana Jackie Cake, for those who still want to call me "Banana", "Jackie" or whatever)
5 years ago

@John “Ratty” Arbuckle

Okay. You do that. Enjoy your $3 stick of Chapfix while everyone else enjoys a $4 3-pack of Chapstick then.

Ben Stolz
5 years ago

Aren’t these the same kinds of people who are against “political correctness”? Or is it just jokes about straight white cis men that they find offensive?

DJG
DJG
5 years ago

@Amused – The car door bit made me think that perhaps people take Keeping Up Appearances as a documentary, but, given that Hyacinth Bucket would never stoop to mere equality, even that doesn’t make sense.

Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
5 years ago

Jar opening tip — take it, flip it upside down, and whack the lid straight down on something solid. I usually go for a 4-6″ drop onto the floor. Works great.

trackback

[…] The #MasculinitySoFragile hashtag went viral on Twitter after this Buzzfeed article poked fun at ridiculously gendered products and then promptly drew a predictably hilarious and vitriolic backlash. […]

John "Ratty" Arbuckle
John "Ratty" Arbuckle
4 years ago

Sigh. Feminists.

Arguing with you is utterly useless. So I will recommence ignoring you. Good day.

Scildfreja
Scildfreja
4 years ago

Hee!

Mr. Arbuckle, dropping a comment bomb into a thread and leaving, abandoning it for almost a year, and then coming back to drop another one in the same thread? The one now buried in the backlog, long forgotten?

That is not “arguing”, that’s “reinforcing your preconceived biases.”

Want to have an actual discussion? There’s plenty of current threads that don’t require necromancy.

katz
4 years ago

#MasculinitySoFragile that a dude feels the need to reply to a perceived slight from 8 months ago.

weirwoodtreehugger: communist bonobo

Best necro ever.

Derek Myles
Derek Myles
3 years ago

This hashtag was totally trolling men.

John "Ratty" Arbuckle
John "Ratty" Arbuckle
10 months ago

Yup. Total trolling of men.