The Issue Isn’t “Toxic Masculinity,” It’s the Lack of Masculinity – Opinion

It’s going to be talked about to death today, but it should be. Will Smith slapped Chris Rock across the face after he cracked a joke on stage at the Academy Awards about Jada Pinkett-Smith’s lack of hair. It was a roast. Yeah, it was, but that’s kind of what happens at these award shows. Many jokes can be made, sometimes including celebrities mocking fellow stars.

(READ: Oscars So Fight)

Rock, in truth, was actually doing the celebrities a favor. Many are jobless because of the lockdowns that many of their lives were forced to endure. However, these celebrities could be made more humane by being more relatable as they show off their wealth and fame in an endless back-pating circle. Ricky GervaisIt seemed like they understood the point. But I digress.

The moment has now kicked up a conversation on Twitter with an old feminist favorite hashtag making a return in the form of “#ToxicMasculinity.”

Looking at Smith’s violence against Rock, many are proclaiming that it was that dastardly toxic masculinity that drove Smith to violence. This will undoubtedly lead to many people claiming that Smith’s violence against Rock was caused by toxic masculinity.

In other words, they’ll want to kick up the arguments that were summed up by Gillette in its disastrous commercial aimed at the toxic nature of men…a commercial that lost them billions of dollars.

But what I saw on that stage from Smith wasn’t “toxic masculinity.” In fact, I didn’t see much masculinity at all. It was insecurity and confusion as well as anger, fear, and lack of self-confidence that I witnessed. The exact opposite of masculinity.

My colleague Bonchie covered Smith’s emotional state after the smash. An interview with Bonchie, Smith’s wife, revealed that her husband was a cuckold. Smith was beaten like a dog and accepted her infidelity with tears in his eyes. Later on, he would make excuses for her, declaring that his allowing her to have an open relationship outside of their marriage was the “highest definition of love.”

(READ: Will Smith’s Violent Outburst at the Oscars Shows a Man Broken and Emasculated)

It isn’t a way for a man to feel secure about himself or an act of masculinity.

Masculinity can be described as many things. It’s strength, confidence, patience, and virtue. It’s capable of bringing order out of pure chaos. It’s masculinity that has kept the proverbial and literal wolves in the hills since we were in caves. Masculinity may bring you peace and end any war. It’s then masculinity that keeps that peace. It provides safety and comfort for families and their communities. One good man with proper masculinity on his side can make a dozen evil men think twice about their choices, and it’s masculinity that punishes them when they settle on the wrong ones.

Moreover, masculinity doesn’t feel the need to become violent because of little things because it knows that if it does, people are going to get hurt. It’s confident in its abilities and doesn’t need to resort to violence until there’s actually a need for it.

Smith’s household is in total disarray. It’s been upended both by his lack of leadership and his ability to draw lines in the sand. He’s displaying pure insecurity and allowing his unfaithful wife to dictate his actions. As you can see in the video, Smith originally thought Rock’s joke about Pinkett-Smith’s hair was funny until it was clear that she was upset by it. Smith instead of calmly deescalating and reassuring his wife, he decided to display masculinity by attacking his husband with violence.

But it didn’t look manly or masculine. It was desperate. Smith seemed more like a puppet strung on strings than his real self. He displayed his masculine lack as he made it appear that Smith was still capable of correcting wrongs, and in control when other men were taking their wives to bed.

If Smith did have actual masculinity on his side, this never would have happened, and by “never would have happened” I mean that Pinkett-Smith would have been left by Smith the moment he discovered her unfaithfulness. Pinkett-Smith would not have shown any regret and would even admit that she will continue to let other men in her body. Smith would then have left, feeling confident in his self-respect. Although it was painful, and the scar would be permanent, Smith still had some control over his life, and could decide to start again.

Instead, he lets other men invade his family. His home is unsafe and his entire life is chaotic. His inability to order his life is evident, and all of his failed attempts are clearly visible.

In an effort to compensate, he tried to use violence to discredit a man trying to tell a joke. Smith’s violence was due to a total lack of masculinity, not the presence of it. It wasn’t even “toxic masculinity,” a fake word make up by feminists to make even the innocent things men do out to be problematic.

Smith needs to retake control of his own life and to do that he’ll need to step away from these modern ideas about what a relationship and a modern man looks like.

(READ: Denzel Washington Gave Will Smith a Heavenly Message after He Smacked Chris Rock).

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