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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.

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.

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.

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

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?

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

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!

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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Argenti Aertheri
Argenti Aertheri
6 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.

John "Ratty" Arbuckle
John "Ratty" Arbuckle
6 years ago

Sigh. Feminists.

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

6 years ago


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.

6 years ago

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

weirwoodtreehugger: communist bonobo
weirwoodtreehugger: communist bonobo
6 years ago

Best necro ever.

Derek Myles
Derek Myles
4 years ago

This hashtag was totally trolling men.

John "Ratty" Arbuckle
John "Ratty" Arbuckle
2 years ago

Yup. Total trolling of men.

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