Published on May 15, 2023
Strategies for Building a Safe and Inclusive Learning Environment
For many centuries men and women have been brought up in patriarchal societies. Boys grow with the attitude that they are supposed to dominate women. Without knowing it, societies teach boys to feel entitled to violate women’s rights. They are taught to suppress emotions and use aggression to solve challenges. Any signs of weakness are treated as a feminine trait. They join schools with the same type of mentality and negative views. Toxic masculinity in schools may contribute to sexual and substance abuse. It leads to bullying, disobedience to teachers, and in some cases depression. Schools can tackle the problem and create a positive learning environment.
What is toxic masculinity?
Toxic masculinity is defined as stereotypical behaviors expected from men. The expectations are deeply embedded in society's traditions. It creates unfairly unequal standards of life between men and women. It defines gender roles and approaches to life challenges. Its traits may incorporate things such as:
⦁ A show of both physical and mental toughness
⦁ Suppressing emotions such as crying, mourning, or stress
⦁ A show of aggression
⦁ Wanting to dominate situations
⦁ Taking dare-devil risks
⦁ Over showing power
At school, such toxic qualities create more harm than good. They not only hurt female students but also males. They are one of the root causes of sexual assault in schools. It causes damaging mental health outcomes and stigmatization. One of the ways students can suppress toxic masculinity in schools is to write essays. They can write about the toxic masculinity problem essay and discuss its problems. If the student needs inspiration, there are many free examples on EduZaurus.
Effects of toxic masculinity in schools
The fact that boys are supposed to suppress emotions and show strength has many negative effects. Boys ignore their inner emotions caused by traumas and vulnerabilities. Before they know it, they develop depression, and negative aggression and behavior. Many authors have written about the topic in detail.
There are many essay examples on the topic available on different websites. Society teaches boys to be manly. It expects them to be tough, strong, without feelings, and aggressive. Due to this, boys do not easily give up on fulfilling their gender expectations. Sometimes they use violence as a way to solve issues. Here are the effects of toxic masculinity in schools.
⦁ Gender violence in schools: Boys show violence against girls and female teacher
⦁ Rape and sexual assault
⦁ Gun violence in schools is escalating in modern times
⦁ Homophobia and misogyny
⦁ Depression, anxiety, and stress
⦁ Drugs and alcohol abuse
⦁ Poor academic performance
⦁ Emotional and mental health challenges
Strategies for deconstructing toxic masculinity in schools
Educators need to be on the frontline to decouple toxic masculinity. They need to create clear lines between gender and sex. They need to draw boys away from the thoughts of biological structure. They can then move to issues of gender sensitivity and responsibility. Different strategies can help deconstruct toxic masculinity.
Teachers should avoid using harmful language
Many times, teachers contribute to building toxic masculinity traits at school. It is embedded in the language they use when addressing a certain gender. For instance, a teacher might see a boy crying. They might ask them, “Are you a girl who cries?” They might see them playing certain games. They might tell them those are girls’ games. To build a positive learning environment, teachers should avoid using such language.
Work to improve student's mental and emotional wellness
Already, many learners have been affected by toxic masculinity. Boys who seem to be neutral or show ‘weakness’ get stigmatized. They become the target of all types of harassment. Due to this, they might develop mental and emotional health problems. Teachers need to create solutions to assist affected students. They need support to go through a healing process.
Create forums to talk about the issue
One of the best ways to deconstruct toxic masculinity is to talk. The talk should not be blame-oriented but solution-based. Teachers can create platforms for students to talk about the issue. They can engage them during classroom lessons. They may create social media groups and allow free discussions.
Student-to-student campaigns and lobbying can be helpful. Educators should confirm to learners that they are not lesser males if they look weak. They need to openly discuss the stereotypes that harness the vice. Beyond discussions, educators need to come up with solutions.
Write about it
Educators can assign students topics about toxic masculinity. It will help them research information about it and write. They may write research papers or essays and discuss solutions. The research will the student get a different perspective on the topic. It can help them get a new mindset and view the other gender in a good way. It creates the foundation for a gender-sensitive society.
Be ready to face the challenges
It is not easy to deconstruct a stereotype that is deeply embedded in society. The greater challenge is that teachers were brought up in the same society. The same stereotypes are deep in them. To change it, educators must be ready to face it head-on. It must start with them before extending it to the learners.
The teachers need to be firm on the issue when dealing with it. If the learners notice the seriousness, they will take precautions and begin to change. When challenges come, be ready with solutions. Deal with them down to their roots.
Train boys to express their vulnerabilities
In society, boys are trained to suppress their vulnerabilities. It creates many negative effects in their lives. To deconstruct that notion, train them to express their weaknesses. They can be masculine without being toxic. Tell them it is okay to cry, accept defeat, or seek help with counseling.
Toxic masculinity is a big challenge at all levels of learning. It has its roots deeply embedded in society. It expects boys to suppress emotions, show aggression, and control women. It is the root of sexual assault, bullying, and violence in schools. Several strategies can help teachers tackle the problem. They need to talk about it, be careful with their language, and help affected learners.