Bestselling Norwegian novelist Bjørn Andreas Bull-Hansen discusses changing attitudes towards masculinity in the 21st Century.
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‘Toxic masculinity’ has become one of the most used and abused cultural labels of our time. Although generally defined as ‘The constellation of socially regressive masculine traits that serve to foster domination, the devaluation of women, homophobia, and wanton violence’, in the minds of many it has come to be synonymous with any traditional male role in family and society, and even with masculinity itself. Clearly, traits such as low empathy, excessive aggression, lack of emotion, and sexism are destructive, but they are not inherent to any reasonable definition of masculinity.
But this is just one of the challenges facing men – and particularly young men – in these tumultuous times. Changes within the structures of society have left many men adrift and confused about their own lives. Add to all this misplaced political correctness, disempowering cultures of blame and dependency, and unrealistic role models in popular culture, and you get a generation of depressed, disillusioned men lacking ambition, passion, drive, and direction. For men of any age, however, it is still possible to overcome these limitations and live meaningful, purposeful, and fulfilling lives
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