Big Brother American Season 23: The “War” on Toxic Masculinity (Contains Spoilers)

So at about 6:45/7 AM today EST on the Big Brother Live Feeds, Kyland said, “I think the war on toxic masculinity has turned into a war on masculinity.”

I heard this and immediately had several thoughts. Firstly, I’m curious to know what his definition of “war” is because there are countless people who are not only not fighting against toxic masculinity, some of these people seem to be in favor of it. Secondly, if there is a “war” on toxic masculinity and/or masculinity, women, and anyone who isn’t toxicly masculine, are very clearly losing it.

Kanye West just released his highly-anticipated album Donda which features, Marilyn Manson, an alleged sexual predator, DaBaby, a homophobe and misogynist, and Chris Brown, a repeated abuser of Black and Brown women. The fact that ANYONE is still collaborating with Chris Brown after everything he’s done is enough proof to show a war on toxic masculinity does not exist.

Kevin Hart who once said it wasn’t a goal of his to be an ally of the LGBT community is the most successful comedian in the world.

Dave Chappelle who has made transphobic and misogynistic “jokes” in his comedy specials and while guest hosting SNL is probably the second most successful comedian in the world.

When Megan Thee Stallion was shot, men questioned if she was really injured. She posted pictures of her injuries, they still didn’t believe her. She tried to protect Tory Lanez by not explicitly stating he shot her. People said if he shot you, just tell us. When she finally did name him because he and his team were telling lies about her, men called her a snitch.

Michael Che thought Simone Biles deserved to be viciously “joked” about, and encouraged white people to do so, because she chose to protect her life and body instead of entertaining people and how dare a Black woman do that.

I could go on, but I think I’ve made my point.

Thirdly, what is Kyland’s, or anyone else’s for that matter, definition of masculinity? The Oxford Dictionary defines masculinity as “the qualities or attributes regarded as characteristic of men.” Notably, one of the characteristics mentioned when the Dictionary uses “masculinity” in a sentence is driven. I know plenty of women that are driven, myself being one of them.

Just as we know race is a social construct, so is gender and our definitions of what is masculine and feminine. Traits/attributes are neutral. We are the ones that assign them to specific genders in an attempt to control people who dare to be themselves instead of conforming.

Fourthly, this argument/opinion/whatever is very close to some white people’s argument that even mentioning racism exists is “reverse racism,” which…I hope you all know is not a thing. If you don’t know that, let me explain. A simple way of explaining racism is that it’s prejudice plus power. The reason why Black people, Indigenous people, Latinx people or any other people of color can’t be racist is because we don’t have the societal power to be so.

I’ll give you an example. Let’s say I own a bakery and I put a sign up in the window that says, “People of color only” and I don’t let anyone white into my bakery. It would take at most two days before some Karen or Becky sees that sign, accuses me of “reverse racism” and calls Atlanta City Hall to get my operating license revoked. That’s what we mean by lack of societal power: I may be able to keep white people out of my establishment for a day or two, but the societal power of a white woman is so much greater than mine that her offense at this would cost me my business. Get it now?

Now back to Kyland’s comment. I was surprised to hear him say such a thing because it’s so ignorant and to me, he seems like a deep thinker and a pretty aware person. Tiffany won HOH this week and Hannah won the veto (yay for Black women having all the power!!). Hannah made a comment to Xavier that Kyland seems to be bothered by women having all the power this week.

After this conversation, Alyssa told Hannah she thinks Kyland sees both of them as weak because of their age and gender. I’ve been thinking Kyland views Hannah as one of the women in the house he respects the most, the other being Tiffany, because she plotted to get her own crush out (Derek X) and he knows how intelligent she is. Alyssa also said that Kyland said, “Hannah knows the game but she doesn’t know people” because of her age (she’s 21), implying Hannah doesn’t understand how people operate because she’s so young.

I don’t know if Kyland said this, but if he did, again, it’s an incredibly ignorant thing to say. Hannah is a Black woman in America. Black women are the least valued women in American society. I don’t care if she was only 18, that would be more than long enough for her to have seen how cruel this world, and people, can be.

To me, it seems like Kyland’s upset because he feels like he isn’t getting as much information as he has in past weeks. But if it turns out he is upset about women being in power and I’ve been obsessed with a man who’s actually a sexist this entire time, I’m going to be incredibly pissed off.

Kyland’s “war on toxic masculinity” comment is ridiculous, but the fact of the matter is this: I don’t think I know a woman who hasn’t been sexually assaulted or molested by a cishet man. If we decide we want to declare a war on them, we’re more than justified.

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