Michael Ian Black’s “The Boys Are Not Alright” — The unspoken overlap between Toxic Masculinity and Gun Violence

In response to the Parkland shooting, Comedian Michael Ian Black has called called for us to reexamine (or maybe examine for the first time) what it means to be a boy and be a man in America. He thinks that our failure to properly define masculinity is key to the violence episodes that our country has been suffering.

The topics that Michael raises in his article do run very deep and will take a while to unpack. American masculinity certainly needs a broader language to expand it’s narrow focus, and certainly we need to help empower all Americans to positively discuss gender dysphoria despite this toxicity. Many children in America feel misaligned with expectations that are placed on them — and Michael is right that we need to help them understand that they can be comfortable embracing their emotions.

And so the man who feels lost but wishes to preserve his fully masculine self has only two choices: withdrawal or rage. We’ve seen what withdrawal and rage have the potential to do. School shootings are only the most public of tragedies. Others, on a smaller scale, take place across the country daily.

The conversation that developed on Twitter was fascinating — already a positive sign that Michael has helped start a new conversation:

And if you are interested in more on this topic, Michael Ian Black later shared a link to a powerful TED Talk delivered by Justin Baldoni.


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