Lighten up or toxic masculinity?

I saw this on Facebook this morning and my first reaction was a chuckle which was followed quickly by “wait a goddamn minute.”friends for 7.jpg

I get that graphics like these are meant to be funny, and a part of me does think it’s funny. But the larger part of me really gets pissed off at this kind of stuff. This graphic implies that men cannot be close without there being some sort of sexual element to it, which I think really hurts men in the long run. Most, not all, but most men are very lonely because we have been taught that cultivating relationships with people other than our partners is not important. Fortunately, I have a spouse that recognizes that and encourages it. There is little more satisfying to me than a good friend that I can talk with who sees me, flaws and all, and still chooses to be around me. I am fortunate to have a few of those in my life. My life is infinitely richer for their presence, and there’s no hint of sexual in any of those relationships.

Implying that there is a sexual component cheapens the entire thing. Even gay men have close male friends with whom they are not sexual, so even when it IS gay, it’s not.

I know it’s just a stupid Facebook picture, and I should just chill the fuck out. But this really hit a nerve for me and is indicative of the toxic masculinity that is pervasive in our society, a type of masculinity that is only emboldened by the current political environment.

So should I lighten up and take it in the spirit it was meant? The person who posted it certainly meant no harm in it as I know they are very pro-LGBT and they tagged their current boyfriend in it, saying it was him and all his friends. In that respect, I should lighten up. But I will never stop fighting the perception that men can’t be close without there being a sexual component. Regardless of orientation, it’s simply NOT TRUE.

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