Undoing Toxic Masculinity

Undoing Toxic Masculinity in the World of Advertising

Advertising is omnipresent in our culture. We are constantly being bombarded with images, videos, commercials, and language which sends direct messages to our subconscious minds about how we should behave and what we should look like. The influences of advertising is obvious and more prevalent than ever in the age of constant technological advances and social media communication. Gender stereotypes are still prevalent in the world of advertising and this trickles down into our everyday lives in myriad ways. Let’s talk about toxic masculinity and advertising and the need for new kinds of representations of men.

Toxic masculinity is one of the many ways in which a patriarchal society harms men. Toxic masculinity instills beliefs about men that are restrictive and ultimately harmful. Some of these beliefs include men as violent creatures who are unemotional, withholding, hyper-masculine, and sexually aggressive. Toxic masculinity is harmful to all genders and the world of advertising is ripe with it. Oftentimes, products aimed at men are advertised with extreme sports, violence, extremely masculine looking models, and sexism. This kind of messaging disseminates false ideas about gender roles.

It’s more important than ever that we recognize how advertising is influencing our ideas of ourselves as gendered creatures. There are countless ways to perform gender as a man and advertising offers unrealistic and damaging portrayals of the “masculine ideal.” Giant muscles, violent attitudes, and sexual aggression are not and should not be hallmark traits of the men. Let’s make concerted efforts to check in with the kinds of media we are consuming and the ways in which media impacts our ideas of gender.

Try bringing your awareness to the problem of toxic masculinity in the advertising world by noticing men’s ads and the messages they send. When you’re watching TV, flipping through a magazine, or surfing the Internet, try to pause when you see an advertisement directed towards men. Ask yourself what the ad is trying to convey visually and subliminally. This is a great way to start to get in tune with the messaging that is constantly streaming into our unconscious.


Tree House Recovery of Orange County, California is a premier men’s addiction treatment facility that uses eight different modalities to help our men become the best versions of themselves they can be. We teach our men that every day of their journey is something to celebrate, and that recovery isn’t a sprint– it’s a marathon. To get started with Tree House Recovery, call us today at  (855) 202-2138.

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