The responses to this viral Reddit thread overwhelmingly point to one explanation for why many men behave in such ways: toxic masculinity.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on June 30, 2021. It has since been updated.
Ask any woman around you and they'd have at least a dozen stories of being in uncomfortable situations because of men. While we'd like to believe that most men today have a good understanding of how to behave around women, the truth is that the things that many of them think are completely all right to say and do are far from okay. In fact, sometimes their actions might be so creepy and problematic that it makes those around them uncomfortable and maybe even feel threatened. A number of women recently opened up about finding themselves in such situations after Redditor SuperElectronicGray asked: "Women of Reddit, what do men do that they think is okay but is actually creepy?"
The responses to the thread overwhelmingly point to one prominent explanation for why many men behave in such ways: toxic masculinity. Speaking to Bored Panda about this problematic phenomenon, psychotherapist Silva Neves explained that toxic masculinity poses a variety of dangers to both men and those around them. "The main danger of toxic masculinity is that those men can be emotionally abusive and/or physically violent and sexually violent to women," the expert said. "They can also be aggressive to gay people. They perpetuate toxic messages of masculinity so toxic masculinity is usually passed down to their children and peers maintaining the problems."
"Toxic masculinity also harms the men themselves because repressing their own emotions so much can lead to mental health issues, depression, and even suicide," he continued, adding that the dangers are very real when men are unable to be open up to others and ask for help. "Toxic masculinity harms everybody."
"Restrict movement in any way. Pinning me in a corner, holding my wrist down, blocking my escape, etc may make you feel powerful but it makes me worry I will be trapped for awhile and then dead." — butdoesithavestars
"A guy who sat next to me on a plane and wouldn't stop talking to me (even after I put on headphones) tried to walk me to my connecting flight even after I refused to give him my phone number. He finally left when I went to the women's restroom." — metky
"I've got curly hair and I'm sick of men thinking they can just come and grab a coil of hair and pull it, like I'm some kind of slinky spring! Don't touch my fu**ing hair and don't call me moody when I tell you to stop!" — weemuree
"My workplace is mostly men. There are 3 women and approximately 25 men. I used to bring in homemade baked goods a lot... pumpkin bread, brownies, cookies, smores bars, and the like. I enjoy being in the kitchen. It's a nice gesture to share. One guy started drawing me borderline inappropriate Minnie Mouse drawings. Not done well. Traced images but with small changes like her bloomers too short. Weird to explain. I'm the exact opposite of a person you'd think would like anything Disney related, let alone sexy Minnie. He said he drew them to thank me for the treats. I stopped bringing in treats which resulted in everyone else questioning why I quit baking. Very awkward all around." — Reddit
"I have a large tattoo on my shoulder, and I've had several men come up from behind, and move my tank top strap and bra strap to see it better. It's been mostly in grocery stores and Lowe's of all places." — ookaminaku
"Bringing up sex in the first hour of conversation. Dude, I probably don’t even remember your name, don’t ask me about my favorite position or when the last time I had sex was." — Miss_Adventures123
"That hassling you for a date because you don't have a boyfriend is not okay. 'But you don't have a boyfriend...' The point is dude, I'd rather be single than date you. Take the bloody hint." — ukhoneybee
"When I am walking down the sidewalk, follow me slowly in a car while trying to talk to me. I fu**ing hate this." — terribleverything