Masculinity is a set of behaviors, presentations, and roles which are culturally associated with being a man and/or possessing male sex characteristics.[2] People of any gender identity or sexual orientation can be masculine, as masculinity is not designated by biological sex or gender. It is labeled as possessing many traits, including "strength, drive, and leadership", which many individuals are capable of feeling.[3][4]

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The word masculine is derived from Latin word "masculus" (male) which became "masculinus", and later "masculin" in Middle English.[2]


Masculinity is shaped by socio-cultural settings and is not reliant on biology; it is not essential to a gender. Masculinities are plural, dynamic, and changing with culture and individuals. Defining traits belonging to masculinity are subject to change based on an individual's culture, class, religion, national culture, and other societal influences. Moreover, many individuals regardless of gender identity or gender expression partake in forms of masculinity consciously or unconsciously. Many of the typical "masculine behaviors" are learned via media, educational materials, and societal implications.[5]

Toxic masculinity[]

Masculinity is stereotyped to have men associated with being strong, brave, etc. Another characteristic of it is men having to be cisgender heterosexual. This goes against the LGBTQIA+ community with negativity and toxicity, since anyone who is queer is seen as weak, "feminine", and said to not live up to the standards of masculinity.[6][7][8][9][10]


While the name of the label masc is abbreviated from the word masculine, it is its own term commonly in use within transgender, non-binary, and gender non-conforming. Butch, boi, and transman are examples of masc identities.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 The Queens' English: The LGBTQIA+ Dictionary of Lingo and Colloquial Phrases by Chloe O. Davis. Published 2021 by Clarkson Potter/Publishers. ISBN 9780593135006, ISBN 9780593135013 (Ebook)
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Masculine Definition & Meaning" on Merriam-Webster(Archived on 2024-04-18)
  3. Gale Researcher Guide for: The Continuing Significance of Gender by Constance L. Shehan. Published 2018-08-30 by Gale, Cengage Learning, 2018. ISBN 1535861177, 9781535861175.
  4. Encyclopedia of Women and Gender, Two-Volume Set: Sex Similarities and Differences and the Impact of Society on Gender by Judith Worell. Published 2001 by Academic Press. ISBN 0122272455, 9780122272455(web archive)
  5. "Femininities & Masculinities" on Gendered Innovations. Published by Stanford University. (Archived on 2023-11-01)
  6. "Toxic masculinity hurts us all — men, women, and LGBT community" on Village Pipol. Published 2020-05-31. (Archived on 2020-06-12)
  7. "Be a Real Man: Toxic Masculinity" by Lindsey Reid on <>. Published 2018-02-14 by University of Alabama at Birmingham. (Archived on 2022-10-06)
  8. "The Effects of Toxic Masculinity" by Shannon Halliwell on All Gay Long. Published 2022-01-23. (Archived on 2022-10-10)
  9. "Toxic masculinity and how it affects young adolescents" by Emili Cruz Sosa on Clark Chronicle. Published 2021-06-06. (Archived on 2021-12-06)
  10. "We Need To Talk About Toxic Gay Masculinity" by Jeffry Iovannone on The Establishment. Published 2018-05-08. (Archived on 2022-07-09)