Extended Deadline Interrogating Men: Toxic Masculinity in the Contemporary Moment

deadline for submissions: 
February 29, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Jon Mitchell / University of East Anglia UK

“Toxic masculinity” is a relatively new buzz phrase to capture, in the contemporary moment, problematics of male behavior and masculinist beliefs. However, the term needs interrogating if we are to fully understand its implications. What exactly is toxic masculinity? What agenda(s) does the term serve? What makes it toxic, and to whom is it toxic? Indeed, is toxic masculinity itself really a thing, or is it simply a new slogan for behaviours and beliefs that have always been a part of (too) many expressions of masculinity? What is the significance of this phrase to the study of masculinity? To what extent does the phrase, toxic masculinity, reduce and affix masculinity too readily to biologically male bodies, leading to the reinscribing of such a tired binary of male aggressor and female victim? Which leads to a secondary, but vital question: while gender has been significantly argued to be a discursive practice, to what extent is the study of gender still too heavily invested in biological essentialism, especially in an unwitting way? This special edition seeks to push forward with an examination of masculinity as it is expressed through popular culture and other discursive practices, with special attention being paid to an interrogation of both the phrase ‘toxic masculinity,’ and the people and practices it is being used to define and describe.

Topics of interest could include, but are not limited to:

  • The practices of toxic masculinity
  • Toxic masculinity and nostalgia
  • Protecting and promoting masculinist privilege.
  • #MeToo movement and speaking truth to power
  • Problematics or limitations of the use of the term toxic masculinity
  • Gender essentialism and toxic masculinity
  • The effects of toxic masculinity upon females
  • The effects of toxic masculinity upon males
  • Toxic masculinity and race
  • Toxic masculinity and LGBTQ+
  • Toxic masculinity and the power of mass movements (e.g., Proud Boys)
  • Toxic masculinity in the/and the media


Manuscript Submission Information

                             ** The Journal has indicated that papers submitted for this special issue,  will be processed and published for free **

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited.

Please see https://www.mdpi.com/journal/humanities/special_issues/masculinity for further details.

Jon Mitchell is a Senior Lecturer in American Studies at the University of East Anglia, UK. Jon’s research interests include: US masculinity and national identity; Vietnam War and its literature; US literature and culture of the 50s and 60s; anti-racism/whiteness studies; psychoanalytic theory (Lacan and Zizek); queer theory; narrative theory (narratology and post-narratology); ‘Christian Identity’ and fundamentalism; and methodology in American Studies