The hashtag #MasculinitySoFragile began trending on Twitter Wednesday.
Originally, it was a way of shedding light on how strict notions of masculinity are hurting men and women alike.
#MasculinitySoFragile that men can't even tell another man "I love you" because of fear of being called gay.
— PrestonMitchum (@PrestonMitchum) September 23, 2015
#MasculinitySoFragile that there are many men who are victims of sexual violence whose narratives are undermined by other men.
— Part Time Bruja (@CMartinezClass) September 23, 2015
#MasculinitySoFragile because the society thinks it's wrong and unmanly for boys to do and like things that are considered "feminine."
— ally (@emptygreys) September 23, 2015
#MasculinitySoFragile that you can't even talk to your boys about something you're going through cause you have to pretend to be "strong"
— #ArmedNAware (@SankofaBrown) September 23, 2015
#MasculinitySoFragile is not about tearing men down. At all. It is about recognizing the flaws of (hyper)masculinity.
— Professor Boynton (@ADBoyntonII) September 23, 2015
But what started out as a way of criticizing American hyper-masculinity turned into a full-on Twitter hurricane.
Some people on Twitter—both men and women—saw the hashtag as a direct attack on the entire male population, rather than a criticism of the expectations Americans put on men and the social constructs that are imposed on them.
#MasculinitySoFragile? No no no. You mean #FeministsAreFatUglyAndLargelyUseless
— Steven Crowder (@scrowder) September 23, 2015
I challenge any female tweeting unironically with #MasculinitySoFragile to last three rounds against me in a fight. We'll see who's fragile.
— Mech of Justice (@MechofJusticeWZ) September 23, 2015
All who think #MasculinitySoFragile are free to give upALL things created by strong men right now.Walk away.Go back to mud huts&no pencillin
— Wife With a Purpose (@apurposefulwife) September 23, 2015
Tell me feminists, how does tearing men down build up women? #MasculinitySoFragile
— Caroline Craig (@CeeJayCraig) September 23, 2015
The priority switched from exposing the harms of masculinity to straight-up mocking.
Watching MRAs and GamerGate get emotionally fragile over #MasculinitySoFragile is my new favorite brunch special.
— He Who Is Who's That (@ChristianBrao) September 23, 2015
All you have to do is whisper #MasculinitySofragile and they shatter like an ancient vase spilling centuries of male tears.
— Terence Tolman (@TWTdip) September 23, 2015
Meninists, I imagine, sleep with a nightlight to keep the female supremacists under the bed away.
— homo lenyora (@TOMolefe) September 23, 2015
#MasculinitySoFragile that they can't wash their meninist shirts themselves
— Hannah Greenberg (@hannahgre) September 23, 2015
It’s hard to discern which tweets are parody and which ones are absurd jabs and overreactions.
By Thursday, the original purpose of the hashtag had not been totally lost–plenty of people who are still posting about it are trying to discuss the harms of hyper-masculinity. In this sense, the conversation hasn’t entirely been derailed.
But the propensity for folks to react so viscerally to #MasculinitySoFragile kind of proves the point that, well, masculinity is fragile.
A lot of guys' responses to #masculinitysofragile are disappointing at best. If it isn't fragile, why is your response so hateful?
— C. Jay Conrod (@cjayconrod) September 23, 2015
Lesson learned: Twitter is not the most effective mode of communication to have these kinds of discussions.