Toxic masculinity is a well-woven concept in our stories and movies, where the male protagonist is an alpha male or a rebel. They often justify his behavior using anger issues and childhood trauma, where, instead of dealing with it healthily, he becomes a hyper toxic protagonist. Recently, what opened our eyes to the rampant toxic masculinity in the society and Bollywood was the Kabir Singh movie.
In the Kabir Singh movie, he is portrayed as a flawed genius with anger issues and in love with Preeti. He abuses alcohol and marijuana and, like an addict, justifies his behavior by saying it stabilizes him. Kabir controls everything about her, from who she talks to, to where she stays, and who her friends are. Preeti, being extremely submissive, lets him decide everything about her, and her entire identity is only associated with him. The fact that it took him slapping her for people to realize just how messed up the Kabir Singh movie is, is just as concerning as the people idolizing him.
Ironically, the Kabir Singh cast, Kiara Advani claims that the movie is not problematic. The sad thing is that there are so many similar movies where the male protagonist is just as toxic as the Kabir Singh movie that normalizes unhealthy relationship dynamics. Many Bollywood movies idolize stalking and misogyny blatantly.
An example of such are characters like Chulbul Pandey from Dabangg. He is in love with Rajjo, who will not marry him if her father is alive, and so he convinces Rajjo’s father to kill himself. On the day of the funeral, he doesn’t let her grieve, instead marries her and proclaims she should be happy. And they made two more parts of this. However, toxic characters are not a Bollywood thing, and here some listed below.
The Squid and the Whale
The squid and the Whale is a movie about a dysfunctional family. The parents of this family are going through a divorce because the mother was having an affair. The father is a washed-up author that wrote one successful book and has been riding on that high for his entire life. He is a teacher in a college and is desperately trying to publish his book. Furthermore, has an inflated ego and thinks of himself to be superior to other regular people and calls them philistines.
The father is excessively self-centered and loves nothing but himself. He puts his wife down repeatedly in front of his children, and this leads them to look up to him and lose respect for his wife. He is very toxic, pits his children against their mother and looks down on her, and doesn’t give her the support she gave him while his book was published. After getting rejected during his attempt to sleep with his college student goes back to his wife.
How I Met Your Mother
How I met your mother is an easy addition to the list of toxic men in the fictional world, courtesy to Barney Stinson! Barney is a suit-wearing predator that prays on the weak and undefended for a quick lay. He treats women like objects and has an entire playbook for a one-night stand. He hurts so many women along the course of the show. Stinson is also a classic definition of toxic masculinity hitting all the checkboxes: a tragic past where a girl broke his heart, treats women like garbage, and self-obsessed.
Chrismon peak is a dark tale about Sir Thomas Sharpe, a brilliant engineer on his way to the United States to collect money for his machine. He meets Edith Cushing and falls in love with her. Sharpe is a toxic character who is only using her for her money and poisons her. Later, he courts two more well-off women to get money. He has a rough childhood stemming from trauma by getting locked in the basement, an incestuous relationship with his sister, and the murder of his mom by his sister. Sharpe grows up manipulative and charming to recoup his family fortune by using other women.
No, Naruto Uzumaki is in no way a toxic character, but his mate, Sasuke Uchiha is the textbook definition of it. He is arrogant and super rude, even to his friends. While we love him for his cold exterior and warm heart, that is exactly what acts as his excuse for being a jerk. Sorry, Sakura, but it’s the truth.
The list of toxic and jerk male characters is a long one and never-ending if one were to look into it. That is why we need more movies like Thappad to call such fictional and real men out and the society that enables them. Let us know in the comments below of the surprisingly toxic characters you came across!