Before we temporarily stopped publishing earlier this year, our days were spent waging war against toxic masculinity and the ways in which it harms all of us. We questioned why men refuse to ask for help, even on the brink of death. We exposed the challenges guys face when they do rise to the occasion and seek assistance. We highlighted a special strain of diabolical machismo that left hundreds of thousands dead due to COVID-19. Now, a groundbreaking new study has validated everything we knew all along: That masculinity really is toxic.
No, seriously — simply existing as a man will kill you.
As you may know, men are generally quicker to die than women, and there’s been plenty of speculation around why: Guys take bigger risks, have more dangerous jobs, commit suicide more often, are less socially connected, avoid doctors and just generally don’t take care of themselves. But this study, published in the journal PLOS Genetics, suggests an explanation much more ingrained in the bodies of men: Our Y chromosome is more prone to mutations (specifically repetitive sequences), which can result in toxic side effects, including impaired memory, DNA damage, accelerated aging, and of course, shortened life spans.
Or as the study authors put it: “Y chromosomes can be toxic.”
On top of that, men lack a second X chromosome (women have two X chromosomes, whereas guys have one X and one Y). That means mutations to our only X chromosome can’t be “masked” by a second copy, leaving us more vulnerable to genetic hiccups than women. This could be yet another reason why men are generally quicker to depart from this godforsaken Earth.
In other words, the makings of a man are the death of a man. We are Y chromosomes and to Y chromosomes we shall return. I, a man, am destined to die by the chromosome that made me, a ticking time bomb from the moment I was gifted — and cursed — with a dangling peen.
So, my dear Y chromosome — friend, enemy and silent killer of many good men — prepare for battle, because we’re back, we’re continuing the fight against toxic masculinity (literal or otherwise) and we will put an end to it, once and for all.
It’s my dying wish.