Toxic Masculinity = Masculinity?

Reader comments inspired this blog post which I published on Good Men Project:

Why do so many men insist that masculinity is the same thing as toxic masculinity — the violent, aggressive variant that leads to horrors like rape or beatings or terrorism (domestic and foreign)? I wondered about this while talking with some non-feminist acquaintances — I try to reach beyond my feminist choir on a regular basis.

We had gotten onto the subject of the tweetstorm created by Danielle Muscato’s question, “What would you do if all men had a 9 pm curfew?”

The men I spoke with were infuriated, taking the proposal literally and not as a thought experiment. “That would be a human rights violation,” said one. “Women would have nothing to do since most businesses would close at 9 PM,” said another.

Read more@ Good Men Project.

About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on November 26, 2018, in men, violence against women and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 42 Comments.

  1. The idea that boy=good and girl=bad is toxic masculinity boiled down to its base elements. Anything associated with women: soft things, emotions, child raising, is seen as something that has less value in society. Things like emotional stoicism, aggressive behavior and a “walk it off” mentality are given more value just because culture has said that these traits are manly. As we understand that these traits are hurtful to both women, and men, suddenly what healthy masculinity should be becomes unclear. The article makes a good point: if things that we have labeled masculine are “bad” what does that mean for masculinity as a whole? What does it become if you remove what used to be the keystones of their gender identity? Understandably, this would spark considerable resistance from men whose fragile sense of identity involves punching and not crying. The first thing that needs to happen is make “girly” things into human things. Crying is ok, parenting your child is not “babysitting”, and you are not “pussywhipped” or “henpecked” if you listen to your wife. The idea about what is means to be a man is (thankfully) evolving. An example I saw very recently is this reddit post that notices the positive aspects of masculinity in “The Mandalorian”.

    • Yes, much of what we call masculine are very positive traits that it would be good for everyone to embrace. And Women have largely embraced these traits, like courage, strength (was considered masculine varies from culture to culture). And women have not embraced negative traits that we associate with masculinity like violence. And those traits would be best eschewed by everyone, too.

  2. Masculinity always tends to be used in a negative way, and so does femininity. Toxic masculinity is much worse as you stated, however the two are commonly interchanged. Men tend to do things they believe are masculine but go too far in an aggressive way. In the same manner, if a man does something passive rather than aggressive they can be perceived as feminine. It’s a very difficult topic to discuss and I’m not sure if there’s an easy answer. I believe it would be best if “toxic masculinity” was phased out as a term because it only brings negativity to the situation. If a person if being too aggressive, there are better terms to describe them. The term isn’t necessarily offensive, but is almost always used in an offensive way. Both men and women can be overly aggressive and there are good ways to describe it, there is no need to specify “toxic masculinity” when describing a person.

  3. Toxic masculinity, what a vast topic to decipher. When it was suggested that men should have a 9pm curfew and men were outraged, I could not help but roll my eyes. ‘”That would be a human rights violation,” said one.’ I wonder how they must feel about the legalization of abortions, but that is a topic for another time. I have dealt with toxic masculinity in a variety of ways due to my ethnic background. In the Hispanic culture, toxic masculinity is similar to what we call “machismo.” It often does bring upon domestic violence and barroom fights. In the Hispanic culture, if a man that has a lot of machismo and his wife or daughter disrespects his manhood, he may use violence to show them he is their superior. The same goes for others if a man with machismo he will feel the need to prove to others that they are inferior, often with violence. As a society, we should find the root of this toxic masculinity and machismo to help all of us.

  4. I feel like Masculinity has been always connected to a negative connotation, being masculine enough is presented to have less emotions,controlling ,dictatorship , which I can see why it can be connected with toxic masculinity .Going back to the 9pm comment about if men had a bedtime, I believe most females wouldn’t be offended by that question,but interested in the what could result in what would happen if either gender had a bedtime after 9pm. In my opinion, I believe that women and men equally need both in order to function and survive in society. Each gender brings its own strengths just as weaknesses, as a society we need to learn how working together is better than working against each other.

    • Well, fortunately masculinity and toxic masculinity are not the same thing. And women and men both have feminine and masculine sides to themselves and the healthiest people are those who develop both sides, well rejecting the more toxic parts of each side.

  5. I really enjoyed reading this post because it shows a lot about how men view masculinity. A lot of men do not see a difference in the term toxic masculinity and masculinity in general. I feel like the reason for this is because when men see masculinity in news and articles it usually is with a negative connotation so men feel the need to get defensive when the term is brought up. I think it is really interesting that the feedback these guys gave was so serious even though the question was just hypothetical. I think that there needs to be changes made and some awareness to change the way people think of the word masculinity and after t his there would be growth. I think this article really shows how defensive people get when thinking about masculinity and how they kind of ignore the issue the question is posing about, instead they defend themselves over masculinity issues.

  6. As someone who has a younger brother and was raised in a female dominant atmosphere, I know the pressures that men have to deal with when it comes to masculinity. I remember a time when my younger sisters and I were playing with Barbie dolls and my brother wanted to play with them too, however, one of my uncles came in to our room and told him directly, “Are you a boy or a girl? Put down those Barbie dolls!” I was completely shocked with this remark as it left a lasting negative impression on how my brother grew up from thereafter. He started to be more aware who he was talking to and decided to become more isolated than ever before. For some reason, he would always be angry at whatever my sisters and I did and would sometimes throw things that was just so painful at us. While this may be a sibling thing and does not happen at all any more, at the same time, seeing my brother grow up isolated because he was a “boy” rather than a “girl” was something sad to see. The pressures that he had by my father and uncles was also painful to see because they wanted him to do things that were “manly” like playing with cars, even though there was no one who would play with him.

    Sexist experiences like this is what causes problems in the future. While my brother is a very respectful person, at the same time, the hard childhood he has gone through because of sexism is what has caused him to become more isolated from other people. This is the reason why I believe that the definition of masculinity needs to be further understood by the rest of society. It is hard to deal with people who have this direct definition that media, culture, and family have portrayed as that has affected so many men and even women worldwide.

  7. After reading this article, I agree that it is sometimes hard to distinguish “toxic” masculinity from masculinity itself, and that making such a distinction is necessary to avoid grouping all men together. Still, I think the qualities that may be associated with good masculinity—those of being strong, a good leader, and so on—can also be exhibited by women. Unfortunately, the main problem is that both men and women exhibit traits of sexism: men tend to marginalize women, while women tend to label men as being overly aggressive and controlling of others. Also, I feel that society teaches men the wrong values. I do not think that men should feel only anger and remain out of touch with their other emotions, and I firmly believe that they should seek help if they need it. Otherwise, they risk descending into the toxic behaviors mentioned in the article. Therefore, to erase toxic masculinity, we need to change our understanding of masculinity itself.

    • Yes I agree that masculine traits are off so expressed in women. Every culture decides which traits they consider to be masculine versus feminine. In early America masculine man wore curls in their hair, wigs, bright colors, and they learned to stand and gesture gracefully. So, in fact, both women and men hold both masculine and feminine traits – with what is considered masculine and feminine varying by culture.

      Both women and men should develop the good masculine traits and the good feminine traits.

  8. After reading this article I had a talk with my girlfriend about the definitions of masculinity and femininity because I couldn’t differentiate between them and their toxic counterparts. I saw both masculinity and toxic masculinity synonymously because, for me, they both described stereotypical ideas of what a man should be. From what I can understand, this is the basis for understanding the difference between the two. When used in a way to describe things like dominance and stoicism, the term masculinity can only be used to impose standards on men and women. This is what makes the term toxic because anybody can inhibit these traits. Claiming that they naturally define our genders is how they become toxic terms. The only forms of masculinity and femininity that aren’t toxic are those that truly correspond with the natural defining traits of the two genders. It’s feminine to have breasts and have periods and it’s masculine to grow chest hair and have testicles. It’s when some kind of patriarchal context is put behind having breasts or testicles is when it becomes toxic.

    • Thanks for offering your thoughts on this. Different attributes can be good or bad depending on how they are used. Fire can warm us or burn us. Water can sustain us or drown us. Same with what we call femininity and masculinity. But I am still trying to tease out exactly how it works out.

  9. I found this blog post to be very interesting and was captivated the moment I read the title. Society as a whole has unanimously adopted the meaning of masculinity to refer to the toxic behaviors that are associated with this type of character – the type of character that is so often seen in the machista men of Latin cultures, as a latin woman myself who is exposed to the culture and ideals of machismo. Ideas such as those that men are the head of the household, women are to perform all the domestic duties such as childbearing and cleaning. The women are submissive to the men and considered as the second person in the relationship. These ideas prevent women from ever thriving as they are in almost complete control by their husbands/male partners. I was also astonished to read in the blog post that men took so literally the hypothetical idea of men having an early curfew – “women would have nothing to do since most businesses would close at 9pm”? Really? As if there were not businesses that are female owned as well. But to answer the question, if men had a curfew at 9pm, women would feel much safer at the hours of the night by not having to fear being catcalled or sexually assaulted.

  10. I think that the recent conversations on toxic masculinity vs masculinity are the first step to recognize and possibly dismantle the social construct of gender roles. The idea that masculinity can be toxic presupposes an agreed upon concept of masculinity and an opposing one of femininity. In Western culture proper or expected gender roles have been established over centuries of history in which women have been systematically perceived as physically and mentally weaker. On the other hand, as the physically stronger and overall more capable sex, men are excused for their aggressive behavior, mistreatment of women, and . This is where toxic masculinity comes into play. And the worst part is that this is what some boys are raised to believe is the proper way to become a ‘man’ and to treat women. Despite objections by some who feel threatened in their gender identity, I think that this is an important dialog to have, which will hopefully lead to the elimination of a strict dichotomy between what is masculine and what is feminine.

  11. I just wanted to share this to bring just another example of toxic masculinity and unfortunately how men can inflict this on themselves and other men. This is not new with teacher and student relations. But maybe maturity changes thing. Granted while it’s still wrong and don’t like the attitudes guys have with underrage boy and adult woman. I can kind of understand in some way when the boy is 16 or 17, as I know how I was pretty sex crazed and you’re in high school at that age and many boys have girlfriends or have lost their virginity around that age, maybe a little younger. It may sound like not much different with just 3 years, but those 3 years are a big different in the emotional aspect. For instance, this boy was only thirteen, a midde schooler and a 27 year old teach sexted him and had sex with him. I see comments, well it’s the internet and yahoo and these macho guys saying how lucky the boy was and they wish they had teachers like her when they were 13. And one guy said he’d say atta boy to his son, if that happened and he was 13. I doubt the dude, he shouldn’t have kids with that attitude. Anyways. It’s not some liberal reason or pc reason, but that’s messed up. I was 13 once and while I started having interest in girls and maybe sex came into my mind, I was still quite innocent and it didn’t really change until a little older. It’s interesting how it changes when you’re like in a father like role and older.

    I don’t have kids, but have a wonderful nephew and younger niece. And my nephew just turned 13 two months. I know he probably is interested in a girls and all that stuff and probably has curiosities about that and boobs, I mean that’s puberty age. But I can tell he’s still has quite an innocence which makes sense and definitely quite a kid which he is. And sports consumes him, he’s a great athlete and he likes video games. And just his relation to his friends, very much quite the innocent 13 year old kid. Thank god nothing like that has happened to him and most likely won’t, but I know for sure that would emotionally mess him up bad despite boys would often not admit or try to make it like it bothers them. I doubt his abnormal and most likely quite normal and many other 13 year old boys just like him. The difference is i think boys show things differently than girls so it seems like they are fine and the stronger emotions come out. For example if a boy was easy going before, but seems to be more agitated easily, or temper mental, gets into drugs, aggressive, and ready to fight a lot, reckless and big time dangerous risk taker. Something might be underlying to have bothered him in his past. I read how boys who have been sexually abused kind of act out in such ways and maybe sex addictions or porn addictions, but from the abuse emotionally messing them up, but they show it differently because of our culture. I admit, I just find it disgusting when dudes do that shit and toxic masculinity like you said. I’m not a father, but as a loving uncle, it’s amazing how it should or one’s mindset should chance when they age, get mature and more in a paternal role in life. I love my nephew and niece as any good uncles and aunts do, so I definitely have that protective emotion to me that this spurred when seeing some dudes being insecure, macho losers

    Here’s the news that just came out though

    • Hi Bob! It’s good to hear from you again. I was wondering where you were.

      Thanks for this. I would like to explore toxic masculinity on my blog more next year and this is helpful. Maybe I’ll write something in to see what readers think.

      By the way, I hope you have happy holidays. Merry Christmas 🎄

  12. Masculinity Means Agression

  13. I believe that Toxic Masculinity is being mixed into masculinity because throughout the course of time, the two have become so interconnected that many confuse the two as one. Toxic masculinity is defined to be aggressive, to abuse the power of man by putting down women by abusive means, whether it be physical or verbal. Masculinity however is defined as having male traits, and as history passed, where in most cultures man was defined as being the head of the family and to be the owner of their kids and their wife. This power has then corrupted many and gave them the idea that they have the ability to abuse their masculinity and see it as acceptable. Because of previous history of patriarchal societies, many feel the reason for this was because of man itself, but the true reason for the horrible sin of the past was because of those who saw their power as a tyrant. These people first gave off this male superiority because of genetic traits, and so this slowly adopted its way into previous societies that then accepted this horrible atrocity.

  14. One of the major reasons why there is controversy over the topic of toxic masculinity is because it is a matter of perspectives. First off, masculinity is defined as traits that would be applicable to traditional men: strong, courageous, and self-reliant. Toxic masculinity is an exaggeration of those traits to a point where a person can feel uncomfortable. To many women, it is easy to see when a man is being toxic. To men, however, it is hard to see when another man is being toxic as the main point of masculinity is to try to attract another woman so another man would not directly see all of the toxic masculinity. Also, to a person who views them self as not masculine, it would be hard for them to see what is masculine. Usually what happens is that if someone wanted to be “a man”, but would not know exactly how to become masculine, then that person would exaggerate almost every aspect of masculinity to a point where it is considered toxic as they would not know how much masculinity is too much and would assume that the more masculinity, the better. The line between masculinity and toxic masculinity is almost non-existent to many men which is why when toxic masculinity is attacked, they feel that all masculinity is attacked which hurts their ego.

  15. Eli Harrison Pritchard

    I think there is two question I come back to and that is what does mean to be a man? And is that valuable? Which have always bothered me. The answer I always come back to is it means nothing be a man, be a good human instead. If you have built a notion of what a man is or how they should behave (or even allowed to behave and how women behave) and you are presented with a situation that aims at subverting that, your frame of reference is limited. The responses make sense when you contextualize them that way, I am a man this would be illegal or women would do little because there are no men. Instead of reading the subtext or addressing empathy it’s easier to understand through the lenses you already have. So instead of seeing it as some way to enhance understanding through the thought experiment (like they are usually designed for) some men will see it as an attack on themselves or literal. I’m not making the evaluation that men will not understand it, simply that it’s hard to reach beyond the confines of masculinity once you’ve let become part of you. Some people would rather assert their world view as a man then expand it, I as a man have been guilty of this in the past.

  16. From my understanding, our current ideas about masculinity are synonymous with toxic masculinity. Please understand by this I am not saying that all men are evil or even more susceptible to evil, just that what they are taught from a young age as what is “manly” often leads to toxic behavior.
    I don’t believe that masculinity necessarily has to result in toxic masculinity, but in order for this to be true, masculinity is in dire need of a “face-lift”. Being that no one is innately more susceptible to evil than another from birth, we can infer that it begins with education or lack thereof.
    Rather than teaching boys that masculinity means being tough, never crying and having no interest in anything deemed feminine, maybe stress more of the biological differences and what they mean rather than focusing on untrue stigmas. For example, rather than teaching boys that boys don’t cry because they are tougher, teach boys about hormones and what makes one more emotional than another and also stressing that allowing yourself to feel an emotion does not in any way make one less of a “man”.
    Just as in everything, progress for masculinity begins with education.

    • I personally don’t think it’s necessary to make distinctions between masculine and feminine, but our society does. Given that, I would like to encourage positive forms of masculinity, that both women and men can benefit from.

    • You don’t want to distinguish between masculinity and femininity, then you go writing articles about toxic masculinity? 🤔🤔🤔

  17. Let the record show that I am male presenting and wear a kilt every day. I always feel like the manliest man in every room.

    I think toxic masculinity gets conflated with normal masculinity because they are one and the same. Toxic masculinity is a perversion of “good” traits every man should be. The author said that being “strong, supportive, assertive, a leader, adventurous, and courageous.” are among the traits she admires in men. Considering this list a man could not be an admirable man if he were weak, needing support, passive, a follower, a shut in, or debilitated by fear. While many of those things wouldn’t be desired in most people, it is the linking of those with ones worth as a person that leads men to run to the other extreme. It is the man afraid of being perceived as weak that hits another person as a show of strength. It is the man who absolutely must be seen as a leader that can’t listen to others when they are trying to show him a different way to act. Toxic masculinity isn’t just doing masculinity wrong, it is the natural consequence of having anything considered to be masculine. These words, masculinity and femininity have no meaning. As the author said, everyone has a combination of both things considered to be masculine and feminine, and masculinity can be whatever we make it. Despite having no meaning, we give these words incredible power over how we relate to ourselves. This naturally creates a void, because these words don’t help to tell us who we are, but who we /should/ be. The chasm created between who we are and who society tells us we should be is bridged by insecurity. That insecurity turns these words like masculinity and femininity toxic. Women should be calm, compassionate, deferential, beautiful and so toxic femininity is expresses itself by having women forever chasing an ideal they will never feel they embody. It so happens that chasing this ideal doesn’t cause as much destruction as men forever trying to be strong, supportive, assertive, a leader, adventurous, and courageous in the face of the inherent weaknesses we all have inside of us.

    • “These words, masculinity and femininity have no meaning.”

      They have no innate meaning. But they do have social meaning. They mean whatever a society says they do, and each society assigns certain meanings to XX versus XY genes —- Which largely varies from place to place. Which is why you are probably the only man wearing a kilt in your classes. You are acting against what our society deems to be masculine.

      “Toxic masculinity isn’t just doing masculinity wrong, it is the natural consequence of having anything considered to be masculine.”

      Well, you can’t have toxic masculinity unless you divide things into masculine and feminine. But there are societies that divide between masculine and feminine and don’t seem to have toxic masculinity. Forager societies for instance do divide things up between the sexes and yet there is great equality. If you look at the Indians of the east coast of the Americas at contact with Europeans rape and wife battering were virtually nonexistent and there was great respect among the sexes.

      I personally am good with doing away with gender differences. And everyone benefits from being strong, supportive, assertive, a leader, adventurous, and courageous. But it should also be OK to admit weakness too. The healthiest people are strong in both — what we call — masculine and feminine traits

      • I am indeed the only man wearing a kilt in my classes, and at work, and often when I’m in public. I recognize they have social meaning, I think the point I’m getting at is that to create a definition for those words that would capture the nature of everyone in the genders they seek to define would be so vague as to have no meaning. So, it isn’t just that without a social context they don’t have a meaning, because that is true of language in general, it is that these words should not have meaning,,,because to give them meaning is inherently limiting and exclusive to those in the gender that do not exhibit those traits.

        I find that interesting. I do not have data here, so this is strictly speculation and pondering. I think, if you define gender equality as the main metric of toxic masculinity then you have a very solid point. What I’m wondering about is the mental health and general happiness of everyone in that society…or even of the people who felt they didn’t ft in. There are bound to be men to wanted to take care of the children and women who wanted to hunt, how was this approached? What comes to mind, and forgive the silly example, is the kids movie How to Train your Dragon. The main character lived in a civilization where there may have been a solid amount of gender equality…I don’t have it solidly in my mind, so lets for the sake of this argument say there was perfect gender equality. The main character still suffered for not being seen as a good man. He had feminine traits and was harassed for not being able to fulfill his role.

        I think, as someone who was raised as a man, I have a relationship with toxic masculinity that wouldn’t necessarily present itself in the greater social context. To me, toxic masculinity arises in being socialized to be a certain way and then covering up the ways in which you aren’t that way as opposed to embracing them. This seems inevitable considering how diverse people are. I’m uncertain if that is mutually exclusive with gender equality…does that make sense? I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.

      • Well, words are always confusing and yet we are able to communicate with each other so we do have generally socially agreed-upon meanings. And most people have some idea what masculine and feminine mean in our society.

        And for sure there are some men who want to take “women’s roles” and many women who want to take “men’s roles.” Because we value of masculinity over femininity (gender ranking male over female) is been easier for women to take on so-called male roles, and they largely have. Although they usually get paid less for doing the same thing. It’s harder for men to do the same because society makes them feel demeaned. But I have a brother and sister-in-law who are very conservative and they always say it’s too bad that they were born into the genders they have because the guy would rather stay home with the kids and the girl would rather work outside the home. Of course they could. But they have so strongly internalized their gender roles that they can’t conceive of that option.

        “To me, toxic masculinity arises in being socialized to be a certain way and then covering up the ways in which you aren’t that way as opposed to embracing them.”

        Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this. Something I’m trying to think for myself.

        I know that you can’t have gender equality and have different social roles. I personally prefer her not to divide up the rolls so that everyone can do what they are most comfortable with. But societies like the Cherokee and Iroquois did divided social roles and yet maintain gender equality. Same with hunter gatherer societies.

        Thanks for your thoughts. It can’t take me a while to approve all the comments because I do them a little at a time just to get my eyes off the computer, because they need a rest!

    • Teverett, “The chasm created between who we are and who society tells us we should be is bridged by insecurity. That insecurity turns these words like masculinity and femininity toxic. Women should be calm, compassionate, deferential, beautiful and so toxic femininity is expresses itself by having women forever chasing an ideal they will never feel they embody. It so happens that chasing this ideal doesn’t cause as much destruction as men forever trying to be strong, supportive, assertive, a leader, adventurous, and courageous in the face of the inherent weaknesses we all have inside of us.”

      The destruction caused by the ideals pushed onto women is in some ways more destructive to women because they try to force women to internally murder themselves. This shows up when a woman is with an abusive, but not-yet-physically abusive partner. No matter what she does, society says it is her fault for standing up to her man & also for letting him walk all over her. Although there is nothing she can do to stop the abuse (even after she leaves, he tends to find ways to continue the abuse, especially if they have a child), many in society say things that make her think if she would be more _____, he would stop abusing her. THAT is one of the reasons many women stay as long as they do: they believe they hold the key-as soon as they figure out what it is-to helping the partner become a decent man.

      Her tendency to think she is somehow to blame also effects the man; the more she looks for fault in her own behavior, the nastier he gets. These behaviors & beliefs also effect everyone connected to the couple. Those who encourage her to be more deferential at the same time encourage themselves & women with whom they connect to be more deferential. Women who tell her the answer is in standing up to him, also believe they can change an abuser.

      Meanwhile abusers surround themselves with folks who agree with their male-superior ideologies, and give one another tips on how to control “their” women. Some of those men choose to beat their partners, & some murder. Some carry such a vile hatred for women in general, and for their partner in particular, they dream up ways to murder without consequences to themselves. If they cannot physically murder, they may choose to sabotage instead. Sometimes that sabotage brings about a long, slow, painful death for their partner. (A large study found that abused women are more prone than non-abused women to diseases, including chronic ones like anxiety, depression, heart disease, urinary tract infections, etc). Murder by long, slow disease is just as deadly as shooting with a gun.

      • Hm, my post may have been been a little too dismissive. My focus was on the pitfalls of masculinity, not on femininity. The quote you responded to wasn’t meant to imply that woman do not struggle or every struggle less. It was simply saying that toxic femininity often leads to personal pain, and toxic masculinity tends to lead to outward destruction. I think, this is reflected in what you shared? I apologize if it came off as me belittling or diminishing.

      • Yes, that’s what seems to happen: toxic masculinity more often creates pain in others while toxic femininity more often creates pain within oneself. Which can then end up hurting others (it’s hard to be raised by someone who is depressed, it’s hard to be partnered with someone who’s too dependent etc.)

  18. I would like to comment on how the article was ended. The author said that “positive qualities that I admire: strong, supportive, assertive, a leader, adventurous, and courageous.” I think that this is where the problem with toxic masculinity arises. These are the common responses I have found from the women I know in my life but including honesty. Toxic masculinity arises from the desire by most women for that strength and assertiveness. Although most women (and men) have a desire for those traits in men they date, everyone wants a different amount. Eventually, young men run into somebody that wants them to be so strong or so assertive that they reach a breaking point. This does not only happen in relationships but in families, gangs, business, and of course the military. But I think while a lot of attention is being paid to trying to curb toxic masculinity in business but we need to focus on raising young men (and women) not to want to be strong and assertive but to be compassionate, empathetic, and curious.

    • Hmmm, the Cambridge University dictionary defines Assertive this way:
      1. Someone who is assertive behaves confidently and is not frightened to say what they want or believe: 2. behaving confidently and able to say in a direct way what you want or believe

      I believe that this is a positive quality for both women and men. Our society has deemed the quality masculine but all human beings have both a masculine and feminine side to themselves.

      Courage means feeling the fear and doing it anyway. Again, this seems a positive quality for both women and men (even though our society associated more with men.)

      And I agree that these qualities should be partnered with compassion and empathy.

  19. “It’s true that both women and men harm others. But the hurt is not grounded in being raised as girls.”

    I don’t believe for a moment in the proposition that the patterns we see in society are anything other than a reflection of our biological inclinations. But let’s run with this for a moment. Girls are raised to use their femininity to get what they want. Whether it be the damsel in distress trope, or the using of their body or sexuality, or just not taking responsibility for anything because “I’m the girl, and you’re the man”.

    I’ve don’t know how many girlfriends I’ve seen who make a complaint about something to their man, and the man responds.. “yeah true… but you do that too”, and the girl responds.. “But you’re the man!”, as if this was an interesting or irrefutable argument.

    This idea in women that the world owes them not just a living, but a great living, runs deep in women. Whether it be hypergamy of women’s preferences in mates, or the male/female swipe ratio on Tinder, or even the current controversy that “Thots” resent paying taxes, women believe they should get stuff, and get it for nothing. It’s also a little known fact that women embezzle money much more often than men. So called “pink collar crime”. One of the biggest motiviations for women embezzling is they wanted “equality” with men, they thought they deserved the money without having to work for it. Men who embezzle did so because they wanted to be “successful”. You can call that toxic masculinity if you want. But then I’ll call the phenomena of women thinking they should always get something for nothing as toxic femininity.

    Frankly, this blog article itself is an instance of toxic femininity, because it displays the credulous and fantastic belief that only masculinity can exhibit negative consequences. That women can do no wrong. They always tell the truth. #BelieveAllWomen, and all that nonsense. The whole “believe women” narrative is part of the crazy toxic femininity that puts women on a pedestal, they are weak, oppressed and hard done by, by men. Even the fabrication of the “patriarchy” narrative itself by feminist “thinkers” is part of this toxic femininity, designed to blame men for their own lack of desire to achive by merit, so they can take stuff for nothing.

    • Well, in the article I did mention some ways that femininity can hurt but I thought it more as hurting women themselves and hurting their children and being too dependent on men, which at least part of your comment alludes to. But I think you do have a good point in this:

      “Girls are raised to use their femininity to get what they want. Whether it be the damsel in distress trope, or the using of their body or sexuality, or just not taking responsibility for anything because “I’m the girl, and you’re the man”.”

      That does happen too often. And it something that feminists don’t like.

    • What I find interesting about your post, Fred, is that you fault women for not taking responsibility but the majority of your post is sidestepping responsibility.

      “I don’t believe for a moment in the proposition that the patterns we see in society are anything other than a reflection of our biological inclinations.” Means the frightening statistics we see today, like the ones that say men commit 90% of all violent crimes, are not the fault of men, but of some biological imperative. Men are not genetically predisposed to destroy, that’s just what we have been taught.

      Even the example of your conversations with your girlfriend displays a dodging of responsibility. “yeah true… but you do that too” seeks to validate your actions by saying someone else was guilty of it as opposed to just recognizing that what you did didn’t work for her.

      I have never heard a women say that all women should be believed or even that all women are good, and I talk to a lot of them. I think what people are trying to get at right now is that women comprise a population of people who are disempowered in our current society. When they come forward with abuse, they are almost always met with skepticism, just like black people were met with skepticism when they talked about racism still existing. It is the natural order of the world for the people in power to mistrust those without. So, people aren’t saying all women are honest, in fact I’ve never met a single person who has never lied included, what people, men, women, and non-binary, are saying is, “This is a real problem, and if you don’t believe women you will help perpetuate a system that allows for their abuse.”

      • “you fault women for not taking responsibility but the majority of your post is sidestepping responsibility.”

        I wouldn’t say I “fault” women for it. I would say I observe reality as it is.

        “that say men commit 90% of all violent crimes, are not the fault of men, but of some biological imperative. ”

        I don’t see a distinction. It’s called testosterone.

        “Men are not genetically predisposed to destroy, that’s just what we have been taught.”

        Who taught other male mammals to be more violent? In Spain, why do they have the “Running of the Bulls” and not the “Running of the Cows”? Is there a patriarchy school for bovines?

        “seeks to validate your actions by saying someone else was guilty of it as opposed to just recognizing that what you did didn’t work for her.”

        Is it my job to always mold myself to “work for her”. That sounds like toxic femininity to me. I am what I am.

        “I have never heard a women say that all women should be believed”

        Really. Search twitter for #believeallwomen and become enlightened about feminists.

        “women comprise a population of people who are disempowered in our current society.”

        Nonsense. Justify that claim.

        “When they come forward with abuse, they are almost always met with skepticism”

        There is no justification for that assertion. People who make claims are met with credulity for the most part. That’s why there are men in jail for rape with no physical evidence, and sometimes this is found out much later. ( )

        “This is a real problem, and if you don’t believe women you will help perpetuate a system that allows for their abuse.”

        If you believe women credulously with no evidence you will help perpetrate a system that allows for abuse of men like the case above. The consequences for believing a false rape claim are 100x worse than the converse.

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