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Old 05-12-2019, 04:11 PM
Odesio is offline
Join Date: Apr 2000
Posts: 11,577
Originally Posted by monstro View Post
Do you agree with either of these concepts? Do you think there are traditional gender norms that are damaging to individuals and society as a whole? Or are people just trying to find a pseudo-intellectual way of describing "asshole"?
I think being an asshole is mostly behavior on the individual level. When we start talking about behavior that is not only widely accepted but is actively encouraged then we're talking about established norms of behavior. And, yes, I think we can argue that some of the established norms of masculinity are certainly harmful to individuals and society as a whole. Homosexuals and especially transgender individuals have certainly suffered greatly because they don't adhere to expected gender norms here in the United States. The Antebellum South was a fairly violent place where men were at risk of having an eye gouged out or a testicle ripped off in a fight to preserve their honor.

Do you agree with one but NOT the other? Toxic masculinity is talked about much more frequently than toxic femininity. I can see how someone might see how pushing both concepts into the discourse is a way to just play the lame "both sides" card, thereby diffusing blame.
I think there's usually a translation problem when one takes an academic concept and tries to use it when talking to lay people. (I see the same problem with privilege which I am a fan of.) People using toxic masculinity sometimes wield it as a club in arguments and sometimes they use the term incorrectly. People who aren't in academia hear the phrase toxic masculinity and think it refers to any and all behaviors we associate with men.

I can also see how someone might see "toxic femininity" as a constellation of behaviors that society has always looked down upon, whereas "toxic masculinity" is tightly wrapped around qualities that are widely esteemed.
A lot of people would argue that Meghan McCain's behavior is just an example of her working within a system she didn't create. i.e. Hate the game not the player. But then women are sometimes judged more harshly or in a different light than males who exhibit similar traits. I've certainly met plenty of men who played the victim when you call them on their bullshit but I generally wouldn't ascribe that to a gendered behavior like some people are doing with McCain.

Seems to me a person with that kind of style would not be well-suited for the media limelight, but there she is, on national TV. And I guess by calling the problem "toxic femininity" rather than "histrionic asshole", those who are inclined to feel sympathy for her might step back and examine if they are responding more to a socially engrained cue (female tears) than a dispassionate analysis of facts.
I once asked the same question as you. When is someone just being an asshole and when is it endemic to group behavior? I'm not sure I came up with a satisfactory question back then either.
I can be found in history's unmarked grave of discarded ideologies.