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Old 05-12-2019, 03:19 PM
monstro is offline
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 20,735

"Toxic masculinity" and "toxic femininity." Real things or sexist mumbo-jumbo.

Toxic masculinity:
Originally Posted by from Wikipedia
In psychology, toxic masculinity refers to traditional cultural masculine norms that can be harmful to men, women, and society overall; this concept of toxic masculinity is not intended to demonize men or male attributes, but rather to emphasize the harmful effects of conformity to certain traditional masculine ideal behaviors such as dominance, self-reliance, and competition.[3][4] Toxic masculinity is thus defined by adherence to traditional male gender roles that restrict the kinds of emotions allowable for boys and men to express, including social expectations that men seek to be dominant (the "alpha male") and limit their emotional range primarily to expressions of anger.[5] Some traditionally prescribed masculine behaviors can produce such harmful effects as violence (including sexual assault and domestic violence), promiscuity, risky and/or socially irresponsible behaviors including substance abuse, and dysfunction in relationships.[1][6]

In a gender studies context, Raewyn Connell argues that toxic practices such as physical violence may serve to reinforce men's dominance over women in Western societies. She argues that such practices are a salient feature of what she terms hegemonic masculinity, although not always the defining features.[7] Terry Kupers of The Wright Institute school of psychology defines toxic masculinity as "the constellation of socially regressive male traits that serve to foster domination, the devaluation of women, homophobia and wanton violence".[8][9] According to Kupers, toxic masculinity serves to outline aspects of hegemonic masculinity that are socially destructive, "such as misogyny, homophobia, greed, and violent domination". These traits are contrasted with more positive aspects of hegemonic masculinity such as "pride in [one's] ability to win at sports, to maintain solidarity with a friend, to succeed at work, or to provide for [one's] family".[8] Feminist author John Stoltenberg, however, has argued that all traditional notions of masculinity are toxic and ultimately reinforce the oppression of women.[10]
I can't find a formal definition of toxic femininity. But I did find this piece that takes a thoughtful stab at defining the term:

It is a way for women to exercise violence in sneakier ways that the more overt violent tactics that are used by men, via passive aggression, person to person manipulation and systemic manipulation of victim complexes and protected identities, and funneling of persons to violence by its counterpart- toxic masculinity.
What inspired this thread was this hit piece against Meghan McCain: Meghan McCain is the very definition of toxic femininity.


1. 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"?

2. 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 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. Like stoicism, self-reliance, and competitiveness. In contrast, "mean girls" might be tolerated, but apart from Scarlett O'Hara they have never been put up on a pedestal or held up as a paragon of virtue. So I can see how while someone might agree that there's "toxicity" on both sides, they may think addressing one requires more of a sea change than the other.

3. Do you agree that Meghan McCain embodies "toxic femininity"? Personally, I don't know. I don't watch the View very often and I don't know a lot about her. However, from the article's description of her flying into tearful rages whenever she's criticized, it certainly sounds like she defends herself through emotional manipulation and victimhood, and I do think those are "toxic" traits. 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 think the article is good for at least being brave enough to pin a face to the "toxic femininity" label, even if I'm unsure whether Meghan McCain is the type specimen of this classification.


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