Acting helpless when a wild animal gets in the house isn’t toxic femininity. Over half the items on the “informal poll” aren’t toxic femininity. (A couple definitely are.)

Toxic masculinity doesn’t describe masculinity itself, but a form of gendered behavior that results when expectations of “what it means to be a man” go terribly wrong.

Most men don’t have toxic masculinity. The man who is aggressive or abusive to assert his “manhood” —the man who rapes because bitch don’t get to say no — that’s toxic masculinity.

A woman who screams because there’s a mouse in the house isn’t toxic femininity. That’s just part and parcel of the societal norm a dying one perhaps, but — oh dear, oh dear, call the man to rescue her — just like generations of women before her.

Toxic femininity is definitely real. But we need to do better at understanding what it is.

Societal norms are changing (slowly) but when a woman expects a man to rescue her, that’s a societal norm, not toxicity.

Think self harm, eating disorders and mood disorders that stem from women’s perceived failure to be “woman enough” or “feminine enough” and you’re getting close to what toxic femininity is.

I’m not a professional by any means, but I’ve done a LOT of reading. Some good reading and good links here.

Best point in this entire piece is that assholes come in both genders. Spot on, there. They sure do.

But being an manipulative asshole is not what defines toxic masculinity and it’s not what defines toxic femininity, either.

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Top writer. Featured in NYT, Forbes. https://lindac.substack.com/

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