I confess. I identify with toxic femininity. I realized there were toxic females when I read about toxic masculinity and knew right away that I am one of them.
It is because of the evolution of feminism I have become a promoter of toxic femininity. I remember the heady days of feminism – women removing their over-the-shoulder-boulder-holders and burning them – as if that would release them from the hammer of the patriarchy! And the pill! Oy, the freedom from responsibility! Gloria Steinem explained that the women’s movement opened her eyes to the fact that being childless was a choice she could make! Wow. And so many women decided to follow suit and today, millions are working at McDonald’s or Wendy’s or Amazon or Walmart. These are the real feminists. Freed from the kitchen and patriarchy.
So what is the meaning of toxic femininity? Well, first it is important to define toxic masculinity.
The Oxford Dictionary defines toxic masculinity as a set of attitudes and ways of behaving stereotypically associated with or expected of men, regarded as having a negative impact on men and society.
Toxic masculinity also refers to the notion that some people’s idea of “manliness” perpetuates domination, homophobia, and aggression. This idea that men need to act tough and avoid showing all emotions can be harmful to their mental health and can have serious consequences for society, which is how it became known as “toxic masculinity.”
Toughness: This is the notion that men should be physically strong, emotionally callous, and behaviorally aggressive.
Antifeminity: This involves the idea that men should reject anything that is considered to be feminine, such as showing emotion or accepting help (Hmm wearing nail polish?)
Power: This is the assumption that men must work toward obtaining power and status (social and financial) so they can gain the respect of others(Hmm support a family?)
The masculine requirement to remain stoic and be a good provider can lead to “John Henryism” in African-American men. This term is used to describe men who use high effort as a way to cope with problems and they continue to do so in the face of chronic stress and discrimination. A 2016 study linked “John Henryism” to an increased risk of hypertension and depression.
Unfortunately, there can be toxic masculinity in relationships, schools, and workplaces. Here are some everyday examples:
When a boy in school doesn’t act in traditionally masculine ways, and he is bullied by the boys in his class for being “too feminine”
When a boy cries and his father tells him to “toughen up” or that “men don’t cry”
When a man calls women “sluts” or “whores” for having sex outside of monogamous relationships…. The nerve!!! Wonder what a toxic woman calls men for having sex outside a monogamous relationship?
The APA (American Psychology Association) created guidelines to help psychologists support men in breaking free of masculinity rules that do more harm than good. “The main thrust of the subsequent research is that traditional masculinity—marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance and aggression—is, on the whole, harmful. (Who knew?) Men socialized in this way are less likely to engage in healthy behaviors” And “This masculine reluctance toward self-care extends to psychological help.”
Ahh, yes, getting “toxic men” to take drugs to be less stoic, competitive, dominating or aggressive. Please note – take drugs.
In contrast to the APA, Professor Jason D. Hill, a gay, black man, wrote about the attack on the gift of “toxic masculinity.”
“Masculinity and manliness, the twin attributes of patriarchy, are being criminalized along with vitality, exuberance and displays of moral authority in men and young boys by a phalanx of radical feminists, ‘woke’ progressives, and systemic nihilists. The goal of these forces is to advance a systemic, nihilistic, gynocentric paradigm that has ushered in an era that will destroy not only men, but civilization itself.” He also writes about “fatherless boys committing a disproportionate number of crimes and rapes in America and across the globe, and the need for society to be radically redesigned along traditional gender roles. This is, fundamentally, because men’s natural role to lead with moral authority — rooted in their biological natures — has been usurped in the name of egalitarianism and equity.”
Trigger warning: Toxic men may have guns!
Most importantly, did you know toxic men have testosterone!! Who knew? We did. The women who identify with toxic femininity and choose “toxic” men.
So what is toxic femininity?
Here I thought I was making this up! But, no, there is a definition!
Toxic femininity refers to “the adherence to the gender binary in order to receive conditional value in patriarchal societies. It is a concept that restricts women to being cooperative, passive, sexually submissive, gentle, and deriving their value from physical beauty while being pleasing to men.”
So a woman who believes there are men and women, that women have babies and want them are toxic. That’s all you want? Cooking, cleaning, raising the next generation? I remember the days…and nights. And now I am the proud mother of three and grandmother of nine. I guess that makes me REALLY toxic!
You don’t want to work outside the home like millions of other women now in jobs like flipping burgers or parcels? You don’t want to be a single mother wedded to the government?
As with toxic men, what is good in a woman is now toxic.
In today’s culture, particularly on campus, women are left in the awkward position of having to justify why they don’t want to have sex. And competing in a dating world in which casual sex is the norm, a woman who would rather have commitment is painfully aware that this will diminish her dating prospects. She’s toxic!
This story just about did me in: the non-toxic woman explaining about the failures of toxic women (White feminism?).
MSNBC opinion columnist Natasha Noman suggested that incoming Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni is part of a nefarious and “dangerous” trend of “white feminism.” So I guess that’s toxic. Noman condemned Meloni’s role as a mother as a mere “schtick” used to cultivate a public persona. Ahh accessories like a purse.
“Part of Meloni’s schtick comes in the form of being a working woman and an active, hands-on mother. After delivering a victory speech Monday, she reportedly left the media frenzy to some of her subordinates so she could go pick up her kid from school,” the opinion columnist wrote. “But time and again, Meloni has played this part in an initiative to reduce women to their reproductive value and paint them as bastions of a regressive social order.”
Ahhh, yes, toxic. Wanting to be married and be a mother and have a family. And how dare any woman be able to multi-task and put their priorities in proper order: Family first. I remember walking in the park with my three children: one in the stroller, one standing on the stroller one hanging on to the stroller. A mother with one child came up to talk and asked if I worked!
Noman went on to warn that Meloni is “anti-abortion,” attributing statements to her such as “yes to the culture of life, no to the abyss of death.”
She claimed that women like Meloni are “dangerous” and that they “promote ideologies that covertly and overtly embrace violence.” (This from a woman who promotes abortion).
Toxic women do not agree with unfettered abortion or using abortion as birth control. Motherhood is not bad. It is not a sign of joining a regressive social order.
What these feminists have not learned is that those of us who identify as toxic are not afraid of being on equal, but different, footing with men. While men protect and defend , women bring compassion and empathy. Toxic females don’t need safe spaces. They don’t need to be protected from men who flirt or make sexual innuendos. They are quite capable of standing their own ground. Toxic females do not run to HR every time they think someone said something inappropriate – whatever that means. Toxic women are thrilled to be mothers and love to have a toxic man who wants to protect and defend her and the family.
Toxic women do not accept transgender men in women’s locker rooms or bathrooms or female dorm rooms, or female sports and have no use for anyone who talks about non-binary. And as for pronouns – you can shove them where the sun don’t shine.
As a toxic, estrogen-filled female I will take a toxic man any day with too much testosterone than one who cares about pronouns.
From the Ethics of the Fathers: “Rabbi Tarfon used to say, it is not incumbent upon you to complete the task, but you are not exempt from undertaking it.”