Since the election of Donald Trump to the White House a little under a year ago, the interwebs have been awash in complaints and “analysis” by our postmodernist betters on the subject of “toxic masculinity” and what a threat it poses to our general harmony.
And yes, “toxic masculinity” is an actual thing. Or better put, it’s an actual construct of the feminist Left. To offer up an elevator-speech version of what this is supposed to be, we’ll do the lazy thing and offer the Wikipedia definition…
The concept of toxic masculinity as used in the social sciences indicates that traditional American and European society tends to promote a certain set of masculine behaviors that can be harmful to men, women, and society overall. Terry Kupers, a professor at 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”. The 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.
According to Kupers, the term toxic masculinity serves to outline aspects of hegemonic masculinity that are socially destructive, “such as misogyny, homophobia, greed, and violent domination”. Kupers states that other 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”, are not part of the concept of toxic masculinity.
According to the psychologist Ronald F. Levant, the socialization of boys into gender roles idealizing toughness, dominance, self-reliance, and the restriction of emotion can begin as early as infancy. Such norms are transmitted by parents, other male relatives, and members of the community. Many media representations of masculinity on websites such as YouTube promote similar stereotypical “alpha-male” gender roles.
Bullying of boys by their peers and domestic violence experienced by boys at home can also be expressions of toxic masculinity, which creates hierarchies that benefit some males and harm others. In American prisons, toxic masculinity is reflected in the behavior of both male staff and inmates. The qualities of extreme self-reliance, domination of other men through violence, and avoiding the appearance of either femininity or weakness, become necessary coping skills and comprise an unspoken code among prisoners. These conditions, defined by harsh punishment, suppression of emotions, social isolation, and aggression, likely play a role in suicide among male prisoners.
If your eyes haven’t glazed over thus far and you’ve paid full attention to this, you might have recognized that “toxic masculinity” more or less means “masculinity” — or, more specifically, what until five minutes ago was generally recognized as the pursuit of status as a “real man.”
Remember Real Men Don’t Eat Quiche? Everything in that book is now “toxic masculinity.” Bullying those weaker than oneself, which is the claimed essence of the toxicity decried in this concept, is not a particularly exclusive masculine sin, by the way — there are lots of female bullies out there.
We should all agree that Harvey Weinstein is an example of something toxic, though most of us who defend the concept of masculinity (toxic or otherwise) would contend that what Weinstein perpetrated on his victims was based in depravity rather than testosterone. And he swam in a sea of beta males in Hollywood such that no “toxic” man was willing to “dominate him through violence” by beating his brains in for demanding sexual favors from actresses seeking employment from him. Brad Pitt, who confronted Weinstein over his unwanted advances toward his then-girlfriend Gwyneth Paltrow, is an exception — but of course Pitt didn’t stop working with Weinstein over the latter’s behavior.
But in the aftermath of the Weinstein scandal’s breaking out, what we’re seeing now is an explosion of what can best be termed as toxic femininity.
And that’s hardly something new. It just cries to be recognized for what it is.
You really can’t get a better exposition of toxic femininity, amid the clownish post-Weinstein #MeToo social media slacktivism craze, than a mind-blowing piece written this week by the unhinged moonbat Helen Rosner at Medium.com. Rosner, a correspondent at Eater.com and the New Yorker who might be the poster child for toxic femininity, used to be known for restaurant reviews and cookbooks but has now progressed into political and social commentary — to the detriment of all.
And in her manifesto, entitled “20 Things Men Can Do RTFN to Support Women, Beyond Just Literally Ceasing to Sexually Harass Us,” is a list of some of the most counterproductive, obnoxious and insulting suggestions anyone can possibly offer for bringing harmony among the sexes — basically proving that the Left is made up of the least tolerant and helpful people among us.
First among the 20? A demand that men “overcome your own transphobia.” Rosner claims that “Trans women are women. Trans men are men. Accept the lived truth of NB and GNC people, whether or not they are women.” Implicit in this is the idea that a man should be fine with the idea of another man sharing a women’s bathroom with his wife, because to feel otherwise would make his masculinity toxic and expose the female continuum to his proclivity for sexual harassment.
It doesn’t get any better. Among the other gems in this screed are a demand for male support of abortion on demand, “subsidized” birth control, medical trials which prioritize women (which is a bit peculiar given that the female population has a longer life span than the male), free tampons (seriously, either you’re for that or you’re a sexual harasser), and “untaxed menstrual products.” Why separate statements for the untaxed products and the free tampons were made your author can’t say, other than to surmise Rosner is a lousy writer and her editor is no better.
Are we done? Of course not. There is this gem: “Vocally advocate at your workplace for longer and more egalitarian paid parental leave, whether or not parenthood is part of your life. Advocate for lactation spaces. Advocate for on-site or subsidized childcare.” And this one: “Tell your elected officials that you are a man who votes and you prioritize women’s issues when you decide who to vote for. Then actually prioritize women’s issues when you decide who to vote for. Understand that women’s issues are your issues.” Plus this one: “Whenever you are in a group composed of only men (whether it’s social, work, church, or whatever) ask yourself why there are no women present. Then ask out loud why. Force an honest answer.”
Rosner also thinks “woke” males should become distraught that there aren’t enough streets and buildings named for women, and that men should take up “female” pursuits like sewing and caring about skin care so as to understand the fairer sex. And that men should “Talk less. In all spaces. At all times. At a lower volume.”
We referenced a term for that in this space a couple of years ago in a different context: shutuppery. It’s what leftists and other pretend elites always resort to, all the time. And it was inevitable in this screed, even though it’s directed at an entire gender.
By the way, men are already the ones who don’t talk. On average, women say five times the number of words in a day that men do. Apparently that ratio is too small.
Then there is the command that men “consume media marketed to women,” and “don’t perform your consumption,” whatever that means.
Ready for the punch line? You probably won’t believe this one…
Jerk off without porn for a while. EDIT: This really should be “Pay for your porn.” In particular, seek out (and pay for) porn that’s made by women, queer people, and people of color, and that’s produced ethically. Consume sexual culture as thoughtfully as you would consume any culture. (Thanks to Jillian and others for helping me reframe this.)
Kira Davis at RedState, whose femininity is — thank God — not toxic, would have none of Rosner’s nonsense. Quoth Davis…
Not attracted to women with penises? Transphobe. Not attracted to overweight women? Fatphobe. Try not to be attracted to attractive women. Think of dead kittens and lonely millennials who write for the New Yorker.
Obviously Helen Rosner isn’t the only, best or even most recent example of toxic femininity extant among us — following Trump’s inauguration we saw an entire march consisting of the toxically feminine, for example.
But it’s about time we call out militant androgyny and triumphalist Third Wave feminism for what it is — the loud howlings of low-intellect, overeducated enfants terrible, abetted by a declining culture no longer self-confident enough to counter it. The excesses of the “patriarchy” these overgrown children so decry are nothing compared to what’s coming should a society reflecting Rosner’s — and those of others who don’t find her thoroughly insane — demands be allowed to take hold.