In the 1990s, “toxic masculinity” entered the language. Though pegging a meaning to this term is difficult, The Good Men Project offers a solid definition: “a narrow and repressive description of manhood, designating manhood as defined by violence, sex, status and aggression.”
Unfortunately, radical feminists and others have broadened the scope of this definition into a catchphrase for men and boys who hold to traditional male standards and behavior. Moreover, they haul out toxic masculinity when they wish to smear opponents, figures as disparate as Kanye West, Brett Kavanaugh, and Donald Trump.
Which raises the question: Is there such a condition as toxic feminism?
I believe so. Let me offer just a few examples from a multitude appearing online.
Georgetown University Professor Christine Fair recently tweeted: “All of them (Republican senators) deserve miserable deaths while feminists laugh as they take their last gasps. Bonus: we castrate their corpses and feed them to the swine? Yes.”
Then there’s this popular mantra: “Women have their faults, men have only two: everything they say, everything they do.”
Another sign of toxic feminism is the commandment, “Believe the woman.” Thus, when a woman accuses a man of rape, our politically correct crew tells us we must believe the accuser, even when no evidence of a crime exists. That admonition not only turns our justice system on its head, where the accused is now presumed guilty until proving his innocence, but it also raises this question: Why should we automatically believe women? Are women now angels levitating above men?
I’ve known plenty of women who have misled or lied to their spouses, their children, their friends, their employers. So why on earth should we believe someone based on an arrangement of chromosomes?
Finally, feminists, even some moderate ones, contend that women are oppressed. But let’s look at some evidence before we jump to conclusions.
For starters, women live longer than men. More women than men now attend college and graduate school. Women in the public square receive praise and pats on the back when they succeed and sympathy when they fail. Based on their sex, women fired from a job or refused promotion can claim “victimhood” status, while a man who did the same would be laughed from the room. From West Point to Fort Benning, the physical fitness standards for male soldiers are higher than those for females.
But when it comes to female toxicity, there’s another side to the coin: toxic femininity. And for radical feminists, femininity can be as poisonous as toxic masculinity.
Toxic femininity is seen in the woman who likes appearing attractive, or the one who engages in harmless flirtations (only a few of these graceful creatures remain). It’s also seen in the woman who values modesty, the woman who enjoys being treated like a lady, and the woman who doesn’t want her daughter subject to a military draft.
Even worse are those women who put hearth and home above a profession. The woman who wants marriage and a husband, the woman who has several children, the woman who deems it noble and honorable to tend a family and make a home: radical feminists condemn her as a traitor to the cause of feminism.
Elizabeth Wurtzel, author of the above piece, writes that “real feminists earn a living, have money and means of their own.” Really? Who made Ms. Wurtzel the Grand Poobah of feminism?
I live in a community where a multitude of women remain at home while their husbands slog away earning money. These women raise scads of children. They support their spouses with love and are loved in turn. They serve as volunteers in community organizations. They are as vocal as any feminist in their opinions. They do the wash, prepare the meals, mow the lawn, clean the house, serve as unofficial secretaries for their husbands’ business affairs, run the children to soccer practice and dance, and collapse into bed at night as weary as any day laborer.
Yet feminists consider them pariahs, exemplars of toxic femininity.
William Ross Wallace, a little-known poet, composed this famous line almost 150 years ago: “The hand that rocks the cradle is the hand that rules the world.” In the same poem, he writes, “Blessings on the hand of women.”
Blessings on the hands of such women.
Jeff Minick lives in Front Royal, Virginia, and may be found online at jeffminick.com. He is the author of two novels, Amanda Bell and Dust on Their Wings, and two works of non-fiction, Learning as I Go and Movies Make the Man.