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Toxic Feminity? Is It a Thing and How Do We Define It?

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With the evolution of social media and thousands of brand new female influencers taking the spotlight, such as Julia Fox or Brittany Broski, and on popular videos such as Vice, you have definitely heard the term ‘toxic masculinity’ being thrown around. 

If you don’t know, this is a concept that describes the way a society’s gender-based expectations for men can breed unhelpful characteristics and behaviors that no longer serve any good in today’s society. This can include difficulty expressing emotions, “be like a man” phrases, and excessive self-reliance to name a few.

Psychologists, researchers, and some of the public have also started to consider the vice versa “toxic femininity.” This is a relatively new concept that is very rarely spoken about today. From experience, I believe it because women are now truly finding their voice and are not standing for certain degrees of behavior, but the topic is always strongly up for debate.

Men and women are still having battles from all angles on whether we are equal or even have some form of equity if feminism is basically a war against men and much more. People can take advantage of situations, so the ideology that feminism can be taken so far to harm another gender is definitely something that’s possible.

Toxic femininity

When people have conversations about femininity, they rarely touch on toxic femininity, mostly because people do not view it as a societal issue. However, toxic femininity can be as damaging as toxic masculinity.

At its core is its internalization of misogynistic values and power structures. ‘Society’ expects women to conform to their feminine roles by downplaying male violence, being pushed into submissive roles, and valuing attractiveness highly. 

As a result, there is an increase in mental health disorders, people are discouraged from pursuing positions of authority because they are perceived as belonging to men, and the following generation is raised with more ideas that are associated with men.

The results of toxic femininity can also be male hatred, trolling, over-sexualization, undervaluation of oneself, competitive undermining, emotional suppression, and any perpetuation of stereotypes.

There are many differing views on what exactly constitutes toxic femininity, some saying it involves exposing or feeling forced to express qualities such as passiveness, selfnesses, submissiveness, and empathy,  and may be more associated with the perfect wife ideology.

Some men characterize femininity as an intimidating, loud, and men-hating movement, even though the feminist stance is for gender equality and not gender equity. This explains where men’s hatred has come from, through its battle against the patriarchy.

This battle for many women comes from crimes committed against women, such as sexual assault, abuse, and being undervalued within the workplace.

Toxic femininity

Is Toxic Femininity a Thing?

From a woman’s perspective, I would agree that toxic femininity is a thing. The idea that women shouldn’t be assertive and always nice was burned into my brain by people outside of my circle. I was lucky enough to have a mother who spoke her mind and was a strong woman.

Some real-world examples can include:

  • A teacher who tells you to “act like a lady” when you show assertiveness or passion
  • A parent who may pressure you to have children because “that’s what women do.”
  • An acquaintance who says you haven’t found love because men find your confidence “intimidating”
  • A social media influencer who says, “Real women have curves”

This traditional concept of femininity has been argued to, in most ways, contribute to patriarchal norms like woman objectification. Such women should marry, stay at home, and take care of the family and everything that comes with it.

Women who wished to rewrite and reinterpret conventional beauty standards founded the body-positive movement within the feminine movement. In spite of this, most women continue to place a value on their appearance, even under the pretense of being “body positive.” In the process, this devalues them and objectifies them. Women of various body shapes are encouraged to participate in sexual expression as part of modern femininity.

It’s becoming a battle with women, as they might feel to not conform to toxic femininity they shouldn’t look nice or dress in a sense for men, and while some women unfortunately still do this, you can still wear a little black dress, and not be dressing for the male gaze, I think toxic femininity is beyond appearance and a lot is in your aura and personality.

Toxic femininity

Modern Femininity

Modern feminity has evolved to encourage women to express their value in other ways that aren’t just as a piece of meat and in ways that flaunt their creative potential, academic achievements, intelligence, soft skills, and other things that weren’t once deemed “feminine” or “for women.”

The movement against beauty standards has taken over a huge part of the movement by recognizing that beauty comes in different forms, emphasizing strength, creativity, kindness, and intellect as much as society emphasizes sexuality.

The goal of modern femininity should be to embrace masculine equality. This involves making sure that males are fairly represented in family courts and pushing them to go out and discover healthy ways to express their emotions.

In addition to encouraging men to be more accepting of femininity without viewing it as an assault on their masculinity and challenging the unequal roles that society assigns to the sexes, this will help combat toxic masculine tendencies.

Toxic femininity

Eradicating Toxic Femininity

Women and men should unite to combat toxic feminism in the same manner that campaigns against toxic muscularity are developed.

Exposing the strength and potential that women possess without resorting to violence or oppression in order to be heard or seen is a crucial aspect of femininity. Because of their common experiences with sexism, misogyny, and sexual harassment, women are united by femininity. In order to eliminate toxic white femininity, which ignores the daily oppression experienced by women of color, intersectionality must be taken into account.

Only when men and women acknowledge the existence of toxic femininity and toxic masculinity and unite to effect positive change can gender equality be achieved.

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Toxic femininity Is It a Thing and How Do We Define It?

Lucy Couser
Latest posts by Lucy Couser (see all)
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