On “Toxic Masculinity”
Saturday mornings are meant for good coffee and discussions!
Our session on BFM 89.9 yesterday garnered some much needed conversation on toxic masculinity, and if there is a toxic femininity. This question came from Facebook, and we thought that this is super worthy to share.
“Congrats Rizal on your BFM discussion during Feminist Fridays. Heard you on BFM a few minutes ago. While I highly disagree with certain aspects of the talk, such as calls for creating a “safe space” for social media users, I do appreciate the effort to highlight real injustices perpetrated by fundamentalists and chauvinistic men. Don’t worry, I am not a menninist or a troll. I really do want to seek understanding.
Would you care to define what “Toxic Masculinity” is, and is there “Toxic Femininity”? Sorry for putting you on the spotlight, but I abhor the term toxic masculinity, seeing as civilisation has benefited greatly from “masculine” traits. I understand that mean have proclivities to certain negative behaviours, such as domination, but so do women. Would you care to elaborate on this? Take your time. Thanks Rizal.”
Rizal: “thanks for taking ur time to listen bro. I’d love to write more about toxic masculinity etc. But let’s be honest, that’s not really a strength I possess. But i’m open to lepak with you and explain. That one, my strength! hahaha.
Basically in the simplest way possible toxic masculinity means the masculine traits which are toxic towads the social construct of a society (please don’t quote me for this, I am just explaining from how i understand it). It is toxic because, well, basically, it’s just misogynistic. Impacts includes power imbalance in terms of gender relations i.e. men more powerful than women. Women not being able to speak up. Women being seen as an object. so on and so forth.
Now with regards to whether we benefit from traits of masculinity or not. I think, while in certain cases, albeit minor instances, it may be true. But more often than not, it has brought us more destruction. The whole capitalistic model which created gulfs of incomes and assets between men and women, between countries, between the top 1% with the rest 99% so on and so forth was based on the masculine idea that is ‘meritocracy’ without acknowledging existing privileges. Whereas, it is proven that women especially female headed households distributes their income and wealth equally among family members. And privileges, is the one thing women are disadvantaged of, for being born women. I am not even talking about trans, lgbtiq communities etc. Masculinity is also the cause of all world wars, wars, disputes, small fights etc all around the world since the start of time. And because of wars, we spend unnecessary amount of money for armies, machines, weapons and risk hundreds of millions of lives on the basis of ‘security’.
See, that’s why i hate writing hahaha. i’m all over te place right now. Sorry Brandon.
Whether toxic femininity exists, that one i am not so sure. I can’t answer because I haven’t heard of such term. But pn the top of my head, any form of conforming stereotypes which created gender gaps is toxic. Because that does not help in the long run. For example, women telling other women to shut up, don’t speak up and “learn to know your place” in a society. I would think that as toxic femininity. Hope this answers your queries Brandon. Actually to be honest, I am kinda taken aback with you posting this as a status, kinda puts me in the spot. hahaha”
Serene: “It is important to understand that toxic masculinity does not equates to masculinity. It is an hyper form of masculinity that leads to extreme form of violence, physically and psychologically. Masculinity is also not exclusively a men’s trait, but there is deep societal and cultural association of masculinity with men; and femininity with women.
Traits of masculinity becomes toxic when it wants to dominate (not lead), conquer, and silence many others. When it views any other gender as subordinate and inferior to them. And this is not the same as mere individual arrogance. Toxic masculinity happens at a societal scale, and it is translated into violence, policy, laws, how we construct family life and gender roles etc.
What do you understand by toxic femininity if I may ask? There are cases of women perpetrating violence undeniably, but not they are predominant gender when it comes to perpetrator violence. However, women do internalise and normalised sexism and misogyny in their everyday lives, and this is an important issues that we need to unpack further.
And there are many nuisances that we need to tease out too. Our lives and identity are not just about men and women, our lives intersect with class, ethnicity, religion, citizenship, abilities, economic power etc – they all affects our status and power in our everyday interaction”