• Valued contributer
    10
    That doesn't make sense to me. If it's wrong to put men down, it's wrong to do it to women too. Women are people before they're women. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.T Clark

    I guess I don't understand why shining a spotlight on a double standard is tantamount to putting women down then. Have women's movements not been rife with just that? Pointing out that: men were allowed to vote while they weren't; men had superior opportunities to pursue education, etc.

    Actually, I'm curious now and I'll just ask and use the form of an example: with the concept of slut-shaming. When women point out the double standard in condemnation of their promiscuous behaviors in comparison to men, would you say they're putting men down and if so why?

    I'm not trying to put words in your mouth - Are you saying that the situation for black people is "superficially uneven?" If so, you and I couldn't disagree more.T Clark

    I'm referring for example, to when black people use "cracker" as a slur in reference to whites vs white people using the n-word as a slur against blacks and the equating by some, of both occurrences as carrying the same racist weight.
  • Clarky
    9.1k
    Have women's movements not been rife with just that? Pointing out that: men were allowed to vote while they weren't; men had superior opportunities to pursue education, etc.... When women point out the double standard in condemnation of their promiscuous behaviors in comparison to men, would you say they're putting men down and if so why?Valued contributer

    Women should have the vote because they are adult citizens of our country with as much right to the benefits of citizenship as anyone else, not because men have it. Ditto for education. For what it's worth, college enrollment is significantly higher for women than it is for men. People who are denied what they deserve just for being citizens, residents, human beings should get it, independent of who else gets what.

    As for a double standard for sexual behavior, that's a social issue that it's not much use complaining about. It will require a change in attitude. It also would probably be helpful if both men and women were more responsible sexually. I wonder how many women apply the double standard you are talking about to other women. I don't know the answer to that.
  • ASmallTalentForWar
    40
    From the "feminine" perspective, the essential elements of masculinity are those that lead to reproduction. Or activities associated with reproduction ("sex.")

    So, the feminine contribution to expressions of masculinity are mostly those that the women choose to emphasize in their selection of mates.

    Ironically, in societies where women do not depend on their male mates for survival, this may lead to them choosing more "toxic" masculine traits as these are not life threatening as they would have been.

    The alpha male ideal came out of a misreading of biological behavior, and the actual "alpha males" in chimpanzee society are often older chimps that are able to achieve cohesion between individuals in a group. The "chad" chimp that is physically more powerful and aggressive is often an outsider as the "alpha" will have several allies who together can overpower that individual. Even after the alpha passes on his dominance to another younger chimp, he is still cared for by the group as his actions in the past proved beneficial to them so he retains his status as a good leader.

    In this context, I think the comparative feminine stereotype to the toxic male or alpha male would be the overtly sexually attractive female that pursues this sort of male - the "starf**ker" - that exemplifies toxic male behavior or status, or women that capitalize on the stereotypical traits intended to attract this sort of person.

    Ironically, the stereotypical "trophy wife" that pursues an actual alpha male - a successful man that is able to lead and create consensus but does not typify the aggressive, self-interested and physically superiority-focused stereotype of an "alpha male" (the Chad), is actually more socially positive in this sense. Not implicitly toxic to relationships even though she is often criticized and degraded for being a "gold digger."
  • Possibility
    2.7k
    What about an uncomely reaction from a woman who feels her femininity being threatened? Say for example, a woman that flips out when her boyfriend turns down her sexual advances. I've seen a man complain about this and receive a response from a woman who explains how his girlfriend's reaction was a result of how strongly society attaches a woman's worth to her sexual appeal. She got a lot of upvotes and commiserating comments.

    I'm juxtaposing something like that to how starlight's date reacted. It came from a similar place no? He felt his masculinity threatened/attacked and his response clearly reflected this.

    Are you saying the difference here is that in both cases men are the ones reinforcing the values that lead to both reactions as opposed to society?
    Valued contributer

    This is a useful example to work with, although the details are unclear, and I don’t want to make assumptions. I can understand how you would interpret this as similar, and in some ways it is, but not the crucial aspects. The difference is not in the behaviour of the person threatened - which in both cases can be considered ‘poor behaviour’ regardless of gender - but in the subsequent social responses to that behaviour.

    A man turns down his girlfriend’s sexual advances, and then complains when she ‘flips out’ - this gives no reasoning for either the man’s rejection nor the woman’s behaviour. And yet, before we even get to the question of sexual appeal, is it assumed (and reinforced by the use of language) that the man has a reasonable explanation for his behaviour, but the woman does not? Is it also assumed that the woman is supposed to accept his behaviour as ‘reasonable’ by his account, despite her own feelings? That she has no recourse to complain to him about his behaviour in the context of an emotional relationship, and yet he feels justified to complain about her emotional behaviour within an emotional relationship to anyone who will listen?

    The fact that other women recognise the situation and commiserate with her demonstrates that these women are at least calling out the situation - that a woman’s worth is strongly determined by her sexual appeal - as unacceptable. And in direct defiance of that, they would seek to restore the woman’s sense of worth regardless of sexual appeal.

    Starlight’s response to her date’s behaviour was to automatically change her own behaviour in future social situations, assuming that it was her own behaviour that was ‘wrong’. Note that she didn’t complain about her treatment, but took it as deserved. Hughie’s response was to reassure her that the problem was not her behaviour, but rather confirmed the likely reason why her boyfriend had responded in that way in the first place: because his masculinity would be perceived as insufficient.

    It is the pervasive and insidious nature of what’s going on here around the boyfriend’s behaviour, in relation to masculinity, that leads to the label ‘toxic’.
  • Valued contributer
    10
    A man turns down his girlfriend’s sexual advances, and then complains when she ‘flips out’ - this gives no reasoning for either the man’s rejection nor the woman’s behaviour. And yet, before we even get to the question of sexual appeal, is it assumed (and reinforced by the use of language) that the man has a reasonable explanation for his behaviour, but the woman does not? Is it also assumed that the woman is supposed to accept his behaviour as ‘reasonable’ by his account, despite her own feelings? That she has no recourse to complain to him about his behaviour in the context of an emotional relationship, and yet he feels justified to complain about her emotional behaviour within an emotional relationship to anyone who will listen?Possibility

    It's been a while so I don't remember it vividly but I'm pretty sure the anecdote was given in the context of a discussion on the double standard between men and women where turning down one's partner for sex is concerned and how easily either gender accepts this rejection.

    Starlight’s response to her date’s behaviour was to automatically change her own behaviour in future social situations, assuming that it was her own behaviour that was ‘wrong’. Note that she didn’t complain about her treatment, but took it as deserved. Hughie’s response was to reassure her that the problem was not her behaviour, but rather confirmed the likely reason why her boyfriend had responded in that way in the first place: because his masculinity would be perceived as insufficient.Possibility

    Hmm, can we assume that starlight took her treatment as deserved simply because she adapted by changing her behavior? I'm actually not sure, it's one I'll have to mull over. Preliminarily though, I think one can believe oneself to have done nothing wrong in a given scenario yet consider a fight over it to not be worthwhile.

    For what you say about the respective social responses being the central indicator of toxicity here to be meaningful, they would have to be representative of the broader pattern of responses to such scenarios. So would you say this is the case? That women generally respond to a man's resultant standoffishness, from them undermining his masculinity, by adaptation instead of standing up for what they know to be true? That they did nothing wrong? And that men generally react by mocking/calling the man's masculinity into question?

    And this isn't paralleled in the social responses to women's bad behavior? A man would not adapt and change his behavior? Other woman would not say her reaction should call her femininity into question?
  • Valued contributer
    10
    but I’d disagree. If a woman is on a date with a man, and goes along with sexual activities she is not comfortable with to appease her partner without speaking her mind, this would be an example of submissiveness and agreeableness to a “toxic” level. Hence toxic femininity. One could also argue the obsession over looks, how fit one is, how slim one is, etc is another angle of toxic femininity.Paulm12

    what do you think about Possibility's take on it:

    "Toxic: harmful or unpleasant in a pervasive or insidious way.

    It’s not really about ‘improper’ behaviour, but about harmful or potentially harmful behaviour. The guy who ignores a girl because he once felt less capable than her is not just behaving ‘improperly’ towards her. He’s also behaving improperly towards himself, and to anyone who may be guided by his actions. His behaviour is harmful in falsely implying that she did something ‘wrong’.

    But what makes this toxic masculinity is its pervasiveness as proper ‘masculine’ behaviour - as reinforced not by some idea of ‘society’, but mostly by male behaviour and response - that the guy’s masculinity is in question. While the idea that the girl was ‘wrong’ per se appears to be challenged by Hughie’s response - it’s done in a way that only reinforces this questioning of the guy’s masculinity (small pee-pee) as the proper response to her behaviour.

    What makes it difficult to describe femininity as ‘toxic’ is that what is considered ‘proper’ feminine behaviour is determined and reinforced not so much by female behaviour, but largely by male behaviour and response."
  • I like sushi
    3.7k
    Masculine traits are not exclusive to males.

    In terms of opposite poles over nurturing children can produce highly dysfunctional adults just as much as tyrannical nurturing can.

    Toxic behaviour comes from both sexes just as often in my experience. Basing ‘bad behaviour’ on any singular psychological trait is ridiculous too. Masculinity in and of itself is not a bad thing at all the problem arises when there is lack or excess in other areas.

    No one can be too masculine or too feminine because in and of themselves there is nothing ‘toxic’ about either.
  • Agent Smith
    4.4k
    The brain/mind is a very complex organ. :snicker:
  • Possibility
    2.7k
    Hmm, can we assume that starlight took her treatment as deserved simply because she adapted by changing her behavior? I'm actually not sure, it's one I'll have to mull over. Preliminarily though, I think one can believe oneself to have done nothing wrong in a given scenario yet consider a fight over it to not be worthwhile.Valued contributer

    I don’t think we can assume anything, tbh. I do think a persistent conflict between what we know about ourselves in our private moments and how we ‘should’ represent ourselves to others is a common societal issue. But it wasn’t just that particular fight - she said that ‘learned’, she changed how she represented herself in relation to guys she likes from that point. I think what we believe in terms of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ behaviour is less about what we know, and more about how it feels under the circumstances. She felt her behaviour to be ‘wrong’ under those kinds of circumstances - that doesn’t change what she knows about herself. She’s still capable of kicking ass - she just believed it was ‘wrong’ to present that aspect of herself IF she wanted a guy to feel comfortable around her.

    For what you say about the respective social responses being the central indicator of toxicity here to be meaningful, they would have to be representative of the broader pattern of responses to such scenarios. So would you say this is the case? That women generally respond to a man's resultant standoffishness, from them undermining his masculinity, by adaptation instead of standing up for what they know to be true? That they did nothing wrong? And that men generally react by mocking/calling the man's masculinity into question?Valued contributer

    As I mentioned above, I think it has a lot to do with how it feels under the circumstances. Yes, it is my experience that men are generally expected (regardless of what they might think or know) to react to a girl who is aggressively and physically defending her male partner by mocking/calling the man’s ‘masculinity’ into question. And a man who identifies himself with this ‘masculinity’ perceives a choice in these circumstances between being loved and being ‘masculine’.

    And a woman whose male partner’s response is to distance himself from her, when his ‘masculinity’ appears to be undermined by her behaviour, perceives a choice between being loved and being herself - as if they are somehow mutually exclusive. Hughie’s response is to reassure her that they are not, while challenging this concept of ‘masculinity’ himself - his own character is juxtaposed as ‘a white Steve Urkel’.

    And this isn't paralleled in the social responses to women's bad behavior? A man would not adapt and change his behavior? Other woman would not say her reaction should call her femininity into question?Valued contributer

    Sure - there is a societal expectation that a ‘masculine’ man has no reason for turning down sex, and that a ‘feminine’ woman would not behave aggressively or make emotional demands on her partner. But the forum situation presents an anecdote which challenges expectations about turning down sexual advances as well as responses to it. And he didn’t exactly present just the facts. He described the circumstances in a way that attempted to restore his own ‘normative’ status, despite turning down sex, by presenting her response as not just emotional, but abnormally irrational.

    Now, a man may very well adapt and accept his girlfriend’s offer of sex, despite a lack of interest, especially if he prefers to stay in a relationship. And this man may very well have done that, despite his complaints. He’s just fishing here for public reassurance that he’s the ‘normal’ one. And the women who respond are likely also trying to present the girlfriend’s reaction as a ‘normal’ response to these expectations.

    But the difference is that the women are attacking society’s expectations, but the guy is attacking his girlfriend’s behaviour...
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