Skip to content

Toxic Femininity: Understanding the Narrative

New York City – Have you ever heard about toxic femininity? Toxic femininity manifests itself in instances where women slut shame other people, criticize men for not being ‘manly’ enough, or feel competitive against other women at work or in their relationships, making them bring down other women, and so on.

Generally, women use indirect aggression to an equivalent or greater extent than men. Indirect aggression occurs when someone harms another while masking the aggressive intent. Specific instances of this type of aggression include spreading false rumors, gossiping, excluding others from a social group, making insinuations without direct accusation, and criticizing others’ appearance or personality.

Female aggression is usually mostly indirect and rarely results in physical injury. How and when toxic femininity might show up? Maybe it can show up if women are shamed for not having children or judging other women for not being “feminine” enough.

One of the biggest and ugliest aspects of toxic femininity is revealed through woman splaining — a term gradually gaining momentum. A few examples of this behavior are telling a male parent how to look after his kids or a male chef how to cook – all of which can be considered harmless banter until done condescendingly, with the assumption that the man lacks knowledge or understanding of the subject or task.

To address toxic femininity, it is important to understand societal expectations of females. Women have long been expected to dismiss male aggression, conform to submissive positions, and prioritize their physical appearance. These expectations can lead to mental health issues, discourage people from pursuing positions of power, and promote patriarchal ideas for future generations. Conversely, they can lead to negative effects like male bashing, trolling, over-sexualization, and an inferior complex.

While statistics show how women are often physically and mentally dominated by the men in their lives, generalizing this information or presenting it as absolute would be unfair.

We as women are becoming aware of the fight against gender inequality and contributing to building an egalitarian society. However, this shouldn’t be simply our right. If we want men as part to lift women’s degrees, we need to become their part and be allies too. So it can begin a two-way street.

So, what can we do about toxic femininity?

  1. Spend more time thinking about what you’ve learned and starting to unlearn.
  2. Speak up.
  3. Be careful with how you use the term “toxic femininity.”

It can feel overwhelming at times to even consider how toxic femininity can affect self-expression, given that women have historically been given the shorter end of the stick . However, being impartial and understanding that gendered labels and stereotypes will do nothing but inhibit us is of greater importance. 

Women have undeniably suffered injustice in this predominantly patriarchal society. Still, let us be the bigger person and not deprive men the respect and space to be their authentic selves, too.

Article by : Elyonai Kristina Fanes

1 thought on “Toxic Femininity: Understanding the Narrative”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *