This comment was originally left under an article on PJ Media’s blog. The comment was up for several minutes before I decided to tweet a link to it.
Minutes after I shared it, it was reported as spam and removed from the article. As of the posting of this blog, that designation has been contested, and Disqus has marked it with the reply “Thanks, we’ll work on getting this corrected,” but the site’s admins haven’t undone the spam flag, so here is the comment:
Interestingly, the “no-misgendering, no-deadnaming” policy was enacted shortly after MRAs began publicly discussing the backstory on feminism’s “toxic masculinity” narrative.
The term was stolen from the mythopoetic men’s movement, which used it to describe, essentially, people’s exploitation of social stereotypes to avoid being expected to have compassion for men or accept men’s personal autonomy regarding their responses to their experiences and their sense of self.
An Australian feminist who, at the time, publicly identified as a man (Robert Connell) picked up on those discussions and applied a feminist filter – by the tone of his writing on the subject, one influenced by Andrea Dworkin’s writing and his own gender dysphoria.
Connell’s writing subtly changed the term’s usage, from “it’s wrong for society to use stereotypes to invalidate men’s own assessment of & responses to their own experiences” to “men are always wrong for assessing & responding to their own experiences in any way that is stereotypically masculine and they would never do that if society didn’t force it on them.”
Connell later transitioned and opted for a legal name change. Her work is now published under the name “Raewyn Connell.”
That she is a transwoman does not invalidate her experiences related to masculinity, but it does invalidate her claims that her work is applicable to the male population in general. It’s great work on how stereotypical masculinity can feel like a prison to a person experiencing gender dysphoria, to the degree that even the truth behind the stereotype (men’s psychological and emotional makeup being different from that of women) feels to the person experiencing dysphoria like it’s a lie… but it doesn’t make it a lie in terms of all men.
Now, based on Connell’s writing, feminists (especially 3rd wave feminist women) do three things:
They label dysfunctional behavior that is exhibited by both sexes, like violence or bravado, “masculine,” in order to use it to disparage masculinity.
They label anything a man does in his own interest “toxic” because it isn’t in service to, deference to, or defense of women, or to benefit feminist causes.
They use the term “toxic masculinity” to do that which its original meaning described – they’re using stereotypes to invalidate men’s own assessment of & responses to their own experiences, even going so far as to try to try to control individual men’s identities.
They’ve just flipped to stereotypical “sensitive” masculinity and demanded that men conform to that, regardless of whether it is natural or helpful to them. All that matters to feminists is whether it fits their “gender roles” narrative and supports their initiatives.
Rugged masculinity is only allowed in the feminist-approved man if it is exhibited in service to women, and tempered by “sensitive” masculinity, which must also be focused on women. Then that ruggedness has to be closed up and put away for the next time a woman needs a man to be stronger, tougher, faster, smarter, wiser, more stoic, or have greater endurance than she.
They claim that they are not labeling masculinity toxic, but that is only a half-truth. They’re not directly, blatantly and openly labeling masculinity toxic. They’re labeling genderless dysfunction “masculine” in order to imply that toxicity is masculine, demonizing all male self-interest, and demanding men give up their right to form their own sense of self, handing it instead over to feminism’s control… then labeling men’s refusal or failure to fit their narrative or obey their demands “toxic masculinity.”
It’s not that they’re not labeling masculinity toxic. They’re not JUST labeling masculinity toxic. They’re labeling masculine independence of feminist control toxic, as well.
It’d certainly be very inconvenient for feminists wanting to use the toxic masculinity narrative to obtain or maintain control over the male population if the male population is aware of these facts and able to openly discuss them. It’s much harder to trick a population into giving up their independence when they know what you’re doing and how false the basis for it really is.
- Back for more! Masculinities and covid-19, continued | HBR Talk 169 - February 25, 2021
- UK considers making misandry a hate crime | HBR Talk 168 - February 18, 2021
- A look at feminist research on masculinities and covid-19 | HBR Talk 167 - February 11, 2021