I'd call it toxic femininity. And blaming it all on 'the patriarchy' is an example of it.

Men are every bit as subject to insecurities and baggage imposed on them by others and society, toxic messages about how to be and and live and think, and many of those messages come from women. You're tired of society's messages on how we're supposed to be? So are they! I spoke with a friend last night who was in an all-men's therapy group and one of the items they brought up (this was their first meeting) was toxic masculinity and how they were sick of feeling like they had to 'live up to the stereotypes'.

Women create plenty of their own toxic narratives. As we condemn 'rape culture', for example, shall we question the mountains of female-created content glorying rape and male domination? Like bodice-ripper romances, Anne Rice's Beauty series and Fifty Shades. I wonder what sort of unrealistic and toxic attitudes about romance these are creating for women, particularly young ones, who want a dominating man like they find in this content, and then find it's quite frightening in real life? Or the literature in which she's treated like a princess (or is a real one) and the narrative follows certain expectations of the hero...he's got to be handsome, confident, strong, maybe violent, but never toward her (one of the most toxic narratives created by women for women) and falls monogamously in love with her at the end?

Yeah, good luck finding that one in real life.

Jessica's point is sound. We've got to stop blaming others all the time (including 'the patriarchy') and start taking responsibility for ourselves and our *own* baggage and defects. And recognize that men are burdened with as many expectations and unrealistic female fantasies as we are with them.

Self-help centrist in the Murky Middle. Egalitarian & feminism critic. Visit me and reclaim your power on Grow Some Labia! www.nicolechardenet.com

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