The term ‘toxic masculinity’ implies that there is something inherently toxic about masculinity. There is an assumption that it is a training given to boys by men and that men need to undergo therapy to re-educate themselves.
Toxic masculinity or toxic behaviour?
Some behaviours are toxic. If men use violence or sexual assault, take an over-dominant role in a relationship, etc, these behaviours could be described as ‘toxic’. However, they are not specifically ‘masculine’ as women can show these characteristics too.
Who is responsible?
Clearly, if a young man carries out toxic behaviour, we need to ask who is responsible as this can help us reduce the incidence among other young men. There is a suggestion that the toxic behaviour is transmitted to them from other men, however, it is more common among the sons of single-parent mothers.
This suggests that toxic male behaviour is something which intersection with the father (and other men) prevents.
Women can show toxic behaviour too. besides actions similar to those of men, they can use sexuality and seduction to exercise power and leave men emotionally shattered. However, we would not call it ‘toxic femininity‘ – it is simply a female person acting in a toxic way.