The toxic phrase

I had a fight with some rando lady on Facebook last night/this morning because she used the phrase "toxic masculinity." I regret all of it. I was stupid to engage. The only way to win that kind of argument is to not get involved in it at all.

I'm shaking. My body is tensed up. I feel like I'm going to throw up and/or cry.

I had to delete my Instagram due to exactly this reason. I don't want to have to delete Facebook too. I rarely even use it but I was scrolling last night because I couldn't get to sleep, and I get into a ridiculous argument. I am angry at and disappointed in myself.

I just hate this phrase so, so much. It's a huge trigger for me since it's used by people who ignore that women can be just as evil, just as abusive as men. And for people who argue that male-perpetrated abuse is systematic and female-perpetrated abuse isn't, I'll ask you to do some research about female teachers, female prison guards, and females who commit domestic violence.

I have a therapy appointment tonight, thank god. But I cannot go on this way. I cannot get triggered every time some ignorant fool throws out this phrase. It's seriously affecting the quality of my life.

dark empathy

Sorry to hear this, and yeah, it's triggering as hell, indeed I try my best to avoid those sorts of discussions since I'm really struggling with powerlessness at the moment.

I am so damnably sick of people using the phrase "toxic masculinity", as if it is a compound word like "alarm clock" or "sundial, indeed, it's interesting how often you hear "toxic masculinity", without any attempt to define what "healthy masculinity" actually is.

Btw, if I ever can actually get to publish anything this is something I'd like to engage with, but at the moment that's not happening, partly because two out of every three agents I find specify they want "female voices", or "under represented minorities", you know because clearly as a blind person I'm part of the privileged majority.

I'm trying my best to keep it together at the moment, but powerlessness in the face of female hatred is very difficult, and I'm struggling with a lot of frustration and anger right now.

Indeed, I'll stop this post before I wish something extremely bad on the insensitive git who you obviously found so triggering.

@Strangeways I am sorry this happened. I finally got so fed up with the craziness on social media that I closed my accounts and opened new accounts under a fake name without any friends. (I am not even friends with my wife on social media). Instead I follow musicians, athletes, and hobbies that I find interesting. Over the years I have begun to "friend" people I don't know who I come across who are interesting or inspiring. If they get political or annoying I unfriend them and no harm is done. I am a much happier person having disengaged from all that stupidity.

I am glad you are meeting with your T tonight.
Sorry this happen to you Strageways. I had similar experiences on social media and don't use it anymore as we can't control what others say and they say some very hurtful things. I could only handle it for a couple of weeks, I just couldn't believe what people think they have the right to say on those platforms.

Yes glad you have a session tonight with your T
Thanks to all for your kind responses. I'm afraid I can't ditch my Facebook page entirely as it's tied to some accounts I have to use for work. But I agree with the fact that I really don't need to be using it. Actually I have barely used it, but of course the ONE time that I do, I get into a stupid slap fight. So I guess that should really tell me something.

dark empathy

I don't think it's a question of "more or less evil", in this case, abuse "is" evil, the gender or other details of the abuser don't matter.

the problem however is the current perception that all abusers are male, and most victims are female, a perception riding both on the backs of the worst kind of ultra misandric so called feminism, and the gender traditional belief that women are intrinsically more valuable than men, and thus women's suffering of far greater value.

I was encouraged a few months ago when my wife was having radio therapy. We got chatting to the hospital IT specialist about books, and in a discussion of Stephen King's novel Rose madder, she stated she couldn't read it because she couldn't bare to read about "A woman being hurt."

She actually said; quite casually and in a joking tone, "well men don't matter, do anything to men I don't mind, but if it's women.", obviously expecting us to either tacitly agree, or at least understand, since she assumed we shared the perception.

My wife felt me stiffen, and said lady realised she'd said something extremely stupid.

Had it just been up to me, I'd probably not have argued the point, since the last thing I wanted was an argument in the hospital waiting room.
My wife however wasn't having that sort of remark and said "that was not a good thing to say."
whereupon I said "It was a stupid thing to say."
Said lady, rather defensively said: "Well I'm sorry, I was abused and my abuser was male", speaking of the event almost proudly.

Again, I'd have probably left it there, but my wife chipped in with:

"Well my husbands abusers were female."

(she didn't emphasise the plural, but it was there). My wife later appologised to me, and said she knew I wouldn't have said anything, but she didn't like that sort of remark anymore than I did.

Said IT specialist was literally shocked, and credit to her, she did say she was sorry, indeed I don't think she'd ever heard or expected that sort of answer to her misandric attitude, she just assumed everyone would either share, or at least not object to it.

We still know her at this point, and my wife is becoming friends with her, though I confess I've always felt a bit wary around her for that reason, and have actively avoided the subject of sexual abuse or anything gender related, still it was an odd experience, albeit again, credit more goes to my lady there than me, since I just tend to try and avoid those sorts of matters as I find women's hatred much too triggering.

still, it's nice to think that, at least one person might have got something of a rude awakening.

This is one reason I'd like to get published and write things, particularly fiction dealing with hatred and rather nicer portrales of masculinity, albeit the publishing industry seems to be riding the same band wagon at the moment.

I don't think we should be ranking abuse.
However, the details most definitley do matter. Being raped/molested repeatedly by a biological parent is a bigger betrayal than any other rape in that the parent is supposed to be the provider and caretaker for the child
I actually know people who have been molested by family members who have no PTSD and are pretty much OK. I also know people who were groped by a stranger one time and have absolutely fallen apart due to it.

Everyone is different. Ranking abuse is part of how we got to the point where the abuse of men and boys doesn't matter, since we all know that the world thinks the abuse of a man or a boy is so much less important than the abuse of a woman or a girl.

Evil is evil. Abuse is abuse. Let's not get to the point of arguing who's had it worse. I can't think of anything less useful or more of a waste of time. The fact that we are here at all means that what happened to us was pretty damn bad. We don't need anyone to police or gatekeep our experiences beyond that.
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The fact that we are here at all means that what happened to us was pretty damn bad.
Agreed. It was not my intent to police or gate keep. I am sorry to have offended or upset anyone with what I wrote. I was maybe feeling too sorry for myself and feeling alone in my pain. I agree we should not be ranking abuse nor should we rank pain. You have provided some good examples.
It's ok, @I'm Alive - we all have those moments of feeling vastly alone in our pain. Those are the times when it really helps to embrace community, yet those are also the times when it's most difficult to do so.

We're here for every man who's suffered abuse, no matter what it was. You're an important member here who has important things to say and I'm glad you're here. Your experience and your pain is no less worthy than anyone else's.
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Oh my God, Strangeways, THANK YOU so much! I sincerely appreciate your kind words which moved me to tears. FYI, I have not been to a therapist for a long while now, but just met with a new male therapist yesterday and I told him that I think I may need to see him (or another one) for the rest of my life, and he acknowledged that I may. Because up til now I used to always think "I'm done with seeing therapists, this is as well as I am going to be." And I am, for the first time, OK with acknowledging this as well as for the first time, finally admitting some important truths to myself which I have repressed. Again, your words are so much appreciated - more than words can say - you have touched me deeply. Thank you.
I'm so glad to hear about your therapist, @I'm Alive - it's amazing what talking to a really good therapist can do for us when we're in the right mindset!

And about therapy for the rest of your life - think of it as a quality of life issue. Many people need physical therapy over their complete lifespans, but no one thinks anything about that. I too will probably need to see a therapist as long as I live, but I consider it a necessity for me to be able to live a life worth living for myself and those around me.

It's a great step and I hope it's ok to say that I'm proud of you for getting to that place.


I often argue with myself about maybe I just "don't get it". But since I have met very few men who don't appear in physical pain when the phrase is used, it's the people saying it who don't get it. One thing that gives me perspective is making alternative statements that point out the ridiculousness. If a plumber behaved toxically, would it be toxic plumbing?


I hear you!
I had to hate being a boy, feel so much shame period!
Can't believe Gillette came out with a commercial titled ," male toxicity".
I don't want to buy any of their products for this reason.
How bout Feminine toxicity" ?
Oh come on where are there women like this?
I was exposed to several! Yuk
Thanks for your post.

dark empathy

I did once do a web search for articles criticising the concept, but there wasn't much.
One I found was an idiotic misogynist rant by someone with less brains than a clay pigeon who basically said it was natural for men to be arseholes, and was the best advert for mysandry you could imagine.

Another was an article attempting to be fairer, which attempted to contrast "toxic masculinity", with "toxic femininity", however where it defined toxic masculinity only in things that were men's fault, EG not taking no for an answer, bullying behaviour, so called "toxic femininity", was simply a set of traditionally passive feminine traits, submissiveness, superficiality, narrowness of concern, which women were victims of and needed to "unlearn."

Indeed, the article noted itself that the toxic masculine traits were "active", whilst the so called "toxic feminine" traits were passive, and thus came across more as an attempt to pander to the status quo, than actually provide any sort of realisticly equal look at things.

Whilst I would be tempted to identify the kind of "toxic femininity", Guys on this site know so well, I'd prefer myself to avoid calling anything beyond noxious bacteria "toxic", and just note how traditional gender concepts contain some pretty major crap, for both men and women, which really needs getting rid of.

Again, if I can ever get published this is one thing I'd really like to explore, how male characters can still be male but exhibit a lot of masculine traits which are anything but toxic, such as gentleness.


I cannot go on this way. I cannot get triggered every time
@Strangeways Thanks for this post. I respond with inner fury to the phrase "toxic masculinity;" and I feel isolated/alone. It's reassuring to me, seeing others write about it here.

I feel a need to be able to push back, but it seems so impossible. I've been formulating, in my mind, something along the lines of: "Sexual abuse and harassment crosses all lines, in all directions, of gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, and disability." I like how it feels in that it's neutral, and doesn't rely upon my personal story. I've only used it once, and that with a close friend; it felt solid. Even should I never use it IRL, it's nice to know I have something I can say.

dark empathy

@speeder, you might appreciate This article.
I wrote it for, the website I write book reviews for.
It was a reaction sparked by a rather virulent anthology of stories I read last year.

In it I said, for the first time publically on the internet, that I'm a survivor of violent sexual abuse by women, in an attempt to make the point that one size dams all is a really bad idea.

Sadly, I don't think the article sparked much of a reaction, though it was interesting that the webmaster of that site emailed me back, pleased that someone had actualy come out and said it, given that he'd just finished divorcing his wife who he was only starting to realise, was herself a violent abuser, and how pleased he was that someone had actually said the unthinkable.


dark empathy

@Sprinter, glad you liked the article and the disclosure. I'll admit I was worried when I wrote that, but the anthology was just so triggering for the reasons stated, I had to say something.

This is one reason I'm still trying to publish fiction, since there are ideas people will accept in fiction rather better than in fact, but again, it's a struggle so far, especially with the recent tendency towards misandry.
@dark empathy - I too enjoyed that article and I commend your bravery for writing and publishing it. In our crazy cancel culture, that took guts, and I'm impressed that others are seeing our side - case in point, the comment that was left.

Thanks for putting yourself out there and saying something that many of us men are thinking.