Female roles in dating
Sexism says that a woman is too frail or docile to play a contact sport; toxic femininity says that you don’t want to play football anyway, sweetie, you would look horrible and sweaty in the helmet and pads.
Sexism is focused on robbing women of status and rights; toxic femininity is about defining womanhood so shallowly that a woman feels de-gendered by basic human acts or neutral preferences.
Focusing only on the harm done by men—and the insecurities harbored by men—ignores the broader, systematic nature of the beast. It was, and is, inflexible gender roles for men and women alike.
illustrate that, look at a much less-inspected form of gender toxicity: toxic femininity.
Both factors lead to women being compressed into impossibly tight, uncomfortable shapes. I am not a woman, but I have been told many times in my life that I needed to work harder to be one. Henning, was forever telling me that the curled-up, gargoyleish way I sat in a chair was unacceptable and unfeminine and forced me to sit “normally,” with my legs together and my feet on the ground.
Toxic femininity is in evidence when a woman won’t let herself eat anything but a salad while on a date lest the person across the table realize she is an omnivorous being who sometimes tears her teeth into flesh.
The exact rules don’t matter so much as their rigidity and the insecurity they inspire.
In fact, toxic femininity is most pernicious when the rules are a bit confusing or impossible to fully follow—like when a woman is forever scrambling to be acceptable, to look the way ladies are meant to look, and to behave in a manner both alluring and undemanding.
It’s evident in the basement-low rate of male teachers and stay-at-home dads and the scant numbers of men willing to hug someone they are not sexually interested in.
People sometimes talk about toxic masculinity as if only men have it.