Modern feminism often paints men as tools of the patriarchy who use their power and privilege to oppress women—so why do feminists tell women to be more like men?
If you’ve ever taken a gender studies course or read up on feminist literature, you may have encountered the term “toxic masculinity.” It refers to traditionally masculine behavioral traits that can become “toxic” or “problematic” if left unchecked—such as dominance, competitiveness, or sexual aggressiveness.
Yet in their quest for equality, feminists have decided that women should embrace some of the very behaviors that they often refer to as “toxic.”
The sexual revolution in the 1960s, plus the introduction of the birth control pill, encouraged women to explore their own sexuality. Third wave feminism took it a step further, attacking terms like “slut” and “whore” because they were meant to shame women who slept around. Feminists pointed to a double standard: men are applauded for having numerous sexual partners and avoiding long-term relationships, while women are shamed when they do the same.
It’s an accurate point, but it led to the implication that women should be having sex more like men. Women’s empowerment became inextricably tied to sexuality and their ability to use men for their own pleasure—the same thing they criticized men for doing to women.
Now young men and women are caught in a “hookup culture” where romantic relationships beyond sex are fleeting. Women are often left feeling empty and used by such experiences because they’re not nearly as fulfilling or “empowering” as feminists make them out to be—one might even call them “toxic.”
Take the case of a young woman’s encounter with Aziz Ansari. “Grace” was thrilled to be going on a date with the famous comedian and seemed hopeful that the two might hit it off. Instead, the pair ended up engaging in an unpleasant hookup, wherein “Grace” seemed unwilling to clearly express her discomfort to Ansari because she really wanted him to like her.
It turns out a lot of women don’t enjoy engaging in hookup culture, but they feel obligated to do so. Why do they feel obligated? Because feminism tells them that sexual liberation is a core part of female agency. Men face similar social pressures to drive hookup culture, because it is seen as “masculine” to sleep around with a bunch of women.
The emotionless one-night stands aren’t exactly healthy for either party, so one has to wonder why feminists decided women would be better off if they could just care less, like men seemed to do.
The best way to make sure that both men and women are respected and engaging in healthy, fulfilling relationships is actually to care more.