Like English cuisine, French fortitude, and Italian military, the term toxic masculinity is an oxymoron. If it is toxic, it’s not masculine and if it’s masculine it isn’t toxic. Okay, I was joking about those old national slurs (I apologize, you social Stalinists, yes, I know it wasn’t funny!) But think of the phrase ‘cowering courage’. Again, if you cower you’re not courageous, and if you’re courageous you don’t cower. If you’re masculine, you’re not toxic; no, you’re a colossal asset to your family, your community, and your country.
As the brave feminist professor, Camille Paglia, put it in her 1990 book, Sexual Personae, “If civilization had been left in female hands, we would still be living in grass huts.” Her point: most of the dangerous and grueling jobs that make our comfortable lives possible are done by men. Yet we’ve heard this mendacious phrase ‘toxic masculinity’ repeatedly uttered by hysterical pundits of both genders in the context of horribly behaved men in entertainment, politics and news media. They usually intend more than a wisp of a suggestion that all men manifest ‘toxic masculinity’.