We hold our gender identities because we say we do, not because our bodies or personalities fit cultural stereotypes
- Mx. Mendoza
Sometimes toxic femininity is just assuming all women have periods and ovaries or that womenhood is inherently related to motherhood.
All of these assumptions about what it means to be a woman are harmful to trans women, nonbinary and intersex folx. The answer to toxic masculinity is not to replicate it with the concept of womanhood but to dismantle the idea that there is "one right way to be a ________(whatever gender identity you hold)."
Toxic femininity could look like a cis woman asking a trans woman to leave the women's restroom. Or perhaps a therapist having a women only group that talks openly about gender and the consequences of the patriarchy yet excludes trans and nonbinary people altogether.
Toxic femininity refers to "manifestations of dominant femininity that are shaped by white supremacist patriarchy and reify traditional cisheteronormative gender scripts, which act as a harmful tool of gender policing to dictate who is, and can be defined as, human and woman," according to Sunahtah D. Jones in her graduate thesis, "Ain't I a Woman, Too? Depictions of Toxic Femininity, Transmisogynoir, and Violence on STAR” (2019).
But what about toxic femininity? Does a woman come to mind who polices what it means to be "womanly"?
I am assuming you have heard the phrase toxic masculinity and have a pretty good understanding of what that means. Maybe you even have a person or character that comes to mind who embodies that hypermasculine type who thinks being manly is being out of touch with his emotions, displaying violence and disrespecting women. We can all acknowledge how problematic that guy is.
⠀⠀⠀ⁱ ᵃᵐ ᵐʸ ᵒʷⁿ ˢᶜⁱᵉⁿᶜᵉ ᵉˣᵖᵉʳⁱᵐᵉⁿᵗ
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⚧ ղօղҽ ↭ էհҽվ[ʍ]
⠀⠀⠀⠀ൠ ﾶåÐ dᵢₛₐbₗₑd qùέέŕ ⍨
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