Viewpoint: Toxic masculinity vs. toxic femininity — An evolutionary view

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Credit: Olgakr/Getty Images
Credit: Olgakr/Getty Images

History bears testimony to the danger of demonising groups of people based on their immutable characteristics. Not only did this way of thinking lead to historical sexism against women (and continues to do so across the world), it also motivates anti-male attitudes today, giving rise to venomous trends like kill all men and men are trash.

I hope to add nuance to the discussion of toxic masculinity by showing that the line of reasoning many modern social justice leftists adopt and the methods they favour to bring about social progress correlate with typically female psychopathologies.

Looking at three key elements of social justice culture, I argue that our current zeitgeist—which normalises cancelling others, praises emotional reasoning and overvalues safety—aligns strongly with traits that are, in the aggregate, more predominant among women than among men.

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Rather than violent confrontation, women tend to engage in reputation destruction and social exclusion, seeking to destroy the status of their rivals rather than physically defeat them.

Several studies have suggested an evolutionary basis for this. In Stockley and Campbell’s interdisciplinary study of female competition and aggression, they suggest that females are wired to survive, compete for preferred mates and reproduce. They therefore target rivals through lower risk, indirect competitive strategies… Cancel culture is therefore the embodiment of a predominately female aggressive tactic.

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