Home / Blog / Article




May 31 2019

Meryl Streep is Right to Slam the Label “Toxic Masculinity”

by Patrice Lee Onwuka

There’s a concerted effort on the left to uplift women at the expense of men. Anything remotely manly has been label “toxic” and correlated with violence and misogyny, from No-Shave November to muscled action heroes.

Most reasonable people don’t think that being manly is inherently “toxic” and the source of society’s evils. So does actress Meryl Streep apparently.

This week, Streep called out the label of “toxic masculinity” in an interview for the new season of “Big Little Lies” saying that all people, regardless of gender, can be toxic. What matters is how we treat each other.

She explained,

“Sometimes I think we’re hurt. We hurt our boys by calling something toxic masculinity. I do.

“And I don’t find [that] putting those two words together ... because women can be pretty f***ing toxic.”

Streep is pushing back on a sweeping generalization that the left has built an orthodoxy around. If he’s male and doesn’t cuddle kittens, he must be toxic and dangerous. Even worse, as we saw with the Kavanaugh Supreme Court hearing, the left is willing to suspend the foundational judicial principle of the presumption of innocence and to demolish a man’s reputation to punish male toxicity.

The irony is that most people are moving away from judging others based on sexist and racist stereotypes, such as the intelligence of blond women or laziness among black people. Meanwhile, the left is embracing a negative stereotype of men that is based on the bad behavior of a few people.

Bad people is the way to look at it. Toxic people come in every color and ethnicity. They speak different languages and come from every religious tradition. Toxic people are women and men.

When we focus exclusively on the wrongs of men, the sins of women slip by unaddressed. How many false rape allegations have been detrimental to the educations, careers, and personal lives of (young) men and nothing was done to the accusers?

The defenders of “male toxicity” argue that we are blowing this way out of proportion. The Good Men Project explains:

"Toxic masculinity is a narrow and repressive description of manhood, designating manhood as defined by violence, sex, status, and aggression.

"It's the cultural ideal of manliness, where strength is everything while emotions are a weakness; where sex and brutality are yardsticks by which men are measured, while supposedly 'feminine' traits — which can range from emotional vulnerability to simply not being hypersexual — are the means by which your status as 'man' can be taken away."

In their view, Rambo and Rocky would probably be toxic. Nevermind that these heroes were fighting for their survival or the safety and freedom of others.

I’ll stick with Streep on this one. Instead of focusing on the wrongs of men, let’s focus on the wrongs of people and mindsets or behaviors that can cause others pain and harm.

Streep added:

"It's toxic people. We have our good angles and we have our bad ones."





Independent Women's Forum is an educational 501(c)(3) dedicated to developing and advancing policies that aren’t just well intended, but actually enhance people’s freedom, choices, and opportunities. IWF is the sister organization of the Independent Women’s Voice.​
Follow us