Erynn Brook Profile picture
May 20, 2018 30 tweets 7 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
I can do this thing.

Ladies, circle up.
As @polotek points out succinctly, sexism and misogyny is what men do to women. Toxic masculinity is what men do to each other. AND women can enforce, perpetuate, encourage and uphold toxic masculinity in many ways.
For all the dudes who showed up to the #ToxicMasculinity thread asking about #toxicfemininity, well I stand by my point that it’s not a term, but it’s only not a term because it hasn’t been properly defined and researched.
When women police each other’s femininity it’s called lateral violence. When they do it to themselves it’s called internalized misogyny. When white women do it to women of color it’s upholding white supremacy.
But let’s talk about how women uphold toxic masculinity. We do this mostly through two different roles, let’s call them Mother and Mate. These roles are symbolic, not specific to your actual relationship to a man. We’re just naming them so we can more easily identify behaviors.
Mothering behaviors will cover “don’t do x or other people won’t like you” and Mate behaviors will cover “don’t do y or I won’t like you”.
So no matter your relationship to a man, you can play Mother or Mate or both to perpetuate toxic masculinity. Let’s start with the obvious one: “boys don’t cry.”
Clearly, this message does not only come from men. Women can communicate this as well, when we don’t take young boys’ feelings seriously. When we don’t teach them to name their feelings and communicate them. When we think their feelings are more simple than ours.
The other side effect of not taking their feelings seriously is that often we’ll let young boys get away with more violent tendencies than we would young girls. Just think if you had a 5 year old who hit people, does the gender of the child change how you feel about the act?
Does the gender of the person they’re hitting change how you feel about the act? It may not to you, but I know a lot of little boys who get away with hitting people when a little girl doing the same would be labeled “disturbed”.
I routinely have parents telling me that their young boys misbehaving, being disruptive, interrupting or actually hitting their classmates just have “boy energy”, if I were to Mother those boys, I would accept that premise.
In a Mother role I might ignore that behavior, or allow special treatment. I might tell the girls in the class to sit next to the boys to calm them down. In a Mate role I might try to coerce better behavior by paying more attention to them.
We perpetuate toxic masculinity in the same ways that men do, as well. By mocking feelings, softness, vulnerability. By policing gender roles and making excuses for bad behavior. Hell, women pull #NotAllMen crap all the time.
We have whole conversations with each other about how we don’t understand men, and we accept that maybe they don’t understand themselves and that’s okay.
We perpetuate toxic masculinity by indulging their uncertainties, by believing that men mature slower, that their feelings are simpler and more base than ours, that their thoughts and internal realities are less complex than ours.
In terms of Mate behavior, which we’ve covered a little, there’s another thing we do, and we do it because we do it to ourselves, because being objectified has taught us to... we segment. We chop people into little parts and judge them.
“I like tall men.” “Green eyes” “broad shoulders” “he’d be cute with a different hair cut” “I like him but he wears socks during sex?”

We do this because we do it to ourselves. We add parts together until we see a person. We’re trained to, and it’s god awful all around.
Truth is, attraction and compatibility aren’t just physical. I’m sure most of us have had at least one experience where we met someone we found more attractive over time. The lists are arbitrary, often fragments of memories of previous moments of attraction.
But we also do this for another reason, we do it because women are socialized to not speak of attraction or sexiness of specific men because of the jealousy and rage it causes the men around us.
This has changed a lot in the past 15 years, but back in my highschool days, dudes could openly talk about how hot Britney Spears was and if a girl said a word about Heath Ledger she’d hear about it for days, so you said you liked “blue eyes” or something. 🤷🏻‍♀️
How women perpetuate toxic masculinity is a delicate balance of survival in a toxic world. Yes, we do things, we don’t challenge, we play along, sometimes we really believe it. We aren’t perfect, but one of the worst things we do is take men’s failings onto ourselves.
Which is why standing up to toxic masculinity can be so difficult for women. It can get us killed. Undoing those behaviors in ourselves and those we love can take a lifetime, and more than one if we’re expected to be teachers as well.
When women ask men to address toxic masculinity it’s not because we want to say it’s all your fault and we don’t want anything to do with it. It’s because we’re already doing a lot of work to undo it and we want you to help.
I’m looking for a thread I found on here last month about having boundaries in dating - not excusing bad behavior. Might be a while but I’ll add it when I find it, because I think it’s one of the best (read safest) things women can do to help dismantle toxic masculinity.
I found it!!! 😍😍😍

So ladies, if you don’t want to perpetuate toxic masculinity: don’t excuse bad behavior because that’s just how men/boys are. Have real standards for a relationship and talk about them openly. Here’s a good starter list.…
And for everyone, if you’d like a list of some toxic masculinity things, some humorous some serious, some specific to men, some apply to all genders, take a gander through this gem and those in the replies who showed up to demonstrate.

Circling back to this cause adhd.

I don’t Mother them. I routinely make them responsible for their own behavior. I apply the same expectations to all genders in my class. I don’t shame them, but I don’t tolerate violence, and I’ll talk it out if needed.

Final thought: these standards should not only be applied to those you’re in a romantic or parental relationship with. Hold your friends and acquaintances to a higher standard, regardless of their gender. We all deserve better. You included. 💜💜💜
PS: this link isn’t working properly. Use this one instead:…

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More from @ErynnBrook

Oct 9, 2018
Oh my god. Oh my god this poor dude!!! This is the MY son guy!
This is from his brother apparently. Good grief.

Actually if you check the replies he and his bro seem like nice dudes.

Read 6 tweets
Oct 9, 2018
What’s up internet? Do you know your logical fallacies? Gather round for a thread of logical fallacies loosely interpreted as Marvel Cinematic Universe characters through no scientific method other than my whims!
Straw man: misrepresenting someone’s argument in order to make it easier to attack.

Just like Hawkeye has to do.
False cause: presuming a real or perceived relationship between things means that one is the cause of the other.

Like this fabulous Hulk moment.
Read 26 tweets
Oct 8, 2018
So, #HimToo is about men being accused of sexual assault?

Cause all survivors would just use #MeToo since “me” would cover all genders.

So people made a hashtag to make this about men who are being accused. Cool, cool, cool.
My mum once ran into Sidney Crosby at an airport and whipped out a picture of me to show him how cute I am. So, I think you could be trying harder here. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Read 10 tweets
Oct 8, 2018
I don’t have a son, but if I did, and he was accused of sexually assaulting someone, I would look him in the eye and ask him what he had done. And he would know from my face that lying would be the worst choice he could make.
I don’t have a brother, but if I did and he was accused of sexually assaulting someone, I would call him up and say “is it true?” And he would know from my voice that lying would mean the end of our relationship.
I do have a husband, and if anyone accused him of sexually assaulting someone I’d look at him and say “tell me what happened.” And I would know if he was lying in that moment.
Read 7 tweets
Oct 8, 2018
Hey new followers. It’s awesome to have you, but there’s been a thing that’s come up more than once in the past week that we need to talk about.

Do not embarrass me in others’ mentions.
You may notice I retweet a lot. I retweet a lot of feminists, a lot of educators, and a lot of really smart people. If you decide to respond to these retweets, please. Please.

Do. Not. Embarrass. Me.
A lot of their statements may have high emotions. This is normal given the state of our world. Do not play devil’s advocate. Do not sea lion. Do not “well but...”. Just don’t.
Read 4 tweets
Oct 8, 2018
I never see my husband as emotional as when the Leafs are playing. It’s like a window into a whole other level of dudely feels. 😂
I shall now present you a short gif story of the last 5 mins of tonight’s game. First it was this:
Then it was this:
Read 6 tweets

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