Hello Matthew,

I don’t experience your response as disrespectful.

I also don’t see this situation as either/or. By saying men express and experience toxic masculinity and pointing out ways it comes through, I am not at all saying women are just these passive victims who have no choice or cannot be accountable for their own power and actions. I see women as being responsible in these situations too, but I am also highlighting a pattern I see, around a misuse of power, that is also supported societally by male privilege, and leads (in my eyes) to these ridiculous abortion laws.

This doesn’t mean there are not women who also hate condoms and do not want to use them, however, this does not negate the fact that men still are guilty of the behaviors I highlight. And, even so, if a woman is begging you to have sex without a condom and there is the possibility she will get pregnant, it is amazing to me that many men will go ahead and do this, with the risk they are taking that they will indeed impregnate the woman.

I also don’t think men just run around with hard-ons, however, I observe oh so many men who truly do not think clearly about the long-term consequences of their sexual relations and the potential harm they are doing to a woman. Does this mean I can’t see how women can be careless? No. But, I do see there is distinctly different behaviors in regard to how men relate to sex, because they do not have the very physical consequence of getting pregnant and having to deal with a decision like abortion, with the risk of carrying pregnancy, or with possible miscarriage. This cannot be denied. I am pointing to this in the article.

Thank you for sharing these stats. I do see that there certainly cases where women screw over men. I don’t think this is impossible, however, again, I am highlighting a chronic misuse of power in our system, by men, that leads to these laws. To blame 2nd Wave Feminism for the entirety of what I am describing with men, toxic masculinity, and sexual relations, I just think is too simplistic.

I appreciate you sharing about your experiences with victimization. I am really sorry this has happened to you. I know it is more prevalent than we know that sexual assault occurs for both men and women, as it is ridiculously under-reported.

I don’t come from the assumption that women are permanent victims and men are perpetrators. However, in making the point in my article, I was focusing on men’s responsibilities and where they chronically side-step them. It is impossible for me to write an article that covers every possible angle and base.

I think where I disagree is that t.m. makes men “lesser”. I think it just makes men human, and points out areas where they need to look critically at the harm being “a man” can do in certain contexts. Just like I don’t think my internalized White supremacy makes me lesser. It is a good idea though, to always take a look at how it influences the ways I do act harmfully, and from privilege, towards people of color. To make the comparison that being Black makes you lesser, is comparing one group who is privileged, with one group who experiences oppression. I know you can be both privileged and oppressed at the same time, but your comparison seems to skip over the fact that males have privilege as a group in the context of being male, where as people of color, in the context of race, do not.

I do also see that there are toxic individuals out there who have trauma and do harm. However, when I see a whole group has certain toxic tendencies, based on a through-line of their identity, it is easy to use the term for men, as toxic masculinity, as traditionally, their masculinity is part of what defines them as their gender, at least on a socio-cultural level.

Thank you for engaging with me intelligently, and with heart. I am grateful.

Coach. Psychologist. Writing about new perspectives, love, relationships, Narcissism, healing, transformation, & culture. www.avapommerenkphd.com

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