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Striking a Balance: Teaching Our Kids Beyond Toxic Masculinity and Toxic Femininity

The buzz of "toxic masculinity" reverberates through every corner of the media landscape, shedding light on detrimental male stereotypes that have long remained unchallenged. Yet, lurking in the shadows is its lesser-discussed counterpart: toxic femininity. As fathers, our responsibility extends beyond the headlines. We are charged with the crucial task of guiding our children to appreciate the myriad of both feminine and masculine traits, showing them their value and relevance across different scenarios.

Beyond the Headlines: Understanding Toxic Femininity:

Just as toxic masculinity amplifies aggressive and domineering aspects of male behavior, toxic femininity can exaggerate traits like passivity or manipulativeness to detrimental levels. It's an element of the broader discourse on gender that warrants equal attention. Both forms of toxicity hinder true expression, imposing restrictive molds on young minds. What's even worse is the casual nature with which of these terms of thrown around. In doing so they discount attributes that are necessary in certain situations. When our kids hear the media, blurbs or snippets on their social media feed, they are trained over and over again that certain behaviors are bad. Certain behaviors are bad in certain settings. That is the message that our kids should be hearing. I want my daughter to understand that it faced with a threat and nowhere to go, violence should be brought swiftly and without thought. I want my son to know that passivity can be the most powerful tool when engaged in the correct setting. We have gone too far down the road of demonizing behaviors that have a place in our society.

Our Role as Fathers:

Navigating this complex terrain of gender norms and expectations might seem daunting. But it’s here that our role as fathers becomes most critical. It isn’t about pitting masculinity against femininity; it’s about showcasing the strength, value, and purpose of both. We must teach our sons that vulnerability doesn’t equate to weakness, just as we teach our daughters that assertiveness isn't a flaw.

Fostering an Environment of Balance:

The real goal is balance. Our homes should be sanctuaries where children learn the value of empathy and assertiveness, of listening and leadership. It's our duty to ensure that they understand each trait's unique strength, irrespective of the gender tag society might attach to it. A nurturing touch can be as powerful as a firm hand, and it's essential for our kids to recognize when to employ each.

For a deeper dive into this crucial conversation, tune into our latest episode of 'The Art of Fatherhood.' Toxic Femininity. Let's journey together, championing a more balanced perspective for the sake of our children's futures.


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