I received a few emails from women recently, informing me how as a woman I “should not” be working with men going through a divorce and that by doing so, I am merely giving men leverage against women. Words such as “traitor, conspirator, and even misogynist” were thrown around. My work with men is not in any way hurting women.
How many times have we heard the phrase “toxic masculinity” in recent years? Go onto YouTube or Facebook and search the phrase and if you’re anything like me, I was shocked at the plethora of videos and posts about this. Along with our “cancel culture” mentality, this has become the catalyst of the breakdown of our families. Men have been told how they are the cause, the problem, and the reasons why anything negative happens to women. In another word, the term loosely implies that all men are “assholes” which is simply not true. Men are not always the oppressor.
Is there such a thing as toxic femininity? Are women capable of destroying including other women? Absolutely! Toxic Feminism, which some doubt exists, is far less discussed than toxic masculinity.
Now before you assume that I do not support women, I will stop you right here! I fully support women being a woman myself, and I will always go out of my way to support women-owned businesses at any opportunity I have. Women, in my opinion, should support other women. However, it has become a woman vs. women mentality, and I do believe that the fight for gender equality has been hijacked by a very negative version of feminism. The movement has become tainted by Toxic Feminism meaning it will use this as their excuse to harass not just men but other women as well. This has become a major handicap to the feminist movement, which now focuses on issues not even related to gender equality.
So, what is Toxic Feminism?
It is a tool some feminists have begun to use as a way to beat down others because what they are wearing, saying, doing, or sometimes even thinking is offensive to them and marginalizes women in these particular feminists’ eyes.
I’ll use myself as an example. As a female divorce coach for men, I have been asked countless times by women why would I want to support men? Why would I support the “other side?” Those are the polite questions I’m often asked, and it is this attitude and mindset which has led me and many women not wanting to identify as a “feminist.”
I would go as far as to say that it has seeped its way into the family courts because women are so reluctant to give up or share the primary caregiver role, therefore, dragging men into a biased court system in which it is presumed they will not have the equal rights women do. This mindset hinders co-parents to have healthy relationships and setting an example for their children.
Feminism was not a man-hating movement, but sadly now has become the underlying theme in so many media outlets today. Just take a quick look on the internet, and there is a plethora of individuals searching for “justice” and will stop at nothing to make it known they are professionally offended, hence, spreading the toxicity. Trust me when I say, these groups of women are looking to hurt, defame, and sabotage others especially other women. Just look at the actress Emma Watson and the drama that had ensued after her nearly topless picture on the cover of Vanity Fair magazine. Watson, who has always referred to herself as a feminist and advocate for gender equality, found herself being forced to defend the photoshoot. “Feminism is about giving women choice,” she said. “Feminism is not a stick with which to beat other women with.” It’s about freedom, it’s about liberation, it’s about equality” she said.
I like to remember, as the writer Andi Zeisler memorably put it “Not everything a feminist does is a feminist act.” So, Watson can, and should, do whatever she wants without living in fear of how she will be judged because, goodness knows, women are judged enough.
Women’s rights are important. Feminism has had a long history of fighting for where we are today. Well, I believe this history and fight for gender equality is being tainted with a different, negative version of feminism and if things don’t change soon, more and more women will find themselves attacked and harassed by other women which is such a sad example of who we are as a gender!
Hayley Lisa The Divorce Coach for Men