I want to clarify the difference between “men” and “toxic masculinity” because people (mostly men) seem to be confused.
Men are human beings who can make decisions and act in ways they are able to choose based on their biology and experience.
Masculinity is a concept of an imaginary male ideal which people use to tell men how they should behave.
Healthy masculinity is when men are told that being a man means protecting people who are weaker than you or putting the needs of others ahead of your personal desires. It means contributing to society in a positive way. Healthy masculinity is teaching men to strive to be the best they can be professionally, academically and at home. Are these positive qualities of any human? Yes. Men are human and positive human qualities are also positive male qualities.
Toxic masculinity is the process of telling men that they are not allowed to display emotions or appear weak. It is failing to teach them to respect the autonomy of women. It is making jokes about men in prison being raped by other men. Toxic masculinity is saying that men are inherently evil and incapable of controlling their anger or lust.
Men can promote toxic masculinity. So can women. It is an equal opportunity disease and its victims are first men and then the women they love.
And yes, there is a toxic femininity as well. It is the idea that women have to be small, powerless and attach themselves to a man and produce babies in order to have meaning. It used to be a huge problem and still is, but not as much as it was because women stood up and took control of their narrative.
Men need to do the same.