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Celia Capace - Toxic Femininity

I caught up, as per usual, with a good friend who recently started a new job. They were feeling a little overwhelmed after receiving limited and incorrect information during training from the person leaving the role. I know my friend is more than capable to succeed in this role and reminded them of this. As we chatted we came to the realisation that their predecessor’s behaviour was more sabotaging than helpful and our conversation evolved to become about the subject of toxic femininity.

Toxic masculinity has become a hot topic in today's society. Toxic masculinity is often misunderstood as ‘being masculine is bad’. There is nothing wrong with being masculine. A manly man is masculine, an effeminate man is also masculine. If a man uses his masculinity to bully or be derogatory to another person then that is toxic masculinity. Toxic masculinity has nothing to do with being masculine but is about being an arse-hole.

What has not become a hot topic is the other side of the coin; toxic femininity. Females can be just as guilty as males when it comes to being toxic. Females can also be just as competitive with each other as males. For example, giving bad advice under the guise of friendship, such as telling a female friend she looks good in an outfit when she doesn't, or telling a friend her new romantic relationship is not positive when it is. This could be due to jealousy, envy, the need to manipulate or any other number of reasons. Insecurity also comes to mind.

In the brothel business being competitive is a big part of the job. Sex workers who are new to the job or new to a particular brothel may often receive advice that is an underhanded form of sabotage. New sex workers often make good money when they start working in a brothel, especially if they're young. This can become a problem for some of the more established sex workers. It's not uncommon for a new girl to be given incorrect advice to get her to leave such as by naming another brothel that’s guaranteed to make her even more successful with bookings. What can also occur is the spreading of rumours that new girls are breaking the rules by performing extras without charging or providing services without using condoms. These things are done to eliminate competition.

The movie ‘Mean Girls’ is typical of toxic femininity. Let's face it, teenage females can be the most horrible beings on the planet. Ask any parent of one and they'll tell you that some can be more diabolical than a teenage male. I remember myself as a teen thinking I knew better than most adults and would sometimes play and manipulate one parent over another in an attempt to get what I wanted. I rarely succeeded but that didn't stop me from trying. 

Toxic femininity can include patronising behaviour, gossip, bullying, manipulation and subtle negativity and, as I've already stated, often under the guise of friendship. Most times this toxic femininity isn't hidden and it's just bitchiness for the sake of it.  There’s nothing wrong with being feminine, but exhibiting toxic femininity is a problem.