Meryl Streep slams the term ‘toxic masculinity.’ Does she have a point?

The term toxic masculinity has been around for years but has truly reached its zenith in 2019. Enter Meryl Streep.

On one hand, having a national conversation about what we're teaching our boys about manhood is far overdue. But there has been a sizable backlash to the term as well.

Some people have perceived it as an attack on all things masculine while others have pointed out the potential irony of having women explain the proper expression of masculinity during a time when overbearing men are being criticized for "mansplaining" to women.


But for those paying close attention, it's clear there's a positive path forward that has nothing to do with shaming men. In fact, it's about saving them. And saving all of us from the fallout of dangerous and unhealthy behavior.

The distinction is perhaps best illustrated in Gillette's viral video in January, addressing toxic masculinity doesn't have to be about shaming men. Instead, it's about showing men how to be their best selves while honoring what it means to be a man.

However, things got a little bit complicated when acclaimed actress Meryl Street recently weighed in on the debate, saying she doesn't think the term is helpful.

"It's toxic people," Streep said while promoting her latest film, Suffragette.

Streep said she sees two underlying problems with the term toxic masculinity. First, she's concerned that it's an unhelpful label to broadly paste onto an entire gender, saying, it's "less helpful" than constructive dialogue.

"Sometimes I think we're hurt. We hurt our boys by calling something toxic masculinity. I do, she said." "We're all on the boat together. We've got to make it work."

However, her more controversial remarks came when Streep seemingly equated the bad behavior exhibited across gender lines, when she added, "Women can be pretty fucking toxic."

Does Streep have a point? Surely it's a noble goal to address all forms of harmful or toxic behavior. But to some people, she was missing the point entirely, much like when there was a conservative backlash to the Black Lives Matter movement centered on "All Lives Matter."

Regardless of whether or not you agree with Streep's comments, she's nudging people toward a deeper understanding of what toxic masculinity really means. It's not an attack on men. If it were, I'd be pretty foolish to be writing so many articles defending the movement toward more positive and constructive definitions of masculinity.

At the same time, there is value in Streep's point of view. It's a safe bet that if someone broke down the true definition of toxic masculinity, she would agree. Those on the far right who are looking to her as a new spokesperson against evolving cultural norms are going to find themselves very disappointed when they learn what Streep truly values.

And calling out toxic masculinity doesn't negate toxic behavioral patterns from women or any other gender.

It simply means men are often victim to and far too often become the perpetrators of toxic cultural conditioning that can lead to everything from health problems to real-world violence.

No serious voices in the discussion are asking men to stop being men. And no one in their right mind wants Meryl Streep to stop being her excellent self. Let's have a discussion about toxic masculinity that isn't afraid to get uncomfortable when necessary. We'll all be better off for it.

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Shanda Lynn Poitra was born and raised on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota. She lived there until she was 24 years old when she left for college at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

"Unfortunately," she says, "I took my bad relationship with me. At the time, I didn't realize it was so bad, much less, abusive. Seeing and hearing about abusive relationships while growing up gave me the mentality that it was just a normal way of life."

Those college years away from home were difficult for a lot of reasons. She had three small children — two in diapers, one in elementary school — as well as a full-time University class schedule and a part-time job as a housekeeper.

"I wore many masks back then and clothing that would cover the bruises," she remembers. "Despite the darkness that I was living in, I was a great student; I knew that no matter what, I HAD to succeed. I knew there was more to my future than what I was living, so I kept working hard."

While searching for an elective class during this time, she came across a one-credit, 20-hour IMPACT self-defense class that could be done over a weekend. That single credit changed her life forever. It helped give her the confidence to leave her abusive relationship and inspired her to bring IMPACT classes to other Native women in her community.

I walked into class on a Friday thinking that I would simply learn how to handle a person trying to rob me, and I walked out on a Sunday evening with a voice so powerful that I could handle the most passive attacks to my being, along with physical attacks."

It didn't take long for her to notice the difference the class was making in her life.

"I was setting boundaries and people were either respecting them or not, but I was able to acknowledge who was worth keeping in my life and who wasn't," she says.

Following the class, she also joined a roller derby league where she met many other powerful women who inspired her — and during that summer, she found the courage to leave her abuser.

"As afraid as I was, I finally had the courage to report the abuse to legal authorities, and I had the support of friends and family who provided comfort for my children and I during this time," she says.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

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Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

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From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


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