What are some warning signs of toxic masculinity/ femininity that I should be aware of?

Ella D' Verma

Ella D' Verma (she/her)

The first thing that you should know is that the terms “toxic masculinity” and “toxic femininity” don’t mean to imply that the idea of masculinity or femininity is inherently bad. While there can be healthy and positive expressions of masculinity and femininity, imposing traditional stereotypes and gender roles of what it means to be a man, woman or nonbinary person is the first warning sign. The most obvious way in which toxicity can manifest is when there’s an expectation that the man or the masculine person must be unemotional, in control, and dominant while the woman or the feminine person should be emotional, passive, and submissive.

Questions you could ask yourself to check if toxicity has crept into your equation:

  1. Whose needs come first? Doesn’t mean that it has to be 50/50 always but is it imbalanced based on gender norms?
  2. Are the bodily needs and boundaries of all people involved respected?
  3. Who makes the decisions around money and finances (maybe while splitting the bill)?
  4. Which qualities of yours get noticed and appreciated? Are you expected to look and present a certain way?
  5. Do you feel like you can talk to your partner about what is going well and what is not?

Having said this, each person might have their preferences when it comes to what they find desirable and what they do not. What is important is that irrespective of your gender identity, as a person exploring the dating world, one needs to be honest about their feelings, needs, and desires, and treat their potential matches with kindness and respect.