So now I’m feeling frustrated, because I felt I’d expressed my points clearly and succinctly enough for others to comprehend, and yet those points missed their mark, at least with you, .ren, even though I appreciate your responding to my comment. Did I imply that matriarchy would be a great alternative to what we have here and now? I don’t think so.
I mentioned balance. Societies that divvy up roles to males and females, including some of those listed at your link Six Modern Societies Where Women Literally Rule, do not strike me as balanced nor gender-enlightened. In fact, the Minangkabau, where the tribe apportions roles according to sex/gender (“...women usually rule the domestic realm while the men take the political and spiritual leadership roles. However, both genders feel the separation of powers keeps them on an equal footing...”), strikes me as no more enlightened than the most hard-boiled, evangelically misogynistic system of the proper roles for men and women. James Dobson would approve wholeheartedly! And “separation of powers?” How do women find full freedom under that idea?
Toxic masculinity refers to a deep indoctrination boys and men receive in our culture as to how to control and dominate, while also appearing not to be controlled nor dominated, not ever. I do not see it as mere pride of achievement. I myself praised my sons for their true achievements, or even in small ones, because to my mind that’s an aspect of love. For example, your son finally learns to tie his shoelaces— “Wow, look at you! Great job!” That’s not teaching toxic masculinity; it’s teaching “I love you.”
Boys learn toxic masculinity by hearing “big boys don’t cry” and other terrible things. That’s something my sons never once heard. Never. When my youngest son lost his first wife to colon cancer, he sobbed uncontrollably at her funeral, all the while trying to speak about how wonderful she was. Now he has two beautiful daughters, has changed careers, and is married to a strong woman who teaches at a university. My point— despite my praises, he has managed to avoid the toxic masculinity trap and is thriving, as a balanced human being.
Sometimes arrogance wishes to hide itself behind a mask of self-deprecation. It does not mean the absence of toxic masculinity, not necessarily.