Tash and Amanda called it quits last week. Picture: Channel 9
Tash and Amanda called it quits last week. Picture: Channel 9

Why do we keep ignoring toxic femininity?

AS MEN, we have all been unfairly tarred (and even smashed over the head) with the same brush of toxic masculinity in recent times.

Social media banshees and pontificating corporate giants (yup, that's you Gillette) have seen to that.

To throw everyone under the same bus was once seen as against everything that liberalism and egalitarianism once stood for. Sadly, not so anymore.

Of course everyone, every man and every woman, should be treated and judged on their own words and actions.

I studied at an only boys school, and the vast majority of students I shared my schooling with have metamorphosed into thoroughly decent and honourable men. Men who care about and look after their families, friends and communities. Even so, hardly a week goes by when one of them isn't pulled up by overzealous self-appointed moral authorities for exhibiting traits of toxic masculinity such as calmly and gently disciplining their children for making too much noise in public or declining someone's request to cut into line.

Those 'incidents' pale in comparison when placed against examples of toxic femininity we have all borne witness to recently.

Arabella Del Busso (pictured with her friend) allegedly faked pregnancies and lied about suffering from cancer. Picture: Danielle Gusmaroli via The Daily Telegraph.
Arabella Del Busso (pictured with her friend) allegedly faked pregnancies and lied about suffering from cancer. Picture: Danielle Gusmaroli via The Daily Telegraph.

Take the case of Arabella Del Busso, the subject of a NSW Police investigation over claims she allegedly faked multiple pregnancies, used aliases and lied about suffering from cancer for financial gain.

The allegations against Del Busso have emerged from lawyers of NRL player Josh Reynolds, who was defending a charge related to an alleged domestic violence incident, that was eventually dropped by NSW Police on Wednesday.

At one point, Del Busso reportedly bragged to a friend, "it's not a crime to fake a pregnancy".

Reynolds is one of at least six men del Busso allegedly preyed upon for money.

Another ex-boyfriend, Michael Hayes, described her as an "evil genius" and alleged she conned him out of $10,000 by faking four funerals - including her mother's - and feigning poverty for loans she never repaid.

Then there is Camila Zeidan, an alleged catfish who created an elaborate fake romance with Renae Marsden, who died at Sydney's infamous suicide spot, The Gap, in 2013. The coronial inquest into Marsden's death heard harrowing allegations Zeidan physically attacked Marsden.

Camila Zeidan, who was a friend of Renae Marsden, allegedly created 'Brayden', a fake love interest to catfish Marsden, who later died. Picture: Toby Zerna
Camila Zeidan, who was a friend of Renae Marsden, allegedly created 'Brayden', a fake love interest to catfish Marsden, who later died. Picture: Toby Zerna

Two tragic tales, both allegedly concerning women. If Del Busso and Zeidan were men, the phrase toxic masculinity wouldn't be far away.

Two years ago, I wrote an article defending Married At First Sight participant Dean Wells. At the time, Wells was being held up as the poster boy of villainous male behaviour. He had his faults sure, but he wasn't the devil incarnate. He still isn't. Yet he still routinely has to defend himself.

Fast forward to this season of MAFS, and anything Dean did or didn't do has been pushed over by far more aggressive behaviours shown by female participants.

In recent weeks, Amanda Micallef has referred to other women in the experiment as "fake plastic try hard moles," and called her 'wife' Tash Herz, "a disgusting person on many levels."

When Herz called out her wife's aggressive behaviour, Micallef responded saying, "She's going around calling me aggressive; well I showed her a little bit of aggression last night to remind her that she's an idiot and I've got no respect to her." Hardly respectful language.

Like many phrases, toxic masculinity has taken on an energy and a life of its own.

Amanda Micallef made a number of derogatory comments about her MAFS ‘wife’ Tash Herz and other participants within the experiment. Picture: Channel 9
Amanda Micallef made a number of derogatory comments about her MAFS ‘wife’ Tash Herz and other participants within the experiment. Picture: Channel 9

Part of that energy comes from a source of truth. I am not denying that toxic masculinity exists. There are extreme examples of anything you care to look for. But they're the exception rather than the rule.

Part of that energy also comes from those, be them people or businesses, with agendas. As Gillette's share of the razor market fell from 70 per cent to 50 per cent and it was forced to drop the price of its goods by 15 per cent, it desperately sought a way to boost profits through its 'The Best Men Can Be' campaign.

The same company that had been using scantily clad women to market their shaving gear to men for years suddenly sought to lecture them on, among other things, how to treat women. Nobody bought it, literally, and the ad is believed to have cost Gillette's parent company Proctor and Gamble as much as $12 billion.

These examples indicate that like toxic masculinity, toxic femininity is real, but neither exist in plague-like proportions.

The fact these extreme and disturbing expressions of toxic masculinity and femininity are the exception rather than the rule is a nod to the compassion, consideration and empathy that is inherent to most of us.

James Macsmith is a Content Marketing Manager.



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