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Meryl Streep Rejects the Term “Toxic Masculinity” & Points Out Women Can Be Toxic, Too

Meryl Streep is in full promotion mode as the Big Little Lies season two premiere date rapidly approaches and it looks like she’s making sure that each interview she gives doesn’t disappoint. While talking about her role during a panel discussion moderated by Vanity Fair’s Radhika Jones, Streep shared her opinion about the term “toxic masculinity.” Streep’s take on the term might surprise you but in all honesty, homegirl kinda has a point with her take.

During the talking panel discussion led by Jones and held at The Wing’s Soho space, the topic of men’s reactions to Big Little Lies and the term toxic masculinity came up. After noting that it was “remarkable” that BLL season one encouraged men to view serious issues like spousal abuse through the female lens, Streep also discussed why she doesn’t believe in the term “toxic masculinity.”

“Sometimes, I think we’re hurt,” Streep told Jones. “We hurt our boys by calling something toxic masculinity. I do and I don’t find putting those two words together [works] because women can be pretty fucking toxic. It’s toxic people. We have our good angles and we have our bad ones.”

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Image: Giphy. Giphy.

She continued, explaining, “I think the labels are less helpful than what we’re trying to get to, which is communication, direct, between human beings. We’re all in the boat together and you gotta make it work.”

While I personally don’t agree with Streep that we shouldn’t use the term “toxic masculinity,” I do agree that women can be toxic as hell too. Maybe we create the term “toxic femininity” and use it to call out women when it’s warranted. Or maybe we just begin using the term “toxic personhood” because anyone can be toxic regardless of gender, sex, age, socioeconomic status and beyond.

I imagine playing a character poised to take a bite out of the Monterey Five on BLL season two has understandably given Streep insight into how women can be toxic. Then again, existing in the world as a woman is also foundational in this regard, too. No matter what, it’s worth considering Streep’s observations even if you don’t agree with them.

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