‘Toxic masculinity’: is the term obligatory?


A chara, – Is it an in-house rule that the term “toxic masculinity” must appear at least twice a day in The Irish Times?

On Thursday, in the headline and text of a play review. On Friday (“Gareth Thomas: Toxic masculinity on and off the field”) it appears in the headline, on a front-page banner and in the article itself. However, Thomas himself never actually uses it. He, instead, talks about prejudice or antipathy towards those who are in any way different from the norm. Being prejudiced is clearly is not a trait unique to males, and to portray the interview with Thomas as if he is suggesting that seems at best an unfortunate misrepresentation.

In fact, he says that coming out as gay in what is often perceived as the macho world of rugby was nowhere near as difficult as he had feared, and describes the support he has received from the rugby community following a recent homophobic assault as “overwhelming”.

The use of the term follows a general pattern of unfairly, and unthinkingly, ascribing negative traits to males. – Is mise,


Kilkea, Co Kildare.