Second Gentleman of the United States, Douglas Emhoff, recently condemned “toxic masculinity” in an interview with MSNBC. Emhoff said, “There’s too much toxicity — masculine toxicity out there.” This follows his most recent public appearance at the State of the Union when he was seen kissing another man’s wife (the President of the United States’s wife, Jill Biden). Emhoff defined what it is to be a man by saying, “Strength is how you show your love for people. Strength is how you are for people and how you have their back, and how you stick up for other people and pushing up and out against bullies. And that’s what I believe it is.” The full interview comes out on Saturday.
By Joel B. Pollak; March 2, 2023
First Gentleman Douglass Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, criticized “toxic masculinity” in an interview with MSNBC’s Jonathan Capehart conducted Tuesday.
JONATHAN CAPEHART, MSNBC: A moment ago I asked you about gender roles. I want to dive in even deeper on that. Can we just talk about masculinity for a moment? Has being second gentleman changed your view of perceived gender roles and what it means to be a man?
DOUGLAS EMHOFF, SECOND GENTLEMAN OF THE UNITED STATES: Oof. This is something I have thought about a lot, I’ve spoken about a lot. There’s too much of toxicity — masculine toxicity out there, and we’ve kind of confused what it means to be a man, what it means to be masculine. You’ve got this trope out there where you have to be tough, and angry, and lash out to be strong.
I think it is just the opposite. Strength is how you show your love for people. Strength is how you are for people and how you have their back and how you stick up for other people and pushing up and out against bullies. And that’s what I believe it is. So every time I can speak against this toxicity — we are seeing it with our younger people, we’re seeing it in our discourse and politics, in the media you are seeing it as it relates to so many of the issues we are pushing back on, so I think it’s a problem and I am going to continue to use this platform every time I get to speak out against this toxic masculinity that is out there.
Others on the left, both in politics and in the arts, have spoken out against the supposed “toxic masculinity” of male toughness. Last year, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin would not have launched the war in Ukraine if he had been a woman instead of a masculine figure.
Likewise, Avatar director James Cameron said that “masculinity” was a “toxin” from which men had to be cleansed.
The full interview with First Gentleman Emhoff is set to air on Capehart’s weekend show on Saturday.