If anyone was seeking another reason to believe that Tomi Lahren is needlessly awful, look no further. The Fox News commentator decided that upholding toxic masculinity was a better treatment for coronavirus than science. In the early hours of Tuesday morning, Lahren retweeted a video shared by Democratic nominee Joe Biden in which he was side-by-side with President Donald Trump. In the video, Trump takes his mask off while Biden puts his on, encouraging others to continue wearing masks. So, naturally, Lahren took this opportunity to try and poke fun at Biden by writing, “Might as well carry a purse with that mask, Joe.”
The motive behind Lahren’s comment is transparent: She is attempting to emasculate Biden by equating – and let me see if I got this right – wearing a mask and caring about the health and safety of others as feminine, and therefore weak or negative. It's a special type of internalized misogyny and toxic masculinity (or should I say “toxic mask-ulinity,” pun very much intended) that contributes to survey findings that men are less likely to wear a face mask because they believe wearing one is “shameful” and “a sign of weakness.”
But this is a clear case of using damaging gender stereotypes in an attempt to pressure men into feeling like weakness, sensitivity, and expressing emotion are not normal emotions. And it's just two sides of the same coin: This is the same ideology that insists women are inferior to men, so all traits associated with women are therefore undesirable for men to display.
Using toxic masculinity as a blunt weapon with which to beat her ideas into the minds of her followers is not that new for Lahren, either. Last year, a Gillette ad campaign addressing toxic masculinity became the target of Lahren’s vitriol when it dared to suggest that men should examine the ways they behave when it comes to bullying and harassment.
Dedicating a segment to it on her Fox Nation show Final Thoughts, Lahren called the campaign a “man-bashing exaggeration.” On her Twitter, Lahren has said that toxic masculinity isn’t to blame, believing the whole concept to be imbued in a progressive spin. “When violence breaks out, the men who step up and protect the innocent are often those the Left would diagnose with ‘toxic masculinity,’” Lahren tweeted.
But Lahren is simply telling on herself when she tries to emasculate men like Joe Biden for wearing masks: Perhaps the most powerful thing any person of any gender can do right now is protect themselves and others from the COVID-19 outbreak. Especially when superspreader events are happening in your own political party.
And, for what it's worth, masks look great with purses.