Transgender novelist Alex McElroy warned of a concerning new form of toxic masculinity in a recent New York Times column.
McElroy’s piece — titled “This Isn’t Your Old Toxic Masculinity. It Has Taken an Insidious New Form.” — addressed a phenomenon he described as “petulant vulnerability,” that is, feigning sensitivity to prey on others.
- “I began to feel hopeful about the state of masculinity,” McElroy wrote, saying he saw more men sharing their emotions in recent years. “But my hope has begun to diminish as I’ve watched male vulnerability curdle into something toxic: Let’s call it petulant vulnerability.”
- “Think of the boyfriend professing loneliness to ensure his partner never sees their friends,” he explained. “Or the hundreds of texts and anecdotes of so-called softbois collected on the @beam_me_up_softboi Instagram account — men who express their feelings the way avalanches share snow, often as a form of manipulation or passive aggression.”
- McElroy pointed to Kyle Rittenhouse crying while testifying at his trial as a prominent example of “petulant sensitivity.”