Yoav Levin is responding to a feminist article in which feminist concepts like toxic masculinity are applied to the fictional private detective Sherlock Holmes. Readers can read an archived copy of the article here safe in the knowledge they’re not giving any clicks to a misandrist publication –Ed
Let’s start before going into details by highlighting a few hallmarks of toxic femininity which the writer of this hit piece exhibits: being a drama queen, thinking she’s the center of attention, knowing what’s better than everyone else, especially men, the manipulation of those men, gaslighting, mental projection as well as the hypocrisy of telling others how to behave, especially in being a real man, but denying the same attitude everyone else.
There are many levels of deception here in this article so let’s try to untangle them one by one. First, as we’ll see there’s nothing toxic in Holmes’s behavior but even if there was it isn’t a gender-related issue but something different that we’ll explain immediately. Holmes as a figure is described as genius and that goes often with quirky behavior, many times dominant introverts, self-centered or eccentric which is misinterpreted as abusive, violent, rude, etc. This is typical for a feminist misandrist, a typical man-hater as Ashley Morgan, the writer, with her toxic femininity.
Those traits of quirkiness, self-centeredness, sometimes psychopathology are related to genius, are valid for both genders and it isn’t described as veneration of male behavior, especially toxic, but a given trait of genius. Genius might be more of a male trait but the traits of genius are not a trait of the average man and masculinity. This Leitmotiv comes often in books and movies and very often in the context of criminal characters distinguishing from the positive ones. On the other hand, Toxic femininity, as demonstrated by Ashley Morgan, uses manipulation to distort this truth to demonize men and masculinity itself.
Furthermore, this hit piece also ignores other types of traditional men and masculinities. Those are men that, for instance, were the founding fathers of psychology and not the founding mothers, being adept at feelings and not only mind. Thus, there’s no one certain traditional masculinity but many. In spiritual terms, to give only one example, it was the Buddha, a man with leadership qualities (that toxic feminist hate) who created a spiritual path based on the eradication of suffering teaching both ultimate wisdom as well as being adept at altruistic love, compassion and insurmountable insight in the world of emotions and feelings. Toxic masculinity, if it exists, is the result of toxic femininity that conditions it. And toxic femininity is both lying about those truths as well as the mental projections used to hide it
Furthermore, the results of modern research imply that creativity and psychopathology as well as madness, as we will see, are intimately connected. The answer here is affirmative. It’s not a trait of masculinity as such but that one of genius. As Holmes is depicted as a genius and his work requires a lot of creativity among others, the traits mentioned in this article that also describe him in the books are not tantamount to men but that of genius people. Some of them, like Holmes himself, channeling it positively (while others may use it negatively).
As is described in one psychology website: “In general, creativity requires the cognitive ability and the dispositional willingness to “think outside the box”; to explore novel, unconventional, and even odd possibilities; to be open to serendipitous events and fortuitous results, and to imagine the implausible or consider the unlikely. From this requirement arises the need for creators to have such traits as defocused attention, divergent thinking, openness to experience, independence, and nonconformity. Let us call this complex configuration of traits the “creativity cluster.” The higher the level of creativity displayed”, the higher the likelihood that the individual manifests this cluster”.
“Besides”, it continues, “some domains require this cluster more than others do. For instance, scientific creativity tends to be more constrained by logic and fact than artistic creativity. Accordingly, this creativity cluster of attributes will be more apparent in artists than in scientists (Simonton, 2004). However, there will be some differences even with each of these general domains. For example, artists operating informal, classical, or academic styles will operate under more constraints than artists working in more expressive, subjective, or romantic styles (Ludwig, 1998). The extent to which they exhibit the creativity cluster will reflect this stylistic contrast”. Because some psychopathological symptoms correlate with several of the characteristics making up the creativity cluster, moderate amounts of these symptoms will be positively associated with creative behavior. Moreover, more creative individuals will display these traits to a higher degree. Creators operating in less-constrained domains will also exhibit these symptoms to a greater extent”.
We then further read, “The theoretical interpretation just provided holds that creativity and psychopathology share a common set of traits. As a consequence, creators will commonly exhibit symptoms often associated with mental illness. The frequency and intensity of these symptoms will vary according to the magnitude and domain of creative achievement. At the same time, these symptoms are not equivalent to out-and-out psychopathology. Besides the fact that characteristics are normally at subclinical levels, their effects are tempered by positive attributes, such as high ego strength and exceptional intellect. Moreover, many of the relevant components can be nurtured by environmental factors that lessen their dependence on any psycho-pathological inclinations. Taken altogether, this means that creativity is not incompatible with mental and emotional health. This affirmation is reinforced by the existence of numerous creative individuals who display little or no symptoms beyond normal baselines.
Furthermore, Eccentricity (also called quirkiness) is unusual or odd behavior on the part of an individual. This behavior would typically be perceived as unusual or unnecessary, without being demonstrably maladaptive. Eccentricity is contrasted with normal behavior, the nearly universal means by which individuals in society solve given problems and pursue certain priorities in everyday life. People who consistently display benignly eccentric behavior are labeled as “eccentrics.” Eccentricity is often associated with genius, intellectual giftedness, or creativity. People may perceive the individual’s eccentric behavior as the outward expression of their unique intelligence or creative impulse.
In this vein, the eccentric’s habits are incomprehensible not because they are illogical or the result of madness, but because they stem from a mind so original that it cannot conform to societal norms. English utilitarian thinker John Stuart Mill (b. 1806) wrote that “the amount of eccentricity in a society has generally been proportional to the amount of genius, mental vigor, and moral courage which it contained,” and mourned a lack of eccentricity as “the chief danger of the time”.Edith Sitwell (b. 1887) wrote that eccentricity is “often a kind of innocent pride”, also saying that geniuses and aristocrats are called eccentrics because “they are entirely unafraid of and uninfluenced by the opinions and vagaries of the crowd”.Eccentricity is also associated with great wealth. What would be considered signs of insanity in a poor person, some may accept as eccentricity in wealthy people.
Psychologist David Weeks believes people with a mental illness “suffer” from their behavior while eccentrics are quite happy. He even states eccentrics are less prone to mental illness than everyone else. According to Weeks’ study, several distinctive characteristics often differentiate a healthy eccentric person from a regular person or someone who has a mental illness. The first five characteristics on Weeks’ list are found in most people regarded as eccentric:
- Enduring non-conformity
- Strongly motivated by an exceedingly powerful curiosity and related exploratory behavior
- An enduring and distinct feeling of differentness from others
- Idealism in the sense of wanting to make the world a better place and the people in it happier
- Usually uninterested in the company, and uninterested in opinions of, other people
- Have one or more hobbies they are happily obsessed with
- Outspoken and opinionated
- Usually single
- Usually are the only child or the eldest child
- Have unusual eating habits, and have unusual living arrangements
- Interested in and have a mischievous type of humor
- Are non-competitive, and don’t need reassurance from society or other people
- They can be quirky, bizarre, cranky, and erratic.
To sum it up, such people as described here or those who are depicted through the Archetype of Holmes are also the ones that we idolize but can’t understand and that’s what stands as the basis of this figure. Holmes as an archetype for genius is a call for action to channel those energies in a positive and not negative or toxic way and the greater good of society. Feminists, however, aren’t interested in that or other types of masculinity even if it’s a positive role model. Feminists aim at the destruction of masculinity as a whole and that’s what this pseudo gender science with this article and book is advancing. Toxic femininity lumps everything in one category and incites against all types of traditional masculinity. Feminists and their toxic femininity equal misandry. Therefore, this is not a question of toxic masculinity but toxic femininity trying to emasculate men and effeminate them into emotional drama queens, hysterical cowards, and brainless idiots.
The original feminist hit piece can be found here