Actually, I fell hopelessly in love with someone a few years ago, and I lost her too. And sure I was mad when she said some things that hurt me, but never so mad that I even thought about physical violence. The worst I did in that case was to call her vindictive, for which I later apologized.

If Dani had been Danny, then replying to his cruel remarks with “The next time I see you, I’m going to punch you,” would be an outgrowth of the desire men feel to physically dominate anyone who questions their masculinity. As such, it would qualify as toxic masculinity.

It’s difficult to classify such an action as misandry because, in this hypothetical scenario, I would not be threatening Danny simply because he was a man. Rather, I would be doing it because he undermined my masculinity. He “took my man card.” Or however you want to phrase it.

By contrast, if I had responded to Danielle with “The next time I see you, I’m going to punch you,” that would qualify as misogyny. Because her being a woman would be a motivating factor in such a threat.

By breaking up with me — and doing it in a particularly harsh way — she “broke the rules.” She wasn’t gentle and empathetic in a way that we have been trained to expect from women. By ending our relationship, she prioritized her own feelings over mine, which is also “against the rules.”

You should note that none of this makes it acceptable for her to say cruel things like that, especially not to someone suffering from chronic pain. But you can’t completely divorce the anger I felt for her from the expectations we place on women.

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