Why People Are Accusing Amber Heard, Jada Pinkett-Smith & Blac Chyna Of ‘Toxic Femininity’

Is Toxic femininity real?

Jada Pinkett Smith, Amber Heard, Blac Chyna Andrea Raffin / Jamie Lamor Thompson / DFree / Shutterstock.com

As three seemingly unconnected tales of women taking action against those who they claim wronged them, a surprising debate has ensued on social media.

Amber Heard's ongoing legal battle with Johnny Depp, Jada Pinkett-Smith's debatable role in the infamous Oscars slap, and Blac Chyna's defamation lawsuit against the Kardashian have all become ammunition in a social media battle over so-called toxic femininity.


What is toxic femininity?

Toxic femininity, as it is defined in this context, is a term coined by male rights activists who have created a false equivalence between toxic masculinity and what they perceive as women using traditionally feminine traits to "get away with" victimizing men.

RELATED: Johnny Depp, Amber Heard & The Myth Of The Perfect Victim

Some believe toxic femininity involves women weaponizing feminine traits of submission or vulnerability to harm others.

Benevolent sexism, which refers to how seemingly positive ideas about women actually harm women, does exist and can make it possible for individual women to get away with bad behavior.


However, toxic femininity cannot exist as an equivalence to toxic masculinity since there is no dominant culture of women mistreating men.

Though there is of course individual case of this, it's not fair to suggest that there is some social framework that allows this to happen.

Amber Heard has become a central figure in conversations about 'toxic femininity.'

Heard first filed for divorce from Depp and accused him of domestic abuse in 2016. Heard has repeatedly implied that Depp was physically abusive throughout the couple's marriage.

Since then, Depp, who denies the allegations, has been attempting to clear his name by bringing forward evidence that suggests that Heard was the primary aggressor in the relationship.


Thus, supporters of the "Pirates Of The Caribbean" star have accused Heard of weaponizing her feminity against him and taking advantage of her womanhood by making herself out to be the victim.

This too misunderstands how sexism works. 

It is a fact that male domestic violence victims face huge stigmas and are often not believed. 


However, that isn't because of toxic feminity. Instead, it is toxic masculinity and patriarchal views of men that make it hard for us to view men as victims and women as perpetrators.

We view men as strong and women as vulnerable. If Depp is a victim of domestic abuse, he is a prime example of one of the many harmful impacts of toxic masculinity.

Jada Pinkett-Smith has been accused of taking advantage of toxic femininity.

When Will Smith slapped Chris Rock after he made an offensive joke about Jada at the Oscars, it had become a trending topic.

This was quite debatable as people didn’t know which side to take. At some point, people talked about whether Rock or Will is right. 


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However, now the discussion has moved to the question of whether Jada was being toxic.

Many have assumed that Will felt compelled to "protect" Jada in some way.

His actions have landed him in a pickle as he has been banned from the Academy Awards for 10 years and damaged his career. That is leading many people to wonder whether Jada's behavior was just toxic femininity.  

Again, this puts blame on women rather than interrogating the culture that has conditioned men to act in violent ways.


Jada never claimed to be someone who needed protecting, instead people are jumping to conclusions by implying that she used such a claim to orchestrate the slap.

Blac Chyna has faced similar criticisms.

Similarly, in another trial where Blac Chyna is suing the Kardashians, internet users are giving much hate to Chyna online.

Many people showed support to Chyna when she initially sued the Kardashians for the cancellation of her show.

However, as recent information about Chyna’s behavior in her relationship with Rob Kardashian keeps coming up, people are now criticizing her.

It has recently been revealed that Chyna has also been an abuser toward Rob and held a gun on him. Internet users have since been giving her hate online.


One user wrote, “[Blac] Chyna deserves all [that] was called on her because of what she did. I hope [Rob] doesn't go back to her.”

Again, this article is not intended to undermine Rob Kardashian's allegations of abuse.

However, by latching on to this idea of "toxic feminity" and the misconception that women are actively trying to exploit men using their womanhood we are just finding new ways to blame women for the problems created by wider patriarchal society.


As one Twitter user wrote, “If a woman was abusive and controlling what's "feminine" about that? Society has already dubbed those traits "masculine". Also, I'm pretty sure men don't come forward because of toxic masculinity and the way society treats them when they do.”

Another user wrote, “Everyone speaking about toxic femininity when referring to Amber Heard. Nothing feminine about her. Just toxic.”

It was the toxic masculine image of the "strong man" that stopped Johnny Depp and Rob Kardashian's allegations from being heard and it was that same image that made Will Smith feel like he had no choice but to "protect" his wife.

So-called toxic femininity has nothing to do with it.


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Sanika Nalgirkar, M.F.A. is a writer who covers entertainment & news, lifestyle, and pop culture topics.