There is a place for healthy competition, but hyper-competitiveness IS toxic. Once of the most ultra-competitive industries is law. Law firms are set up so that partners and associates are always up against each other and consequently law has the highest rate of suicide and substance abuse of any industry. Self-reliance is not inherently bad but extreme self-reliance is because it leads to feelings of isolation and disconnection from others, which again leads to depression and despondency. Assertiveness is fine, but aggressiveness is not. Confidence is great but cockiness is not. In other words, none of the “masculine” traits are inherently wrong, but when taken to extremes, they are toxic for both men and women. Forcing men and boys to be this way in order to be truly “manly” is incredibly destructive to them. Believe me, I quite like healthy masculinity and elements of that are always present in the women I’m drawn to also. I don’t want a butch or manish woman, but invariably the women I’m attracted to are very confident and know how to take up space in a room. They know who they are and what they are going after. I don’t think anyone on earth actually believes that is a problem. And, a Billion women (1/3 of the world population) will be beaten or raped in their lifetime. The fact of the matter is, that although women are far from perfect and do perpetrate crimes against men, the vast majority of violent crime and abusive behavior IS perpetrated by men — a lot of it against other men. And people who are sick and tired of that have the right to speak up about it and to be angry that it continues to take place.
Feminism is simply the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. If someone doesn’t believe in that, well….. as Salmon Rushdie once put it, “You are either a feminist or an asshole!”