The literal meaning of the words is “a subset of the traits traditionally associated with men that is toxic”, not “being male, which is inherently toxic”, as you seem to have interpreted it, which both incorrectly understands the literal meaning of masculinity, and incorrectly understands the literal meaning of applying an adjective to modify a noun: my two year old son has little trouble understanding that the phrase “red cars” refers to the subset of cars which are red rather than asserting that all cars are red.
So, even to the extent that young people might be unable to see past the literal meaning of words, the literal meaning here is exactly what is intended, and entirely unlike the decidedly non-literal interpretation you've misrepresented as the literal meaning.
> We want our men to be aggressive
You are being pedantic. Kids won't hit Wikipedia to get the full nuance of your preferred labels.
I haven't misrepresented anything. Have you ever asked kids if they've heard the term 'toxic masculinity' used and if they have, what they think it means/how it makes them feel? You're going to get some shockingly low resolution answers.
> We who?
As much 'we' as we can get. On this board, that might tend towards the royal we. ;) Consider that aggression has a positive application. Mastery and domination can occur in and over the self first and then outward in the world as required next, and that's the 'good' kind of aggression we like to foster. Self-control is learned, and boys need guidance channeling their instinct for achievement towards applicable skills development.
I welcome questions like yours though as it spurs these illuminating discussions. I'm hoping you can appreciate a different but logically consistent and legitimate worldview from your own.
I want to accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative just as much as the next person. I suspect you and I view typical male attributes differently where you might seek to suppress rather than celebrate/foster appropriately.
No, the core of the objection is the way adjectives apply to nouns in a way that even toddlers correctly understand without difficulty. Even without a nuanced understanding of “maleness” vs. “masculinity” (which, honestly, I think most kids who have any understanding of what “toxic” means in any sense wouldn't need to look up), modifying a noun with an adjective normally means you are referring to an instance of the the thing named by the noun which also has the trait described by the adjective, not that all instances of the thing named by the noun have that trait.
If I say that colorblind people have problems with a certain site design, it doesn't mean, literally or otherwise, that all people are colorblind, and if I say toxic masculinity produces certain social problems, it doesn't mean either that all masculinity is toxic or that all problems are social. That's just not the way adjectives work, and even very young kids have no problem at all understanding that.
> if I say toxic masculinity produces certain social problems, it doesn't mean either that all masculinity is toxic ...
That is your opinion. That's a taking a very nuanced view.
"Toxic masculinity" is not a specifically addressed term and therefore it may be interpreted as a universal male trait by the young listener.
> ... or that all problems are social
This makes toxic masculinity even worse by your own definition: the toxicity might be understood as a natural and unalterable part of the poor little guy.
The messaging is just sloppy and is quite frankly hurtful, possibly intentionally, though not by you. You've partially conceded this sloppiness in your response even without my cajoling.
> That is your opinion
It's just the normal literal meaning of adjectives modifying nouns.
> That's a taking a very nuanced view.
No, it's not. It's the simple literal meaning. Reading any more into such a construct is a non-literal reading which involves some (perhaps incorrectly inferred) nuance.
> This makes toxic masculinity even worse by your own definition:
I have presented no definition by which this barely-coherent claim is true.
You seem to be saying that applying grammar rules to literal word definitions should provide 100% of the information conveyed in a conversation.
The phrase "toxic masculinity" is only a small piece of information in related conversations between people.
There's context, body language, tone, emotional states, memory of past conversations, number of participants, etc that provides all the meaning to the conversation.
Are you not confronting the issue in terms of real human communications especially regarding kids and choosing only to discuss word meanings? That's not very helpful. :shrug: