Meryl Streep says the term 'toxic masculinity' hurts boys: 'It's toxic people'

Meryl Streep decried the use of the term “toxic masculinity,” while promoting the upcoming second season of HBO’s Big Little Lies.

It happened as Streep, 69 appeared alongside co-stars Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and Laura Dern for a panel discussion at the Wing Soho in New York City. An audience member brought up the topic of a man enjoying the show.

Meryl Streep attends the premiere of HBO's "Big Little Lies" on May 29, 2019, in New York City. (Photo: ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images)
Meryl Streep attends the premiere of HBO's Big Little Lies on May 29, 2019, in New York City. (Photo: ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images)

“Sometimes, I think we’re hurt. We hurt our boys by calling something toxic masculinity. I do,” Streep said, per InStyle. “And I don’t find [that] putting those two words together … because women can be pretty f***ing toxic. It’s toxic people. We have our good angles, and we have our bad ones. I think the labels are less helpful than what we’re trying to get to, which is a communication, direct, between human beings. We’re all on the boat together. We’ve got to make it work.”

Of course, Streep’s comments sparked debate.

Even controversial talk show host Piers Morgan weighed in on the subject. He was on Streep’s side.

Teaching Tolerance, a program of the nonprofit Southern Poverty Law Center, featured a December 2017 post that noted, “The phrase is derived from studies that focus on violent behavior perpetrated by men, and — this is key — is designed to describe not masculinity itself, but a form of gendered behavior that results when expectations of ‘what it means to be a man’ go wrong.”

In the past, Streep has spoken out about the lack of female representation in the entertainment industry and she’s one of the founding members of the Time’s Up movement against sexual harassment.

She’s also said that she’s “a humanist” rather than a feminist.

Streep is the mother of four adult children, including three daughters and one son.

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