Welcome to Episode #44 where we ask the question; “What is Toxic Masculinity?” Having personal experience with this subject, and recognizing the importance of discussing this topic with others, we were both excited and apprehensive to dive right into such a controversial topic. Masculinity is so tied up in our sense of identity, that it’s hard not to feel personally attacked whenever someone questions our manliness…but that’s kinda the problem in a nutshell. We need to redefine what it means to be a good man, because toxic masculinity affects not only boys & men, but society as a whole.
Key message: “By far the worst thing we do to males — by making them feel they have to be hard — is that we leave them with very fragile egos.”
— Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, award-winning author
Here are some of the topics we look into throughout this conversation:
- What is toxic masculinity?
- Why is it an issue?
- Examples of toxic masculinity
- Personal experiences with toxic masculinity
- Argument that biology supports gender differences
- Argument that gender is a social construct
- Capitalism and toxic masculinity
- Even if there were biological differences, shouldn’t we want to create a more equal world?
- How does socialization impact toxic masculinity?
- Why the term toxic is triggering and using mindful masculinity instead
We know this is a difficult conversation to have. It’s hard to come to terms with our own self-identity, and when we question what makes us ‘a real man,’ it can be hard to put into words our feelings & values. That’s why we need to have this conversation though, because it’s hard is exactly why it’s so important.
Like us on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram @tomstuandyou or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, comments, thoughts, or queries you have on the topics we’ve discussed or any suggestions of topics you’d like to hear us address.
Thanks so much for your support!
Hello, hello and welcome to the Tom, Stu and You Podcast where I am, Stu, this is Tom and you are you not so new in your intro?
You’ve really come through. I mean, did we just pull that one out of the bag and say, I see railheads change? You really? I like it. Let’s try to keep everyone on their toes because I was good. It’s upside number forty four.
Tom is upside down before it’s all been a little while. What have you been up to. A lot snowboarding. Yeah. A fabulous snowboarding work is picking up, you know, trying to influence the lives and careers of the future scientists in Canada and very good. It turns out that’s a lot like it sounds like a lot of work. Yeah, but it’s fun. I mean, I’m definitely enjoying my life and I’m just thankful not to be having cold showers every single day, which is probably where we left our last episode of my last episode.
So the one before last, I think, where you were saying that you were doing this challenge where you were on a cold shower every day for a month or something like that. How is what is the update on how is that how’s that going for you?
I mean, it’s done, thankfully, and I haven’t had a cold shower since.
I might bring it back, throw out some of it. We’ll see where that goes. Any any lessons learned or observations made during that time?
Yeah. Water and cold air in Canada about. Yeah, yeah, yeah. During the winter. I would like to think it’s brought about a little bit of mental resilience, but, uh, my productivity fluctuates throughout the week, so that’s coolsaet. I mean it’s quite interesting that. That ties so neatly into the topic of today’s discussion, which is something that I’ve been wanting to talk about pretty much since we started the podcast, I think it’s one of the first podcast ideas I wrote down, and that is I’ve toxic masculinity.
And already I can just see that the hairs on the back of necks of men all across the country, all across the world listening to this podcast, I don’t think I’m ready to be offended. Exactly.
The keyboard warriors scratching their fingers like, hey, how are you guys?
This is waiting for we should probably start off by saying that, you know, anyone could be toxic and this is not an attack on men say it’s just an observation of like the more detrimental behaviors that are associated with are traditionally associated with masculinity. Absolutely. That’s like, you know, we were talking just before we came on about like, you know, not going to the doctor if you’ve got a problem and internalizing problems, not speaking about your emotions or anything like that, blowing things up.
And then those are ones that are obviously bad for yourself. And then obviously, if you internalize them in an explosion, it affects all the people. That’s how it can have an effect on the world as well. And then there’s also, you know, ones that are based on power and domination and things like that. So those are the real ones that we are looking into today.
Yes, I was gonna tell you that when I was talking to guys, a lot of talking about. I think the key there is that it’s it’s the negative aspects of exaggerated, traditionally masculine traits, and it’s all about the cultural pressures for men to behave in a certain way. And it refers to the notion that some people’s ideas of manliness and you know, how to be a manly man, a proper man, it just perpetuates that domination, homophobia and aggression.
You know, that whole idea that men need to act tough, you know, they need to avoid showing all emotion at all costs, those sort of. Expectations, I guess, can be harmful to our mental health and it can have serious consequences for society, for the men themselves, you know, for their partners, you know, their female friends. That’s how it’s become known as toxic masculinity, you know, the fact that it’s harmful to everyone around you.
So that’s that’s the key toxic masculinity. Now, this discussion, obviously, you know, my Damos originally thought that maybe we could separate sexism from Toxic masculinity one conversation. I mean, that’s just not going to happen at all. Remember, everything is connected to you.
Everything is connected, even capitalism. You know, Tom, Tom is going to bring up capitalism later in this episode after which I love.
But we’ve got to. We’ve got it. But. We are going to be talking about just in general masculinity and what is defined as, you know, being a real man. So, you know. Please excuse us if you do feel offended at any point in this conversation, but we are trying to do and tell us why. Yeah, absolutely love to. We love to have a discussion, because if you are if you are offended, it’s important to reach out and tell us why and how much conversation this is about breaking echo chambers.
As we say, perhaps we’re in an echo chamber and we just think that Toxic masculinity is a problem. I really think that it is. You know, when you look around and see, you only have to look and, you know, the previous president to see a great example of Toxic masculinity in action. You know, a guy who clearly had a complex and compared himself to his predecessor, Obama sought to destroy everything that he had done, basically, and had a complex about all that authoritarian leaders and kind of revered them in a way or was envious of their power and what they could do any kind of wanted to do that himself.
A clear and obvious misogynist, huge ego problem, uh, terrible attitudes towards weaker men or people who were perceived as being weaker. And and he was able to feel that in a love of the people. And I think we saw that at the during the capital insurrection under his whole presidency, to be honest. And so that’s a prime example. Another one will be the the guy called Rob O’Neill, the former Navy SEAL, who is the one who say he shot and killed Osama bin Laden.
So there we are, you know, being macho to protect people from terrorism. But at the same time, a picture of himself on Twitter and we’re not wearing a mask on a flight with the words, I’m not a pussy. So he’s been protecting people from terrorism or you can’t just simply we must protect the people. And that’s that is toxic masculinity. That’s a great illustration of it. The fact that, you know, he’s involved in warfare, which is like a macho, traditionally macho kind of action.
And what you can’t just take, you know, a little step to protect innocent people and belittles people who are taking steps to protect the people. Yeah, this is this is definitely a loaded topic. I mean, our specialty and definitely controversial in in all areas of the Internet and in conversation, I think it’s definitely a conversation that not of people are having.
It’s definitely becoming. More apparent in society that Toxic masculinity or some alternative definition of it is something that we need to address. And, you know, I imagine this episode is going to be one of many in which we explore the different ways, especially being to, you know, male presenters on a podcast. What we talk about, they sort of these sort of issues, I imagine masculinity is going to come up over and over again at some point in the future, which is good because there’s a lot to explore.
Yeah. So today, today, I think let’s let’s get some quick, quick definition in real quick. I guess, as you know, what is defined by some researchers that. Toxic masculinity has three core components, I guess, and the first one is toughness. So this is a notion that men should be physically strong, emotionally callous and behaviorally, behaviorally aggressive anti femininity. So this involves the idea that men should reject anything that is considered to be feminine, such as showing emotion and accepting help.
And I don’t and that’s been a problem of homophobia in this life. Mm hmm.
And this is the assumption that men must work towards attaining power and status, but social and financial, so they gain the respect of others. And power also leads into the much bigger topic around sex, rape culture, you know, consent, all of that sort of stuff. So that’s that’s that we won’t touch on in any great detail today. Like, I think today is going to be an overview of a whole lot of different, you know, topics that we have to explore in more depth in the future.
But this is this is a good start and a good way to just break down. You know, what we mean specifically by the phrase toxic masculinity, not masculinity in general, but toxic masculinity. So, again, it’s exaggerated forms of masculinity that some people believe in and why it’s harmful to society. Yeah, I think, as you say, this will be kind of like a scratching the surface kind of thing on this, because I myself, before we started looking into this, you know, into the research, but this thought that I was not aware of the amount of research and study that’s been done in this area and the amount of opinion as well, and just the different groups that give them different names that I didn’t know existed like that in the involuntary celibate guys.
And I did not know that this was a group that existed. Uh, so involuntary celibacy is a guys who basically kind of blame women around for the fact that they can’t find a partner and rather than say they externalize the problem rather than look at themselves and their conduct. And there was a YouTube video that we that we both watched. So this is about just like the common ground ones where they brought together feminist and men’s rights activists. And one of them was one of the guys was one of these people in San Francisco.
And and he was quite a condescending and tired old character who and obviously placed himself above the women that he was speaking to and and to me just watching his behavior and how he was. He never, you know, once reflected or seemed like a guy who would reflect on his own, how he reacts with people, how he treats people, just completely externalizes the problem rather than looking at what can I do to be a better human and come across as a nice guy.
And that might put me into, you know, a better place to be able to meet someone. And that entitlement and that attitude was a prime example of Toxic masculinity for me. Well, yeah, there’s so much to so much to look at, so much to take in, so many different points of view. That’s why it’s so controversial. But I guess the you know, it’s something that we all kind of what a society kind of teaches us from a very early age.
You know, when you are a kid, you and you enter a toy store, for example, all of the boys stuff is blue or, you know, dark brown. It’s like it’s like a man cave kind of thing. And you’re you directed towards that. They’re often toys based on like power, like guns or swords and all that kind of stuff. Whereas the whereas the girl section is always like always undoubtedly pink and it’s based on princesses and this woman, there’s an air of fragility that’s built into that.
And, you know, that’s a real. A real thing to emphasize is that I guess as well, which also factors into it in creating a kind of common sense on gender roles. And you know what? What how boys and girls are different, you know? Yeah. So the law, there’s a lot in it, so. The reason why this is important to discuss, the reason why we’re having this conversation at all is because, as you said, it’s harmful to society, is harmful to the men themselves and to the females in their lives as well.
So I guess to to break down some of the harm that comes from these extreme examples of what we define as masculinity is probably a good place to start. So let’s start with something like extreme self-reliance and the need to do everything on their own. And it makes it less likely for men to seek treatment or reach out for help financially. So that’s an example we’ve taken from the Internet. Now, let’s let’s get personal here. I’ll start off with a personal example myself, especially having grown up in a somewhat more conservative regional upbringing, which, you know, isn’t bad itself.
I absolutely love my upbringing. But then I’ve gone to an all boys boarding school for high school and then gone to college at university. Very I’m very much aware of this whole concept of toxic masculinity of the fragile ego that comes with, you know, being a man, you know, hyper exaggerated version of a man and, you know. This has obviously influenced the way that I live my life. It’s influenced my mentality and and I’m working a lot.
So I’m trying to break down what I had assumed was just an innate part of my personality. And coming to terms with how I can see there are still various aspects of toxic masculinity within my own person. And I for example, I injured my shoulder snowboarding two years ago and quite a bad injury, like I had to jump over a creek real quick. When I ran out of snow, I landed a bit funny, put my hand down my body and board kept on sliding as it does on snow and my arms and the place, and then yanked my shoulder all the way up and behind me.
Two years later, I finally went and saw a doctor about it. I got injections every two weeks for three months trying to fix a problem that didn’t work.
I finally went and got an ultrasound and X-ray and an MRI done, which cost me quite a lot of money as it does.
And I found out that like most of the cartilage on my shoulder is not there anymore. Oh, no, I’m not where it’s supposed to be anymore. So like a very bad injury that the doctor was quite surprised that I could do anything at all. And I’ve suffered with restricted mobility, with just small amounts of pain. And then, you know, when I tried crossbreeding again, for example, at the end of last year, I can’t lift much weight off of my head because my shoulder has absolutely no disability.
And when that shoulder just, like, catches that cartilage in the wrong way, which it does quite a lot and does more and more, which is why I finally decided I looked at like, I mean, an extreme amount of pain, so much so that I couldn’t sleep some nights. So I’ll be getting shoulder surgery at some point in the next two months or so. But like, that’s a that’s an extreme. No, actually, it’s not even that extreme.
That’s that’s a that’s a little less than extreme version of toxic masculinity influencing my own life where I stupidly didn’t go seek the medical treatment that I obviously needed. And that’s not even to say anything about the fact that, you know, men are much, much less likely to go see a therapist. You know, they take it as an affront to their manhood, to their you know, it’s a different society. If you are saying you’re seen as being weak, you could go if you go see seek help, you know, medical attention, especially for something like mental illness, like there’s just this massive stigma about it.
Yeah, for sure. And, you know, I think that, you know what you said then about your own personal experience with your shoulder. And that’s something I’m sure that we both had when we were growing up, like, you know, boys don’t cry and, you know, open, you know, be strong and all that kind of thing rather than talk about things that are actually hurting you or whether that’s mental or whether it’s physical. And I’m very similar to you with, you know, going to the doctor and stuff like that.
So was my thought. And so I completely get it. Well, that is a form of toxic masculinity in and of itself. You know, when you know deep down that you need help, if for some reason put it off, I’m not even sure why and why you do it. It’s just seems to be the don’t thing. It’s pride, I guess. I guess is I guess it is in a way, but it’s just yourself that you’re weaker than you and you want to portray to other people around you.
Yeah, I guess so. And it is it’s like there’s there’s no logical basis behind it besides the fact that, like, it’s just this it’s this mental side of you that you actually actually have to put time and effort into working on to overcome. Like, that’s not even the only example I have of a time I of say like I broke my arm once on the farm.
I’m. Like like the four part, like, I don’t know, a but that is not good, and I’ve got everything from Moscow tibia, fibula and bottoms. Right.
I literally I just kept it bandaged for three months because I was just too busy. And, you know, it was slightly inconvenient to get to the hospital. I finally saw a doctor about it when I went to university and he was like, yeah, you broke your arm. And like, it’s just luckily it’s just healed in the right place. Otherwise we would have had to really break your arm and cough again.
That’s exactly the reason why he gets.
Yeah, exactly. Why don’t we do that? But it is important, as you say, because on a societal level, as I say, you know, if you talk about mental health and stuff like that and the depression and anxiety and all these kind of things are really right for them.
And people need to be able to speak openly about their emotions. And I guess that that’s what we should be teaching, you know, sons and daughters like sons to be open and be able to talk about their emotions freely without judgment. And I know that it’s not normal to bottle things up and keep them happy then, you know, very deep down. And just looking into some of the research for this episode, uh, twenty fifteen, twenty fifteen study found a man who broke into traditional notions of masculinity, have more of a negative attitude about seeking mental health services compared to those with more flexible attitudes.
So, again, it’s not it’s the way that not only is the way to toxic masculinity, it’s stopping people from even seeking help when what they really need it and get into. The suicide rate as well, which we’ve seen increased over, you know, since I think mine started a report in 2009. So it was like that 10 year report recently. And I found it. And, you know, suicide or feelings of suicide have gone up exponentially.
And I think that relates to problems with Toxic masculinity for sure. And I think that’s also also compounded by societal issues, is compounded by issues, and especially because of the consequences of capitalism. I will come out of it more probably like about globalization is that the place of working class white men is not what it used to be. And they have sort of. Found a place for themselves in the 21st century, so there’s that loss and one that’s not lost loss, there’s obviously the rise of ill health and the failure to seek out treatment.
Well, there’s also the rise of acting out violently, which is a guess is like another one of the behaviors, and that is a sign of toxic masculinity is like the expression of physical or sexual or intellectual dominance over people. And yeah, that’s another one for sure. Yeah. And, you know, back to the suicide rate, for example, like the numbers of suicide, for example, is disproportionately high in the population of men. It’s something like, you know, 25 deaths in a population of one hundred thousand men aged 40 to 50.
Whereas for women, you know, the highest rates of suicide are only like seven or something out of every 100000.
And that’s an age range of 50 to 59, just like a completely disproportionate percentage. A high likelihood of a man experiencing suicidal thoughts or or actually committing suicide. And, you know, even even just things like feeling about loneliness and the fact that, like, men can’t men don’t feel like they’re able to express their emotions or that, you know, they are we avoid not they we we avoid conversations about our problems or emotions. Studies have shown that, you know, feelings of isolation increases your stress levels, you know, not being able to feel like you’re comfortable with giving people hugs or physical effects or showing signs of physical affection to your friends, you know, male or female.
These things decrease the life expectancy of men, you know, not only through suicide, but just in general. Your health suffers because you’re not able to feel like you can be your authentic self and the people you’re supposed to care about. And, you know, again, to bring a personal experience into this.
My high school experience was not something that was positive for me overall, you know, feelings of isolation, not feeling like I was able or comfortable enough to have conversations with anyone, you know, feeling like I was supposed to just be, you know, chin up, don’t cry. Don’t let anyone see that you’re hurting. You know, if you’re going to cry, you’re supposed to go into your room, shut the door, hide under the covers, or you’re supposed to go into the bathroom where no one can see or hear you at no point where you’re allowed to be vulnerable with anyone around you.
And, you know, that took a lot of unpacking to get through, you’re in high school, the only thing that got me through, I think, was that. I had this one senior who was five years older than I was, that sort of took me under his wing and provided that safe space where we could have actual conversations about what I was going through. Um, and. It was just an amazing. Looking back on that, it was an amazing thing that I was able to have, even if it was only my year, I only had him around for one year to provide that.
And even if a lot of the advice he gave was to like, toughen up and he was the one to, like, tell him explicitly, like, don’t let them see that you’re hurting. Don’t let your vulnerable side show. It was it was nice to be able to just, like, have that one safe space just for a little while. But you could be vulnerable with that kind of interaction with. I could I could you know, it was the first time in that year, you know, since starting high school that I felt like I could actually trust someone implicitly with what I was going through and and know that they were actually listening and actually caring about it.
You know, when you when you don’t have that support from teachers, you know, when the when the school pretends like bullying doesn’t happen, it’s an all boys boarding school boys will be boys, you know, it’ll toughen them up. Good for you in the long run. Yeah, maybe it did toughened me up, but I have a lot of emotional baggage at my ex’s that I still need to unpack.
And to this day I can relate to it. And it does take a long time to unpack, unpack and say, you know, in university I started journaling a lot and I created a private website where I could upload my my journal entries so I can have a source of looking back. I know in the future and and I know that I’ve shared that website with a few close friends in the past. And, you know, the first couple of times it happened, it didn’t go over well, you know, when I tried to share them with, you know, the guy friends in my life, even some of the female friends in my life, you know, it was.
It wasn’t received the way I was hoping it to be received, it was more like, oh, like, why are you trying to be vulnerable with me right now? Like you’re supposed to keep all of this inside just a day within yourself. You know, that’s like a that’s a double that’s a double punch to the gut right there. When you when you try to be vulnerable to someone and then you’re shot straight back by the social pressures. Yeah, I that’s it takes a long time to get over it and it does.
And you can build walls. I’m sure they’ll build barriers to it can be harder to break those things down in the future. I think it’s important to stress that being vulnerable isn’t a sign of weakness. So it’s kind of like honesty and truth. And I’m not that takes real courage to be able to do that. And people should start recognizing if we could only frame in that way. I think that it would be so much more beneficial, you know, people to be able to open up more about their problems without the fear of being judged or how they’re going to be received by people, even close friends.
As you say, when you you said it was an all boys school that you go with. Was that good? And, well, not a good environment was the wrong word, but was that an environment in which you could see toxic masculinity? It was it was the prime example, I think, of Toxic masculinity, so things like anti femininity, you know, the popular kids at school, whenever the ones that did drama or acting or art, the popular kids at school, always the rugby players that were hit the hardest, that were the biggest, the toughest, the strongest.
You know, even the smart kids wanted to be tough, but, you know, it was all about how competitive were you, how how much could you assert your physical dominance over another kid? You know, bullying isn’t just mental. It’s it’s not just physical. It’s also mental. It’s also mental. It’s not it’s not just management. Also physical. Like, it’s a it’s a two pronged attack. And and the whole idea of, like, having to start your dominance over someone else is highlighted to the extreme and that sort of environment.
And similar to that, things like homophobia, for example, this is something that I struggled with for a long time, where the cool kids, it was it was fine for the cool kids to. To whip that dick out, for example, to go around, you know. Kissing a guy in the face, for example, because it again, it was all about power and a of Dominic Tremblay like I’m so comfortable in my own masculinity that, like, this is cool.
This is fine. I mean, if you could shove someone away afterwards, it was all about like, yeah, the Broza back, you know, what’s so cool or whatever. But then if you are actually expressing any sort of. You know, gay tendencies, for example, if there was any doubt that you actually enjoyed that, I enjoy it’s not the right word. If that was your sexual preference, I guess then you were immediately put down.
And so it was this weird disconnect between like it was cool to do the acts themselves. Yeah. But if it was like. A part of. Your identity then it was actually a negative thing. Yeah, no, I got it, I got it completely. And definitely I can relate to a lot of those things just going to school. So I went to like a mixed school. But those problems, though, still exist, you know, you know, trying to be, you know, the biggest, the strongest, um, get into the football team, all that kind of stuff.
Um, they were all things that but the I had girl in school. I was also like. Kind of a drifter in a way, between groups. Mm hmm. And so, you know, because I play football a on the football team didn’t always stop or, you know, didn’t have teachers. That really helped me to reach the levels of proper aggression that you need to get healthy, like the aggression that you needed from the game, because I was always like quite small.
And so so I sometimes I physically couldn’t compete with, like, you know, bigger people associated with them. Yeah, yeah. Yeah, exactly. So so that was that was my thing.
And then what I knew throughout childhood, you know, with heroes is all muscle bound action. Mom. Mm hmm. And that even even nowadays, I hate to think about it with kids or you just see what Instagram is full of, like musclebound dudes and do this work and all that stuff. And during school, I did try and do an after school like university. And I try to do these workouts and and try to put almost Stella Bowles.
It’s just impossible for me to do because of my metabolism. So I was like, oh right. Well, and and then I became vegan.
So it’s definitely but it doesn’t change the overall metabolism boy is about, you know, being strong and and powerful and all that sort of stuff and getting punched one time because like I of the football, someone in the playground, I mean, like I tackled them well and they like punched me in the stomach and stuff. And then so I went to the teachers and was like I went to the teachers. I was like, you know, someone they don’t someone in and stuff like that.
And it was that thing that you shouldn’t you should you should just get on with it and do it yourself. And so, yeah, like, I can relate to all those things. And I think that they are, but they are obviously a problem. And so when people. I have a problem when they hear about the term Toxic masculinity is always, you know, bad connotations for those people and they become immediately defensive when I’m sure a lot of people have experienced these things themselves and they’ve had some sort of effect on them.
Yeah, absolutely, and. Yeah, a lot a lot more to unpack. I guess I guess we could talk we could touch on sex very briefly, I guess now as well.
And, you know, the the whole notion that, like, the way to be a true man is to sleep with the most amount of women, for example, you know, that that need it’s not even just a desire that that need to prove yourself means you’re more likely to take risky behavior. You’re less likely to seek consent, explicit consent. You know this you know, even the what we’ve talked about, the the violence pace or the aggression pace, we need to be a real man.
You have to be you have to be tough and strong. You know, you’re supposed to be a little bit violent and improved yourself, that you have domination over other other men are the boys and especially other girls that that all leads to a rape culture. In which. We are finally seeing combat more and more that, you know, this this is a problem that we need to address and. The way to address it is through. It’s through the socialization pace, I guess, that we’ll touch on here in a second, but, you know.
Detroit Lions linebacker Diondre Levy. I’m going to use a quote back to quote Stewart quote, I’m sure, you know, he said so well in this piece on consent and sexual assault that it’s truly astounding how many awful things that occur in this world because men are afraid of appearing weak.
Andrew. I know that’s like that is right, definitely, um, and so I think I think the more that men are threatened and even just having this conversation, even the term toxic in front of masculinity, it makes men feel threatened.
The more that they feel threatened, the worse they get at masculinity. And by that I mean, you know, the attributes we actually want from a man. So. The other the other amazing video I watched was actually from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who’s an award winning author. She said that by far the worst thing we do to males by making them feel they have to be hard is that we leave them with very fragile egos. And precisely because of this, because we have such fragile egos that we go out of our way towards these extremes of masculinity that we see in the press and the media, you know, the toys we play growing up in the in the words we use and the phrases that are told to us as children and the way our parents play with us.
You know, you’re more likely to play more rough and tumble with your young boy than you are with your girl, for example. You know, it’s precisely because of this that men. You know, embrace Toxic masculinity without even realizing it. Definitely and this, yeah. This is the whole reason why having this conversation is so important, and it’s the whole reason why men must be the ones leading this conversation towards one another because. A man who is feeling threatened isn’t going to listen to a woman who’s trying to tell him how to live his life better.
You know, it needs to come from a place of not only empathy, which women can have, but of understanding of actually having gone through the experiences ourselves, which is why I bring up so many personal examples in this episode to say to the man like, hey, like I’ve been where you are, like I’ve had those experiences. This is why I now say that as an issue. This is why this is now toxic. Like this is why we need to change the way that we think about this.
Yeah, definitely. No, I think that I think that it’s important, like everything that you said that is important to and it’s good that you share your own stories, but it’s important to be honest and open and trying to sort something out like this. You know, definitely, you know, when you said, like, I stole my exes stuff, I thought there’s definitely occasions in the past when I’ve been and also for sure, I thought I’ve known what’s best, haven’t really listened.
But, you know, as long as you can acknowledge that, look back on your own actions, acknowledge it and see where you went wrong. I think that is a good step in the right direction and to, you know, improve and improve improving your life and improving your relationships with people and how you treat other people and.
I think also just going into harking back to the to the sex thing that you were saying, like we’re presented with a lot of characters and culture, like James Bond, for example, who is like, you know, a guy who his occupation is violent, inherently resort to violence to solve problems. And he always gets the girl. And the consent thing with James Bond is always real, real weird. It’s. Oh, yeah. He just basically doesn’t get it.
You know, Family Guy did that thing, which is like 15 hours in a yes means yes and stuff like that with a James Bond.
And you had all the time when guys are talking to one another, you know, locker room talk, for example, they say, oh, sex is just a numbers game. You ask about women, eventually someone will say yes. And exactly like, yeah, there’s a bit of truth to that. But that’s not the way you should be. You should be approaching it as a numbers game. You should be approaching it as, hey, I should be wanting to get to know each of these individual amazing women on their own accord, not for the sole purpose of gaining sex, which there’s nothing wrong with just wanting to have sex in a relationship.
But there is a disconnect between like that being the primary driver, especially of, you know, teenagers and young adult men versus. The more appropriate and it’s like a more healthy approach to actually dating. I think that comes through in shows like that that are really popular today, like Love Island and stuff like that, which I hate. I’ve got no time for it. I’ve seen a couple of times, you know, sometimes I consider it well, you know, because I know you kids.
Yeah, I know.
But it’s like there’s always double standards for women in those shows. And I looked into the research, but I was amazed at how many people have written a thesis based on, like low violence season 10 or whatever it is, and like just the fact that like it in those scenarios as well. The men are described as like when they, you know, have sex or whatever, they’re described as legends or they’re allowed into like society or I think one of them was called like to do bits club or not.
So you have to. Don’t stuff with a female and sort of place or wherever they are to gain entry into this sort of club that they created, and that is that’s a prime example of toxic shows like with Toxic masculinity. And what makes me quite afraid is that they’re quite popular. And it’s the same as having a mother like Barney Stinson, the whole. Yeah, exactly. What is it? Not man. But what does he call in the show?
I can’t, but, you know, like is a caricature of it, basically, like he is the most popular character because and they make fun of Ted Moseby chasing romantic relationships, whereas know, Barney Stinson is looked up to because he’s sleeping with all these these women is doing it in of places and he’s putting on characters and he’s tricking them to sleep with him, for example, like that was that was promoted as being a big part of the show.
And especially when you think about the fact that the actor who plays it, Patrick Neil Patrick Harris, is actually gay in real life. It just it’s just this whole nother level of like how did no one see this as being an issue at the time of making it? How is it so popular? And then I have to have that self reflection where I’m like, oh, that was my favorite TV show for a long time, growing up as a kid.
And I was your favorite character. And that was probably my favorite character, too, like.
Yeah, it takes a lot to like how that moment of self reflection, where you’re like, oh, shit, like there’s a lot of my values that I didn’t even realize were like being instilled in me that were based upon things that are actually detrimental to the portrayal of being a real man in society. Yeah, exactly.
And this is this is the importance of like advertising in the media and the culture that’s created through through these kinds of things, through TV shows and what people consume.
Those have some sort of effect on a subconscious level that we’re aware of. Um, and then and then it plays out in the real world, you know, like I were just saying, you know, men’s attitudes towards, you know, sleeping with as many women as possible is a good thing. I comes from, like James Bond and Bonnie and all kind of stuff that you just talking about. And just to you know, my favorite character growing up was Batman.
And he even showed signs of toxic masculinity, you know, uses violence against is very repressed, doesn’t share anything of his problems or anything like that as well. And in a way, I guess that that kind of thing does have an impact as well.
I mean, he’s obviously got a whole bunch of mental health issues that he just does not say exactly how he expresses it through violence, you know, like the whole revenge culture and the glorification of revenge. As you know, that should be the primary form of getting back at someone. If you feel slighted, like that is ridiculous. And again, but the Good Men Project, which is a website that I read quite a lot of articles about, you know, leading up to this episode, they had this article called A Difference between Toxic masculinity and being a man.
And they say that one of the things that comes up frequently when we talk about Toxic masculinity are the various ways wags who demand to know why we’re labeling all men as being toxic. You know, again, it comes back to this whole like when men feel threatened, you know. Yeah. Why are we labeling all men as being toxic, evil or otherwise malignant? That in and of itself is a problem. In a nutshell. They say for many people, the toxic ideas of masculinity are synonymous with being a man.
And, you know, for a lot of people, like, that’s exactly what we’re saying. For a lot of people, these things where it’s like men should be powerful, they should be tough, they shouldn’t show emotion. Um. You know, some people say shouldn’t they should be antifeminist. It’s like these are the things that a lot of people, like, desperately hang onto, desperately cling to as being like the prime example of man. And this takes us brilliantly.
It’s a wonderful Segway to where I want to take this conversation next.
And that’s the argument that, hey, it’s all in our biology. Boys will be boys. We can’t help. Not that men are different from women.
So let’s have that chat briefly, I guess, before we move back into this gender being a social construct.
And there’s a lot, man, that’s a lot, but is a lot so.
Educate Dillons this wonderful. Actor, actress, she she doesn’t assign herself agenda. She says traditionally masculine and feminine nudity have been seen as binary polar opposites. So what I was excited to discover for myself, she says, is what I’m excited to see happening in the larger cultural context is a redefinition of masculinity and femininity as things that are all encompassing. So masculinity can be hard or soft, stronger, vulnerable, and that those things aren’t opposites of each other because being vulnerable is a sign of strength.
So that’s what you said earlier. But what people, the proponents of the biological argument are saying is that, no, the way men act, so the reason they’re more violent, the reason they’re more aggressive, you know, the reason why they should be the hunter, they should be the provider of the family, is that because biologically and evolutionary that is that role. Mm. Yeah. Um, which there are some examples and there is some evidence to support that.
However, there’s also a lot of research to suggest that neurologically the differences in a boy in a girl’s brain is actually not that much at all. And the conclusions that are. Achieved from a lot of the research papers looking into the biology of biological differences between men and women. Have actually been interpreted quite weirdly, and it’s hard to prove anything because evolution is difficult and psychology is difficult, but. How humans, which goes all the way back to a hunter gatherer, days now.
Especially the idea of high test roads leading to high higher violence, that’s just something that we. I guess growing up, that’s something that I just assumed was common knowledge has actually been disproven many, many times, but. Let’s imagine that men are the way they are because of biology. Let’s go on a little a little thought because it’s because it’s the human nature thing. It’s just that human nature, the sex and the desire to reproduce is in our biology.
It’s the primary driving motivator for any species in the animal kingdom to ensure its survival. And yet we’ve somehow managed to tame that in a desire, to some extent at least, you don’t see guys running around, every woman wanting to have sex with them all the time. And like, yes, I know in a club, I have definitely seen examples of that happening.
But what I’m saying is that we’ve been able to really prioritize areas of life where survival through reproduction isn’t necessarily the most important thing anymore. Like you are seeing people, you know, sacrificing, having children earlier in life to pursue careers. For example, we live in a world now where reproduction.
And having the most populous species on the planet isn’t necessary to the survival of the human race in general anymore, so why can’t we apply the same level of progress to these biological aspects of masculinity? Even if we were to only believe that they were based in biology and not more so in the commonly accepted societal and behavioral constructs that we’ll get onto in the second half.
I, I really like it when people use this kind of survival of the fittest argument because I don’t think that it works in civilized society. And you have basically and said, well, it’s a civilized society, let’s just call it society. Yeah. You kind of survival of the richest. Now, if it was a case that, like men acted like animals in the sense that they’re talking about, you wouldn’t seek consent, which is an important thing, which is like a legal requirement that we create as humans.
If I as a you know, wanted to challenge an alpha male. So if I if would you take Jeff Bezos, for example, he’s got all of the resources and it’s like natural law. I would just go and challenge him, kill it and take all of his stuff. I can’t do that because we’ve created a system of, you know, we create a legal system and create a system of private property that protects, you know, enshrines his rights against mine.
If I do that and I’ll end up in jail. So I hate this whole survival of the fittest because the people who a lot of the people who are the richest are not the strongest people. Yeah. It just doesn’t make any sense. It doesn’t it doesn’t go hand in hand. And so I agree with you. I think that this that the way that Toxic masculinity manifests itself in society is not a product of nature. I think it’s a product of what’s around surroundings and acted out against those, you know, political, social, economic and things that that we now.
Prioritizes humans, basically, if you. So that’s why I think it’s important to link capitalism will this cycle, because, as I said, if you are like a middle class white working, hard working American guy, perhaps from like the southern states or the more religious state. So there’s not a religious element that also subordinates women, not just in Christianity and things like that, but also in Islam and things like that. And if you are someone who has no say in where you work or whether your job gets exported to exploit or the people or the men in different countries, cheap labor, women, whatever, then you’re going to be left in a situation of economic hardship.
And when you are playing by the rules and you know you are trying to be the strongest that you can be, you’re trying to work within the system of capitalism to accumulate as much as you can. And it isn’t working for you. How are you going to react probably with some form of violence, unless unless you talk about it and then also I think talk about some sort of, you know, greater democratization of the economy and things like that.
That’s why I think it’s important to bring that in as well. Yeah, and the other piece on biology as well is that biology doesn’t force boys and men to talk about women in vulgar ways in the locker room, for example. So this whole concept of like locker room talk and, you know, like, oh, it’s just the way we are, you know, it’s just a joke, like, get over it. It’s it’s a response based in social constructs.
Again, when they feel pressured to differentiate themselves from women and feminine ways of being, it’s that whole anti feminine component of Toxic masculinity that we mentioned right at the start, you know, that trying to prove the masculinity by putting others down, by showing that level of power that have other people, you know, similar to the phrase boys will be boys is usually used to excuse behavior that is aggressive by nature. And not only does it imply that there is only one way to be a proper boy, which there isn’t.
But, you know, let’s get that clear. They also and therefore grow up to be a problem. And it also perpetuates the idea that boys and girls are different and therefore we can’t blame boys for acting more violent than girls. So, as I said before, neuroscientists have researched the biology of boys and girls to find that there’s very, very little difference in their brains. And additionally, by using this excuse, it’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy, right?
So boys continue to be given excuses for their behavior. And so they never learn that it isn’t actually acceptable when a boy pushes a girl over or pulls a hair, we shouldn’t. We shouldn’t be telling the girl that he does this because he’s interested in her. We should be teaching our children that it’s not normal to show someone that they like them by hurting them. And in an age when we’re finally coming to terms with the pervasiveness of sexual assault and highlighting the importance of consent and safe, healthy relationships, we need to recognize the importance of these initial lessons in young children when they’re just starting to come to age and exploring their new sexual urges and.
That ties in nicely to, I guess, to our next comment about gender being a social construct, which, you know, what does that mean? But it’s the way we raise boys versus girls. You know, as you say, the toys, they play with guys, they play with these tough action men. You know, girls are supposed to play with Barbie dolls and wear dresses. And if you see a boy wearing a dress, for example, it’s not only other boys that put them down, but parents and and neighbors.
Why is your kid wearing a dress like what are you doing? The whole concept of a gender reveal party just stresses once again like this ridiculous notion that we have to assign someone’s gender at birth now. We could get into a whole big conversation on the difference between sex versus gender, sexual orientation versus gender orientation as well, but what is important to note is that while sex is biological, so you know what? How many chromosomes do you have? You know what?
What reproductive system do you have in your body? Your gender, however, is a social construct. And and what we need to highlight now is that it starts at a much younger age and you actually expect. So it’s that whole concept of, you know, playing around with your with your baby when it’s a boy or, you know, being a bit softer and bit more careful, a bit more softly spoken with the daughter. You know, boy, sports are usually more competitive in her off.
Whereas, you know, one of my friends is telling me, you know, she wanted to play with the boys because I played tackle football, but because she was a girl. The school’s not like you are. You’re not playing you’re not playing ice hockey with the boys. You’re going to be playing grass hockey with the girls because that way you don’t hurt yourself.
You know, this whole treating women like they’re fragile beings from a young age, of course, that’s going to, you know, perpetuate this idea that men are tougher and should be tougher and should be harder and, you know.
There’s this research done on, you know, Amazonian tribes, for example, on, you know, Native Americans.
You know, lots of different tribal cultures around the world, the whole the whole idea, the whole reason we know about the Amazons was that they they went against gender stereotypes of like the Western people that were trying to conquer their lands. Basically, like the fact that they existed in isolated communities around the world kind of suggests that, hey, maybe it’s not innately biological. Well, yes. That there is evidence to prove that, like, men are generally stronger and.
Physically bigger and. They’re more disposable because they don’t have to care for and nurture a baby in the Hunter-Gatherer days. Well, that might have made sense. We don’t live in those days anymore. So much of the way we live our lives no longer relates to the hunter gatherer. So why do we still stick to this whole idea that. If you’re a man, you should have to still be the main provider in the family when you don’t have to be physically enough to be a provider anymore.
But even even if that was the case, like there’s examples of women who were in these tribal communities that were the main provider and the guy stayed at home. So if the biological argument is one that’s very difficult to stick by, where is the argument for social contract is much more evidence. And I mean, even if there were biological differences, shouldn’t we want to create a more equal world like. When children play, it’s often boys versus girls, even without adult involvement.
Right. So this is an argument, again, that it’s all biological, where boys learn dominance over girls from a young age and they learn that sexes are different from one another. And, you know, while there are great steps in encouraging girls to get more involved in sport, for example, it takes no competitiveness.
And also, there’s a greater need that if teachers and adults go out of their ways to help organize children’s play and, you know, make sure it is more egalitarian. This could be a case of socialization overriding biological differences if they do indeed exist. Yeah, I think that the whole nature and social cultural thing is I think it’s quite obvious. And when people talk about it being natural or, you know, biology, people will make these arguments about nature often do it very selectively.
It only pick certain things that like match the argument. Yeah. And just going in there and I like what you play with as a child and how you treat it as a boy differently to how you choose to go. You know, when you’re a child, that’s all a social construct. It’s all kind of common sense. This status quo thing that we keep keep a lead into each growing up. And I think that it would be the case much as if, like, um, you know, if a child born in China grows up in the U.K., they’re going to speak English.
So it’s like a boy played with, you know, you can play with it like a boy can play with Barbies or it doesn’t matter. So you’re telling them not to do it or that you look down upon or that there’s a feeling that it shouldn’t happen. That’s that’s the construct that talking about, um, and this is before you even get into the whole transgender fluid, gender androgynous and then bring it into sexual orientation and like, there’s a lot of different things that can happen here that we are we’re intentionally not getting involved in because it’s about our personal experiences.
But, you know. There’s a whole lot more to this argument that we’re even saying now. Yeah, definitely. I think that what I’ve what I’ve gone at from doing the research and looking into this and kind of reflecting on it is that I think that. When you have a system that, you know, I perceive to be inherently violent, it’s going to cause symptoms which as toxic masculinity. Well, um, now, you know, we talked about the ramifications, history, you know, in a previous episode and how that ripples through through this day.
If you think about it, women were really enfranchised 100 years ago. You still have religions that subordinate women under then it’s a very logical reasons to stand up to any scrutiny. And that has an effect on society still to this day, if you have a because I’m going to bring up capitalism, obviously. So if you have a system designed by men, um, that is exploitative, is often ends up in violence. You know, look at America, for example.
It’s been in a in a war practically every year of its existence. And some people just look at the amount that America spends on its military budget compared to what it spends on social health care, all those kinds of, you know, community enriching things. It dwarfs all of it. And the UK is going the same way with the recent announcement, 16 billion for, you know, defense and one in Britain and talking about imperialist kind of language and rhetoric and stuff like that.
If the system’s violent like that, if the system doesn’t care about people being made unemployed, losing jobs is the impetus for directors of companies just to make profit. How can we make profit? Well, if we keep these jobs here and exporting over overseas globalization and export cheap labor. What happens to those people doesn’t matter. So this is why I keep coming back to the white working class and you know, anyone who’s working class, who has that jobs automated or shipped off overseas.
What are they supposed to do? And that is it. And then there’s no real Social Security. You can’t live off Social Security. There isn’t a lot of countries. And that’s a system of violence. And so when you have a system of violence. It’s going to create these these manifestations such as Toxic masculinity. You’ve got to be powerful to get to the top of the food chain to be able to survive. And that’s just that’s how it works.
And you are entitled to do that in this sort of. And food chain is great with capitalism and. It’s interesting to me, because we obviously spoke to. Well, then last week about socialism, we’ve looked into socialism, spoke with Sarah and Kaylee about feminism. So it’s interesting to me. To know the. You know, as women get into the top of social system, such a violent system and necessarily a good thing for feminism, have women internalized in a way aspects of toxic masculinity, you know, that you’ve got to be powerful, that you’ve got to like Thatcher.
You know, there’s no such thing as a society. It’s just the individual. There’s no solidarity, which is, well, you know, original feminism was based about community and solidarity and things like that. And there’s never been a woman president of the United States. So it’s kind of you know, women have been scared to come out until recently, you know, like me, too. But they’ve been suppressed. And that is because there’s a general.
Environment created by what I would think is like toxic masculinity rates that mean that when women feel like they’re not going to be believed and things like that and all that, there’s too much power we’ve gone to. They able to come forward on those things. So loads and loads of questions, they internalisation of these traits, but when it is a real interesting one for me, because obviously original feminism was based on solidarity and all that kind of thing, so.
Basically, what this is something that I’ve been struggling with quite recently, and maybe people can get in and tell me what what they think is there is obviously there should be equality and things like that. What is a woman succeeding in what I think is a violent system created by men, good feminism? Or is it does it come about through internalizing the need, the power, the need to exploit people? Because it is a really good Disney Pixar or pill that people should watch.
It’s basically not a corporate environment. And this little ball of wool, she’s all colorful on the day that she goes in, she goes into the corporate sphere and there’s all this all the, you know, the locker room talk going on around the department, all sorts of. She sticks out like a sore thumb. And and in order to fit in, she has to reinvent herself into like a business attire. And she has to be powerful. She has to make hard decisions.
And then she’s accepted it starts getting its wings. And I find that. And then a new ball of wool turns up and they’re all going off and she’s like wants to be involved, but they’re not going to involve. And obviously at the last minute, Perle comes out and gets her involved. Spoiler. So that’s obviously like a Disney ending to the situation I’m talking about. I don’t think that that normally happens, so it’s just that it’s just an interesting aspect, I think, and people should obviously watch that because it’s a pretty good, pretty good little video.
Yeah, I think I’ll not have another client. Obviously, it’s from a cultural anthropologist, anthropologist, Katrina Perkasie. She says if we accept that gender hierarchies are tied to evolution and biology, then it seems impossible to change. Testosterone often gives men a pass on the negative behavior and a pass for their success. If biology and testosterone aren’t the explanation, then we have the much harder work to do of addressing the social causes. I hope that we can stop attaching so many behaviors to masculinity as though they’re exclusively the province of men because they often happen to be things that are valued like risk taking or athleticism.
And so I guess to your point then. It’s a two fold approach. Yes, like, yes, we should be supporting women to embrace more of these masculine traits that we see as being valued in today’s society. But also we should be changing what is valued in society to say that, like, hey, it’s not healthy for anyone if we continue to promote Toxic masculinity as being traits that are required to become successful. To be successful in this world, so.
It’s a bit like we need to re-establish what we mean by being a good man, and we also need to re-establish what women should be looking for if I’m a good man and also, you know, toxic, feminine, toxic femininity also exists. Right. So we need to be toxic for sure. We need to be careful about. How do we get both sides to tap into the empathy, not just empathy and sympathy is fleeting. You know, you can feel sorry for someone today and then not even think about it.
That’s that’s not quite directly from the founder of the me too movement, Tony Burke, a Toronto back. You know, you need to find that personal level of connection that brings about the empathy in you so that you can. So you can truly reflect on what it means, you know, what it means to be a good man, what it means to be a good woman, and what it means to be a good citizen of this world. I think that ties nicely into a guess about how we wrap up this episode.
And and that’s chatting just briefly about the actual the actual use of the word toxic in front of masculinity. So, as I said earlier, when men are attacked, when they feel threatened, they’re more likely to become less masculine. And it’s the use of the word toxic is actually quite triggering for a lot of people. Obviously, no one wants to be called toxic. And, you know, when Toxic masculinity is often misrepresented in saying that, like all men are toxic, then of course there’s people like that.
And so in that video we watched and, you know, men’s rights activists that jump up trying to defend their position, trying to defend men’s rights because they feel like they’re being attacked because we’re using the word toxic now. There’s actually a brilliant author. She’s from Canada. She’s written a book called For the Love of Men From Toxic to More Mindful Masculinity. And she says that so much of the conversation. Her name is Liz Blank. She’s a journalist.
So much of the conversation around men is negative, especially in the wake of a metoo movement. And there are a million reasons for that. Women have been hurt by men and women have been traumatized. She herself has been traumatized by men. But she wants to approach this conversation differently because the way we’ve been approaching it so far doesn’t work. She wanted to come up with the term that was positive, one that signaled the clustering of masculinity like a conscious spring cleaning.
So mindful masculinity is the Marie Kondo approach to gender, she says. So does this do it for me? What kind of behaviors do I like? What kind of attitudes do I like and what don’t I like? And so she says, I think women have been taught how to do that. I’ve being encouraged to take on behaviors that are more quote unquote, traditionally masculine. So to be more assertive, to communicate in a way that’s more in line with the way men communicate, to unlearn that passivity and other, quote unquote, feminine behaviors of making yourself smaller, which is perfectly unexampled in that Pixar that Disney shot that you mentioned.
She says she wants to give men the opportunity to do the same thing. And I think that’s such a brilliant way to wrap up this episode. And it’s. Take a look at. If you feel triggered by the term Toxic masculinity, take a couple of seconds to think about why it is that that is triggering to you, because the definition to me is very clear in that it lists things that. Obviously harmful to not only me, but to the people around me and therefore society in general, so.
If it’s not the definition of the term that’s triggering for me, that it’s the fact that I’m feeling like my masculinity is is trying to be taken away from me and. I can empathize with men across the world, I I struggle to know my place in this world, but what does it mean to be a good man? You know, I grew up, as I said, you know, in an all boys boarding school. I grew up in the college environment where.
You know, the the biggest, strongest, toughest were the most popular. For example, I grew up reading a blog called The Art of Manliness, which focuses a lot on, you know, war culture, you know, being tough, choosing the hard way. He actually has a piece that I was going to bring up in this episode as well, maybe I can touch on it briefly as a possible, disagreeing with some of our points. And he says some today have called for men to remove their masks, claiming that the injunction to be strong, stoic, courageous, competitive, competent and self-reliant stifles men’s ability to be their true selves and leads to the dissemination of toxic masculinity but masks themselves don’t cause toxic masculinity.
In fact, masks are precisely what keep it in check. The problem is not the masks men wear, but that in recent times they haven’t been coupled with another the mask of decorum, self-restraint and civility and. A lot of that article in general said, why should we celebrate the loss of masculinity? I actually disagreed with, but I think his intent underlying it. Even if some of the other articles he exposes, the fact that it’s not that we.
Uh. It’s not that the solution is to become more or less traditionally masculine, he actually says that we should become more traditionally masculine to fix a lot of these problems. I think we’d have a lot in common with the whole idea that. One, it doesn’t have to be purely the arena of masculinity, you know, women should also be strong, stoic, courageous, competitive, competent and self-reliant. It shouldn’t just be a man’s duty, but also we should all have some level of self-restraint.
We should also have some level of self-respect to say that, hey, I can see that the way I feel, the way I’m thinking about how to be a man, the fact that I need to belittle other people to feel good about myself. That’s not self-respect and that’s not civility, that’s not decorum that where’s the honor in that? So, yes, some traditional values we should be bringing back, like we should be honorable people. We should be trying to be gentlemen.
We should also be looking for women to be gentlemen as well. And we should be looking for men. To be OK with the fact that you can share your feelings, you should talk to other people about the struggles you’re going through, it’s not a sign of weakness to admit that life is really hard right now. And it’s not just an issue that men face. Women can face it as well. We as two men hosting this podcast have just focused on Toxic masculinity in this episode.
It’s a obviously a much wider, all encompassing issue that is facing so many different aspects of society. But I know my next step is definitely and I’ve already bought that book, but my next step is going to be reading for the love of Men. I think that’s great. And I think all the things that people can do, especially during this time with the pandemic, maybe it’s a good time for a reset in so many ways, you know, who we value in society and all those kind of things.
Um, well, maybe it’s a good time to reach out to, you know. You know, your friends, the guys and things like that, and check in and see how they do it, because it’s a tough time for everyone and see if you can have if they say I’m fine, so I’m going to be positive. And so like you told me, so I got better. And so I think that that’s one of the ways that we can start to break through this is to start having more honest conversations with each other and realize that, you know, this strengthens our ability, which is certainly something that, you know, I’ve got from doing this research.
And I’ve been quite lucky in that respect. Just, um, in terms of like my family, I thought because I’ve always had a good relationship with my mom and stuff. So I’ve always felt I have been able to tell her anything. And I know that’s not that’s not the case, but for a lot of people. And so. You know, I’ve always had thought about an issue and things like I have Baltimore for a time, sure.
But it’s always come out and like I’ve always been with her or my aunt or whatever, and then I talk and it always is good things. And so I think that that’s what I say to people, is to get in touch with my friends and everyone at the moment, especially in the public interest. There are people who do. Yeah, I just write this off as being bullshit because like, I know that’s going to be the initial response for a lot of people listening to this episode is like, oh, what a load of crap.
Like men should be men. Women should be women, you know, cancel Kolja, the work left. You know, how many more of those sort of terms can we possibly throw around? But, you know, words matter. Toys matter. Like, I had this I had an argument, a productive discussion with a mutual friend of ours, Tom, about, you know, why the Mr. Potato Head was such an issue and why it’s good that I’ve removed the Mr.
from the potato head brand. You know, representation matters like, oh, we are looking for is to give people a chance to live the lives they wish to live without feeling like they need to meet certain societal expectations. Yes, it’s good for the some like, yes, it’s good that there is some pressure to, like, be a good person to, you know, live. Well, you know, as that art of manliness sounds like it’s good luck.
We want all people to be strong. We want all people to be courageous and competent and self-reliant. But what’s happening is that it’s only men that are. Celebrated for being that way, I guess, and that’s the whole point. You know, there’s nothing wrong with this right ways to channel like aggression and competition and sports is a great way to do it for sure. On just on the toy thing, like kids play with anything, you know?
Well, you know, dinosaurs because dinosaurs are for everyone.
We’ll have to do an episode on dinosaurs just about a hundred percent. Yeah, I’m I’m already prepared for. Excellent.
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