There’s been a lot about “toxic masculinity” lately and the ills it inflicts on society.
Well, the Guardian, the U.K.’s lefty (but well-written) newspaper has found a form of masculinity that it does not deem toxic. The headline calls them the “good men.”
And what do the Guardian’s “good men” do that distinguishes them from men who exhibit signs of toxic masculinity? Well, they share their feelings. Here’s the subhead on the story:
In the hometown of Jordan Peterson, the evangelist of white male resentment, a different and thoughtful men’s movement vies to be heard.
That is an odd way to describe Peterson, the Canadian psychologist who has defended masculinity, saying that it is wrong to “smear the idea of masculinity by confusing competence with tyranny.”
But back to the Guardian story, which features Canadian guys sharing their feelings in a circle. Here is some of what was shared:
To start off, Joe, a slight man in a hoodie, volunteered a story about how he came to realize that vulnerability was a strength rather than weakness.
“I’ve never shared this in front of a group before,” said Joe, 34, who told us the story of his mother passing away when he was three; how his dad became hardened and distant; and how, at the age of 27, he found himself in deep depression.
“I was single, in a job I hated, with very few friends I could count on. I felt like we are all going to die anyways, so what’s the purpose of trying?”
Uncovering blocked emotions, Joe told us, saved his life.
“I realized if I wasn’t going to take my life, I had to go back in time and work through my feelings. I was a 27-year-old living in a little boy’s trauma. I needed to prove to myself that it was safe to feel again.”
We went around the circle sharing whatever came to mind about manhood, emotions, relationships, Donald Trump, Justin Trudeau, Jordan Peterson, the fact that most mass shootings are committed by socially isolated white men.
Let us guess whether Trudeau or Trump was the more popular in the sharing circle.
The story continues:
“Conversations with other men are usually very superficial,” said Marvin, a transplant from Germany who works at an ad agency.
“It’s always about sex and money,” the man next to him added. (Some of the participants declined to be named for this story.) “Like, ‘Oh, I got laid last night’. It gets boring.”
“It’s not only f—ing boring, it’s unhealthy,” said Marvin. “Most men suffer alone.”
The sharing session the Guardian visited is led by a psychologist and held d in a Lululemon shop .
Lululemon has long been a hate object for feminists. Its founder made derogatory remarks about plus-sized women and The Pill. These sessions appear to be a way for the retailer to change its image.
But the movement appears to be spreading:
Today the pro-feminist men’s movement champions causes ranging from reducing violence against women to raising awareness about male suicide and prostate cancer. Adherents dwell in gender studies programs, social justice groups, and mental health organizations—and in small groups of men who gather in coffee shops and living rooms for heartfelt talk.
Pro-feminist masculinity has remained relatively obscure, though #MeToo may be changing that.
“It’s allowed male feminists like myself to come out of the shadows,” Michael Kehler, a University of Calgary masculinities studies professor, told me by phone. His career, after two decades of “quiet, diligent work to move this agenda forward,” has flowered with media requests and speaking engagements. In January, Kehler became North America’s first masculinities studies research chair.
“Until recently, there was an allowance, or even an expectation, for men to behave badly, like it was a natural way of being,” Kehler said. “[I]t was written off as ‘boys being boys’ or ‘that’s just locker room talk’. If you didn’t talk about sports or engage in sexualizing banter, other men might question the adequacy of your masculinity.”
Kehler believes this older breed of masculinity is dying.
Let’s hope Kehler is wrong.
What Kehler sees as traditional masculinity is a caricature of masculinity.
And these overwrought sesions sound like caricatures of feminist “consciousness raising” sessions of the 1960s.
Guys, you can do better!
But Lulumon: brilliant marketing.