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I just finished Caitlin Moran’s new book, What About Men? Moran is a decorated British journalist, feminist and the author of previous books, How To Be A Woman, How To Build A Girl and More Than A Woman. Her notion for the book came about as she traveled the UK giving talks to groups of women who were asking her, what about men? The book is funny and thoughtful. I plan to cover more of her theories/ideas in future posts. Today, though, a simple list for your consideration. Fully aware of all the negative attitudes about masculinity (so toxic 🤨), Moran asked her large Twitter and Facebook followings, what is good about masculinity? What should we be celebrating? Responses flooded in for three days and basically fell into the following categories:

Non-judgmental

Protective

Up for anything

Loyal

Brave

Hard-working

Joyous

A huge urge to be helpful

Dandyism

Tinkering

A relationship with nature

And just a general sense of mucking in (muck in: share tasks or facilities with other people on an equal basis.)

What do you think of this list? I hesitate to get into a review of characteristics that are masculine or feminine because it risks solidifying the stereotypes. I chose to go for it today to foster a little positive discussion about men and to see if I could get you to comment on the list (what can I say?). Is there a feature you disagree with? Some that are missing?

One last point, in an interesting twist, several of her responders thought their answers to Moran’s query sounded like they were describing a dog. From this reaction, Moran makes an amusing, yet striking comparison:

“If men are like dogs, in some ways, then it’s no wonder that all the recent conversations about ‘masculinity being toxic’ has resulted in either a sense of depression and resignation in men; or else snapping, snarling misogyny and Manosphere nihilism. After all, if a dog starts being treated with suspicion-if it can tell that people are frightened of it; if all it hears is people angrily calling it a ‘bad dog’; if all conversations about dogs are about how bad they are- it will either slink away, under the table, crushed; or else start barking and believing it is a bad dog.”  Hmmm…What do you think?

6 Comments

  • Jeffrey Tress says:

    Interesting read Shaun. If I were a male or female significant other of “Typical Man” lol I’d probably want TM to be more non-judgmental, joyous, and up for anything. That’s my best guess. Take care

  • Shaun

    Wonderful to simply see this conversation happening.

    What about men? Indeed.

    The “bad dog” analogy spot on. If “masculinity” is “toxic” lotta men walking around feeling – well – toxic things like shame depression anger sadness discouragement despair and worse.

    So an honest inventory of how we show up – with honest feedback from trusted others – that is a good start in my experience.

    Responses to her question so useful to hear.

    Thank you kicking off this conversation.

  • Jeffrey Tress says:

    It is the real me Shaun :))

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