I’m not one for reposting articles about masculinity, largely because it’s rare to find one worth reposting. However, a recent article in the Daily Mail (!) by Tom Mitchelson is an exception, My (very) weird weekend with the naked woodland warriors who travel to remote England to ‘reclaim their masculinity’. Mitchelson goes undercover at the Mankind Project, on one of their Warrior Training Weekends, the like of which I’ve critiqued in the past. Now you could be forgiven for not taking an article seriously by a young author photographed like this:
However, some of the highlights from the article include the following quotes:
- It’s all rather bizarre, as they begin a strange game where I am asked to walk up to a man who stares at me, with black camouflage paint on his face. The process is repeated again, and again.
- They seem to have a paranoid fear of anything getting out. This, I suppose, should have set even more alarm bells ringing.
- I seem to have wondered into a Marx Brothers film, but without the laughs.
- He tells us how to be a man. It’s hard to take from a man wearing face paint, carrying a feathered stick.
- We are asked to describe how we fail to stand up to women. ‘They’re always getting at you to put the seat down on the loo,’ one of the staff men explains by way of example.
- Some of the staff are very skilled at reading visual signs of hidden emotion. At times, three inquisitors demand the answers to questions that eventually leave a man weeping and apparently broken.
- If these staff men have any professional training, I am unaware of it.
- They talk of regressing me. I don’t know if these amateur psychiatrists could achieve that or not, but they opt for getting me to wrench the guilt from my stomach by wrestling a rope up through my legs being held by four men.
- The cult-like intensity with which some of my fellow warriors converted to the brotherhood astonished me.
- This was an organisation that aimed to tell me how to be a man. Yet not once during that weird and frightening weekend did I ever hear it acknowledged that we men share a world. With women.
Mitchelson’s tragicomic tone in this article is an insightful reflection of this type of men’s movement.