This month Arianna Huffington’s new venture Thrive Global has a series of articles on its website about the subject of “redefining masculinity.” I was pleased to be the focus of one of the Q&As in this series. Here are a couple of the questions where I distilled some of the key takeaways of Stage 4 and 5 on The Five Stages of Masculinity.
Thrive Global: How would you define masculinity?
Joseph Gelfer: I don’t want to define masculinity, as it is the act of defining that results in many of the problems. On the one hand you have conservatives who seek to define masculinity by stereotypical standards. On the other hand you have progressives who seek to redefine masculinity by alternative standards, such as being sensitive and vulnerable. There is a commonality here: men being told what masculinity should look like. So I don’t want to define or redefine masculinity: I want to undefine it.
TG: What do you think children should be taught about masculinity?
JG: Masculinity does not really exist. Or if it does exist, it is as unique to the individual as a fingerprint, so there are essentially as many masculinities as there are people. Don’t listen to anyone who tells you what masculinity should look like. Be free.
It gave me some satisfaction to see Huffington tweet a link to the Q&A with the quote “Masculinity does not really exist” to her 2.76m followers (and sharing the link again to her 5.6m followers on LinkedIn and another 1.4m on Facebook). Here’s to further mainstream exposure J
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