Clem passionately outlines the dangerous, deeply damaging reality of toxic masculinity, and illustrates how these harmful "gender norms", and sexist ideas, hurt everyone. She also backs up what she is saying by providing plenty of relevant studies and data.
As I read example after example, I felt a plethora of emotions, ranging from sadness, anger, rage, fear, and, also, hope - hope because there are people like Clem, standing up against the nonsense we have all been brainwashed with since birth, and genuinely trying to dismantle those structures to make a safer, balanced, and truly equal world for everyone.
Healthy masculinity, that doesn't shy away from being caring, soft, and gentle, is a truly beautiful (and natural) thing, and I am sure this book will reach those people - especially men - who chose to let their guard down, and examine the facts.
Thank you Clem, again, for another exceptional, passionate, and absolutely vital book. It could not be more apt.
The author takes a systematic approach to dissecting the problem of toxic masculinity. She offers a respectful approach to combating this issue of vital importance. Some people will automatically hate this book because they want to and because they are afraid of change. In this book, however, it is shown that is not something to fear, but rather is something that will help us all.
This work is basically an extended opinion piece focusing on contemporary media stories of rape and #metoo, punctuated with feminists theories on rape culture and toxic masculinity with the arguements framed under a heteropatriarchal perspective, even though the writer attempts to critique heteronormativity. There's no solid research into gender, male sexuality, male homo-socialisation to back up the writers claims and this weakens their argument. If you're looking for a sensationalist polemic quick read suited for an airport lounge, this would be a good choice.
Boys Will Be Boys was an interesting read - more, for me, like a mutually-indignant chat with an intelligent friend about one aspect of the problems with the world today than a scholarly work. There were some great figures I hadn't yet come across - I looked up the Geena Davis Institute and used some of their stats about perceived representation in a monthly report to our Board of Directors (one of the areas we deal with is family violence - alongside our service stats I try to provide something a bit thought-provoking: it's often difficult to find something relevant, educative and reflective of the wider Society issues every month) - though a bit more scholarly footnoting would have been useful for me.
I suppose that over time I have come to understand that one of the 'rights' of being in a privileged group - and I'm white and middle-class in Australia, so on the world measure I'm pretty damn lucky - is the 'right' not to have to think about it: not think about why things are as they are, who benefits from that and how, who loses out from it and how, and whether that requires me to do something different. And whether the overall effect is to harm society as a whole. I know I am lazy and don't do a lot of what I really should - I don't always think carefully about things, I haven't revolutionised my life over climate change, given my last dollar to lower socio-economic groups, or housed the homeless in my own town, and so forth - but some of those things are really hard and there isn't always a good solid basis for what would be effective. But I have seen that gender (and other baseless forms of ) discrimination does cause harm to women, men and children, and if thinking about things a bit more and changing how I do a few things will ensure that my nephew never gets himself into this kind of trouble or damages his relationships or gets suicidal or suffers a friend's suicide and my niece (or, being less 'tribal' - anyone else's children) faces less of that and hopeless double-binds less often than she would otherwise, then it's definitely worth feeling slightly uncomfortable about how my part in society may have perpetuated a few significant problems. This book can help you think. Not, I hasten to add, replace the need for you to think by indoctrinating you with femi-nazi ideas, but give you a few new perspectives to consider.
There was one bit I found terribly depressing, which was a listing out of famous or powerful men who were accused of things like sexual assault, and the consequences they experienced. Or, more accurately, the almost entire lack of negative consequences over the rest of their careers. It really did suggest that we have a long way to go before we deal effectively with people who do harmful things to others, and that a lot of the 'backlash' against gender equality moves may be about people not liking to have to feel uncomfortable and think about things, rather than having a good basis for their complaints.