Masculinity in 2019: 3 Reflections from The Book of Man’s Mental Health Festival

May 20, 2019 2 Comments

Masculinity in 2019: 3 Reflections from The Book of Man’s Mental Health Festival

  • The old rules are out and the clay is still wet for the next playbook. 

The old definition of a successful man was that he was in-control, wealthy, physically fit, and emotionless. He was taught to suppress emotions, and "just carry on." Not only has that created a massive burden on the men of today, it’s also not necessarily reflective of society. Men are searching for a new way of "being," a new playbook so to speak that allows them to express their masculinity in their own way.

Whether it’ll be many different ‘blueprints,’ no archetypes at all, the transition will most certainly result in a new way of being. We heard emotional and mental resilience come up a lot during the festival.

Source: Harper Bazaar article, “Men Have No Friends and Women Bear the Burden”

  • Feminine traits can be beneficial for men to embrace.

Until now, most people agree that women have had to adjust to live in a “man’s world” in order to be successful. This most literally translated to adopting traditionally masculine traits in the work place. Now, there is a common understanding that a blend of both masculine and feminine traits can be beneficial for both professional and personal relationships. Most notably, empathy and proactivity can be really powerful for men to better understand.

  • Male friendships and the history of banter can make opening up difficult.

For all the non-Brits out there, in the UK, banter refers to making fun of or “taking the piss” out of others in order to make people laugh. Some men find it hard to balance keeping the mood light/joking around with friends, with supporting and building each other up. While humour is important, it’s key for men to read their audience and not try to take each other down with banter. Here are some tips we took away for how to improve the quality (and depth) of male friendships:

  • Create a dedicated space and time for talking through issues with friends. Don’t make it something you think about – it’s the same time/place so you just show up and have that safe space.
  • Use sports clubs as a way to start creating bonds in groups, and find 1 or 2 friends to chat with after. Check out one great option here in the UK: FC Not Alone, and think about starting up one where you are if the infrastructure doesn’t already exist.
  • Many men don't think they're expected to respond with much more beyond "fine" when asked how they're doing. Instead of token gestures of concern, it’s okay to ask other men real, difficult questions, and just listen. Definitely save the advice for professionals, but understand the importance of simply asking questions and listening.

Click here to learn more about Book of Man’s Workshop for Better Mental Health, which took place on 19 May, 2019 in London

2 Responses

Talisman
Talisman

May 20, 2019

Thanks for your comments, Abbas. It’s definitely an interesting topic and one worth discussing. We don’t think there’s anything inherently wrong with masculinity (or femininity for that matter), just certain traits within it that might not be so productive :)

Abbas
Abbas

May 20, 2019

This is so relevant to men today! There’s definitely a stigma attached to being “masculine” today. Thanks for sharing!

Leave a comment


Also in Learn

Skin Health Lessons from a Month in Bombay (Part 1)

September 17, 2019 362 Comments

South Asia feels like a hub for ‘natural’ remedies and millions of small businesses, and we have a lot of learnings to share! 

Continue Reading

Why There's Never Been a Better Time to Care About Men's Skincare
Why There's Never Been a Better Time to Care About Men's Skincare

August 01, 2019 372 Comments

Did you ever think it would be rebellious for all men to use skincare? 

Continue Reading

L'Oreal Men Expert Moisturiser: Under the Cap [Part 5]
L'Oreal Men Expert Moisturiser: Under the Cap [Part 5]

July 29, 2019 230 Comments

Most people use some form of moisturiser, or are familiar with what it “does” i.e. moisturise the skin. The composition of your skin’s outer layer – the stratum corneum – is affected by environmental factors, age, and even genetics. If you shave often or your face is otherwise irritated, your moisturiser can help soothe or calm the skin as well.

Continue Reading