Today, traditional masculine attributes like being ‘strong and silent’ are seen as uncool and men are told they should be ‘more open to their feelings’, or ’discover their more vulnerable side. Fringe communities of men dissatisfied with women or feminism proliferate, from the ‘Men Going Their Own Way’, who disavow relationships with women altogether, to the ‘Incels’ (involuntary celibates) who seek comfort for their lack of sexual activity and blame women and society for the problem. Has the war on toxic masculinity merely breathed life into old-fashioned ideas about what it takes to be a man? Can we take such claims about a ‘war’ on ‘traditional masculinity’ at face value? Are we now witnessing the rise among certain men of the very thing they supposedly criticise: a victimised identity politics?
Filmed by WORLDwrite volunteers at the Battle of Ideas the speakers are: Elizabeth Hobson director of communications, Justice for Men & Boys Dr Jan Macvarish visiting research fellow, Centre for Parenting Culture Studies, University of Kent; author, Neuroparenting: the expert invasion of family life Rebecca Reid digital editor, Grazia; author, Perfect Liars and The Power of Rude Nikos Sotirakopoulos lecturer in sociology, York St John University; author, The Rise of Lifestyle Activism and Identity Politics and the Culture Wars: understanding the tribalist mind (forthcoming) The chair is Dr Ashley Frawley senior lecturer in sociology and social policy, Swansea University; author, Significant Emotions and Semiotics of Happiness.