Young men were always supposed to aspire to be strong protectors and providers. But in a more equal, post-feminist society, may feel they should reject the kind of stoicism associated with old-style masculinity and instead embrace their own vulnerability. Are boys’ declining academic performance, higher rates of behavioural problems, substance abuse and even suicide the result of a ‘toxic masculinity’? Have public life and the labour market become ‘feminized’ to the detriment of boys? Or are the ideas of masculinity and femininity too vague and subjective to be either redundant, detrimental or necessary?
Filmed at the Battle of Ideas festival, the speakers are John Waters, Irish newspaper columnist; Camille Paglia, author of Free Women, Free Men: Sex, Gender and Feminism; Martin Daubney, award-winning editor, broadcaster and columnist for Telegraph Men; Christopher Beckett, former pastoral support worker. The chair is Nancy McDermott, writer and advisor to Park Slope Parents.