Transcript: Boys to Men | Jul 19, 2018

Nam sits in the studio. She's in her early forties, with shoulder length curly brown hair. She's wearing glasses and a gray blazer over a floral print blouse.

A caption reads "Boys to men. Nam Kiwanuka, @namshine, @theagenda."

Nam says AS WE CELEBRATE THE POTENTIAL OF
GIRLS WITH SLOGANS LIKE
"THE FUTURE IS FEMALE," AND
"GIRLS RUN THE WORLD," THERE
SEEMS TO BE A GROWING CHORUS
OF, "WHAT ABOUT OUR BOYS?"
RAISING SONS IN THE 21ST CENTURY
IS COMPLICATED.
JOINING US, RACHEL GIESE IS
EDITOR-AT-LARGE AT
CHATELAINE
MAGAZINE AND SHE EXPLORES WHAT
IT'S LIKE FOR BOYS TO GROW UP IN
A CULTURE THAT EXPECTS THEM TO
BEHAVE LIKE BOYS AND THEN
PENALIZE THEM FOR IT IN HER NEW
BOOK, "BOYS: WHAT IT MEANS
TO BECOME A MAN."

Rachel is in her early forties, with straight blond hair in a bob and bangs. She's wearing a black blazer over a red blouse, and a golden pendant necklace.
A picture of her book appears briefly on screen. The cover features a picture of four shirtless pre-teen boys smiling.

Nam continues AND WE'RE PLEASED TO WELCOME
RACHEL TO OUR STUDIO TONIGHT.
HI.

Rachel says HI, HOW ARE YOU?

Nam says I'M SO HAPPY TO FINALLY MEET
YOU.

Rachel says OH, I KNOW.
I'M HAPPY TO MEET YOU TOO.

NAM SAYS BUT YOU KNOW,
READING YOUR BOOK, A FEW TIMES I
BROKE DOWN IN TEARS...
NAM SAYS BUT THEN I ALSO REALIZED,
I HAVE ALL THESE BLIND SPOTS
WHEN IT COMES TO BOYS.
AND I'M RAISING A SON.

RACHEL SAYS YEAH.

Nam says SO YOU'RE THE EDITOR-AT-LARGE
WITH
CHATELAINE,
AND I'M
ASSUMING YOU'RE A FEMINIST.

RACHEL SAYS YES.

Nam says SO WHY WRITE A BOOK ABOUT BOYS?

The caption changes to "Rachel Giese. Author, 'Boys.'"
Then, it changes again to "Made masculine."

Rachel says WELL, BECAUSE I HAVE ONE SO PART
OF IT IS MY EXPERIENCE.
I'M MARRIED TO A WOMAN AND WE
ADOPTED A SON ALMOST 14 YEARS
AGO.
AND WE DIDN'T GIVE TOO MUCH
THOUGHT TO GENDER AT THE
BEGINNING.
WE WERE CAUGHT UP IN THE THROES
OF EARLY PARENTHOOD AND
THEN... AND YOU KNOW, I HAD THIS
STRONG FEMINIST ANALYSIS AND I
WAS WATCHING MY FRIENDS WHO WERE
RAISING GIRLS AND NAVIGATING THE
WORLD OF LIKE, PINK PRINCESSES
AND BARBIES AND HOW DO YOU BUILD
STRONG, YOUNG WOMEN WHO RESIST
GENDER NORMS AND GENDER LABELS
THAT HOLD THEM BACK?
AND I BEGAN TO THINK ABOUT WHAT
IT MEANT FOR MY SON AND THE
STEREOTYPES ABOUT BOYS AND
MALES.
THAT THEY BE AGGRESSIVE, THAT
THEY FIND STATUS THROUGH HAVING
LOTS OF MONEY OR DOMINATING
OTHER BOYS AND DOMINATING OTHER
GIRLS.
THAT BOYS DON'T CRY.
THEY DON'T HAVE ACCESS TO THEIR
EMOTIONS AND I WANTED TO LOOK AT
THE WAYS IN WHICH THOSE
STEREOTYPES THAT WE HAVE ABOUT
BOYS CAUSE THEM HARM TO
THEMSELVES AND CAUSE THEM TO DO
HARM TO OTHERS.

Nam says AND YOU GIVE US A LOT TO THINK
ABOUT IN THE BOOK BUT THERE'S
ONE INCIDENT THAT HAPPENS THAT
YOU OBSERVE YOUR SON DOING AND I
WAS WONDERING IF YOU COULD
READ...

RACHEL SAYS YEAH, YEAH...

Nam says FROM YOUR BOOK.

RACHEL SAYS FOR SURE.

NAM SAYS AND THEN WE'LL TALK ABOUT
IT AFTERWARDS.

Rachel says SURE.

Nam hands Rachel a copy of her book with a page marked.

Rachel puts on glasses and says
SO THIS CAME AFTER SEEING MY
SON, ONE DAY, MEETING A FRIEND
ON THE STREET AND THEY WERE
ABOUT 10 AND THEY DID THE VERY
ELABORATE... THEY GAVE DAPS.
THEY DID A VERY ELABORATE
HANDSHAKE WITH ONE ANOTHER AND
SO THIS IS WHAT I WRITE...

She reads
THE GLIMPSE I HAD OF MY SON
GIVING DAP TO HIS FRIEND MADE
ME STOP SHORT.
WHEN DID HE BECOME SUCH A GUY, I
WONDERED.
AND NOW THAT HE WAS OLDER, HOW
WOULD HIS TRANSITION FROM BOY TO
MAN ALTER HIM?
I BEGAN TO MORE SERIOUSLY
CONSIDER THE AMBIENT NOISE OF
GENDER ROLES AND MASCULINITY.
THE LESSONS BOTH IMPLICIT AND
OVERT THAT MY SON WAS ABSORBING
ABOUT MALE CULTURE AND MANHOOD.
WHAT DID HE THINK IT MEANT TO BE
A MAN?
WAS MANLINESS FOR HIM SIMPLY
ABOUT ENDEARING IN BENIGN
RITUALS LIKE COMPLICATED
HANDSHAKES AND A FONDNESS FOR
GUY STUFF LIKE BASKETBALL AND
CALL OF DUTY?
OR WAS HE ALSO PICKING UP ON THE
MORE TROUBLED AND TROUBLING
MANIFESTATIONS OF MASCULINITY,
SUCH AS AGGRESSION AND EMOTIONAL
DETACHMENT?

Nam says IT IS A TRICKY TIME TO NOT ONLY
BE A BOY BUT TO RAISE A BOY.
DID YOU AND YOUR WIFE EVER HAVE
A CONVERSATION ABOUT HOW YOU
WOULD RAISE YOUR SON?

Rachel says YEAH, I MEAN, I THINK WE'VE HAD
MANY CONVERSATIONS ABOUT THIS
AND WE'VE HAD MANY CONVERSATIONS
ABOUT, YOU KNOW, THE THINGS WE
WANTED TO EXPOSE HIM TO AND SO
MAKING SURE THAT THE POP CULTURE
HE CONSUMED HAD A VARIETY OF
IMAGES OF MEN AND MASCULINITY.
MAKING SURE THAT THE MEN HE HAD
IN HIS LIFE PROVIDED A LOT OF
VARIATIONS ON WHAT IT MEANS TO
BE A MAN.
SO I'M WHITE, MY WIFE IS WHITE,
OUR SON IS INDIGENOUS.
AND SO WE WANTED TO MAKE SURE
THAT HE HAD LOTS OF MEN IN HIS
LIFE WHO WERE MEN OF COLOUR,
GAY, TRANS MEN.
THAT HE ALSO UNDERSTOOD THAT
WOMEN DIDN'T ADHERE TO A
PARTICULAR KIND OF FEMALENESS OR
FEMININITY SO WE REALLY WANTED
HIM TO UNDERSTAND THAT THERE
WASN'T A SET... THE WORLD MIGHT
TELL HIM THERE WAS A SET WAY TO
BE A MAN AND THE WORLD MIGHT
HAVE ALL KINDS OF BIASES AND
PROJECTIONS ON HIM AS A MALE AND
AS AN INDIGENOUS MALE.
AND WE WANTED HIM TO UNDERSTAND
THAT HE DIDN'T HAVE TO ABIDE BY
THOSE RULES AND HE DIDN'T HAVE
TO SEE HIMSELF THROUGH THAT LENS.

Nam says DID YOU EVER WORRY ABOUT HIM NOT
HAVING LIKE A FATHER IN THE HOME?

[RACHEL LAUGHING]

Nam says YOU TELL THIS FUNNY STORY...

RACHEL SAYS YES.

NAM SAYS ABOUT MCDONALDS.

Rachel says YEAH.
I MEAN, I THINK AT FIRST, YOU
KNOW, OUR SON, YOU KNOW, DOES
TICK A LOT OF TRADITIONAL MALE
BOXES SO HE IS A LITTLE JOCK AND
HE LIKES VIDEO GAMES AND HE HAS
A VERY BIG PHYSICALITY SO IN
MANY WAYS, HE FITS THE KIND OF
TRADITIONAL... LIKE WHEN YOU THINK
OF A BOY, HE KIND OF FITS THAT
TRADITIONAL MODEL AND ONE DAY, I
WAS THINKING ABOUT THIS AND I
SAID TO HIM, YOU KNOW,
"DO YOU EVER MISS
NOT HAVING A DAD?
I KNOW YOU HAVE LOTS OF MEN IN
YOUR LIFE BUT DO YOU EVER MISS
HAVING A DAD?" AND HE THOUGHT
ABOUT IT AND HE SAID, "YOU KNOW,
I THINK IF I HAD A DAD." AND I'M
LIKE WAITING.
LIKE WHAT WAS HE GOING TO SAY?
"I THINK I WOULD GO TO MCDONALDS
MORE OFTEN."

[LAUGHTER]

Rachel says AND I KIND OF CHALLENGED HIM AND SAID, YOU KNOW, "WE HAVE A
FRIEND WHO'S A VEGAN.
THEY DON'T GO TO MCDONALDS AND
THERE'S A FRIEND WHO'S LIKE
SUPER INTO THE ENVIRONMENT AND
THEY DON'T GO TO MCDONALDS."
AND HE'S LIKE UH, LIKE ALREADY
JUST BORED OF THIS CONVERSATION.
AND HE SAID, "YOU KNOW, I DON'T
KNOW ABOUT THAT.
ALL I KNOW IS THAT YOU TWO
LESBIANS NEVER TAKE ME TO
MCDONALDS."

[LAUGHTER]

Rachel says AND THAT'S KIND OF HOW OUR SON
HAS FOUND HIS PATH.
LIKE HE'S VERY FUNNY AND SO LIKE
A LOT OF OUR CONVERSATIONS WITH
HIM ABOUT THIS STUFF IS LIKE
TAUGHT... LIKE BEING HUMOROUS
ABOUT IT AND TO TALK ABOUT THESE
NORMS AND RULES AS HAVING LIKE A
REAL WEIGHT IN A REAL MATERIAL
WAY BUT THERE'S ALSO LIKE TO
ALSO REALIZE HOW ABSURD IT IS TO
THINK THAT, YOU KNOW, ONLY BOYS
CAN PLAY HOCKEY OR YOU KNOW,
ONLY GIRLS CAN WEAR DRESSES.
I MEAN, THERE'S SOMETHING ABSURD
IN THESE RULES THAT WE'VE MADE UP.

Nam says EVEN LIKE COMING DOWN TO COLOUR
OF CLOTHING.
MY SON WILL NOT WEAR A PINK
T-SHIRT.

RACHEL SAYS YEAH.

Nam says AND I'M A FEMINIST AND HE SAYS TO ME HE WON'T WEAR IT BECAUSE
IT'S A GIRL'S COLOUR.
BUT IN THE BOOK, YOU EXPLAIN
THAT THESE IDEAS OF WHAT IT
MEANS TO BE A BOY AND WHAT IT
MEANS TO BE A GIRL IS
ACTUALLY... THERE'S A HISTORICAL
CONTEXT TO IT.

Rachel says YEAH.

Nam says SO WHERE DO THESE IDEAS COME FROM?

Rachel says YEAH, I MEAN, I THINK THAT EVEN
TERMS LIKE MASCULINITY AND
FEMININITY ARE CULTURALLY
SPECIFIC AND THEY DON'T ADHERE
FROM CULTURE TO CULTURE, FROM,
YOU KNOW, NATION TO NATION EVEN
THROUGHOUT HISTORY SO, YOU KNOW,
THE COLOUR PINK USED TO BE A
BOY'S COLOUR BECAUSE IT WAS A
DERIVATIVE OF RED, WHICH IS SEEN
AS A REALLY STRONG, POWERFUL
COLOUR AND BLUE USED TO BE A
GIRL'S COLOUR BECAUSE IT WAS THE
COLOUR OF THE VIRGIN MARY'S ROBE
SO IT WAS SEEN AS THE COLOUR OF
PURITY.
AND AT SOME POINT, DUE TO
MARKETING, DUE TO, YOU KNOW,
TRENDS CHANGING, SUDDENLY PINK
BECAME FOR GIRLS AND BLUE BECAME
FOR BOYS.
AND THESE RULES WHICH SEEM HARD
AND FAST, YOU KNOW, A LOT OF
THEM ARE DOWN TO MARKETING.
I MEAN, THERE WAS A PERIOD OF
TIME IN THE '70S, YOU KNOW, IN
SORT OF THAT WAVE OF FEMINISM
WHEN, YOU KNOW, MARKETERS WERE
MUCH MORE ANDROGYNOUS IN HOW
THEY MARKETED THINGS SO YOU'D
ACTUALLY SEE, YOU KNOW, THERE'S
BEEN ACADEMICS WHO'VE LOOKED AT
ADS FOR SEARS AND THE WAY THAT
TOYS WERE MARKETED.
AND THERE WAS A PERIOD OF TIME
WHEN THEY WERE VERY GENDERED AND
THEN THERE WAS A PERIOD OF TIME
WHEN THERE WOULD BE... IN THE
'70S... WHEN THERE WOULD BE ADS
SHOWING BOYS PLAYING WITH DOLLS
OR GIRLS PLAYING WITH TRUCKS.
AND THEN I THINK IT COINCIDED
WITH THE KIND OF BACKLASH TO
THAT WAVE OF FEMINISM IN THE
'80S AND '90S.
THERE WAS A RETRENCHING OF
GENDER ROLES AND SO SUDDENLY
THERE WAS LEGO FOR BOYS AND
BARBIE FOR GIRLS AND SO A LOT OF
THIS... THE THINGS THAT WE THINK
ARE NORMAL AND YOU KNOW,
AS A PARENT, I THINK OFTEN
PEOPLE WILL SAY LIKE, YOU KNOW,
"WE DIDN'T DO ANYTHING.
OUR SON JUST STARTED PLAYING
WITH TRUCKS," OR
"OUR DAUGHTER JUST PLAYED
WITH BARBIES."
AND THERE MAY WELL BE SOME JUST
PERSONAL PREFERENCES BUT I THINK
THE MESSAGES COME SO HARD AND SO
EARLY ABOUT GIRLS THINGS AND
BOYS THINGS AND I'M SURE YOU'VE
HAD THE EXPERIENCE SHOPPING FOR
YOUR OWN KIDS, WHEN YOU GO INTO
STORES, YOU CAN'T JUST BUY
JEANS.
THERE ARE GIRL JEANS AND BOYS
JEANS AND THE GIRL JEANS HAVE
LIKE RHINESTONES AND
BUTTERFLIES...

Nam says THE GIRLS SHORTS ARE LIKE, YOU KNOW...

She gestures a small size.

Rachel says EXACTLY.
TINY LITTLE... THEY SHOW OFF THEIR
BUMS AND THEY'RE SEXY.
AND THE BOYS SHORTS ARE DOWN TO
THE KNEES AND THEY'RE SURFER
SHORTS SO VERY EARLY ON,
IT'S... EVEN BUYING BEDDING FOR A
BABY, IT'S LIKE HEARTS AND
ANGELS OR TRUCKS AND DINOSAURS.
SO WE GIVE THESE MESSAGES TO
KIDS SUPER EARLY.

NAM SAYS WHAT DOES THAT DO TO KIDS?

Rachel says I THINK IT MAKES THEM... 'CAUSE I
THINK THE KIDS, THEY'RE LIKE
LITTLE SCIENTISTS.
THEY'RE TRYING TO FIGURE OUT THE
WORLD AND ITS RULES AND SO I
THINK FOR THEM, THEY LEARN
REALLY QUICKLY THAT YOU KNOW,
THEY START... AROUND TWO, THEY
START TO GET A SENSE OF THERE
BEING LIKE A GENDER.
THEY LOOK AT THE WORLD AROUND
THEM AND SEE THAT PEOPLE ARE
DIVIDED UP IN CERTAIN WAYS.
AND SO I THINK WHAT THEY BEGIN
TO SEE, IF WHAT THEY SEE AROUND
THEM ARE, "THERE ARE ONLY THINGS
THAT PEOPLE I UNDERSTAND TO BE
FEMALE DO AND WEAR AND LOOK LIKE
AND THERE'S ONLY THINGS THAT
MALES DO," THEN IF THEY DON'T
FIT THOSE NORMS, I THINK IT
COULD BECOME VERY CONFUSING AND
VERY HARD AND VERY LIMITING.
AND THEN OFTEN KIDS WHO DO FIT
THOSE NORMS BEGIN TO POLICE
OTHER KIDS.
SO WHAT HAPPENS IS, YOU KNOW,
KIDS WILL TELL EACH OTHER,
"YOU CAN'T... YOU'RE A BOY.
YOU CAN'T GO AND PLAY WITH THE
GIRLS BECAUSE BOYS DON'T PLAY
WITH GIRLS.
BOYS PLAY WITH BOYS," AND SO YOU
START SORT OF SETTING
UP... HEIGHTENING A DIFFERENCE
THAT REALLY ISN'T THERE.

Nam says WHAT HAPPENS TO KIDS WHO ARE
NON-BINARY...

RACHEL SAYS YEAH.

Nam says KIDS WHO ARE TRANS?

Rachel says YEAH.
I THINK IT CAN BE INCREDIBLY
PAINFUL FOR KIDS WHO FEEL LIKE
THEY DON'T FIT.
AND I THINK THAT YOU THEN START
HAVING KIDS WHO ARE BEING FORCED
TO USE A WASHROOM THAT DOESN'T
FEEL COMFORTABLE FOR THEM TO USE
OR FORCED TO WEAR CLOTHES THAT
DON'T FIT THEM AND IT LEADS TO
ALL KINDS OF... A DISTORTED SENSE
OF SELF.
IT ALSO LEADS TO BULLYING.
I THINK IF ADULTS DON'T STEP IN
AND SUPPORT THOSE KIDS, THEN I
THINK THOSE KIDS CAN HAVE A
SENSE THAT THEY'RE WRONG OR THAT
THE WORLD... THERE'S NO PLACE FOR
THEM IN THE WORLD.

Nam says WELL, YOU WRITE ABOUT THIS
REALLY INTERESTING THING CALLED
THE MAN BOX.
WHAT IS THE MAN BOX?

The caption changes to "Rachel Giese. Chatelaine."
Then, it changes again to "Sensitive boys, sensitive men."

Rachel says THE MAN BOX IS A TERM THAT'S
BEEN USED BY SOCIOLOGISTS FOR
ABOUT A DECADE OR SO TO TALK
ABOUT THE SET OF TRADITIONAL
ATTRIBUTES OF MASCULINITY.
SO IF YOU THINK ABOUT THE KIND
OF TRADITIONAL "DO," THE
TRADITIONAL SORT OF MANLY MAN.
SO YOU KNOW, BEING AGGRESSIVE,
BEING A BREAD WINNER, BEING
HETEROSEXUAL.
BEING PHYSICALLY STRONG, LIKING
SPORTS, BEING EMOTIONALLY STOIC,
HAVING POWER OVER WOMEN.
LIKING THINGS LIKE TECHNOLOGY
AND CARS.
THOSE SORTS OF THINGS IS THE MAN
BOX.
IT'S SORT OF A SET OF RULES AND
TO BE A REAL MAN, YOU HAVE TO
ADHERE TO THE RULES OF THE MAN
BOX AND THE REASON WHY IT'S BEEN
GIVEN THE BOX LABEL IS BECAUSE
IT IS A LIMITING THING AND IT'S
ALSO AN ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE THING
FOR ANY BOY OR MAN TO LIVE UP TO
AT ANY GIVEN TIME.

Nam says WELL, YOU WRITE ABOUT THIS
INCIDENT WHERE BOYS ARE ASKED,
"HOW DO YOU SEE YOURSELF?"
CAN YOU TELL ME ABOUT THAT?

Rachel says YEAH.
SO A FRIEND OF MINE, JEFF
PERERA, WHO I INTERVIEW IN THE
BOOK WHO DOES A LOT OF WORK
AROUND GENDER POLITICS AND
GENDER ISSUES, HE HAD DONE A
WORKSHOP WITH BOYS WHO, I THINK,
WERE IN GRADE 4 OR 5 AND ASKED
THEM, YOU KNOW, WHAT WERE THE
GOOD AND BAD PARTS ABOUT BEING
BOYS AND IT WAS A PRETTY
HEARTBREAKING LIST.
SO WHEN THEY SAID, YOU KNOW,
"HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT BEING A
BOY?" AND THEY SAID THINGS LIKE,
YOU KNOW, "BOYS ARE SUPPOSED TO
BE VIOLENT."
YOU KNOW, "BOYS DON'T GET TO BE
MOTHERS."
"BOYS AREN'T ALLOWED TO CRY."
AND SO HAVING KIDS THAT YOUNG
WHO ARE SAYING... I MEAN, FIRST OF
ALL, THE MOTHER THING IS
INTERESTING BECAUSE THEY'RE NOT
EVEN... CLEARLY, THEY'RE NOT
GETTING TOLD ABOUT THE VALUE OF
BEING A FATHER, THAT THEY CAN
HAVE THAT ROLE AS A NURTURER.
THEY ASSUME THAT THAT IS ONLY
SOMETHING A MOTHER CAN DO.
AND THEN ALSO THAT THEY FEEL
THAT TO BE A BOY MEANS TO BE
VIOLENT.
THAT THAT IS WHAT'S EXPECTED.

NAM SAYS AND HOW YOUNG WERE THESE BOYS?

Rachel says THESE WERE LIKE 9 OR 10.
I MEAN, THEY WERE LITTLE.
AND SO I THINK THAT BOYS ARE
GETTING THESE MESSAGES AND THEN
YOU KNOW, YOU CAN SEE WHERE THIS
GOES.
SO IF A BOY DOESN'T FIT THAT... SO
BOYS ARE STRIVING TO FIT THESE
RULES OF BEING A MALE.
AND THOSE RULES ARE NOT... THOSE
ARE NOT RULES FOR HAVING TO BE A
HEALTHY PERSON, TO BE
AGGRESSIVE, TO BE VIOLENT.
AND I THINK THESE ARE SOME OF
THE VALUES THAT WE TELL BOYS
THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO BE.
BUT THEN WE'RE ALSO AT THE
MOMENT WHERE WE'RE TALKING ABOUT
ISSUES LIKE CONSENT AND
HARASSMENT SO IF WE SAY TO BOYS,
"TO BE A REAL MAN IS TO BE
AGGRESSIVE, NEVER TO TAKE NO FOR
AN ANSWER, YOU KNOW, TO BE
DISMISSIVE OF GIRLS, TO SEEK
STATUS, TO NOT BE COOPERATIVE,
TO NOT SHOW YOUR EMOTIONS,"
YOU CAN SEE HOW THAT THEN LEADS
TO THE KIND OF BEHAVIOUR WE'VE
BEEN TALKING TO AS PART OF THE
Hashtag METOO MOVEMENT, WHICH IS NOT
RECOGNIZING SOMEONE'S
BOUNDARIES.
THINKING THAT WOMEN'S BODIES
BELONG TO YOU.
THINKING THAT IT'S OKAY TO
HARASS WOMEN.
THINKING IT'S OKAY TO BE A BULLY
BECAUSE THOSE ARE THE ATTRIBUTES
WE SAY IT IS TO BE A REAL MAN
AND TO BE A BOY.

Nam says I WANT TO COME BACK TO THE
CONSENT CONVERSATION BUT RIGHT
NOW, I WANT TO SHOW YOU A CLIP
OF ACTOR JUSTIN BALDONI, GIVING
A TED TALK ABOUT WHAT IT MEANS
TO BE A MAN.

A clip plays on screen in which Justin Baldoni stands on a stage with a cut-out that reads "TED."
A caption appears on screen. It reads "Justin Baldoni. November 2017."
He's in his early thirties, with brown hair and a stubble.

He says I CAN TELL YOU RIGHT NOW THAT IT
IS EXHAUSTING, TRYING TO BE MAN
ENOUGH FOR EVERYONE ALL
THE TIME.
WHY DOES MY DAD, TO THIS DAY,
STILL THINK HE'S GOTTA DO IT ALL
ON HIS OWN?
I KNOW A MAN WHO WOULD RATHER
DIE THAN TELL ANOTHER MAN THAT
THEY'RE HURTING.
BUT IT'S NOT BECAUSE WE'RE JUST
ALL STRONG, SILENT TIMES.
IT'S NOT.
A LOT OF US MEN ARE REALLY GOOD
AT MAKING FRIENDS AND TALKING.
JUST NOT ABOUT ANYTHING REAL.

[LAUGHTER]

He continues IF IT'S ABOUT WORK OR SPORTS OR
POLITICS OR WOMEN, WE'VE GOT NO
PROBLEM SHARING OUR OPINIONS.
BUT IF IT'S ABOUT OUR
INSECURITIES OR OUR STRUGGLES,
OUR FEAR OF FAILURE, THEN IT'S
ALMOST LIKE WE BECOME PARALYZED.

Nam says HOW ARE MEN CONDITIONED TO
SUPPRESS ANY SHOW OF EMOTION?

Rachel says I MEAN, I THINK, YOU KNOW, IT'S
BECOME A BIT OF A CLICHÉ,
THE "BOYS DON'T CRY" THING,
BUT I THINK IT'S REALLY TRUE.
I THINK THAT VERY EARLY ON, YOU
KNOW, AGAIN, THERE'S BEEN
RESEARCH SHOWING THAT, YOU KNOW,
PARENTS DON'T RESPOND TO BOYS'
CRIES AS READILY AS... BABIES, BOY
BABIES' CRIES READILY AS THEY
RESPOND TO GIRL BABY CRIES.
SO RIGHT FROM THE START, THERE'S
AN ASSUMPTION THAT, YOU KNOW,
BOYS SHOULDN'T SHOW WEAKNESS OR
THEIR FEELINGS, THEIR
TENDERNESS, SHOULD BE DISMISSED.
IT SHOULD BE, YOU KNOW, STIFLED
AND SHUT DOWN.
AND SO, YOU KNOW, THOSE
EXPRESSIONS LIKE "BOYS DON'T
CRY" OR "MAN UP" SUGGEST TO BOYS
THAT HAVING VULNERABILITY AND
HAVING MOMENTS OF WEAKNESS OR
MOMENTS OF FAILURE ARE
INCONSISTENT WITH MALE IDENTITY
AND SO... AND I THINK BOYS GET
THOSE MESSAGES AND THEN THEY
ALSO, I THINK... I THINK IT'S
CHANGING NOW WITH MEN THAT ARE
IN THEIR 20S AND 30S AND EARLY
40S BUT I THINK THEY'RE LOOKING
AROUND AND THE ROLE MODELS THEY
HAVE OF OTHER MEN ARE, YOU KNOW,
AS JUSTIN BALDONI SAYS IN THAT
CLIP, MEN WHO DON'T TALK ABOUT
INTIMATE THINGS WITH ONE ANOTHER.
MEN WHO TURN TO WOMEN IN THEIR
LIVES TO TALK ABOUT INTIMATE
THINGS, TO TALK ABOUT THEIR
FEELINGS BUT AREN'T LEANING ON
OTHER MEN FOR THAT KIND OF
EMOTIONAL SUPPORT SO I THINK
THAT, YOU KNOW, BOYS BEGIN TO
PICK UP THE MESSAGE THAT,
"I CAN'T RELY ON OTHER MEN
TO FEED ME EMOTIONALLY.
THE WAY I NEED TO BE AROUND
OTHER MEN IS TO BE TOUGH AND TO
BE STRONG AND TO NEVER ASK FOR
HELP."
AND YOU KNOW, THAT THEN LEADS TO
ISSUES LIKE, YOU KNOW,
DEPRESSION AND LONELINESS AND
ISOLATION AND BOYS NOT LEARNING
TO BE STRONG AND EQUAL EMOTIONAL
PARTNERS WITH THE PEOPLE IN
THEIR LIVES.

Nam says I WANT TO SHOW YOU ANOTHER CLIP
AND THIS IS FROM THE ACTOR TERRY
CREWS ON HOW... SOME OF THE THINGS
THAT HE WAS EXPOSED TO AS A FATHER.

A clip plays on screen with the caption "Terry Crews. November 22, 2014."
In the clip, Terry and Nam sit on a stage holding microphones.

He says I LOOK AT VIDEOS OF THE WAY I
USED TO SPEAK TO MY FAMILY.
AND... MY OLDEST DAUGHTER
IS 27 YEARS OLD.
I HAVE FIVE KIDS.
27, 23, 16, 11, AND 9.
THE 9-YEAR-OLD'S A BOY.
THE FIRST TWO, I MEAN, I
COULDN'T BELIEVE THE WAY I SPOKE
TO THEM.
I WAS LIKE, "SHUT UP!
SHUT UP!"

He sobs.

He says I TREATED HER LIKE SHE WASN'T HUMAN.

The clip ends.

Nam says TERRY CREWS WROTE A BOOK CALLED
TO EXAMINE HOW HE BEHAVES AS A
MAN, NOT ONLY IN SOCIETY,
BUT TOWARDS HIS FAMILY.
AND OBVIOUSLY, I DID THAT
INTERVIEW FOR... A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO.
BUT WHERE DOES THIS FORM OF
TOXIC MASCULINITY COME FROM?

The caption changes to "Rachel Giese, @rachelagiese."

RACHEL SAYS UH HMM.
I MEAN, I THINK IT COMES FROM,
YOU KNOW, THOSE MESSAGES, THE
MAN BOX MESSAGES, AND THEN ALSO,
I THINK, YOU KNOW, A BROADER
CULTURE MISOGYNY AND SEXISM THAT
DEVALUES WOMEN THAT SAID... THAT
SEES WOMEN, NOT AS ACTORS AND
AGENTS, BUT AS OBJECTS FOR MEN AND BOYS.
AND I THINK ALSO SEES MEN AND
WOMEN AS BEING, YOU KNOW, IN AN
ADVERSARIAL RELATIONSHIP OR AS
OPPOSITES OF ONE ANOTHER.
SO IF YOU SAY THAT TO BE A MAN
MEANS TO BE OPPOSITE OF
EVERYTHING ASSOCIATED WITH
FEMALENESS AND IF WE ASSOCIATE
FEMALENESS WITH TENDERNESS,
VULNERABILITY, EMOTIONAL, YOU
KNOW, BEING EMOTIONAL AND THAT'S
ITS OWN LIMITING THING TOO.
I THINK WE SHOULD ALSO BE
ASSOCIATING FEMALENESS WITH
STRENGTH AND AGGRESSION AND
AMBITION AND ALL THOSE THINGS
BUT IF WE'RE TALKING ABOUT SORT
OF TRADITIONAL ROLES.
SO IF YOU SAY THIS IS WHAT IT
MEANS TO BE FEMALE, IT'S SOFT,
IT'S TENDER, IT'S EMOTIONAL,
IT'S WEAK, AND TO BE A MAN MEANS
TO BE OPPOSITE THAT, THEN YOU
HAVE THIS FORM OF MASCULINITY
THAT BELITTLES ANYTHING TO DO
WITH WOMEN.
SEES WOMEN AS NOT HAVING VALUE.
SEES WOMEN AS NOT BEING EQUALS,
WHETHER IT'S AS PARTNERS OR IN
THE WORKPLACE.
AND ALSO SEES WOMEN AS A PRIZE.
AS SOMETHING THAT THEY GET AS A
REWARD, AS SOMETHING THAT
THEY'RE ENTITLED TO.
AND SO, YOU KNOW... THAT PLAYS OUT
IN VERY OVERT ACTS LIKE,
YOU KNOW, RAPE AND HARASSMENT.
AND IT ALSO PLAYS OUT IN THINGS
THAT ARE, YOU KNOW, MAYBE NOT AS
LARGE BUT I THINK AS ANNOYING
LIKE CATCALLS.
SO, YOU KNOW, A MAN CALLING OUT
TO A WOMAN IN THE STREET AS
THOUGH SHE SHOULD PAY ATTENTION
TO HIM BECAUSE HE WANTS HER
ATTENTION.
AND I THINK THAT'S ALSO ABOUT
SIGNALLING TO OTHER MEN,
"LOOK AT ME."
LIKE, "I'M SHOWING YOU WHAT A
REAL MAN I AM."
SO WHEN YOU COMBINE THE IDEA
THAT WOMEN ARE LESS THAN AND
THEN TO BE A MAN, YOU HAVE TO
ADHERE TO THESE REALLY RIGID
THINGS, THERE'S NOT MANY PLACES
FOR MEN TO GO, RIGHT?
I MEAN, THEY CAN'T SHOW THEIR
EMOTIONS, THEY CAN'T BE TENDER,
THEY CAN'T BE EQUAL PARTNERS.
IT DOESN'T LEAVE THEM WITH A LOT
OF OPTIONS EXCEPT IN MANY CASES
TO ACT OUT...

NAM SAYS TOXIC.

Rachel says IN TOXIC WAYS.

NAM SAYS IN TOXIC WAYS.
AND YOU KNOW, IF MEN AND BOYS
ARE GETTING NEGATIVE MESSAGING
ABOUT THEIR MASCULINITY, ONE
PLACE WHERE IT SEEMS TO BE
AFFIRMING FOR THEM IS ONLINE AND
SOCIAL MEDIA IN GROUPS WHERE MEN
ARE BEING TOLD, "THERE'S NOTHING
WRONG WITH YOU.
IT'S THE WOMEN THAT ARE A
PROBLEM."
WHAT ROLE DOES SOCIAL MEDIA IN
THESE KIND OF COMMUNITIES... WHAT
ROLE DO THEY PLAY?

Rachel says YEAH.
YEAH, I MEAN, THEY TAKE SOMETHING.
LIKE THEY TAKE THIS WEAKNESS,
THIS LONELINESS, THIS
VULNERABILITY AND THIS
RESENTMENT AND THEY AMPLIFY IT.
SO YOU'RE RIGHT.
SO INSTEAD OF SAYING TO, YOU
KNOW, MEN AND BOYS,
"WOW, IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU
NEED SOME HELP.
IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU SHOULD GO AND
FIND A COUNSELLOR OR A SUPPORT
GROUP," OR "IT SOUNDS LIKE YOU
SEEM SUPER ANGRY THAT YOU'VE
BEEN REJECTED BY WOMEN.
LIKE MAYBE YOU SHOULD FIGURE OUT
LIKE WHY YOU FEEL SO ANGRY
INSTEAD OF FEELING DISAPPOINTED
OR YOU KNOW, LIKE WHAT... HAVE
SOME SELF-AWARENESS.
WHY DO YOU FEEL THAT WOMEN OWE
YOU ATTENTION INSTEAD?"
YOU KNOW, VARIOUS FORMS ON
REDDIT OR THE KIND OF THE
MANOSPHERE.
YOU KNOW, THE MEN'S RIGHTS
ACTIVISTS OR THE PICK-UP
ARTISTS.
INSTEAD OF OFFERING, LIKE YOU
SAID, INSTEAD OF SAYING TO YOUNG
MEN, YOU KNOW, "BE ACCOUNTABLE,
BE THOUGHTFUL, GET SOME
EMOTIONAL COUNSELLING IF THAT'S
WHAT YOU NEED," THEY'RE SAYING,
"YOU'RE RIGHT.
THE WORLD IS TO BLAME.
YOU'RE OWED EVERYTHING.
YOU DESERVE THIS ATTENTION AND
THE WORLD SHOULD PAY FOR THE
FACT THAT YOU AREN'T GETTING THE
ATTENTION.
YOU AREN'T GETTING THE ATTENTION
THAT'S OWED TO YOU AS A MAN."
AND IT BECOMES THIS SORT OF
SELF-AFFIRMING,
SELF-PERPETUATING KIND OF THING
SO INSTEAD OF ACTUALLY LOOKING
AROUND AND THINKING, "HOW DO I
BECOME A BETTER PERSON?"
IT'S LIKE "NO, I'M JUST GOING TO
JUST FEEL REALLY AFFIRMED AND
SUPPORTED IN MY RAGE AND MY
ANGER AND MY RESENTMENT."

Nam says BUT ALSO TOO, HOW WOULD THEY
KNOW THAT?
IF WE... 'CAUSE IT WAS ONE OF THE
THINGS THAT I REALIZED AS A
MOTHER TO A SON, I DO... I HAVE
DONE THINGS THAT I SHOULDN'T DO
BECAUSE I EXPECT HIM... BECAUSE
HE'S A BOY.
AND ALSO THOUGHT THAT I HAD THE
KNOWLEDGE TO NOT DO THAT.
SO IF WE ARE, AS A SOCIETY,
TREATING OUR BOYS A CERTAIN WAY,
HOW THEN COULD THEY KNOW HOW TO
GET HELP OR HOW TO COMMUNICATE
THESE FEELINGS?

The caption changes to "Redefining masculinity."

Rachel says I MEAN, I THINK, THAT'S A REALLY
GOOD QUESTION.
I THINK THERE ARE A LOT OF
GROUPS WHO ARE ACTUALLY DOING
THIS WORK AND, YOU KNOW, WHEN I
WROTE THE BOOK, PEOPLE KEPT
ASKING ME, WAS I DEPRESSED?
AS I WAS WRITING IT, IT WAS SORT
OF THE RISE OF MOVEMENTS LIKE
Hashtag GAMERGATE.
THESE... ACTIVATION OF THESE
ONLINE TROLLS THAT WERE GOING
AFTER WOMEN WHO ARE FEMINIST IN
THE VIDEO GAME WORLD OR YOU
KNOW, THE BACKLASH WE SAW OF THE
EMERGING... THE RISING RADICAL
RIGHT IN THE U.S.
AND HERE IN CANADA.
WHAT I WAS ABLE TO DO IN THE
BOOK WAS ACTUALLY TALK TO A LOT
OF PEOPLE WHO WERE WORKING WITH
BOYS AND YOUNG MEN IN REALLY
POSITIVE WAYS AND LETTING THEM
KNOW, "IF YOU HAVE, YOU KNOW, IF
YOU HAVE FEELINGS AND YOU HAVE
STRUGGLES, IT'S NOT WEAK TO FIND
SUPPORT.
IT'S NOT WEAK TO ASK FOR HELP.
IT'S NOT, YOU KNOW, "FEMININE."
OR "FAGGY" TO WANT TO HAVE A
CLOSE FRIENDSHIP WITH ANOTHER
BOY.
AND ALSO, WHY WOULD YOU THINK
THERE'S ANYTHING WRONG WITH
BEING FEMALE OR FEMININE OR GAY
ANYWAY?"
SO, YOU KNOW, GROUPS THAT ARE
TALKING TO YOUNG MEN, YOU KNOW,
HOLDING THEM ACCOUNTABLE FOR BAD
BEHAVIOUR BUT ALSO GIVING THEM
SPACE TO TALK ABOUT THE WAYS IN
WHICH THEY'RE STRUGGLING.
AND I THINK THAT THOSE TWO
THINGS ARE SO IMPORTANT THAT
THEY EXIST IN CONCERT BECAUSE I
FEEL LIKE THE, YOU KNOW, SOME OF
THE ONLINE TOXIC STUFF IS ALL
ABOUT, "COME AIR YOUR
GRIEVANCES.
BUT WE'RE NOT GOING TO HOLD YOU
ACCOUNTABLE."
AND I FEEL LIKE OFTEN, BOYS CAN
ALSO GET TOLD, "WE'RE ONLY GOING
TO HOLD YOU ACCOUNTABLE BUT
WE'RE NOT GOING TO ACKNOWLEDGE
YOUR EMOTIONAL SELVES," AND I
THINK THERE ARE WAYS THAT WE CAN
HOLD THE TWO TOGETHER TO
ACKNOWLEDGE THAT, YOU KNOW, IT'S
UP TO US TO TEACH BOYS TO BE
DECENT AND RESPECTFUL AND
COMPASSIONATE AND TO BE ABLE TO
OWN THEIR EMOTIONS AND ALSO TO
SAY TO BOYS THERE'S ALSO AN
EXPECTATION THAT YOU BE
RESPECTFUL OF OTHERS.
YOU RESPECT OTHER PEOPLE'S
BOUNDARIES, THAT YOU DON'T JUST
IGNORE THE FACT THAT AS A MALE
IN SOCIETY, YOU GET A CERTAIN
AMOUNT OF PRIVILEGE.
YOU RECOGNIZE THAT AND YOU TRY
TO MAKE THE WORLD BETTER FOR
OTHER PEOPLE AND YOU STAND WITH
OTHER PEOPLE.
SO, YOU KNOW, THERE ARE A LOT
OF... THERE ARE A LOT OF, YOU
KNOW, REALLY TERRIFIC,
THOUGHTFUL MEN.
PARTICULARLY GUYS IN THEIR LIKE
20S AND 30S WHO ARE NOT THAT FAR
REMOVED FROM THE EXPERIENCES OF
BOYS AND YOUNG MEN GROWING UP
WHO ARE SETTING AN EXAMPLE FOR
BOYS TO BE DIFFERENT AND GIVING
THEM LANGUAGE.
LIKE TO SAY TO THEM, YOU KNOW,
"WHY DON'T BOYS WANT TO SEE THE
MOVIE FROZEN?
WHY DO BOYS THINK THAT'S A
GIRLS' MOVIE?"
OR "WHY DO YOU THINK THAT, YOU
KNOW, BOYS HAVE TO ALWAYS BE
TOUGH OR WHY DO YOU THINK THAT,
YOU KNOW, GIRLS ARE GOOD AT ART
AND BOYS ARE GOOD AT MATH?"
TO KIND OF DIG AT THOSE BIASES
IN WAYS THAT AREN'T... THAT ARE
AGE APPROPRIATE.
THAT AREN'T SORT OF TELLING BOYS
YOU'RE BAD AND YOU'RE WRONG.
BUT ALSO SAYING TO THEM, LIKE
DON'T PICK UP THESE MESSAGES IN
SOCIETY.
LIKE, YOU CAN THINK MORE FREELY.
YOU CAN BE CRITICAL OF THE
MESSAGES YOU'RE GETTING AND YOU
CAN ALSO CHOOSE A MASCULINITY
THAT'S NOT THE MAN BOX.
YOU CAN CHOOSE A MORE EXPANSIVE
MASCULINITY.

Nam says WE'RE RUNNING OUT OF TIME, I
CAN'T BELIEVE IT.

RACHEL laughs and says SORRY.

Nam says NO, NO.
I WANT TO ASK YOU TWO MORE
QUESTIONS AND ONE IS ABOUT
SCHOOLS BECAUSE OBVIOUSLY OUR
KIDS SPEND A LOT OF TIME IN
SCHOOLS.
WHAT CAN SCHOOLS DO DIFFERENTLY
TO MAYBE, INSTEAD OF DETENTION,
TO TRY DIFFERENT WAYS TO NOT
OTHER BOYS.
BECAUSE BOYS ARE THE ONES THAT
USUALLY END UP IN DETENTION AND
YOU HAVE THE DATA IN YOUR BOOK.

Rachel says UH HMM.
AND NOT JUST BOYS BUT IN
SPECIFICALLY RACIALIZED BOYS AND
SO I THINK THERE'S A LOT OF
IMPLICIT BIAS THAT'S EXISTING IN
SCHOOL SYSTEMS SO I THINK THAT
TEACHERS NEED TO HAVE, AS PART
OF THEIR EDUCATION, AN
UNDERSTANDING OF RACIAL BIAS AND
CLASS BIAS, AS WELL AS GENDER
BIAS.
SO WHEN THEY LOOK AT A ROOM FULL
OF STUDENTS, ARE THEY
AUTOMATICALLY ASSUMING THAT SOME
KIDS ARE GOING TO BE
TROUBLEMAKERS AND SOME KIDS ARE
GOING TO BE GIFTED STUDENTS AND
I THINK THE OTHER PART OF IT IS
TO, YOU KNOW, MAKE SURE THAT
KIDS ARE EXPOSED TO BOOKS, TO
READINGS THAT ARE INCLUSIVE AND
REPRESENTATIVE.
I THINK IT'S ALSO, YOU KNOW,
UNDERSTANDING THAT EACH KID
LEARNS IN INDIVIDUAL WAYS AND
TRYING TO HAVE MORE INDIVIDUAL
APPROACHES TO CHILDREN.
AND I ALSO THINK IT'S NOT... YOU
KNOW... IN ONTARIO, WE'VE HAD THIS
ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY IN PLACE
WHICH HAS BEEN SOFTENED A
LITTLE, BUT IT REALLY THROWS
KIDS OUT OF SCHOOL REALLY
QUICKLY.
SO INSTEAD OF LOOKING AT
RESTORATIVE JUSTICE, IF A KID
GETS INTO A CONFLICT, THE
PENALTIES FOR IT ESCALATE VERY
QUICKLY FROM SUSPENSIONS TO
EXPULSIONS AND THAT JUST
ALIENATES KIDS FROM SCHOOL.
AND I THINK WE NEED TO LOOK AT
KIDS WHO ARE ACTING OUT AND TO
YOUR POINT, MOST OF THEM ARE
BOYS.
AND TRY TO GET AT... INSTEAD OF
PATHOLOGIZING THEM OR
CRIMINALIZING THEM, TO THINK
ABOUT WHAT'S UNDERNEATH THIS
BEHAVIOUR?
HOW DO WE TAKE AN OPPORTUNITY TO
TEACH KIDS TO NOT USE VIOLENCE
OR NOT USE, YOU KNOW, BULLYING
TO DEAL WITH THEIR STRUGGLES.
HOW DO WE TEACH THEM TO BE MORE
COMPASSIONATE?
TO GET ALONG BETTER WITH OTHERS
AND TO BUILD THAT INTO THE
EDUCATION SYSTEM, RATHER THAN
IMMEDIATELY LEAPING TO HARSH
DISCIPLINES, YEAH.

NAM SAYS AND A FINAL QUESTION.
YOU TALK A LOT ABOUT THE
IMPORTANCE OF FRIENDSHIPS.
WHAT CAN THAT DO FOR OUR BOYS?

Rachel says OH, SO MUCH.
I MEAN, PART OF IT IS LIKE LONELINESS.
YOU KNOW, WE KNOW THAT BOYS
CRAVE CLOSENESS AND INTIMACY BUT
BECAUSE OF THESE MAN BOX RULES
ABOUT INTIMACY BETWEEN BOYS AND
BETWEEN YOUNG MEN, OFTEN WHEN
THEY'RE IN ADOLESCENCE,
THEY BEGIN TO HAVE LESS INTIMATE
RELATIONSHIPS WITH THEIR
FRIENDS.
AND THAT'S EXACTLY WHEN BOYS
EXPERIENCE HIGHER RATES OF
STRESS AND DEPRESSION SO
FRIENDSHIP INOCULATES AGAINST
MENTAL HEALTH STRUGGLES AND
POSITIVE FRIENDSHIPS REPLACES
THE KIND OF THE TOXIC GROUP
ACTIONS, YOU KNOW,
LIKE BULLYING.
POSITIVE FRIENDSHIPS ACTUALLY
LIKE THEY'RE... THERE'S REALLY
GOOD EVIDENCE TO SUGGEST THAT
BOYS HAVE A GREAT DEAL OF
INFLUENCE OVER ONE ANOTHER.
AND SO, IF YOU HAVE A FRIEND
WHO'S SAYING TO YOU, "DON'T BE A
JERK, DON'T TALK TO GIRLS THAT
WAY, DON'T BE A BULLY,"
BOYS WILL... LIKE THOSE PEER
RELATIONSHIPS...

NAM SAYS THEY'LL FOLLOW.

Rachel says THEY'LL FOLLOW THAT.
THOSE PEER RELATIONSHIPS HAVE A
TON OF IMPORTANCE SO ENCOURAGING
POSITIVE, LOVING, SUPPORTIVE
FRIENDSHIPS GO A LONG WAY IN
TEACHING BOYS HOW TO BE GOOD.

Nam says RACHEL, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR
BEING HERE AND FOR WRITING THIS
BOOK.

Rachel says THANK YOU.

Nam says IT'S SUCH A GREAT BOOK AND IT'S
GOING TO HELP A LOT OF PEOPLE,
NOT JUST WHO ARE RAISING SONS
BUT JUST IN SOCIETY IN GENERAL.

Rachel says THANK YOU.

The caption changes to "Producer: Sandra Gionas, @sandragionas."

Nam says THANK YOU.

Watch: Boys to Men