This week’s episode dives into why well-meaning male allies might not speak up even when they know they should. The reason surprised me, and it might surprise you too. But what probably won’t surprise you is that it is tied to the “man box.”
This episode’s resources:
This week’s episode looks at the harm both men and women suffer from traditional definitions of masculinity – that is, the “man box” – and the ways both men and women would benefit from redefining masculinity. Times have changed, can our collective expectations of masculinity change as well? It’s not clear that seismic change will happen any time soon, but younger generations are providing hope for incremental change, that eventually will provide men with access to a fuller version of masculinity.
Resources in this episode:
This episode explores the intersection of the man box and mansplaining and includes a special guest to share the male perspective of why mansplaining happens, and what we might do to shut it down.
Resources in this episode:
- “Male Coworkers Were Asking This Woman Whether They Were ‘Mansplaining’, So She Created A Chart“
- Rebecca Solnit, 4/13/2008 LA Times, “Men who explain things.”
- Elizabeth Aura McClintock, PhD, Psychology Today, “The Psychology of Mansplaining.”
- Mark Greene, “A fear-based need to project competency is at the core of mansplaining. But you already knew that.”
- Luke O’Neil, Mel Magazine, “The Snowflake Diaries: Mansplaining to Other Men.”
- Jill Krasny, Inc., “Why Men Mansplain, Explained.”
- Washington Post, “Pelosi’s calm stands out in Trump, Schumer oval office meeting“
Coming off the winter break and a lot of gender equality soul searching, this season will approach gender bias from a different direction — exploring the “man box” and how it impacts us all. While many definitions and terms abound, the man box generally refers to the societal expectations we place on men — to be “men” — that can restrain their full expression of themselves and constrain their ability to speak up or act out against gender bias.
I hope you’ll join me on this journey as I learn about the man box and share what I learn, for the benefit of men and women. I’m not sure where this will lead, but at a minimum, I hope to bring awareness to how the man box affects us all and perhaps offer some suggestions of how we might release ourselves from its grip, to the benefit of us all.
I will share resources along the way, from those who are experts in this field. This week’s resource is The Good Men Project. Check it out as well as Mark Greene’s article, referred to in this episode, “The Man Box: The Link Between Emotional Suppression and Male Violence.”
In this last episode of the season, I explore the concept of gender gurus – people of another gender who can shed light and share their experiences on how they view issues affecting gender equality. The idea of gender gurus is new to me and came from an article by Leah Fessler about Josh Felser, founder and partner at Freestyle VC. I think it’s genius, because we’re all experts in our own experiences and if we share those experiences with someone else, we expand our collective knowledge base. I think this has the potential to move us towards gender equality faster and in a way that works for all of us.
Your winter challenge: find a gender guru and have regular conversations about your experiences or gender topics of interest. If you connect with a gender guru, let me know at @UnravelingPink!
I dedicate this episode to my dad, who has been my lifelong gender guru.