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For the Love of Men: A New Vision for Mindful Masculinity

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A nonfiction investigation into masculinity, For the Love of Men provides actionable steps for how to be a man in the modern world while also exploring how being a man has evolved. In 2019, traditional masculinity is both rewarded and sanctioned. Men grow up being told that boys don’t cry and dolls are for girls. They learn they must hide their feelings and anxieties, that A nonfiction investigation into masculinity, For the Love of Men provides actionable steps for how to be a man in the modern world while also exploring how being a man has evolved. In 2019, traditional masculinity is both rewarded and sanctioned. Men grow up being told that boys don’t cry and dolls are for girls. They learn they must hide their feelings and anxieties, that their masculinity must constantly be proven. They must be the breadwinners. They must be the romantic pursuers. This hasn’t been good for the culture at large: 99% of school shooters are male; men in fraternities are 300% more likely to rape; a woman serving in uniform has a higher likelihood of being assaulted by a fellow soldier than to be killed by enemy fire. In For the Love of Men, author Liz Plank offers a smart, insightful, and deeply researched guide for what we're all going to do about toxic masculinity. For both women looking to guide the men in their lives and men who want to do better and just don’t know how, For the Love of Men will lead the conversation on men's issues in a society where so much is changing but gender roles have remained strangely stagnant. What are we going to do about men? Plank has the answer--and it has the possibility to change the world for men and women alike.


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A nonfiction investigation into masculinity, For the Love of Men provides actionable steps for how to be a man in the modern world while also exploring how being a man has evolved. In 2019, traditional masculinity is both rewarded and sanctioned. Men grow up being told that boys don’t cry and dolls are for girls. They learn they must hide their feelings and anxieties, that A nonfiction investigation into masculinity, For the Love of Men provides actionable steps for how to be a man in the modern world while also exploring how being a man has evolved. In 2019, traditional masculinity is both rewarded and sanctioned. Men grow up being told that boys don’t cry and dolls are for girls. They learn they must hide their feelings and anxieties, that their masculinity must constantly be proven. They must be the breadwinners. They must be the romantic pursuers. This hasn’t been good for the culture at large: 99% of school shooters are male; men in fraternities are 300% more likely to rape; a woman serving in uniform has a higher likelihood of being assaulted by a fellow soldier than to be killed by enemy fire. In For the Love of Men, author Liz Plank offers a smart, insightful, and deeply researched guide for what we're all going to do about toxic masculinity. For both women looking to guide the men in their lives and men who want to do better and just don’t know how, For the Love of Men will lead the conversation on men's issues in a society where so much is changing but gender roles have remained strangely stagnant. What are we going to do about men? Plank has the answer--and it has the possibility to change the world for men and women alike.

30 review for For the Love of Men: A New Vision for Mindful Masculinity

  1. 4 out of 5

    Caroline

    I’ve read many life-changing nonfiction books. Eating Animals converted me to vegetarianism immediately. Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town enlightened me on rape and the broken criminal justice system. The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence taught me about listening to gut feelings to stay safe. I could go on. But For the Love of Men turned on its head everything I knew about males and their place in this world. It was, in every sense of the word, I’ve read many life-changing nonfiction books. Eating Animals converted me to vegetarianism immediately. Missoula: Rape and the Justice System in a College Town enlightened me on rape and the broken criminal justice system. The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence taught me about listening to gut feelings to stay safe. I could go on. But For the Love of Men turned on its head everything I knew about males and their place in this world. It was, in every sense of the word, an epiphany. It’s shot to the top as one of the very best and likely most important nonfictions I've ever read. I knew a lot about “toxic masculinity” before beginning For the Love of Men, but various questions still nagged at me. What I really wanted was the ultimate, definitive answer to “Why?” This book provides that. Author Liz Plank broke down toxic masculinity, examining it from various angles in well-reasoned, direct language. To be clear, toxic masculinity doesn’t mean that males, as a whole, are intrinsically toxic. Also to be clear: This book does not in any way undermine feminism; on the contrary, Plank’s entire thesis is that when toxic masculinity is destroyed, true gender equality will be within easy reach, finally. What I appreciate so much about For the Love of Men is, first, that it exists at all (I’ve never read one like it, and I don’t think there are many others, yet), and second, Plank’s style. I don’t just mean her insightful and engaging writing; I mean her approach. Her tone is compassionate, with a strong desire to convince others to feel the same. She isn’t angry or hopeless even though the road to positive change is long and treacherous. She’s confident that society can devote the same amount of attention to ending toxic masculinity as it does to ending sexism. I believe it can too, but step one is widespread awareness of what it’s like to live as a male. For the Love of Men is the start. Plank made it easy to understand why we have to challenge and destroy our dysfunctional definitions of maleness. Solving the issue is daunting, but the issue itself is simple. Feminism aims to free females of expectations and objectification, and open doors to all possibilities. Ending toxic masculinity is the male version (slightly tweaked). There’s no such thing as a “real man.” There’s no such thing as “men’s work” and “women’s work.” There’s no such thing as “boy toys” and “girl toys.” Toxic masculinity embraces these separations and numerous others, and starting from babyhood, males the world over are indoctrinated in the “male code.” Parents--wittingly and unwittingly--teach and reinforce it, with additional help from cultural norms and expectations. By the time a boy has reached adulthood, he’s absorbed it as a fundamental part of his identity. Plank knows her subject. She delivers talks on toxic masculinity, and she supported her assertions with generous citing of research from numerous lauded medical journals and other reputable sources. She also talked with many different men, asking the probing questions that yielded fascinating input and candid anecdotes--which are thought-provoking and at times very sad. One of my favorite parts of For the Love of Men is when Plank described how audiences react whenever she asks two simple questions during a talk. Question one is: "How many of you let your girls play with stereotypical 'boy toys'?" Numerous hands shoot into the air. She then immediately follows up with question two: "How many of you let your sons play with stereotypical 'girl toys'?" Barely anyone raises a hand. An uncomfortable silence envelopes the room as people shift in their seats or look down at their phones. Her point with this exercise is to draw awareness to our ingrained belief that being feminine is weak. Such thinking affects what males comfortably feel they have access to. That doesn’t pertain just to toys; it extends to jobs that are primarily performed by women, such as elementary school teaching, eldercare, and nursing.* I cannot emphasize enough how necessary this book is. I want to stress that every single man must read it, but then I think every woman must too, and then every doubter--especially every doubter, every parent, every parent-to-be, every therapist, every teacher, everyone who cares about gender equality. I can’t think of anyone who should not read this book. Women and men are much more alike than we realize. NOTE: I’m grateful to have received this as an Advanced Reader Copy from Goodreads in June 2019. *See status updates below this review for specific quotes. Update, October 7, 2019: This male article writer confronts certain aspects of toxic masculinity. Change is possible: "There Is No ‘War Against Men’" https://medium.com/humungus/there-is-... Update, October 16, 2019: Boys receiving specific instruction in "healthy masculinity," with toxic masculinity confronted: "What Is the Role of an All-Boys School in 2019? How the Elite Institutions Are Trying to Adapt" https://time.com/5687978/all-boys-sch... Update, March 27, 2020: "Sex, porn and toxic masculinity: the struggle to bring up better boys" https://www.theguardian.com/society/2...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Shruti

    READ THIS BOOK. Seriously, it should be required reading. If there was a way for every person in the world to get their hands on this book, the world would be a much better place. "The factory we put boys through in order to turn them into men is global, and the urgency of exposing and disrupting it could very well be the paramount test of our time." For the Love of Men is educational, eye-opening and engaging—all at once. When I started reading it, I couldn't put it down and I can't say that abo READ THIS BOOK. Seriously, it should be required reading. If there was a way for every person in the world to get their hands on this book, the world would be a much better place. "The factory we put boys through in order to turn them into men is global, and the urgency of exposing and disrupting it could very well be the paramount test of our time." For the Love of Men is educational, eye-opening and engaging—all at once. When I started reading it, I couldn't put it down and I can't say that about a lot of non-fiction books. Eventually, I did alternate between this and a fiction novel because sometimes my brain can handle only so much enlightenment. "We all experience gender. We are all limited by oppressive gender stereotypes. We must transcend the myth of the gender war. We're all on the same team." Liz Plank has created an incredible piece of writing that addresses a wide range of issues resulting from toxic masculinity including the negative impacts on men's physical and mental health as well as the embarrassment and humiliation associated with not living up to the definition of a "real man". She emphasizes on the fact that feminism, the fight for gender equality does not only benefit women, it benefits men too. By doing away with toxic masculinity that is proven to harm society as a whole, the relationships that men build, their lives and that of everyone around them can drastically improve. I absolutely love Plank's writing style—it makes you feel like she's having a one-on-one conversation with you. You can almost hear her voice; passionate and hopeful. It is also extremely clear how hard she has worked to get things right, given the amount of factual research she has put into this book. For almost every single statement Plank put across, she had research conclusions to back it up. And the statistics were so interesting (also, at times, horrifying)! Liz Plank wrote on her Instagram that publishers rejected her by telling her that men wouldn't read this book. It's so sad that addressing toxic masculinity is seen as an attack on men when it's the total opposite—it's about freeing men from the shackles that traditional masculinity has imposed on them for decades. There are several new things that this book has taught me and I'm really grateful for it. So if you love reading books, read this one. If you don't like reading books, make an exception this one time. It'll be worth it. (Thanks to Caroline for recommending this one to me!)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Eli

    Drop everything: This is the most important book of the year, and you need to read it. Liz Plank pulls out the big guns in her first book, incorporating her international travel experiences, social experiments, various interviews, and well-cited research surrounding masculinity. Coming from an outsider's perspective, she approaches masculinity from every angle, peppering throughout her book interviews with a wide range of men, including a transgender man, a gay black disabled man, a mixed Native Drop everything: This is the most important book of the year, and you need to read it. Liz Plank pulls out the big guns in her first book, incorporating her international travel experiences, social experiments, various interviews, and well-cited research surrounding masculinity. Coming from an outsider's perspective, she approaches masculinity from every angle, peppering throughout her book interviews with a wide range of men, including a transgender man, a gay black disabled man, a mixed Native American man, an openly gay former NFL player, and the father of a teenage girl who committed suicide after she was raped by a group of teenage boys at a party. If that's not enough diversity for you, she includes extensive research and factoids on places from the U.S. to Denmark to Zambia, sharing her thesis that "toxic masculinity is an epidemic that knows no borders." This will change your opinion on feminism and every form of masculinity. This book is different for the fact that it is feminism for men. Better yet, it is exactly as the title says: mindful masculinity. She does not condemn men as inherently evil or vile. She recognizes the problems and dangers of toxic masculinity as learned behaviors that keep many men in a box that they were placed in as boys. Plank shares research on the physical, mental, and emotional harm that impacts men that subscribe to traditional notions of masculinity, like going to doctors and therapists less than women because it isn't seen as a necessity. She also asserts that experiences of masculinity are different depending on nationality, race, ability, sexuality, and economic class. As the book is very research-heavy, she rarely tells anything about her personal life or her personal research, but when she does, it is intensely meaningful and connected to the overall theme of the book. This book means so much to me and I'm so happy I got the chance to read the uncorrected version before publication. As a transgender man who has recently come out, I feel like this book has given me such a comprehensive look into masculinity in ways I never would have been able to get on my own, with suggestions for change too. I almost prefer that it was written by a woman because she has absolutely no biases, unless you consider "men should be allowed to be who they truly are" a bias. I also really appreciated and loved the fact that one of her interview chapters was from a transgender man. I felt very represented by that and here's my "thank you" to Liz Plank for giving so many different representations of masculinity a shout-out! All in all, you need to read this book. If you have ever wondered anything about masculinity, you need to read this book. If you are a man, woman, child, or anywhere in between, you need to read this book. When it releases, I'm going to buy my own copy. I suggest you do the same and be ready to mark it up with highlighters and sticky notes.

  4. 4 out of 5

    rosa guac

    conversations around masculinity are pivotal in our efforts to imagine a radical & transformative world. and with this book, liz plank gives us a fascinating, data-driven, anecdotal, and expansive account for why that is. mainly written for men, i thought this book did a strong deep dive into the harmful ways that masculinity is misdirected towards violence and death (patriarchy is literally killing men and women!) while so many conversations that i've had about feminism and gender center around conversations around masculinity are pivotal in our efforts to imagine a radical & transformative world. and with this book, liz plank gives us a fascinating, data-driven, anecdotal, and expansive account for why that is. mainly written for men, i thought this book did a strong deep dive into the harmful ways that masculinity is misdirected towards violence and death (patriarchy is literally killing men and women!) while so many conversations that i've had about feminism and gender center around the experiences of women, liz plank aims to give the same attention and care into explaining why men need to be part of the conversations too. liz mentioned bell hooks a couple times in her book, and for me, i thought 'the will to change' was a more foundational, and theoretical basis to understand the harmful manifestations of masculinity and men--while this book was introductory and anecdotal. there were some stories in the book where i thought this book was written for men who had more privilege (powerful men who could advocate for paternity leave) and focused more on the incidental occurrences like men feeling awkward peeing next to each other-- but overall this book really tackled the so often obfuscated topic of masculinity in many aspects which i appreciated. we need to understand how patriarchy is harmful for men, and rooting this idea into the very concrete stories that liz shares is helpful in our overall shifting of consciousness of dismantling patriarchy (once and for all!) for me, i crave more radical explanations and frameworks because then i can apply that to a larger understanding of systemic issues-- so this book fell short in that regard (but totally a personal preference). but this is a good intro book for all those who are curious about masculinity and its affects (aka talking to all the men out there).

  5. 4 out of 5

    Elaine

    I have spent my entire life around men: 5 brothers, senior leadership positions for over 20 years where I was the only female in the room. I thought that this experience meant that I understood men. I had read all about venus and mars, studied male-driven cultures, learned to golf and to talk trash about football. But, only raising a son allowed me to see that I knew very little, and that what I knew might be very wrong. Therefore, I have greatly valued those books that allowed me to rip away my I have spent my entire life around men: 5 brothers, senior leadership positions for over 20 years where I was the only female in the room. I thought that this experience meant that I understood men. I had read all about venus and mars, studied male-driven cultures, learned to golf and to talk trash about football. But, only raising a son allowed me to see that I knew very little, and that what I knew might be very wrong. Therefore, I have greatly valued those books that allowed me to rip away my own biases and see the world through a male lens. So often these days men are trashed and criticized and a male perspective is is reduced to discussions of the male gaze. I can only say that when you raise a male in today's culture you start to see how very hard it is to learn how to be a man in today's society. But, this book is not a source for help. The writer over-relies on anecdotes and self-revelations instead of spending time understanding what mindful masculinity actually could, and should be. I skimmed the whole book twice and read the first half closely. But, the most promised vision is buried under personal perspectives and instagram-wisdom.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kara Babcock

    Huge note: Since writing this review, I’ve actually come out as transgender! So, uh, enjoy all the parts here where I laughably reaffirm my cis-ness! I will revise this review at some point. (Note to future Kara: actually do that.) I received this book as a gift from a friend who shares my interest in feminism. She found For the Love of Men: A New Vision for Mindful Masculinity somewhat revelatory. Like me, she had already begun thinking about masculinity (we had both watched The Mask You Live In Huge note: Since writing this review, I’ve actually come out as transgender! So, uh, enjoy all the parts here where I laughably reaffirm my cis-ness! I will revise this review at some point. (Note to future Kara: actually do that.) I received this book as a gift from a friend who shares my interest in feminism. She found For the Love of Men: A New Vision for Mindful Masculinity somewhat revelatory. Like me, she had already begun thinking about masculinity (we had both watched The Mask You Live In). But she said that Liz Plank presented ideas in a way that helped her better understand this experience that is, as a cis woman, very different from her own. Obviously I’m approaching the book from a slightly different angle but with no less expectation or excitement. One of my current goals is to get better at leveraging my privilege when it comes to being a feminist and challenging patriarchy. As a cis man, I shouldn’t centre myself in discussions of misogyny and women’s oppression. So I’m exploring how I can learn more about the flip side—masculinity—and then how I can talk to other men about masculinity, how I can evangelize feminism to them, if you will, and so make the world better in that way. Much of what Plank explores I’ve seen discussed elsewhere, of course. Yet she explains it so well. She covers a wide variety of issues that relate to masculinity and gender roles: how we’re supposed to behave, friendships, the types of work we should do, the pressure to be the “provider” in the relationship, etc. The friendship part was very important to me, and although I don’t date, the romantic/dating parts of the book were interesting too. Plank writes with a sense of playfulness and humour while also understanding that this is a serious topic with serious consequences—for example, she discusses the high rates of depression and suicide among men and how the stigma around mental health, combined with increased rates of loneliness in older, single men, contributes to this epidemic. She supports her writing with anecdotal interludes where individual men share their stories. She has also done a fair amount of research. For the Love of Men is a balanced meal of polemical, educational, and personal. Early in the book Plank articulates how masculinity differs from femininity, in that the former must constantly be performed while the later is embodied: “masculinity is much more rigid and requires constant self-regulation…. Masculinity is procured through ritualized and often-public social behaviors.” This resonated for me. “Becoming a man” is a procedural rather than biological rite of passage, and if you don’t perform masculinity constantly in the right ways (being a “real man”) then you can have your “man card” taken away. Or at least, that’s what the patriarchy wants you to believe. The fact that performing masculinity often involves misogynist statements and actions is but one reason why redefining masculinity will benefit women, just as lifting women up from oppression will benefit men. Like most men, I’d call my personal relationship with masculinity complex. I do not feel particularly “macho” in the sense of being overtly masculine. I never saw the benefit of engaging in the competitions among my male peers that establish dominance or credibility, and perhaps that is one of the reasons I ended up spending most of my time with women. Plank notes: While women tend to build activities around their friends, men approach friendship in a more transactional way, building friendships around activities…. While women prioritize smaller groups or one-on-one interactions with their friends, men tend to engage in larger all-male groups, which obviously makes intimate bonding less likely. I recently had a discussion with my two closest friends, both women, about this idea of our relationships being biased in favour of a particular gender. Just as I seem to befriend primarily women, one of them explained that she has preferred to befriend men. At times our language flirted with gender essentialist notions—notions internalized as a result of our upbringing and the messages in our society . So reading this part of For the Love of Men was extremely helpful for me, because it helped me reframe what I’ve experienced. As an introvert who is more comfortable examining his internal life than existing in larger groups, the predilection for masculine bonding to occur within those larger groups explains why I often avoided it. It isn’t that I “naturally” gravitate towards women as my friends—it’s just that I tend to prefer the types of social situations where interactions with women predominate. (The other participant in the conversation made a great additional point: I am often in environments with more women than men. Growing up working at the art gallery, all of my close coworkers were women. In my current job, most of my colleagues are women. So this does skew one’s exposure and therefore opportunities to create friendships, I suppose.) Being asexual, even before I understood that I was, has also informed my complicated relationship with being masculine. As Plank points out, masculinity encourages certain atmosphere of violence and competition (for women) in terms of the vocabulary, from “banging” to “scoring.” When so much of masculinity is heteronormative, how do I fill in the gap created by feeling no sexual attraction to anyone, of any gender? Regrettably she never mentions asexuality, but Plank explores how queer men experience masculinity in a variety of ways. Masculinity/heteronormativity is what influenced me, in high school, to make some half-hearted stabs at asking girls out. (Didn’t take.) I’m privileged in that it’s way more acceptable for me to be a bachelor than for women to be spinsters. Yet not being married doesn’t equate to not being expected to engage in sexual competition or to signal my sexual prowess. And so it is that Plank’s thesis, her calls for mindful masculinity, appeals to me. I wish she foregrounded this far more than she does. It’s so important, this need for us to explore and redefine masculinity to fit men of all types. As I’ve drifted away from what is stereotypically expected of me as a masculine person, it has caused me to question a lot. I do not experience gender dysphoria, but sometimes I experience an overall body dysphoria—I am not particularly enthralled with embodiment as a state—and often I’ve wished for the ability to experience the world as different genders. Yet gender expression is different from gender identity, and despite my ambivalence towards having a body in general, I’ve never felt comfortable taking on a label like genderqueer, genderfluid, or agender. I am not exceedingly masculine, yet I feel like a man. I know I’m a man, and even when I choose to wear nail polish that doesn’t make me any less male, just as when a woman chooses to wear pants and have short hair she isn’t any less female. I do feel constrained by gender roles and expectations, as Plank articulates in a way that echoes Laurie Penny’s discussion of the straitjacket of gender in Unspeakable Things . If there’s one takeaway from this book, I would hope that it’s mindful masculinity should be descriptive of good men, not prescriptive. That is to say, if I am a man, then what I do is masculine by definition—it’s my masculinity as consequence of my maleness. Otherwise, if we define masculinity as the external metric, then when measuring ourselves against it we will inevitably fall short. Let’s focus on being good, and on doing good, and use that to define our masculinity. People who still subscribe to gender essentialism will not like For the Love of Men. You’ll notice a preponderance of the reviews on Goodreads panning this book comes from people whose views are essentialist or biologically determinist in nature. Plank challenges these ideas consistently and ardently throughout this book, but this is not the place to start if those are your hang-ups (try Delusions of Gender , not that I expect facts to change your mind). It’s also worth noting that she has Done The Research, both in terms of referring to scholarly studies and interviewing men from a variety of cultures. She examines the intersections of masculinity with sexuality, with race, with class, with colonialism. In some cases she only scratches the surface, but that’s ok—this should not be the zenith of one’s masculinity reading but rather a base camp from which to scale the next peak. It might seem discordant to read a book about masculinity by a woman. After all, I said at the beginning of my review that, as a man, I’m trying not to take up space writing about feminism. Yet Plank’s role as author here is appropriate. Plank has to confront her own internalized notions of masculinity. In doing so, she unpacks how women are socialized to police masculinity just as we all police feminine behaviour. This makes For the Love of Men an extremely valuable book for women as well as men, as the friend who gave this to me discovered. And at no point did I feel like Plank overstepped, like she made some sweeping generalization about all men or all types of masculinity. She is very careful to acknowledge the plethora of perspectives and experiences. For the Love of Men is a very solid book. It is diligently crafted, each chapter meticulous in its sources, it structure, and its substance. You can read it all at once, as I did, or come back to individual chapters from time to time to examine the specific facets of masculinity they discuss. In any event, this is a book that will make you think about the gender roles in our society. It will give you the tools to challenge your internalized ideas about gender, and to think about how gender influences our society at large. Most importantly, it is compassionate. Anyone who thinks this is a book attacking men, as some reviews claim, is very deliberately Missing the Point. For the Love of Men is true to its title: this is a book about saving men—and by extension, the rest of us—from the tyranny of toxic masculinity and delivering them into the arms of a more compassionate, more mindful masculinity. If we can do that, the world will be better for everyone.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kenny

    Althought the Author makes a good case on why there is a problem due to toxic masculinity, there are many things that felt short for me throughout the book. I will mainly focus on some of the topics that should have been more nuanced, but it doesn't take away any merits of the book. And this is exactly the main problem I have with the whole book: the lack of nuance. On multiple occasions, Trump was mentioned and those moment didn't feel like it was helping get more depth to the argument. It was Althought the Author makes a good case on why there is a problem due to toxic masculinity, there are many things that felt short for me throughout the book. I will mainly focus on some of the topics that should have been more nuanced, but it doesn't take away any merits of the book. And this is exactly the main problem I have with the whole book: the lack of nuance. On multiple occasions, Trump was mentioned and those moment didn't feel like it was helping get more depth to the argument. It was more like a "Trump bad, don't be Trump". Even if his campaign appealed to people who don't want traditional masculinity to be challenged, it is only part of the reason for his popularity. Trump didn't win the 2016 elections, Hilary Clinton may have lost to him. It is partly caused by not being able to address the economic problems of the working class (https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/...) and mostly appealing to the elite class. There was also an overly strong focus on attacking Donald Trump which doesn't tell how the Democratic Party will help (and they don't follow their words either so it's normal for people to be skeptical of having their lives improved). This isn't the focus on the book, so sacrifices were made, but it would've been useful for the author to present the bigger picture (I think "America, The Farewell Your" by Chris Hedges might be better to explain the drift towards the right and the appeal to Trump). Another instance of simplification is the case of Elliott Rodger (incel story). It is a problem of toxic masculinity, narcissism, entitlement as she rightfully mentions, but it didn't seem like she explained the psychological reasons that lead men into the rabithole of inceldom and the other redpill communities. In regards to these reason, this is one of the most important video to watch to have a male perspective on dating and why men are alienated by the dating sphere and this whole conversation about relationship : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=be_Ms... As for a more complete picture of the case of Elliot Rodger, this psychologist goes more in depth for those who are interested (https://youtu.be/1mItUzCvYVQ and https://youtu.be/xoLm_CDq5JI). This is another very interesting analysis on Incels : https://www.timsquirrell.com/blog/201.... It's a 5 parts series. All this goes to say that the oversimplification and the strong focus on the most abhorrent examples feeds into the "us vs them" mentality. It may not be the best approach to convince those who manifest toxic masculinity behaviors to look inwards or those who are moderately familiar with the topic. One may say that it's a "them" problem for not being open to this subject of toxic masculinity, but that's exactly the problem. It is indeed not your job to change someone's mind, but at the same time how can we expect change if we are quick to dismiss the other and categorize them as a Trumpist or incel. The author does point out some solutions, but those didn't seem concrete enough. The art of active listening, understanding of how beliefs are created and transmitted will help hold those conversations in a less polarizing way. One part that made me scratch my head was the topic of chivalry around the pages 104. There were mentions of how chivalry were ways to draw attention on the men performing romantic gestures. As much as it may be very true, it missed the opportunity to circle back to the expectations put on men to be romantic both by men and other gender. It mainly felt like a blame towards the guy performing the gesture. I do think it is both to prove yourself as a good partner (now that she mentioned it), as much as it is to please the other person but it seemed anecdotal. If we think about paying the bill, the author mentions that 17% of women expect the guy to pay on the first date, but if a guy doesn't, I'm inclined to think that there will be more than 17% of women mentioning that the bill was split and causing uncertainty of the guy's potential "dateability" (this is not grounded in any stats on my part and anecdotal as well). Anyways, I really sound like a complaining manchild at this point so might as well leave it at that. It's just that for some guys, the confusion is not only on a societal level and what they are being told in private, but a contradiction within the private sphere. And that's maybe their choice of partner too. In short, in terms of the effectiveness at making a case that toxic masculinity is a problem, it does it well, but mostly for people who already believe in the issue. On the other hand, it may not bring anything new to the conversation for them. It may help some guys moderately toxic to rethink of their behaviors, but the tone of the book doesn't make it seem like it was targeted for these men. More nuance was probably required. I guess overall, "For the Love of Men" is somehow a must read, with the need to complement with other perspectives on the matter. Maybe it's just my male ego getting hurt at this point. Side note, I think this video may be better for understanding Jordan Peterson's ideology : https://youtu.be/m81q-ZkfBm0 Some links don't seem to work so I'll repost them here, hopefully it'll work, or the title will help find the video on YouTube... Male Dating & Sex Struggles: A Problem In Plain Sight (Macabre Storytelling) * https://youtu.be/be_Ms3nVG10 Why Hillary Clinton Lost * https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/... The Psychology of Elliot Rodger (Psychology in Seattle) * https://youtu.be/1mItUzCvYVQ Elliot Rodger and the Media (Psychology in Seattle) * https://youtu.be/xoLm_CDq5JI A definitive guide to Incels part four: why can't everyone be blackpilled? * https://www.timsquirrell.com/blog/201... Jordan Peterson's Ideology | Philosophy Tube (Philosophy Tube) * https://youtu.be/m81q-ZkfBm0

  8. 5 out of 5

    Holly Hillard

    I think this might be one of the most important books I read this year. I’m sure everyone has experienced some version of the belief that “liberals” or “feminists” are trying to take away masculinity. Or that we are trying to feminize men. The phrase “toxic masculinity” has become one of those things that shuts down conversations. Well, everyone needs to read this book. Her examination of masculinity- what it is and what it isn’t- and the problems that men face was fascinating and thought provok I think this might be one of the most important books I read this year. I’m sure everyone has experienced some version of the belief that “liberals” or “feminists” are trying to take away masculinity. Or that we are trying to feminize men. The phrase “toxic masculinity” has become one of those things that shuts down conversations. Well, everyone needs to read this book. Her examination of masculinity- what it is and what it isn’t- and the problems that men face was fascinating and thought provoking. I learned something on every page. In our culture, we have gendered things that do not have genders (like occupations, toys, and emotions), and whole much thought and work has been done to help women break from gender norms, men haven’t had that same conversation and they are just as impacted by restricting views on masculinity and femininity as women are. Read this book.

  9. 5 out of 5

    J

    Plank overreaches. This unfortunately is not a good book. — She is a woman trying to understand the experience of men, but this will never happen, just as men will never understand the experience of women. Swimming in her inflated sense of understanding, she advises men on how better to be men. The nobler, respectful, and compassionate approach is to acknowledge that despite our many unifying similarities, there are a small number of critical differences between men and women. These differences s Plank overreaches. This unfortunately is not a good book. — She is a woman trying to understand the experience of men, but this will never happen, just as men will never understand the experience of women. Swimming in her inflated sense of understanding, she advises men on how better to be men. The nobler, respectful, and compassionate approach is to acknowledge that despite our many unifying similarities, there are a small number of critical differences between men and women. These differences should be accepted as natural and celebrated as we delight in how they strengthen us together and complement each other. As I read her book, I never felt seen, acknowledged, or felt my experience as a man to be validated, to say nothing of how my manhood could be celebrated. I don't seek this from women in general, but Plank aims for these things and fails. (Contrast this with Alison Armstrong, who I mention below.) Plank just doesn't get that it's not hers to understand. But she tries to write as if she does, and as if cherry-picked academic research justifies her stance. — Example: pg 125 to 126, the urinal etiquette discussion. She cites how very different and even opposite the conventions are among the men she polled on urinal etiquette, but in the same breath writes, "The most fascinating part was that no one had explicitely [sic] taught them these rules, but transgressing them came at great cost." Different individuals behaving according to mutually incompatible norms but also calling these norms "rules" is oxymoronic, because rules by definition do not allow for the arbitrariness her polling returned. Logical fallacies like this are the result of contorting her female perspective into a Klein bottle to try and understand men. Not gonna happen. Ms. Plank, you're overreaching. — Pg 219: "Feminism is the antidote to shorter male life expectancy, not the cause of it." Pg 247: "...women's empowerment may protect men from economic shocks." Again, men are not truly seen or heard, because she views men's situation through feminism instead of as we men are. I wonder, does she believe women should take notes from men on how women's lives can improve through the antidote of masculism? How strange that a book ostensibly about the male predicament and how to ameliorate it takes frank feminism as the path. In apparent self-contradiction, she states on pg 290, "In other words, masculinity is not the problem, it's the solution." — In general, journalists like Plank commit the sin of pretending to be subject-matter experts and then write books. She repeatedly refers to her "research," but true research is done by those who (1) make a unique and novel contribution to a field and (2) nearly always are widely recognized as experts in that field. She fails at both, and her credentials are consistent with this: an undergraduate degree in international development, a masters in gender studies, and a career as a journalist, not a researcher. — I appreciate sarcasm as a rhetorical device, but throughout the book her tone in its tiresomely copious use is that of complaining. Complaining at root is a form of indulging in one's victimhood. I'm not interested in books ostensibly about "a new vision for mindful masculinity" or even mutually beneficial empowerment that instead play games of "I'm the real victim here.” Example, pg 232: "Sobriety also became associated with femininity, as men who didn't drink or didn't drink enough would be called mokraia kuritsa ('wet hens'), which is especially relevant because of the super non-sexist Russian proverb 'A chicken is not a bird, and a woman is not a person.'" There are enough examples to make me wonder if her intention is to drum up sympathy for her being a woman...in a book about helping men? — She awkwardly weaves ethnicity and race into the discussion of what it's like to be a man, detracting from the core topic. My suggestions are two. (1) Read "Self-Made Man: One Woman's Year Disguised as a Man" by Norah Vincent for something insightful, entertaining, and above all, validating of men's experience as we are. Vincent dressed and acted like a man for a year and a half, fooling everybody with her fake stubble and voice lessons. She joined a men-only bowling club, spent days in a Catholic monastery, dated women, joined a masculine dominated company, and participated in a men-only weekend retreat. Not a groundbreaking work, but quite good. (2) Never in my life have I heard a woman so accurately describe what it's like to be a man than Alison Armstrong. She's incredibly validating for me as a man because she simply assesses our inner workings accurately, and impressively so since her material is often delivered with a female audience in mind, not male. Geared for co-creating harmonious relationships between men and women, she is a self-made expert who relies on experience and first-hand observation while helping people for years to get actual results. So pragmatic. I have listened to four of her audio books and highly recommend all of them. Note added 5 May 2020: If you agree with Plank, I suggest taking 30 minutes to listen to ContraPoints here for her take on men (she's irreverently funny and swears, just so you know).

  10. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    Toxic masculinity is not only hurting women. It is also harming men. In the same way gender equality doesn't benefit only women, but also men. Th search for gender equality seen as a war between men and women is a consequence of a noxious concept of what being a man means we all grow up with. Is not about women conquering spaces that belong to men, but the new spaces we all win over. Gender equality should be understood as a war against the harmful notions and expectations that wound us all. This Toxic masculinity is not only hurting women. It is also harming men. In the same way gender equality doesn't benefit only women, but also men. Th search for gender equality seen as a war between men and women is a consequence of a noxious concept of what being a man means we all grow up with. Is not about women conquering spaces that belong to men, but the new spaces we all win over. Gender equality should be understood as a war against the harmful notions and expectations that wound us all. This book is not perfect, but it is an excellent starting point for an essential discussion we can't postpone anymore.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Ekansh Gupta

    "We're more comfortable seeing a young boy play with a toy gun than a toy doll" This book makes the case that men tend to do better in more feminist societies and how traditional gender roles are harming men as well. The book talks in a straightforward fashion, cites numerous studies and throws shade at Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro and other alt-right figures who have made claims in the past that a lack of traditional gender roles is emasculating young men and contributing to their misery. Liz Pl "We're more comfortable seeing a young boy play with a toy gun than a toy doll" This book makes the case that men tend to do better in more feminist societies and how traditional gender roles are harming men as well. The book talks in a straightforward fashion, cites numerous studies and throws shade at Jordan Peterson, Ben Shapiro and other alt-right figures who have made claims in the past that a lack of traditional gender roles is emasculating young men and contributing to their misery. Liz Plank academically explains why men tend to be more depressed on average, more reluctant to ask for medical or mental help, more prone to committing violent crimes and more likely to die on hazardous jobs and also cites that these sorrows tend to decline in more egalitarian societies where gender roles are not rigid (a couple of Scandinavian countries). What I particularly liked about this book is that Liz talked to people across the board (right-wingers like Tomi Lahren, Gavin Mcinnes) and did not limit herself to liberals. It is very well written. I'm giving only 4 stars as I felt she was not very extensive in her sources when talking about gender identity vs sex and I found that portion of the book wanting. Nevertheless, one of the most important books you can read on this topic.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Lyndsay

    The content of this book is extremely important. I only wish the book were better written and edited. There are so many typos, extra words, and repetitive statements within paragraphs, I found it difficult to stay focused on the content. The author’s writing style felt at times like reading a transcript of how a person might speak—too informal, loaded with grammatical faux pas, and poorly organized. I often found myself wondering how she jumped from one paragraph to the next. It read like a rush The content of this book is extremely important. I only wish the book were better written and edited. There are so many typos, extra words, and repetitive statements within paragraphs, I found it difficult to stay focused on the content. The author’s writing style felt at times like reading a transcript of how a person might speak—too informal, loaded with grammatical faux pas, and poorly organized. I often found myself wondering how she jumped from one paragraph to the next. It read like a rushed, unedited dissertation in the sense that the author tried to throw in everything she ever read or heard in her research without organizing it to flow logically. I’m honestly shocked this book made it to print in its current state. It needed a good editor to step in and clean it up. This was all so disappointing given the interesting data and analysis, and the potential impact of this book on anyone willing to read it, as well as on the people in their lives whom the book could indirectly benefit.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Shackelford

    For the most part, I’ve done a pretty good job evolving past some the negative thoughts, words, or phrases that plague men today. However, I wanted to read this book to give me a better understanding of why I am struggling to make strong connections with other men, even as I’ve worked to reach out over the last five plus years. After reading Liz’s book, my struggle largely makes sense. The foundation for some of these reasons are centuries old, but many come from recent history (100-150 years). For the most part, I’ve done a pretty good job evolving past some the negative thoughts, words, or phrases that plague men today. However, I wanted to read this book to give me a better understanding of why I am struggling to make strong connections with other men, even as I’ve worked to reach out over the last five plus years. After reading Liz’s book, my struggle largely makes sense. The foundation for some of these reasons are centuries old, but many come from recent history (100-150 years). Being conscious of these problems is the first step. Next comes the work to encourage other men to let go of those myths that hold us back. This book is a valuable resource for men to do that work and help others move forward through their evolution towards improved emotional intelligence.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Becca

    A great way to dip your toes in if you’re just getting into the topics of gender equality, toxic masculinity, gender roles, and feminism. The author provides mounds of research to educate those who read this book. Should be required reading for everyone!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Diana Iovanel

    The title of the book is very fit, in my opinion. Plank is really coming from a place of love and kindness, with a clear desire to make the world a better place for everyone. Her crucial point is that women and men are not "at war with each other". We are all at war against artificial gender norms, norms that limit everybody's freedom and self esteem. The main theme of the book is the label of a "real man", how prevalent it is and how it causes toxic expectations - but the book covers varied angl The title of the book is very fit, in my opinion. Plank is really coming from a place of love and kindness, with a clear desire to make the world a better place for everyone. Her crucial point is that women and men are not "at war with each other". We are all at war against artificial gender norms, norms that limit everybody's freedom and self esteem. The main theme of the book is the label of a "real man", how prevalent it is and how it causes toxic expectations - but the book covers varied angles of the topic of gender. Some parts are intense and distressing, others are very touching. Some are personal anecdotes and others are important facts and statistics. All parts are to the point, well researched and mindful of how the author relates to the topic and to the reader. One important aspect that this book, and many books on feminism and gender, bring to light is the subtlety of so many toxicities that snowball into big issues. What many people often dismiss as the flaw of the feminist to "make everything about gender" is actually the sad reality that so much of what we perceive as normal is a well engrained, always damaging, gender bias. Are women really better suited to be nurses or teachers? Are men really better suited for IT, science or finance? Possibly - but we can never know this from job statistics before we, as a society, stop instilling into children that some careers are manly and others are womanly, or that their intellectual capabilities depend on their gender. It is true that in recent decades little girls have been told more and more that they "can do anything a boy can do" - but how many parents tell their little boys that they can do anything a girl can do?

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mehrsa

    I read the history of misogyny a while back and it was written by a man and he explained that it was fitting for a man to write that history because they invented it. So I was willing to go along with Plank on masculinity, but there really is nothing new or insightful in here. I agree with the thesis that the rigid notions of masculinity are hurting men and we should change them, but that seems like an empty notion. How to change? What to replace them with? I have ideas about these things, but I I read the history of misogyny a while back and it was written by a man and he explained that it was fitting for a man to write that history because they invented it. So I was willing to go along with Plank on masculinity, but there really is nothing new or insightful in here. I agree with the thesis that the rigid notions of masculinity are hurting men and we should change them, but that seems like an empty notion. How to change? What to replace them with? I have ideas about these things, but I would have liked more rigor in the book. Also, we need to stop with "mindfulness." It's just meaningless these days

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jim Angstadt

    For the Love of Men: A New Vision for Mindful Masculinity Liz Plank This seems like an important discussion on how men can change and adapt to a better, broader understanding of who or what we want to become. Sex is what we are born with; gender is what/who we are. I had a hard time mentally unifying the diverse elements the author presented, all in the name of mindful masculinity.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bjorn

    Holy crap this book doesn't pull any punches. It gets right to the root of the issues revolving toxic masculinity and backs it up with clear evidence. Honestly an eye-opener for anyone who's had to struggle with the unrealistic and toxic standards that are held up for men around the world. Definitely a must-read for the modern man. Holy crap this book doesn't pull any punches. It gets right to the root of the issues revolving toxic masculinity and backs it up with clear evidence. Honestly an eye-opener for anyone who's had to struggle with the unrealistic and toxic standards that are held up for men around the world. Definitely a must-read for the modern man.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rachel Jackson

    On page 99 of For the Love of Men Liz Plank writes about how dating is hard for modern men (and women) because, on the one hand, women want to be treated as equals, and on the other hand, men need to be chivalrous gentlemen, and “because those two messages conflict,” Plank writes, “men are justifiably lost.” Justifiably lost. Just think about that for a minute. Because men can’t pay for dates anymore and because women are independent now, men have no idea what to do anymore. What a fucking excuse On page 99 of For the Love of Men Liz Plank writes about how dating is hard for modern men (and women) because, on the one hand, women want to be treated as equals, and on the other hand, men need to be chivalrous gentlemen, and “because those two messages conflict,” Plank writes, “men are justifiably lost.” Justifiably lost. Just think about that for a minute. Because men can’t pay for dates anymore and because women are independent now, men have no idea what to do anymore. What a fucking excuse that gives men to be shitty people—and indeed, all of Plank’s book (especially this first half of complete drivel and fluff) reads like she’s a shitty man apologist, making excuses for why men can’t be better than they are, because they’re stuck in societal constraints of masculinity and patriarchy. Oh no, it can’t possibly be men’s faults that they’re so shitty; it’s actually women’s fault for being independent now and for still wanting to dating men. What the actual fuck? And that’s just about the dating world and speaking about men with female partners. Later on in the book Plank discusses how men don’t do chores, housework or child-rearing as much as women do, which is no surprise to anyone. But then she says the following (page 172): “Although it’s tempting to blame individual men for not contributing to work inside the household, it’s crucial to look at the way laws and the policy environment collectively encourages them not to.” And you know what, yeah, I sympathize with men in the sense that society directs them certain and the lack of paternity time or paid-time-off can play a role in the commitments they have at home. But all men have to do is just say no to those expectations that prevent them from helping. All men have to do is make the right choice. But instead they claim that society prevents them from doing certain things because of “toxic masculinity,” a convenient and trendy buzzword that alleviates responsibility for just about anything. So they choose to be the bumbling idiot husband you see in every sitcom ever instead. Here’s the thing about societal nonconformity, though: I have been doing it for years, as have most other women. There is almost no woman who lives up to the standards of beauty and achievement that society expects from them. And guess what? We’re doing okay. Yes, of course women feel pressured to fit into certain standards, and of course it is extremely detrimental to women’s physical and mental health. But once you are able to get past the absurdity of those expectations, once you live your life, it’s easy. You just do it. I don’t adhere to beauty norms, female appearances, gendered clothing, stereotypical hobbies or activities, but guess what? I’m still a woman. I’m still living my life. It’s that easy. So what are men’s excuses? Plank offers plenty, again in apologist form, that men are useless when they can’t be chivalrous, which is why they act entitled and insecure around women. She says that men’s families don’t actually like men to be vulnerable so they too uphold masculinity. She says that women need to give men the space to talk about emotional intimacy to help men open up to both their female partners and their male friends. She starts to bring up how men are responsible for women’s problems like, predictable, sexual and domestic violence, but also things like HIV and AIDS (page 234) when they refuse to get treated or even tested and pass the disease along to women. But for some reason that’s all she says about it, instead choosing to focus it on society “ignoring men’s gendered constraints” rather than taking responsibility and making the simple choice of being a good man for once. On page 118, Plank writes: “But of course saying ‘just let go of toxic masculinity’ to a man is like saying ‘just relax’ to a person having a panic attack.” Except, no, it’s not at all the same. You can choose to participate in toxic masculinity and you can choose to opt out of it. You choose your actions, your friends, your job, your behaviors, your clothing. You choose everything, even if society is telling you to choose something else. But tou can’t choose whether or not to have a panic attack. So just fucking make the choice to be a better man. Ultimately it takes Plank 295 pages to get to the point she avoided the entire rest of the book: “The journey of conscious masculinity means being brave enough to examine pain as well as love and get knowledge and control over your life. It’s the ultimate form of protecting others, because there’s no greater way to show love for others than by taking responsibility for yourself.” So why not talk about how to do this? The bar for men is so low; there’s only room for improvement. Plank instead is giving men yet another way out of being emotionally stable, sexually intuitive, genuinely connected members of society just by writing this very book that she claims will help men develop a healthier and more “mindful” masculinity. But she’s preaching the same things she claims to be against. I realize that I’m probably more well-read on feminist ideology than a fair number of women and nearly all men. But all I can see in this book is validation for men’s terrible patriarchal behavior; men can read this book and give themselves a pat on the back for being a nice guy and then go back to being shitty, having done what they seen is enough work to be a good man. But it’s empty validation and praise for being so brave in the face of toxic masculinity rather than any action actions to dismantle that masculinity or patriarchy. It’s hollow. When men refuse to do the work and they push societal expectations onto others, they are doing the damage to themselves. To her credit, Plank does give some page time to more important issues like male incarceration and the occupational hazards for male-dominated jobs like coal mining or oil rigging—these broader societal problems are ones that are worth looking at because they’re not something men can easily change. But even then Plank still offers excuses for why men don’t join other female-dominated fields like nursing or eldercare. Or why they die younger and get injured faster, because they take more risks under the assumptions that there are no consequences because other men will view them as heroes for taking such a risk. The point always comes back to public ridicule and social status. I get it, but it doesn’t absolve men of their choices. And the meat of these sorts of bigger issues, rather than dating and sex, doesn’t come until almost 200 pages into the book, which doesn’t make sense for the real problems that men face rather than manufactured ones. Plank needed to be much stronger and aggressive in her word choice to get men to understand that they are digging their own holes and they are the ones who need to stop digging before they reach bottom. But she took the apologist’s approach instead. Other issues: 1) She called same-sex relationships “a social experiment” on page 117. She continues on the next page: “We might not all have the luxury of being born gay, but all of us have the power to use them as inspiration.” No. Listen to how creepy you sound. 2) Her condescending tone toward Black African people while also attempting to sound “woke.” On page 258 she talks about visiting women in Zambia whose husbands had left them, and she says: “They possessed a kind of superhuman resilience that even I couldn’t fully grasp the power of.” This kind of talk also dehumanizes Black women by making them out to be more resistant to pain and thus able to endure more, justifying violence against them. It’s a recurring theme in white commentary on Black people, and you’d think for all her social justice talk, Plank would be more aware of that. Apologies for all the profanity in this book review, usually a rarity for me except in the most extreme cases, and apparently this book was one of those cases. I’m only rating it 2 stars instead of 1 star because it’s a subject that I think is important and I’m passionate about feminist causes, which, while I don’t think they should necessarily include men, they certainly are a result of men’s actions. But it’s not until the concluding chapter that Plank finally gets into that stuff, and it took way too long to get there. So as a whole, this book was nothing I didn’t already know and it was more frustrating than most other feminist/anti-patriarchal books that people should read.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Alanna-Jane

    Great book idea, completely torturous execution. I cannot believe that I wasted so much time listening to this audiobook. The sloppiness of both research and writing mean that this is basically one very-long opinion piece (written as truth) with very shaky foundations, zero credence given to other opinions, and the odd nod to one friend or another. I actually started out liking this book. At the very beginning, it seemed like the author was relying on both extensive background research and perso Great book idea, completely torturous execution. I cannot believe that I wasted so much time listening to this audiobook. The sloppiness of both research and writing mean that this is basically one very-long opinion piece (written as truth) with very shaky foundations, zero credence given to other opinions, and the odd nod to one friend or another. I actually started out liking this book. At the very beginning, it seemed like the author was relying on both extensive background research and personal research. In the beginning, it seemed like the author could actually write more formally than that required of a popular paragraph-long blog article. Then I started noticing that the comparisons made were never between like components. Apples were only ever compared with oranges. For example, comparing paternal leave available to men in the US payable by individual corporations, to the paternal leave available in Denmark payable from the government in a country where most people pay approximately 50% of their wages in taxes isn’t close to the same thing. I would personally pay half or more of my income in taxes if I knew that I was covered by so many different and amazing social services. Would many others in North America do the same? I doubt this very highly. Further, the cultures are incredibly different. There are countless examples where she compares the personal opinion of one man somewhere to either her opinion (stated often as fundamental truth) or the opinion of another singular man somewhere else. There are zero controls or parameters, and differences are often breezed over. Oh, and don’t get me started on counting one Facebook conversation on your own page as a conclusive representation of men in America. (Plus, when did North America only consist of the States and Quebec?). The scientist in me is cringing 😬 Two completely different places are named as the one place where men live the longest in Europe (Sardinia and Iceland). That this takes place in two different chapters maybe hopes that the earlier reference would have been forgotten? This book reads like a paper that was written last-minute, during one all-nighter, to be handed in the next morning! The background research, the author’s never-disclosed research (aside from Facebook conversations and the odd trip overseas to apparently only talk to one or two people) and personal opinion flow together as-if it was all the same thing. It’s lazy and very, very far from a treatise on the subject. Don’t get me wrong: I ADORE men, and I am a strong and intersectional feminist. I hope that one day we can get to a place where all humans are treated with dignity and respect, have equal opportunities and are paid equally for doing the same job. But treating people with dignity and respect includes an acknowledgement that we are also all different in so many different ways. The author hands out a list of rules for how to deal with trying to hook-up within the workplace post-metoo, as if they would keep them out of trouble with all women. Following her advice (stated as fundamental rules), would have me offended in a heartbeat!! Maybe we should all get a lot less comfortable with judging people and putting them all into boxes, slow down and take the time to ask them directly what they want, and then believe their answer as it relates to them specifically. The author lost me completely when she stated that she didn’t think it was necessary for men to check their privilege(s), provided that they took a good look at where they stood within different power dynamics. Spoken like someone with a whole lot of unchecked privilege(s) - although I do think BOTH are necessary investigations/awarenesses. If I can stand to, I’ll likely return and clean this up. Not that I’ll respect this book any more, but perhaps I will be able to more clearly articulate why.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Allister Mason

    "Patriarchy may not hurt equally, but it hurts everyone." I enjoyed this read a lot and Liz Plank gives an excellent overview of much of the toxic aspects of masculinity in a modern setting. She is able to discuss a serious topic in a fairly light tone and accessible level. The book gives an overview of how much of what society expects of men and men expect of themselves is often to their detriment (and even death with the high rates of "deaths of despairs" seen among men, particularly white work "Patriarchy may not hurt equally, but it hurts everyone." I enjoyed this read a lot and Liz Plank gives an excellent overview of much of the toxic aspects of masculinity in a modern setting. She is able to discuss a serious topic in a fairly light tone and accessible level. The book gives an overview of how much of what society expects of men and men expect of themselves is often to their detriment (and even death with the high rates of "deaths of despairs" seen among men, particularly white working class men). It also spends a lot of time explaining how, while work has been done to expand what it means to be female/feminine, our expectations of males/masculinity remains much more rigid. Plank discusses how race (and class, although less so) can exacerbate these issues. This was my first real introduction to this topic and I found it has helped start to develop a framework to understand a lot of contemporary issues. It is of course not an academic book, so sometimes it was a bit data-light, but that wasn't too much an issue for me. The other thing I would have liked to see was more discussion on the "Mindful Masculinity" that is included in the title. This concept only came up in the brief concluding chapter. It's very much a "problem focused" book, not a "solutions" book, but I think that's also okay. One step at a time.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Emmkay

    A compassionate, witty exploration of how gender roles defined by patriarchy hurt men - their health, their relationships, their overall well-being. I particularly liked when the author synthesized interesting research, for example around men’s health issues, or international development that focuses on supporting women without addressing men in the community. I was a bit less interested in her personal anecdotes, but I can see how, coupled with her Instagram presence and high media profile, it A compassionate, witty exploration of how gender roles defined by patriarchy hurt men - their health, their relationships, their overall well-being. I particularly liked when the author synthesized interesting research, for example around men’s health issues, or international development that focuses on supporting women without addressing men in the community. I was a bit less interested in her personal anecdotes, but I can see how, coupled with her Instagram presence and high media profile, it makes for a persuasive package, and sometimes that’s what’s needed to get important stuff across. Also a small note - the editing is unfortunately not great (at one point there were two subject/verb disagreements in two pages!) - not everyone will find that distracting, but I did.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Theodore

    Outstanding and eye-opening book on how masculinity is semi-consciously defined by both men and women. The blurb was what initially enticed me, so I think reading that gives an accurate prediction on whether one would enjoy the whole book. NB., though, there are no “actionable steps“ provided but rather an extensive dive into the ideas of manliness in general. It also seems the author is quite famous, though I didn’t know her beforehand. After reading the book, though, I like her now, and all the Outstanding and eye-opening book on how masculinity is semi-consciously defined by both men and women. The blurb was what initially enticed me, so I think reading that gives an accurate prediction on whether one would enjoy the whole book. NB., though, there are no “actionable steps“ provided but rather an extensive dive into the ideas of manliness in general. It also seems the author is quite famous, though I didn’t know her beforehand. After reading the book, though, I like her now, and all the cheesy and controversial things she says and does! I also wrote a more extensive review on my blog here: https://sirodoht.com/blog/book-for-th...

  24. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Bailey

    The world would be a better place if everyone would read, absorb, and discuss this book. Liz Plank thoroughly investigates the many areas where traditional masculine norms are harming and/or inhibiting men and women alike, and while she includes several zappy one-liners that are laugh-out-loud worthy, she also lends a sincere empathy to men for the way society has imposed impossible expectations on them, which I believe is critical to ensuring the conversation about gender norms is inviting and The world would be a better place if everyone would read, absorb, and discuss this book. Liz Plank thoroughly investigates the many areas where traditional masculine norms are harming and/or inhibiting men and women alike, and while she includes several zappy one-liners that are laugh-out-loud worthy, she also lends a sincere empathy to men for the way society has imposed impossible expectations on them, which I believe is critical to ensuring the conversation about gender norms is inviting and empowering regardless of how you identify.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ayush

    The book presents wonderful new perspective. But at the same time it is dangerous in the sense that it is plagued with selection bias. For example, many of the arguments presented are supported by authors conversation with men or arguments by one of the scientists in the field. This criticism should not discourage you to read this book as it can help men and women think more deeply about gender stereotypes.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    I was prepared to hate this book when I picked it up. Having read the synopsis I was already composing my review: how I don’t like this book’s condescending tone; the way it talks about men like we’re not in the room; how all the preaching cancels out any value it has to offer. What I thought was going to happen is I would get scolded by an attractive, successful young woman (it helps that she’s gay) for having been born a man. I was prepared to be shamed for the sins of all cisgender men and ma I was prepared to hate this book when I picked it up. Having read the synopsis I was already composing my review: how I don’t like this book’s condescending tone; the way it talks about men like we’re not in the room; how all the preaching cancels out any value it has to offer. What I thought was going to happen is I would get scolded by an attractive, successful young woman (it helps that she’s gay) for having been born a man. I was prepared to be shamed for the sins of all cisgender men and made to answer for them. And so while I was getting angry preemptively, I was blindsided by the author's candour, erudition, and kind intention. This book’s aim is not to reprimand men, not to make us repent and receive penance. It is to bring everyone's attention to the destructive, sexist-defined notions of male identity that we are not conscious of. I'll leave you with a quote that stuck with me. "We updated what it means to be a woman, but we didn’t update what it means to be a man".

  27. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    This book did an amazing job reshaping and challenging my preconceived notions about my feminism, toxic masculinity, and how we, collectively, can change our ways of thinking to be more productive as a society and people. Bravo!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Santiago Guerra Arrangóiz

    A very interesting read! SPECIALLY FOR MEN. I think it gives a fresh, accurate perspective of what must be defined being a man today, and the problems anyone of them faces in a patriarchal society. Also being a better man means being a better human being, we shouldn’t associate being a man with being discriminatory, violent or closed off and miserable. This book gives that point across effectively. Some chapters are better than others, but it resonated with me deeply. And I believe it could lead t A very interesting read! SPECIALLY FOR MEN. I think it gives a fresh, accurate perspective of what must be defined being a man today, and the problems anyone of them faces in a patriarchal society. Also being a better man means being a better human being, we shouldn’t associate being a man with being discriminatory, violent or closed off and miserable. This book gives that point across effectively. Some chapters are better than others, but it resonated with me deeply. And I believe it could lead to a more healthy, happy life for the men around me.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mallory

    I had a hard time choosing stars for this book, I’d probably go with a 4.5. I think this book is an essential read for anyone who is a man, who has a son, or anyone who loves/knows any men. So yeah, pretty much everyone. The book is not perfect, but the messages addressed in the chapters and the focus on the detriment of toxic masculinity are ESSENTIAL for any progress and change in our society. The issues are also necessary to be understood by both men and women for any hope moving forward!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Danni Pinnick

    This is an essential read, for anyone who wants to understand and end toxic masculinity. I feel especially informed of my role as the mother of a little boy.

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