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Is Masculinity Toxic? (The Big Idea)

A primer for the 21st century

Andrew Smiler, Matthew Taylor


A timely exploration of the exceptional power and intrinsic vulnerability of manhood

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In the wake of the #MeToo movement and the upsurge in feminist and men’s rights activism, traditional masculinity has become a topic of impassioned debate. But what exactly do we mean by ‘masculinity’ and in what ways can it be said to be harmful? This incisive volume evaluates modern masculinity’s capacity for good against its potential for destruction. It reviews evolving definitions of masculinity since the age of chivalry and examines our current expectations about men’s behaviours, roles and responsibilities. It reveals societal pressure on men to act aggressively, suppress emotion and be in control, and the impact of being a ‘real man’ on self and others.

Product Information

Book Details

Format: Paperback with flaps

Size: 22.9 x 15.2 cm

Extent: 144 pp

Illustrations: 205

Publication date: 5 September 2019

ISBN: 9780500295021

Contents List

Introduction - Evolving Understandings of Masculinity - Masculine Power to Harm - Men and Interpersonal Relationships - The Changing Face of Masculinity Today - Conclusion

About the Author

Andrew Smiler (PhD) has served as president of the Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinities and, and is currently the editor of Online Publications for the Society for Research in Adolescence. Dr Smiler is co-author, with Chris Kilmartin, of the bestselling introduction to men’s studies textbook The Masculine Self.

Matthew Taylor is Chief Executive of the RSA, a 250-year old British institution devoted to enriching society through ideas and action to deliver a 21st-century enlightenment. A writer, public speaker and broadcaster, he has written widely on policy, politics, public service reform and cultural theory, and frequently appears on Newsnight, The Daily Politics, and Radio 4’s Today and The Moral Maze. He was previously General Secretary and Chief Executive of the Institute for Public Policy Research, Britain’s leading think tank.

List of Contributors

Matthew Taylor