A conversation evolving away from toxic masculinity and towards positive masculinity

by Dr John Barry

I got an email a couple of weeks ago asking if I wanted to be on a panel discussing ‘What does it mean to be a man?’ by a new group called Can We Just Ask?

This isn’t an excitingly new question, but it looked like a good opportunity to – given the negative narratives around men and masculinity these days – take the opportunity to add balance to the discussion. The format seemed interesting – no presentations or lectures, just straight to Q&A. Also I knew from the media that the opinions of the other panel members would create a diversity of thought.

The other panel members were writer & performer Jordan Stephens, best known for being half of the hip hop duo Rizzle Kicks, and journalist & author Poorna Bell who suffered the tragic loss of her husband to suicide in May 2015.

So a few days ago (31st May 2018) I went to the very salubrious MindSpace in Shoreditch, Central London. It was a sunny evening in late May and we were given a friendly welcome by Alice and Will of Can We Just Ask.

To cut a long story short, some of the issues discussed included men’s mental health, representations of men in the media, toxic masculinity, and why we need to be more positive about masculinity.

Although it’s clear that we didn’t agree on all points, you can see that over the course of the discussion we were converging towards some agreement on the major brush strokes. Overall I think the discussion was positive and thought provoking, with minimal cross-talking or grandstanding.

Well done to Annie and Will for creating such a good forum for intelligent discussion.

You can watch the video of the whole discussion here [here]


About the author

Dr John Barry is a chartered psychologist and co-founder of the Male Psychology Network


You can vote now for a Male Psychology Section of the BPS.
Details are here http://www.malepsychology.org.uk/male-psychology-network/vote-for-a-male-psychology-section/




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