a note on ‘real men’.

As an undergrad, I was invited by a mentor to discuss my experiences with masculinity. Walking into the meeting, I expected to feel good about helping a friend with her graduate school work; walking out, I was startled at how busy my mind was. Masculinity, particularly the pressure to perform masculinity, had been a particularly pervasive force in my life.

In grad school, I based my thesis work around the topic of masculinity. My participants seemed equally startled by the volume of messages, of rules and codas, they were working to perform and uphold. So many messages about what ‘real men’ do.

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