Grayson Perry’s timely, entertaining book explores how rigid masculine roles can destroy men’s lives. By Matt Haig
It is a strangely embarrassing time to be a man. You only have to watch the news, or log on to Twitter, or just open your eyes, and you will see a man doing something atrocious. Very often the man we see is Donald Trump, but Trump is just the most visible example of the toxic masculinity on offer. It is there, in some form or other, all over our virtual and actual reality.
Of course, men have always done terrible things. You could pinpoint any moment in history and men would have been doing something despicable. Pol Pot and Hitler and Stalin were men, for instance. So was Jack the Ripper. So is, indisputably, Donald Trump.
And, away from the big names, as Grayson Perry puts it in his new book on masculinity, “most violent people, rapists, criminals, killers, tax avoiders, corrupt politicians, planet despoilers, sex abusers and dinner-party bores, do tend to be, well… men”. This has always been the case, in every patriarchal society in history. But the difference nowadays is that we are beginning to understand that part of the problem with men is not their gender but rather the gender role dictated to them.
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