Where are we headed?
Right at the tail end of 2019, the November issue of GQ featured Pharrell in a floor-length, technicolour puffer jacket with the phrase "The New Masculinity Issue". Inside, tastemakers like comedian Jaboukie Young-White, and the NBA's Kevin Love explored the concept alongside Pharrell's feature interview.
Many of the overarching questions of the interviews had to do with the future of masculinity. What do traditional masculine values like toughness and austerity look like in 2019, and do they belong at all?
By the time I had finished poring over each of the interviews at hand, I felt equally inspired, and completely scrambled. Each interviewee, regardless of their background, orientation, or sex, brought a unique facet of their masculinity to the table. This made reading the series of interviews a unique experience, but did little in the way of helping answer the question posed at the outset: Where are we headed?
This made me realize 2 things:
First - we can't expect someone else's version of masculinity to fit exactly with our own. Each individual grappling with these questions is unique, so why should their masculine values be an "out-of-the-box" set? Part of what excited me about the range of interviews was that it allowed contributors from all walks of life; as long as they were able to take a long, hard look at masculinity and explore it. This showed me that masculinity is best defined and expressed on an individual basis - meaning that my version of what it means to be a man is likely mine alone. (This isn't to say that you can't learn from other men and adapt your definition. In my mind this is an essential part of the process.)
But more importantly, the interviews told me that this discussion is just beginning. The answers given to most of the questions felt more like jumping off points for my own reflection, and less like iron-clad mantras that we should all be expected to live by.
I spent the remaining weeks of 2019 buried in holiday chaos, but once the Big Day came and went, and the dust settled, I was able to take time with the other men in my life and discuss the concepts and questions that I had been wrestling with for weeks. These discussions were always informal - these guys aren't the "therapy session" type. But over a couple of beers or a good meal, we began to unpack and explore the concepts and themes in more detail.
This is my goal for the series. We want to give our community a platform to collectively explore these same themes around New Masculinity, without pretense or expectations. We aren't aiming to end the series with a post titled "10 Commandments for the New Man", or anything like that. We want to use the series to guide and support the same type of small, personal conversations around masculinity, it's current state, and where we want to go.
So here's what you can expect from us:
- 12 weeks of content aimed at encouraging and loosely guiding the conversation through a variety of topics. Our plan is between 1 and 3 new pieces of content per week, so there'll be plenty to talk about.
- Virtual "live discussions" to break down and unpack some of the more complex issues, or share stories from the community.
- We'll also be sharing relevant curated content to help with reflection and defining a more relevant, personal definition of masculinity. This includes starting points for group conversations, run by you guys!
How do I participate?
All we're looking for from our community for this series is a commitment to personal reflection, and the odd bit of participation in things like group discussion or sound-offs on social media.
You can participate solo, or with a group. (We highly recommend working through the series with company, but it's definitely not required.) If you feel like you have some people around you to join you in the conversation, we'll be publishing questions and resources regularly to help guide and encourage discussion. We will be doing the same with a small group, and publishing the talks, podcast-style, for you guys to review.
To get started, visit the landing page here to sign up. You'll receive a welcome package from us, with more instructions on how to get started. We're excited to begin this journey, and we hope you'll walk it with us!
-See you in the next one!
Tyler at Peregrine