Millions of pages have been devoted to demystifying the relationship between men and women, unpacking gendered power dynamics, and more recently, to interrogating toxic masculinity and finding ways to hold some men accountable for their bad behavior. What is now known as the #MeToo movement began more than a decade ago, when activist Tarana Burke launched a conversation around sexual harassment and assault often experienced by women and femmes with the powerful phrase “me too.”
But what role do men have to play in ending this epidemic, and divorcing themselves from the toxic masculinity that underlies this behavior? Yes! Magazine asked me to weigh in on the question: What is men’s role in the #MeToo movement, and what does a new or nontoxic masculinity look like?
“I think the role of men in the #MeToo movement is to hold other men accountable for their behavior. The greatest influence on men’s behavior is other men. And so it’s essential that men take a key role in holding other men accountable for their actions, which are sexist, misogynist, and patriarchal in nature.
And I think, fundamentally, what a nontoxic masculinity looks like, is a masculinity without patriarchy. And it’s essential for us to achieve that, that men do the internal work to figure out the ways in which they constantly place their needs and their desires above everyone else’s. Once that stops, we can have a world without toxic masculinity and without patriarchy.”
*Adapted from an article in Yes! Magazine