In this episode I’m discussing Toxic Masculinity with my brother in law Michael.  Let me start by telling you how this topic, and ultimately this conversation, came about. There isn’t a lot of “planning” per se that goes into the process cultivating a dismantling normal “season.” I don’t decide I want a specific theme or even have specific people in mind.  I just start paying a little more attention to issues or posts that grab my attention, but, I try not to force things in one direction or another. However, as a woman, I’m always going to be more biased toward women’s issues.  In trying to be conscious of this, I looked at how things were coming together early on, and realized it was very focused topics that typically lean more feminine.  I texted my brother, Ryan (some of you remember him from his episode in season one) and asked, what is something difficult that men deal with?  I get an immediate response: Toxic Masculinity.  I’d heard of it, but knew nothing about it, not even the formal definition, which after being so off on the motivations behind The Body Positive Movement, I was coming to realize was highly important. 

Since this podcast centers around my learning and growing, I thought, why not dig into it during a recorded conversation.  But, I needed a guest…enter my brother in law.  Again, I texted Ryan, since he seemed to be in the know, “what about Michael?”  His response, again immediate, was “Perfect.”

I’m about to tell you why Ryan and I both thought Michael was so right for this, but I will also tell you, I had no idea where this conversation would go and there many parts of it that were fairly new to me.

Michael is a very well read person, at any given time it’s likely he’s reading about 3-4 books most of which are non-fiction.  And when something peaks his interest, he learns about it, reads about it.  He also has a lot of opinions – not overbearing opinions, but he’s constantly digging into things, exposing himself to new information to get a better understanding, particularly around topics center on societal issues.  I’ve watched his own stance on things eb and flow and the knee jerk reaction many of us have (myself included) to be certain, soften over the years.  Michael is one of those people that walks the line of several stereotypes, but you can’t actually fit him into one. Ryan’s description was a little more succinct with, “he’s a man’s man but is also sensitive.” 

However, when I texted Michael to be on the show, it went like this:

Me: Hey, if I did a podcast on how toxic masculinity effects men, would you be interested in being a guest?

Michael: Of Course!

(now this is where I assume Michael has read up on this and knows things)

Me: Awesome! We’ll have to chat. I don’t even know what I don’t know about this topic.

Michael: I’m not sure either tbh.

This answer was so not what I was expecting. However, we decided to fumble through it a little learn together. I did some research and the plan was that I would just, kind of throw out some of these topics to Michael and let him respond according to his own experiences and opinions.

So there you have it, this was absolutely done in a fly by the seat of your pants, let’s see what comes of this and go with it kind of style.  I’m sure there are some toxic masculinity experts out there that either don’t feel like we covered it well or enough or properly, but like I’ve said before, a single, hour long conversation is never going to be enough to fully digest these topics and they are really more or less prompts.  I’d much rather let things flow and see where they and up… like this discussion, which was really unexpected in the best possible way.  

Enjoy the episode.

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