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!READ E-PUB ♅ The Man They Wanted Me to Be ♗ The Author Of The People Are Going To Rise Upon Your Shore Turns His Keen Eye To Our Current Crisis Of Masculinity Using His Upbringing In A Rural, Patriarchal Home As An Entry Point To Consider The Personal And Societal Dangers Of Performative GenderBased On His Provocative And Popular New York Times Op Ed, The Man They Wanted Me To Be Is Both Memoir And Cultural Analysis Jared Yates Sexton Alternates Between An Examination Of His Working Class Upbringing And Historical, Psychological, And Sociological Sources That Examine The Genesis Of Toxic Masculinity And Its Consequences For SocietyAs Progressivism Changes American Society, And Globalism Shifts Labor Away From Traditional Manufacturing, The Roles That Have Been Prescribed To Men Since The Industrial Revolution Have Been Rendered As Obsolete Donald Trump S Campaign Successfully Leveraged Male Resentment And Entitlement, And Now, With Trump As President And The Rise Of The MeToo Movement, It S Clearer Than Ever What A Problem Performative Masculinity IsDeeply Personal And Thoroughly Researched, The Man They Wanted Me To Be Examines How We Teach Boys What S Expected Of Men In America, And The Long Term Effects Of That Socialization Which Include Depression, Suicide, Misogyny, And, Ultimately, Shorter Lives Sexton Turns His Keen Eye To The Establishment Of The Racist Patriarchal Structure Which Has Favored White Men, And Investigates The Personal And Societal Dangers Of Such Outdated Definitions Of Manhood
As the mother of a baby boy being raised into a world of Donald Trumps and Brett Kavanaughs, I feel a deep sense of responsibility to raise him right, and to me that means ensuring that he rejects toxic masculinity, both for his own good and for the good of everyone in his life.These days we see toxic masculinity everywhere in the abundance of mass shootings that plague our country, the rise of incels and the alt right, and most notably in the election of our current president, the personification of white American masculinity For Jared Yates Sexton, the issue is personal, growing up with a series of abusive father figures in blue collar America In this timely book, he combines his own stories and memories with incisive cultural analysis and critique aimed at deconstructing the insidious lie of white patriarchal masculinity.Tasked with the insurmountable goal of living up to the traditional ideal of masculinity, men are doomed to fall short, causing them to overcompensate in harmful ways They often suffer in silence resistant to expressing feminine emotions like sadness and tenderness and then inflict suffering on everyone around them via acceptable outlets such as anger and aggression.Yates connects the dots in ways that make perfect sense but that I hadn t before been able to articulate, linking toxic masculinity with everything from capitalism to military hero worship to men s health.He shows how even the most self aware men such as himself can get caught up in the web of toxic masculinity, bound by traditional social constructs and antiquated ideals that are hard to overcome And, on the other hand, how even the most toxically masculine men such as his father can come out on the other side. American Macho is ToxicThe Man They Wanted Me To Be is a cathartic look at Jared s Sexton s life to date He s 38 It is a stinging condemnation of working class white males and their attitudes They control, berate and beat their wives and children, hate anything that doesn t smack of white male supremacy, and are self contained frustration bombs, ready to explode at any time.Sexton was a chubby, asthmatic and emotional child, which infuriated a series of men his father and several stepfathers He was given the ultimate crushing insult he was no better than a girl His mother bounced from one abusive relationship to another, totally unable to hook up with a reasonable man Sexton grew up into a poor, alcoholic, frustrated and self loathing beast of a teen and young adult In this, he simply followed his role models.Sexton s thesis is that the working class white American male is in an impossible situation Carrying the burden of being superior, the sole breadwinner and the hardest worker, he can show no emotion or even understanding of anyone else He is there to be served He has no time, patience or tolerance for variance in his vision of the perfect society That society, the American Dream, does not exist for him, making it difficult for him to rationalize his life Every nibble at his dreamworld blacks getting educations, women getting equal pay, children going to university, immigrants taking the worst jobs available all make him dig in and fight He is open and welcoming to conspiracy theories backing his views of the world And inevitably, he has come to see Donald Trump as his savior Sexton says America is a bastion of patriarchal pitfalls, and consistently reinforces toxic concepts This is called performative masculinity, and in a patriarchal society, these males must be on at all times To miss that goal is to show weakness It totally prevents any kind of intimacy, with men or even their own wives In Sexton s eastern Indiana in the 1980s and 90s, there was nothing else to emulate, it seems The schoolyard reinforced it The girls reinforced it Sports reinforced it It involved a lot of swearing, racism, sexism, misogyny, posing, slouching and attitude.It is also actually toxic In all of the research Sexton conducted for the book, he found men are sicker, die earlier and are lonely and miserable in their self enforced, controlling solitude Sexton himself slept with a loaded rifle, ready to use it on himself at any time.The book is really about three things Sexton s life, the insufferable existence of men, and the rise of the alt right to take advantage of and reinforce it It is both a confession and a plea for readers to open their eyes Things are the way they are in America for good reason And posturing isn t going to fix it If you can see that in the book, it is well worthwhile.It s tempting to conclude that white working class American males are the most gullible, weak and insecure examples of Homo sapiens there can be They constantly fear for their position of superiority They are afraid of everyone from their politicians to anyone of a different color, to their own wives and children They fall for every idiot story that floats past But of course, that s not true It is rather, true of people in general Why are we puzzled that young men can be radicalized into joining ISIS by looking at websites, when mass murderer Dylan Roof self radicalized the exact same way, except it was White Supremacy instead of ISIS Why is Make America Great Again a genuine threat to the very existence of the USA Sexton shows how it can be, through toxic masculinity It leads to the breakdown of self respect, of respect for others, of the family and ultimately of the nation, as the frustration of the isolated white male becomes the front burner issue.The key to the violence, Sexton concludes, is simple shame Embarrassed by their own lack of humanity and success, men lash out It is part of the contradiction that makes their lives impossible to live It took his own father 59 years to realize it, admit it, reject it, and try to humanize himself Just as he was getting a handle on it, he died, because part of toxic masculinity is never seeing a doctor I learned this violence syndrome years ago in the story of freed slaves, deported to Liberia in the mid 1800s Instead of using their new found freedom to work with the native Liberians, they beat them into submission, kept them out of the better jobs and schooling, and perpetuated the generations of vicious lessons of the American South As one ex slave put it in an extraordinary admission How true it is, the greater the injury done to the injured, the greater the hatred of those who have done the injury David Wineberg What s frustrating is the people who most need to read this, and would benefit from it, almost certainly won t. I m sympathetic to his viewpoint But really this is mostly a memoir of the various ways the author and most of the men he knows are toxic in their masculinity I think books like this are a little tricky, using your own personal experience as a paragon for commenting on global ills can sometimes read as being fraught with over generalizations. Wellit s a slog and no mistake I respect that the author had a very difficult upbringing and the lessons that he took from it about men were come by honestly.StillI don t believe in toxic masculinity It s just jargon to describe the effects of poverty, substance abuse, PTSD depression, and other factors on men vs how they influence women It s kind of silly to label any inherent trait as toxic.The switch from talking about sociology to politics also tried my patience Again, poverty and a lack of education, not masculinity In my opinion.Overall, there s much better, much even handed writing on gender out there without the scapegoatingwhich probably came from the author s undeniably traumatic childhood Nevertheless I d recommend Thomas Page McBee s work over this guy s any day. The Man They Wanted Me to Be is one of the most critical works of non fiction to come out this year, and it should be required reading for every American male Mr Sexton articulately captures the root problem for so many issues that plague society today American culture has created a mythical masculinity that is unobtainable, and men will step over everyone and everything in pursuit of this unreachable standard Throughout his book, Sexton details his own experiences growing up in a culture rooted in this toxic masculinity, and how his own inability to measure up to this absurd standard fueled a deep depression It s only appropriate that in doing so, Mr Sexton allows himself to be vulnerable the inability to make oneself vulnerable, he argues, is one of the most harmful attributes of toxic masculinity I suspect that a lot of men will be able to see themselves in Mr Sexton s experiences Although Sexton specifically describes the experiences of growing up in a White culture, readers from outside culture will be able to see identify with many of these issues being a Hispanic male from a culture rooted in machismo, I felt as though the two cultures were looking up against each other in a mirror I could not put this book down Every man should read this book. Sexton s approach to modern day toxic masculinity in America consists of personal stories through a feminist and phenomenological lens These stories contain emotional and physical abuse, struggles with disordered eating habits, and suicide attempts IF YOU ARE IN A PLACE WHERE THOSE STORIES CAN TRIGGER DANGEROUS BEHAVIORS, PLEASE AVOID THIS BOOK FOR NOW While the narrative is often specific to the authors experience, he does draw conclusions that most men can relate to This book taught me that the boy that I was wasn t alone He wasn t alone when he grew angry at sexist standards that affected his sister and friends, or when he felt shame for not meeting the unattainable standards of manhood He wasn t alone when he felt powerless against racial divides which sought to tear down his friends and classmates, or when he had a distaste for sports He wasn t alone This message is powerful and Sexton applies it on the individual, social, and political level While this book does offer tools to dismantle the patriarchy it mainly acts as a raw exploration of loneliness, shame, and pain that can unite us to work at being a people whose inclusion creates and nurtures society as a whole. I recommend women buy this book and then quietly place it upon the desk of any man or men in their life, no matter how she might believe that man is immured or not in toxic masculinity And then serenade him with Born This Way The strength of the book lies in the touching and meaningful memoir sections.