What does it mean to be a man in modern times? Caitlin Moran sparks an illuminating Twitter debate
A tweet by the writer Caitlin Moran has gone viral, sparking an intense discussion about modern manhood, after she posed the simple question: “What are the downsides of being a man?”
The feminist author pointed out that we (rightly) talk a lot about issues facing women, but men and their problems sometimes evade the spotlight:
Moran’s message prompted a flood of response and quickly went viral as hundreds of men chimed in and shared their stories.
The lively and mostly compassionate debate revolved around everything from toxic masculinity to emotional expression, mental health and whether the term “mansplaining” is prejudiced.
Here are (just a few) eye-opening snippets:
There are no clear answers to these issues, and it would be easy to dismiss some of them by saying that women have it far worse (e.g. men’s fear of being judged as dangerous, versus women facing the actual threat of danger).
But in times like these when we seem increasingly polarised from one another in so many ways, a debate such as this is vitally important in breeding mutual understanding and empathy.
Speaking at Cheltenham Literature Festival last week, Moran said that men faced a “massive void” in being able to talk openly about masculinity to one another.
She suggested that men would benefit from a progressive form of male feminism, in which they can chat about what it means to be a man in the 21st Century, rather than attempting to clamp down on women’s advocacy in the vein of alt-right groups.
“What feminism has done is build this global network of information, comfort, advice and self-improvement,” she said.
“Women are creating the idea of what it is to be like to be a woman, it is a communal effort to improve it all the time. Men do not have that structure.”