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Gender Stories
Mansplaining masculinity
August 06, 2018 Dave Pickering
Gender Stories

Mansplaining masculinity

August 06, 2018

Dave Pickering

An interview with Dave Pickering, an award-winning storyteller, podcaster and creator from the UK. Dave has written and performed for BBC Radio 4 and in 2017 his podcast Getting Better Acquainted won a British Podcast Award. Dave talks vulnerably about storytelling, masculinity, including his own, and his upcoming book "Mansplaining Masculinity". CW: in this episode, we talk about bullying, street harassment and sexual violence. You can find out more about Dave's work at: or follow him and his projects on Twitter at: @goosefat101 @standup4tragedy @GBApodcast @sparkLDN and you can find the book at:
An interview with Dave Pickering, an award-winning storyteller, podcaster and creator from the UK. Dave has written and performed for BBC Radio 4 and in 2017 his podcast Getting Better Acquainted won a British Podcast Award. Dave talks vulnerably about storytelling, masculinity, including his own, and his upcoming book "Mansplaining Masculinity". CW: in this episode, we talk about bullying, street harassment and sexual violence. You can find out more about Dave's work at: or follow him and his projects on Twitter at: @goosefat101 @standup4tragedy @GBApodcast @sparkLDN and you can find the book at:

Episode Transcript

Speaker 1:0:04Tell you,

Speaker 2:0:32everyone has a relationship with gender. What's your story? Hello and welcome to gender stories with your host, Dr Alex.

Speaker 3:0:43hello and welcome to another episode of gender stories. I am so excited to be in London interviewing Dave. Dave is not only amazing because he's facing the heat in London to come and be a complete stranger off twitter to be interviewed, but he's also packed faster installing storyteller. Dave as to podcasts, get you better acquainted, which one? The British pop past award last year, 2017 and also the family tree podcasts and the hosts for spark London and spark also has their own podcasts tables. That's an upcoming book called mansplaining masculinity and so obviously I could not resist a interviewing him and he's also been really amazing at Kinda lifted my podcast, which is really new on twitter. And David's been on BBC radio four, so needless to say, I'm slightly intimidating interviewing somebody who actually knows what they're doing. But here we are so thankful today.

Speaker 4:1:45Thanks for having me on your, on your show. I'm happy to be here.

Speaker 3:1:49Yeah. Um, so on the way here, because we were trying to find a place in central London,

Speaker 4:1:55right, which is hard.

Speaker 3:1:56It's really hard. So you might hear some background noise from this episode. We were talking about storytelling and gender and what storytelling got to do with gender and yeah, why don't we start from there.

Speaker 4:2:09I mean, it's an, it's a really interesting question. I mean like with any question, like the problem is that you don't have to define the words you're using. So what is storytelling like? It's, you know, we're, we're quite comfortable with the idea that humans are. One of the things that is a general common theme within humans is that we are storytelling creatures, but what, how, what and how we tell those stories are wildly diverse as human beings are. I found myself in this kind of genre, I guess, of tree storytelling, which is a very specific kind of storytelling. Um, and yeah, like how that relates to gender. I'm not, I'm not fully sure. I mean, I think it's a really radical thing to do whatever your gender, uh, to stand up on stage and tell your truth to a room full of people who can't interrupt, right?

Speaker 4:3:06So they just have to listen and you're sharing your lived experiences and what, what makes it. Um, I always think what makes a great story is that the more specific it is because the more you are specific about your life experience, the more universal weirdly the story becomes because like that's what gets us to those things like fear or sadness or happiness or joy that we can all relate to. But like, because the specific, this is how, how that person experiences whatever that joy or whatever it is, it just becomes more real. The more specific they are true in commerce because that's the problem. True is another word that you have to define. Um, but in terms of gender, I think it's, for me it's been very powerful as a man assessment within society to be talking about my feelings, talking about mental health issues, talking about masculinity and things like that.

Speaker 4:4:04In that forum, in a discursive emotion filled like non-logical non rational a space. Um, and so I think that's an interesting thing that true storytelling can give that. I mean, it's interesting. I hosted a monthly true story telling night and um, initially I did find sometimes I would have to say, uh, to encourage people to sign up to tell stories, I'd have to say, well, lots of men have carmen signed up straightaway, but other genders have not, like, I would like to us to have a good gender waiting on this stage. But that happens less and less now actually. And I, and I think that's an interesting thing actually because, because in a way, as much as there are still kind of confident men who are signing up, I'm talking and telling stories is actually quite gendered. Feminine interest in culture and society like gossip, talking about your personal lives.

Speaker 4:5:00All of that stuff is, is very gendered, uh, not for men. Um, and so I think that that's an interesting factor that comes with true storytelling, although of course, because it's performance, there's also this kind of hyper masculine performance culture of like bare your soul. I suffer as an artist. I'm sharing that. So there is a kind of tradition of men talking about themselves. Very much so. So all of these things I think about when you say gender and storytelling, I don't know if at this point I've got any general trends I could say about it, but it is interesting, like it's like, um, I guess it's a little bit like how the best paid chefs in the world, uh, men, but women do the majority of the cooking and I think you could probably say something quite similar about true storytelling, who gets rewarded, who doesn't get rewarded, who tells the stories. Um, and who don't. I mean it's like there's some theories at the moment that suggests that homeowner might have been a woman. Um, and you know, keeping the stories within culture, fairy stories, things like that have, have traditionally been very much a woman centered. But at the same time, the people who have been paid for writing stories, paid for performing stories throughout history have generally been men. So yeah,

Speaker 3:6:18quite interesting tensions like, is that right? Because the storytelling aspects kind of being seen as more feminine even morally story because you. Yes. Right. And often we think of oral history as something that gets passed on by women by men. And yet a lot of historians, men, there is this tension between kind of what gets paid for awhile, how much is performative, right? So if it's performative men want to do it and not so much. Um, I'm interested in the fact that initially you said a lot of men came forward to sign up and I wonder how much of that is being used to. Okay. With putting their story for yourself.

Speaker 4:6:58My story's important. The main thing I try to teach people when I do storytelling workshops is, is that their story is valid and important as, as interesting as anyone else. I mean, when I have guests on getting better acquainted, which is a conversation format, I similar thing happens. I'll record with them and at the end does say, Oh, I'm sure that that wasn't very interesting. Other people's are really interesting, but mine's not interesting and the same thing happens in story telling everyone. Well everyone is a rule, is more inclined to to think their own story is less valid and interesting than others, but men are more likely to think they're valid. I think because society has told them that, that they're valid and they are valid. That is, you know, I don't want to throw out the, the, the, the whatever. The. I don't want to say the baby with the Buffalo, it's such a tired term.

Speaker 4:7:47I don't really know what it means and it sounds quite horrible. Whatever it does mean, but like I don't want to lose that. There is a value in, in, in believing that your story has validity and lots of men don't feel that as well. Like we only hear from the loud ones. We only hear from the confident ones and I'm also aware that there's lots of men and boys particularly out there who don't feel that they're valued. You don't feel that their experiences are valid, whatever, for whatever reasons, some of which will be tied up with gender and some of which will be tied up with lots of other systems of oppression that surround us. Yeah,

Speaker 3:8:22aspects of their identity. And that's interesting also because it's not just men but like which meant. Right. And like you said, it's is this paradox that's like, it's not that men stories are not valid because they are like, they reminded me of that quote. Why is sort of like feminist from the 70 to 78 is talking about the personal is political, political that it's everybody's personal. Like you know, they didn't use the word sits at the time, but they're referred to CIS, straight, white, heterosexual men stuff. Stories and the stories. They're interesting sometimes those stories, they're not in narrative terms. Sometimes they're pulled like stories then been thickened in society. So a lot of the stores that masculinity are very much about toxic masculinity. An option rather than like maybe stories that are counter to that. Do you find that that's coming up both in your storytelling events or when you're having conversation with people about those stories that maybe not as dominant around masculinity as harder to.

Speaker 4:9:22I think storytelling is actually a full map that rewards people for being honest and open and talking about their floors. Like you're not rewarded if you don't understand your floors. So you might tell us if someone tells a story that is very judgmental about other people, that person will be judged, but if they tell a story that's a kind of open about their own biases, that person will be celebrated even if their story is presenting what they did in a more negative light. Like you can tell a story about being a terrible person, but as long as you're aware that you're a terrible person, people will understand and relate and we're all terrible people as well as we're all lovely people. I mean, there's all of these things around us. Um, so it's an. It's interesting. I actually think that the true story telling events, men are rewarded for being quite opposite of toxically masculine and men who'd come and are toxic in their masculinity are the ones who don't do as well that the audiences don't enjoy, that don't connect.

Speaker 4:10:24And that's one of the things I love is as a cis white straight, well straight ish middleclass man. I've got all of the kind of boxes of like privileged mostly, but I can sit in an audience and hear somebody who has very different boxes that they tick. Um, and we will relate to. Stories will related. I will do a story about my mental health and you know, a woman of color will come up to me at the end and say that really chimed with my personal experience. And I think that's a really powerful, a powerful thing. And what I love about your story selling is that it is through diversity. Three specific history, recognizing how different we are, that we can actually see that we're similar. Um, whereas I think when we focus on how, how we're all universally similar, that's when we actually erase loads of people's life experiences including my own.

Speaker 4:11:13And like I say on paper, that shouldn't be the case. But one of the things I was thinking when you were talking then it was one of the things I observed within popular culture within kind of representation is the, as, as much as people like me are overly represented in, in, in pop culture, I'm not going to make the claim that we're not only some versions of people like me and what I want to see is more uncertain men, more men who are like, you cry who I don't know the answers who like are like, oh, what was it recently? There was, there was a show. I saw what I felt, I can't remember what it is actually because I'm. Because I want to. So I can't remember it, but there was a particular where I was like, I have not seen me represented and that, that there I was there. I was in, in the, in the lack of security, in the lack of understanding of who I was. All of these things like men are either shown us certain number that heroes or villains or their shoulders ridiculous because they're comic characters. When, when, when men are uncertain. That's hilarious.

Speaker 4:12:20Competence, right? That's exciting. I've actually remembered where I felt rep representative scene. It wasn't actually a TV show, rarely for me. It was a book recently, uh, the first book of the new Philip Pullman trilogy, that law about which is the first book of the book of dust, the hero in that Malcolm posted. He is a, a, a young boy who is interested in ideas and really caring. And his heroism comes from Carrie. He actually is looking after a baby for most of that book and he's, and he is kind of hit the Harris heroic moments. Come from him expressing love. Um, and that's something like don't see men as, as being put into that category very much. And so that's why it was powerful for them

Speaker 3:13:09presentation. If we are going to raise like an old generation of boys that you frequently this mantle the patriarchy, we need to make sure that like boys and men, there's the patriarchy trying to try and sound cover this idea of they don't want you to know what's was really, oh my God, it's going on football too long as well, so you know, we can see ourselves. It's hard to imagine another way of being. I know that's true for me as a trans nonbinary person, the more I can see a representation, the more I'm like, oh my gender is possible, and it opens up more possibilities. Like my friend Adam Barker was says, what does this open up and what does this close down? Sounds like the story like really open that way. Like, Oh yes, there is this way of being and it's my way of being. Right. I realized that it is not one of those like dominant narratives. It's a very kind of white narrative that lots of men have been leaving in the background, but not really.

Speaker 4:14:31Yeah, and it's free. Those narratives to. I think from, from the point of view of CIS men, those narratives can liberate cis men I think will help liberate it's, it's rather their stories on their own do the work, but they are part of the work of liberating ourselves. Um, but it also helps us to kind of, if we're going to have solidarity between different groups to understanding our own personal experiences and the systems around us stick close. Those experiences are a big part of being able to have solidarity with other groups. So my own, I don't know, I'm not one of these people who says, oh, I'm so glad I was bullied at school because it's taught me stuff I'm not. I would have much preferred not to have been bullied, but having been bullied at school and quite systematic and kind of othering way taught me.

Speaker 4:15:20It doesn't mean I understand what it's like to experience racism or transphobia or any of those things, but it does mean that I have had the experience of being othered. And it does mean that I can see how the reasons that I experienced that with the same pressures that were affecting other people, they were just exhibited differently on me because I was assessed boy. And so the, the, the pressures around me that were trying to make me conform or be different or hate myself or you know, whatever. We're the same things that we're hurting, you know, gay people are women, Trans people, they're exactly the same things. And having had that experience, how did open my eyes in a way that I think a lot of CIS men haven't had their eyes open, but at the same time I'm also very aware that many men do, but they don't always interpret it in the same way.

Speaker 4:16:09So there's loads and latest estimate out there who've been bullied. You've been abused. All sorts of things that have happened to me, but they don't see the enemy as being the systems. They see it as feminism or women or whatever. The pain ends up with them, hurting other people in much worse where he's often than they've even been hired. So it's a really complex thing. But I really hope that we can see more narratives of men, whether they are the ones who end up hurting or the wind or the ones who were mostly hurt, those, those aren't being represented. And I think if men can't see them, then we can only aspire to, to toxically masculine hero tropes that are off even when they're at their best are often not that great. Like even male heroes when you really boiled them down there, there are only heroes in that story. They wouldn't be heroes in everyday life, you know,

Speaker 3:17:00have to do like exceptional, wild thing. Right? And that's interesting. Like when you were talking about that was thinking about, um, I think it's Audrey Lord, that as a poem where she talks about basically our roots of the roots of oppression are the same. Right? And that's exactly what you're talking about. That until we can see that we might be impacted differently. But like cisgender ism hurts everybody. It hurts everybody. Racism hurts everybody. Yes. So it really powerful tweet today, I kind of remember I was prom unfortunately by basically talked about how if white people listen to those stories of racism but do not more, then it becomes like trauma for nothing. That was the thing that was used, right? We like Babylon in other people's trauma and their stories and heard, but we don't understand that we're deeply connected to. Right? It's that paradox of this specificity helps us connect to the collective that you were saying it.

Speaker 4:18:00I mean, that's the thing when you're, when you're treating them as a default, whatever that depo is, you don't interrogate your own circumstances. So as, as a cis person, I never have to question what gender men, um, you know, and, and I wish I had, maybe I wouldn't be, so maybe I won't be in the future because I'm already interrogating these things. But like similarly, like it's assumed people a straight. It's assumed people assist and so nobody gets the option, the opportunity to explore their sexuality or their gender identity. And similarly like white people don't think about white culture. White people don't think about white heritage. Like I am somebody who's, my granddad was born in India and had people carry him around, you know, literally people carried him around as a baby. Right, right. And what does that mean for my family? What does that kind of making yourself into somebody that sees humans as not human, what does that do to your humanity and how does that pass on what we, we think about inherited trauma and often we're talking about marginalized groups, inherited trauma.

Speaker 4:19:09I believe that's true, but there is also probably, I think I inherited trauma of the oppressors and we passed that down and then then, and then people remember the empire as a positive thing and we have brexit rather than remembering the empire is what it was, which was systematic genocide and horrible things. I'm trying to work out how do we change that now? And I mean that's very pertinent to me because my, my niece, her dad is Jamaican. And so I always think like with her, she's got these two heritages insider. She's got the people being carried and the people working in the plant takes. Both of those things are. We've been her, um, her identity,

Speaker 3:19:50right? Right, right. Within our body and even whiteness. It's such a weird thing. Like when I lived in the UK, I was an ethnic minority as anytime, any immigrants. Right. And I'd like British people say things to me like, isn't it great that you have culture because we don't have that to me and let me tell you about British contract because I see it all around me and tell them about British culture and the life. Oh, that's just how we do things. That's where culture is people. And part of the trauma of Whiteness, right? Is that need to raise this, um, that specificity of our ethnicity and especially for our thing kind of unblocking folks' place in themselves as the norm. There is this huge loss of, of belonging and self and I'm that then kind of perpetuate.

Speaker 4:20:36It's actually part of why some people have, you know, race overtly racist attitudes are. Part of that often is about being jealous of the seeming of the communities that they see in front of them. And then they look at their convenience ease and they think we don't have that coherence. We're part of that is you're seeing a lie, you're only seeing it through your own lens and say your, you're pushing your own assumptions on there. But there isn't a trust within the, in some parts of white coach. We're losing our ability to kind of think of the collective. And that's partly because whiteness is mixed with capitalism, which is mixed with individualism, which is kind of all over the world to all of us. So yeah,

Speaker 3:21:19it with toxic masculinity. I mean there's reason why movements like Ukip, the UK independence party or white supremacy attract so many men. Right. I remembered like being really get my head kicked in when they lived in certain, like in, um, in a more kind of rural area in England especially. I was afraid to go out and send Georgia stay because lots of Ukip folks be out in forest, can heads right. And now it's completely different in the US when there's been assimilation and I'm seeing fully as a white person. But I was thinking about our. Many of the scopes are young boys and men, right? Really no need underneath all the shittiness of what they're doing, which is really scary there. Matt need is like a sense of belonging, a sense of pride, a sense of community, a sense of family. And, and that's really sad when I think about it that way. And even the pupils who talked about the end, it's usually men kind of leaving kind of white supremacist movement, gave them a sense of pride, belonging, connection, family.

Speaker 4:22:24Because in this way that means that we are more fragile. We're actually not designed to be, to, to embrace change, fluidity, all of these things, which is not to say that women aren't also socialize with some of those things. Like there are certainly cis women who are white supremacists and, and, and, and they're, you know, you know, there are men's rights activists who are women who I've met, you know, it's a very strange thing as a man to be having to explain, to explain or like at least say to a woman that patriarchy isn't a good thing for women, um, in front of a room. In fact, I was asked that question in front of a room of students, so I had to, I had to give a good answer because it wasn't just her I was talking to. Um, and that's a strange thing.

Speaker 4:23:11It's a, that strange contradiction is actually one of the things I've discovered doing a show and doing work around Patriarchy and masculinity is how I can't just assume that a woman agrees with me. Like I have made that mistake too many times, like not, I don't expect women to agree with me on the fine, fine details of my thoughts, but I, I haven't in an unfortunate a predisposition to assuming when women are at least believed that patriarchy exists, let alone like probably even are a feminist and those. I've been disabused of these, those assumptions quite a few times of late melodyne she knows. I told her when I meet people.

Speaker 3:23:51Yeah. Really, it's a sad reality as especially now with the gender recognition African. Okay. There's a lot of arguments between us. I think it was pristine barn in the last couple of days, did a really great tweet about how this is just serving the patriarchy, like men are having a field right now and the male supremacist, let's hold them for want of a better word. You know, I kind of seeing kind of basically like having an inner fight within a feminist movement, which is completely unnecessary because the roots of our freshman are in the waste is January said, et cetera. Colonials.

Speaker 4:24:32I mean, it's in gender essentialism really as well. Like, that's, that's, that's part of the problem that the, the, I, you know, I say it in my show and I, I, I've, I've, I'm sure is appropriate in this conversation too, as much as you try to not enforce start gender binary that we've all been taught since birth unnecessarily. Um, and you know, I say we, I mean people within the culture that I grew up in a, it certainly isn't a universal thing to be born into the idea of, of, of gender essentially some. But because we're taught it so deeply, it takes so long to unpick it that it's very hard to like use language within culture and not in some ways in forced binary, binary genders. I mean particularly in, in languages which have gender built into them. Not my first language, Italian, a story like that. Right.

Speaker 3:25:23A barker. And I've just come out of a retreat, a writing retreat. Writing life isn't binary in our. That doesn't apply just to genders.

Speaker 4:25:30Right. Sexualities. I'm thinking. I think there's so much. Yeah. It's like realizing that gender wasn't a binary was like the, that was the spark in my head and realizing that this. I've not really come across a binary that's true. Like I keep waiting for one. I mean, obviously there's the mathematical one, zero, but I'm sure that's, I don't know, maths. Right. I like, I would have maybe said that, that, you know, biological gender was binary like 10 years ago. Right. But now I know all about the science of it. Um, I know that like, that's like when people come up to me and say, scientifically, you're wrong. You know, sex is actually binary. I'm like, what the hell, like now I know chromosomes if not just access. It's not just x, y and all of that stuff, which I know you already know. Right. I mean but, but, but like that. And that's the thing like, so I was suspicious that the maps would also be turn out to be as complicated when you know about it when you're not just talking about the, the headlines.

Speaker 3:26:28Yeah. I'm not a mathematician but the rest of my family and I understand that that might not be as minor as people think either talking about binaries, you know, we, we do have this kind of gender, male, female binary and you do have a book that's going to come out, right? Men leaving masculinity. So this seems like a good segue to talking about like how do you see, you've already talked about your role as kind of like a currently assist man and of taking on this dismantling of the patriarchy. That's how I think about you dismantling of storytelling. So how is the book part of that for you?

Speaker 4:27:06Well, I mean, so basically, you know, in 2015 I decided I was going to make a show about masculinity that was going to have a true storytelling element to it, a kind of Ted talk element to it, I guess. And I kind of, I, I'd been before that for about five to 10 years. I discovered the incident, I, uh, in a different way than the way it was when I was growing up. And I'd realized that like, I could listen to so many people who are not like me. I learn and absorb all of this amazing work that's being done by all of these people. Um, and so I'd had like five years of like really picking up like Internet memes, Internet theories. And so that was a big part of it too. I wanted to kind of weave those in to storytelling because as much as I'm, we're very much aware of these people in these ideas.

Speaker 4:27:56That's not the case when the people I meet in everyday life. Uh, the Internet is a series of kind of silos that we're all in. And it can be a mistake again, to assume that everybody's up to date with all of the teams and they're not. I know because I've done this show now and people don't, they don't always know them when I have to often explain them. Um, but anyway, so I had this idea of wanting to pull that stuff together and I started researching it. First of all, I read a book called the will to change men masculinity and love by Bell Hooks, which transformed my whole sense of the world. I love it. I recommend it to any, any CIS man out there. But everybody, I think benefits from it. And you know, and it talked about lots of things I hadn't really thought about, like the way that women reinforce patriarchy, you know, the way that mothers give that to their children, which is something that was, I guess done to me but not something I consciously thought about.

Speaker 4:28:52So that's sort of maybe like blew my mind. Um, but then I had this other problem that I, I felt like I probably have to define what masculinity was but didn't really feel like I could do that. Like it feels like something that defines me rather than something that I have any idea what it actually is. I'm not sure if it even exists. I don't even know if, if like, if like I say in my show, like what is a man? Like what does, what does the word man meat. I know, I'm not sure what the men and women really exist. Uh, but at the same time we obviously do practically exist within culture. It's a bit like race, a social construct, but we still have to work with what we've got in this moment. Um, so I didn't feel like I could define it and also I felt like I'm, I'm not a very manly man.

Speaker 4:29:32Like that's partly what the show is about. Um, so I felt like it was a bit of a quiz for me to be defined in mascot entity when Maskelyne's he never wanted me a in it. Um, I hear that want a pass on their masculinity, never wanted you in his masculinity as an agency, have its own through it had become an got to the point where it felt like that, I think maybe when I was younger definitely like, and there's a lot of shame, I guess, that you have us as someone who's been harmed a lot by a cis male culture, uh, when you also exhibit those behaviors as well because you brought up within that culture. So there's, there was all of these complications within it. Like I'm not trying to say I'm, I'm outside of masculinity. I've certainly been a man in the worst ways as well as in the best ways.

Speaker 4:30:19I'm like, I'm a human, I'm has been assigned male at birth and throughout culture of have been kind of put in that position. So I've, I've done my fair share of harming people, but at the same time, um, yeah, it never felt like a club I could get into. Certainly as, as I sort of eluded to earlier on at school, it was a club I was forcibly shoved out of, you know, consistently told I wasn't. Um, and you know, now I'm in a sort of similar position again, like for a lot of years I had short hair, now I've got really long hair and I wear purple and I got purple glasses. Yeah. Right. And those are the things that suddenly suddenly mean I'm not in the club of men again, like I walk down the street and now I'm seeing in other ways a of various different kind of, uh, from various different origins.

Speaker 4:31:09May maybe I'll be, you know, maybe someone shout Jesus at me in a really aggressive way, which is super weird. Like why are you shouting a person of peace of love at me as if it's a criticism. Like if I do it like Jesus, what's wrong with that? I mean I'm the wrong ethnicity for Jesus so I don't. Right, right, right. Exactly. And so, so, you know, whether it'd be Jesus, whether it be kind of transphobia because people think I'm trans or particularly all or misogyny because people are seeing me from behind whatever it is. Um, I'm now in the position of the, of getting street harassment, uh, again, and I haven't had that since I was a kid being bullied at school. So it's, it's interesting to, you know, in my thirties, be reacquainted with what it is to be slightly othered. I mean, I say slightly because I know that my mom, you know, oh, well, we know that some people are listening going, oh, someone's saying Jesus at him and he's complaining about it.

Speaker 4:31:58Whereas I can't leave my house about being beaten up and I get it. I get it. I'm, I'm not like saying I'm not privileged to. But anyway, I wanted to know what masculinity was. So I don't want it to ask men. Um, so I set up a kind of a, um, a survey about being a man and a thousand I got, I managed to get a thousand anonymous men to fill in through various kinds of social media pushes. Um, so I have a kind of database, it's an open source resource that's available on the website of a thousand anonymous men. Thoughts on gender. Some of those men or trans men. I didn't do enough demographics so I can say that some of them are transmitted, some of them are men of color, but I couldn't say how many, only when the only when there testimony tells me that I wish if I did anything differently, I would have done that differently.

Speaker 4:32:44I didn't deliberately didn't want it to be a rational scientific objective survey, so it was set up as a provocation designed to provoke stories and experiences and responses. But I still think that the demographics what would have been useful and I wish I'd put it in, but then I also, I should also say it was actually a thousand people who filled in because two women insisted on fitting in. They insisted on taking up space. I understand some arguments for that. I also was married at the time that it was going to become a trend rather than a couple of protests. And it is interesting to see to see how, how those, those two women objected to the idea of a space for men when I don't object to women only spaces. So that was an interesting moment again to be confronted, confronted with. But anyway, I made that piece of research.

Speaker 4:33:37I've used it in this show mostly just as a frame. It's mostly the questions that I've used and I answered those questions myself within this job because I can't do it justice, you know, an hour is not time to like manage to give all of this, these peanut sometimes beautiful. Sometimes depressing. Really. Men have said a lot of different things. Some of them are like, they, they, they, they, they're, they're fighting against patriarchy. Someones, you know, for awhile it was mostly liberal minded kind of. I used to very common around liberal by the way, unless there's been liberally minded man, I would say all feminists leading men initially with the people who filled it in. But somewhere in the middle men's rights activists got wind of it. So quite a few new neo Nazis have also filled it in. So it's got the range of masculinity and I was actually glad of that even though obviously I don't condemn or condone the thoughts and experiences and beliefs of, of neonazis I got some insight. Yeah.

Speaker 3:34:37Yeah. I love like I want to, I think have two questions they're fighting in my head. One is like, I'd love to know some of the questions you asked in the survey, but I'm also really intrigued by this idea that you were talking about kind of where the book was born in the research that it's really almost that in this paradox in your body, where does this, this body that you've been brought up, assigned male at birth. And so this is like the cultural construct of masculinity that hurts you. And so it's an employment with them or with them.

Speaker 4:35:08He's in main body. It's in, you say, well, we took a lot. Um, well we, I say we, people who talk about theories about around politics talk a lot about internalized misogyny or internalized transphobia or internalized racism or whatever. And I think that that's very much to the space that a lot of men, cis men are inhabiting, is a place where we've internalized a lot of hate around men, around ourselves, around what men do. And we've also internalized load of things that make us quite hateful. Actually. Sometimes we said we have these two kind of. We've got misogyny analysts, but we've also got. Well I'm going to call misandry, but I want to make clear I don't. I'm not a men's rights activist and I do not. I do not mean it in that in the same way that those men do. I mean, when I talk about Miss Andrea, I'm talking about hatred of men and that isn't most. I see that mostly as being exhibited by people like the men's rights movement. Like people, like people who say men can't help themselves, they will rate people because they are like intrinsically rapists. That's hatred of men and men's rights activists say that because they say, oh, it's, that's what men are like. You can't expect us not to be that way. That's hatred of men.

Speaker 4:36:23Yes, exactly. Do you think you've got no agency? Do you think you are powerless? That's an interesting statement to make, isn't it? When people make those kind of statements, this idea we we have a lot within culture. The men are kind of powerless that we, we, we can't. For example, we're always consenting like we're like because because we can't not like sex and I've been raped by a woman and I know that that's not true. Like male abusive, right? Exactly. Yes.

Speaker 3:36:52That's one of the, yeah, that the toxic masculinity. It's like the air we breathe and, and really often what happens is that feeling like, Oh I, I can, I have an assumption of consent and I come pushback because that would be aggressive masculinity and that's almost like it's its own experience and its own paradox in the body. That's actually really challenging.

Speaker 4:37:17Well, women are tools like just persevere and you're convinced in a way that we never would these days suggest to men like you wouldn't say, oh no, just persevered. I mean, yes, we would have done in the past that was terrible and we should. And I'm not saying there aren't men who do that, they are, there are, they're terrible to you, but, but, but I mean, you know, we've been rape law in this country. That's an interesting one, like only people with penises can commit rape. Um, so like only men or p o people that society has decided a man can legally commit rape in this country. And that's not true. The, the, the idea that only penetration is rape is absurd to me. Like rape is about losing the agency of your body and somebody's using that body against your will and it doesn't have to be hexion normative in its, in its way that is inactive.

Speaker 4:38:05So like all of these things, you know, Diet learned through doing this show and by asking these questions. But in terms of the questions, the first question I asked was does patriarchy exists? Which really annoys people particularly like a lot of men copy and pasted like, well actually that, that comes a bit later. But the first question is, is, is, does patriarchy exists? And that yeah, like people are like, why are you asking that before you defined it? People get really angry about that because I want it to be provocative, but then the second question is, how would you define Patchy Aki? And they're, you know, men will copy and paste dictionary definitions like they don't want to like define it for themselves. You know, there's a lot of men who believed that patriarchy exists, but only over there in other countries, not in our country. Right, right, right. It was, well, well I think because it was online, it could have been global, but I think it slants towards the UK experience and probably a bit of kind of American experience too. Um, but, but yeah, like people over there, I noticed that there's this, this sense of like patriarchy used to exist but now it doesn't necessarily have that.

Speaker 4:39:18And then if people do think that Patriarchy exists, uh, some of them don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. Um, it was just something I kind of hastened to, to, to, to point out when I talk about the shot because only 15 percent of the respondents didn't think that patriarchy exists. But then I think it's quite, like I say, a skewed sample because they started off my, my friends and people knew me. So they all agree that patriarchy is this. I'm not surprised. Um, but like there was diversity within it and some people, you know, really hate patriarchy. Some people, you know, uh, see some good in it like this. There's lots of different complicated, diverse opinions about what patriarchy, how it functions, what it is. And then the next questions were, uh, how is patriarchy hurt you and how have you hurt people as a result of patriarchy?

Speaker 4:40:03Which I think both, yes. And there are some of the answers are very intense, but I, but I do think you have to ask both those things to men. You can't just say, how are you hurt by this culture without asking men to take accountability for how they've hurt people. But you also can't just ask them how they hurt people without looking at like how they've been hurt by both of those things are really key to seeing how patriarchy perpetuates itself. Because another way that we want to talk about a hatred of men, you can look at why men end up in the army when men end up, uh, in industrialized jobs that put their lives and bodies in danger where they end up in prisons. All of that is kind of on one level because we think men are irredeemable once they become violent, they are on nature are more violent below low boys and boys of color, incredibly age including systemic violence such as violence and killing at the hands of police.

Speaker 4:41:15Exactly. It's just that it's so editing that content, right? I mean because that's one of the things that I try and say in my show, like the not all, not all men, this kind of meme that we're kind of. So many of us are familiar with it. Whilst it is problematic in the way that it's used because it's always derailing actual useful conversations and is a necessary to point out all the time because very rarely are people suggesting all man, when this phrase is used, it's also important to understand from an intersectional point of view that all men are not the same, that we are wildly diverse. There are disabled men, men of color, trans man and all of these men will experience masculinity and the pressures around that in very different ways and like when we talk about hatred, when I talk about hatred of men, one of the, one of the groups of people I think suffer the most from hatred of men is trans people because they're there.

Speaker 4:42:09They're penalized for being to male or female. Right? Like when we're talking about that particular culture within the UK of certain kinds of trans exclusionary feminists. I mean, I don't think that we should call them radical feminists because I rarely, rarely radical feminists, they're generally liberal or media feminists in my reading of it, but fine. The people that we refer to as turfs quite often those people hate men and take it out on women generally like, and it's, it's, it's, it's, and, and the men that they do take it out will be the most marginalized men as well. So,

Speaker 3:42:47which is also fascinating thinking though about centers which story because like with the Hashtag not all men, it is often cis white straight men, right?

Speaker 4:42:57Who is saying that? And we're saying that the depot, they're the ones who were considered all men ironically.

Speaker 3:43:02Exactly. They're the ones who are doing the behavior that they're kind of a challenging, like the most marginalized masculine folks are not the ones that are getting in there going, hey, not me.

Speaker 4:43:13Well, the way I describe it in my show is if a teacher said to you, uh, like, be quiet. It's too noisy in here. Like would you put your hand up and say, I'm not talking, or would you like ask the people next to you? Just like, keep it down. Let's all create a community. And that's where I see the men should do really is like, if we think now, Amen. Let's prove it, let's demonstrate it in our actions, which are much stronger than our words. Like let's show that not all men, if you are, if you really care, if you really think people think all men, and there are people who think all men. My mom is kind of one of those people, which is one of the places that this show has come from, but those people are very rare. Like hardly anyone thinks all anyone. Like most of us. Even people who think they think, oh, x group often in practice don't like like overt racist. Often we'll have a couple of people of color that they won't consider to be racialized for their own selfish needs of wanting to be interacting with that person in a different way than they do with other people that they wanted to spin. When

Speaker 3:44:14we think about those, right? People say terrible things about immigrants and then I'm like, Hey, like right in front of you, and they're like, well, we don't think about you that way. And I was like, but I am like, you're talking about me, but you are making it separate in your mind to make yourself better because like you said, nothing has ever had that binary like the what I, what I love is that you're taking those concepts and kind of turning them on their head a bit. Like I love the name of your book mansplaning muscular because men splaining it's its own phenomenon. So what, what I mean is that how you see what you're doing?

Speaker 4:44:51I mean somebody said I did. So I did my show and you know, the other day and one of the students put the hand up and said, you know, why is it called mansplaining mascot energy? Because as you said in the show, man, spending as a patronizing thing and I didn't feel patronized by your show. And I thought that was amazing compliment. I'm glad that my, my show didn't patronize that student, but I always say, you know, the reason I call it mansplaining masculinity is again, Paul provocation that it draws people to it from quite a few different perspectives. A lot of people are really ready to be angry with my show and hopefully come away, not angry. Other people come to my show, a angry and leave angry in a different way probably because they assume I'm going to sort of say one kind of thing and I say a different thing, but it is.

Speaker 4:45:35I am explaining and I am a man explaining, but I am not like the show itself is addressed to men. It's designed to be me explaining to men rather than all other genders. Although all genders are welcome and actually I think all genders get something out of it. Um, and actually a lot of women, CIS women have come up to me afterwards and said, you know, your show has made me rethink my sex. She'll know my sexual history, things like that. Um, which is a great to hear. I'm glad because I don't think it's just men that needs a look back at our sexual history and think about consent and what we've done. Uh, and, and, and, and re kind of. Because I think we're in a moment, a great moment where we're redefining what consent means. Words change over time, um, and I think that's great.

Speaker 4:46:19Like I think lean into it. Let's change it more, let's, let's change it for the better. But I think as we're changing, as we're making those changes, we have to work out how to change without alienating the people that were born into generations which was socialized differently. Like it's, it's finding that way to grow together, which is so like on male coded, right? You're not supposed to grow. You're supposed to do. You're supposed to have something integral inside you that you push through and because of your innateness you can push through it. When I was, I liked the idea of changing our mind. Like I'm not the same person. I was up a year ago, 10 years ago. Like I, I make a podcast so I have to listen back to me in 2011 to think, oh, should I read this because I don't have anything to put out this week. And then I'm like, no, I can't read this, or I have to read this with me talking about it beforehand, or I have to edit it because I don't agree with me. Then like I, I, you know, I don't, I thought gender is binary. I thought the men were up the, the, the problem in a different way. I thought that like by then I would have thought that, you know, the world will be better off if all men were wiped out. Right?

Speaker 4:47:26Yeah. That's absolutely self insured

Speaker 3:47:29kind of novels around that. What happens when you go to the other extreme, which is often what happens with trauma, right? We go from one extreme to the other and then hopefully eventually the, the, the healing process is that is a place where we can expand and contract kind of more naturally and organically and not go from one extreme to the other because the nature of cis men is not the answer to the dismantling of the patriarchy. And what I love about your work is that you do this beautiful work of like talking to men and of staying in your lane, so to speak. And at the same time though, kind of really lifting up people of all genders and voices of people of color, like I need to do that. You going on social media because you need to do that quite a bit on twitter.

Speaker 4:48:13Well, she will see how people feel about the lane I stay in when, when the, when the book's done. I mean, so, I mean, the book is, is with unbound, so it's, it's, it's a publishing company in half a crowdfunding company. So it won't happen unless people preorder it and less and less people buy it in advance. And like we've all crowdfunding, there's other levels, little rewards you can get a or not. I mean, if you pay 50 pounds, you get to be a cookie champion, which means that you get the cookie of, of looking good about what you're doing and that I'll literally give you a cookie, but that's all you'll get. Um, so, uh, that's the one I hope that lots of men will be attempted to, to, to pay into, but there's other, there's other options that are more actual rewards than that.

Speaker 4:48:59Um, but so it'll only get made if it gets funded, but, but the first part of it will be an extension of the show so much longer. All the stuff I cut out all of the rest of the stuff I wish I'd said to man. The second part will be what I learned through doing the show and that will be addressed to all genders because it does turn out after, after really thinking about gender for a lot of years, I now feel like I can maybe move my lane over to the more dangerous perspective of, of, of trying to talk to everybody about how we all kind of apart of this horrible I. that's what I say in the show I was, he's a horrible jigsaw puzzle that we've made where everyone's hurting everybody else and everybody's like in like pushing different. Like, like it's like, you know, women are much more often in my life.

Speaker 4:49:46Have I been told to man up by a CIS woman than I have biases assessment like so we're all mixing it up. We're all doing our damage in different ways. Half the time really casually. Like when I was bullied at school, when people would call me the nickname they called me. Like people would have the time say that regularly. Casually. Like that's just not, that's just something I do for five seconds in a day. Like and that thing, that's how we, most oppression is like a lot of people would like, you know, you can destroy someone's whole day in five seconds just by saying something and then if you walk off and you're not thinking about it, you're still in your head. Perfectly. Good person who hasn't done any harm to anybody, you know? So it's super complicated.

Speaker 3:50:26Totally. Somebody for like the rest of their lives with that careless remarks. Especially the more power you have. Right? So if you're a teacher or a parent or like. Yeah,

Speaker 4:50:38exactly. It's about power. It's like my mum saying to me when I was 13 years old, the men were irredeemable and where the problem and all of that sort of stuff, which stuff I really internalized for years, but her saying that came from a very negative experience for the student experience from CIS man. Yeah. Um, and you know, cis men who, you know, I've also experienced bad things for them. Some of them, I mean not, not all men. Um, my dad's fine, but my stepdad is much more, a much more of a problem in terms of both me and my mum's experienced a patriarchy. Although my Stepdad is the one who can say sorry and look at his own actions and regret them in a way that my mom can't say nothing. It's simple. Yeah. It's super common.

Speaker 3:51:26Yeah. That is a really challenge that came from her but also shaped you in some way as a teenager because then what is the possibility of being if you couldn't be nothing about that. Right.

Speaker 4:51:38Because I did ask, you know, uh, what about the men or at least what about me? Like she said, men are terrible. I said, what about me? And she said, yeah, you like it, like it's inherent, it's impossible to escape

Speaker 3:51:51and that's a powerful statement to make as a parent. And it came from this place of pain. Yeah.

Speaker 4:51:57I mean, I didn't even, I didn't really hate them for it. I don't like Whoa, like I understand where it came from and, and uh, you know, that's, that's what happens, uh, in a, in a patriarchal system, like if, you know, ultimately as much as we can get frustrated with the individuals who have abused or oppressed us at different times or whatever, like it is the system, it's a systematic change that can give us any kind of recourse like any kind of better future comes from system change, which is not to say individual shouldn't be held accountable. Again, it's always this balancing act of like making sure that the more than one thing can exist at the same time, you know, we can fight for a, like the damage that happens to men in society without ics obscuring the damage that happens to women. Then those things don't have to be in competition at all. No, right, exactly. There you go. That's an example of how like as much as I, you know, it can be as, as much as I want to be dismantling, dismantling the gender binary. I am just slip into it. It's very hard. It's not just a fleeting and that is not to say that it is not on me to learn to not slip because I want my nonbinary friends so not have to listen to me saying that again. Like I want to say all people and not say men and women. Um, so let's work towards that every

Speaker 3:53:22for you with you for days, right. Could go on and on and I'm aware that I was like, Oh my God, we've talked so much longer than usually my podcast says so, um, let's talk men. Men take up space. That's the prevalent masculine. Right? Right, right. Yeah, right. That's right. I could talk with you all day, but I'm aware that we probably need to wrap up. Is there anything that I have not asked you about that you were like, I really hope we would talk about that?

Speaker 4:53:55Well, I think there's, I think there's cheating things I say to, to round it up to the first is that the third part of the book will be the, uh, the will be the survey results and analysis of that. So there'll be three parts to the book. So I guess that's the end of me explaining what that thing that I want everybody who's listening to a buy in advance to preorder, to help make happen, particularly cis men because I prefer your money to be what funds it, but at the same time I'm, I'm, I'm, I welcome all money to fund that project.

Speaker 3:54:29Two copies, one for library or one. Absolutely.

Speaker 4:54:34Well, there is an option to buy one for yourself and five to go to libraries. So that would be, that would be a good option for those men to go for. And the other thing I, I thought which came up when we were talking I think might be an interesting thing to at least add in is when you were talking about embodied, like how uh, uh, experiences are embodied in our bodies. That's an interesting one. I think as well from the point of view of CIS men, because I think the CIS men are generally speaking, socialized not to have much of a relationship to our own bodies and that is something that I would, would love to have better, like a better relationship with my body with like to not think of someone in my mind and when cis men are embodied there often exploited for that body that that's where their manual labor comes in and things like that. But then even when they're doing manual labor, they're not doing it in an embodied way and that's why they get so many, you know, damage so much damage for doing it because it's about what's best for capital and not what's best for those bodies that are performing that Labor.

Speaker 3:55:39Absolutely. Which is that intersection again, like working class men, men of color as well. Specific ways like that really like unhealthy. Right?

Speaker 4:55:51So I think like one of the things I think the men can learn from sort of the culture that says women are kind of incubated within is to like be more in touch with our bodies, to be more aware of it. Just as CIS women, probably one release from that focus constantly hyperfocus on bodies. Like it's like this midpoint that would be great for everybody of all genders to be able to get where we're, you know, within our own bodies. But at the same time, uh, not objectifying ourselves through the lens of culture around.

Speaker 3:56:25And we could be whole beings, all embodied beings. Wouldn't that be amazing?

Speaker 4:56:30Amazing. Sign me up for it. I'm there. That's a dream and it sounds really easy, doesn't it? Like, you know, 20 to 20 weeks of therapy didn't give it me, you know, so it takes a long time.

Speaker 3:56:41Twenty years of therapy client and also now over a decade of being a out there, there's always favor to go. But like as long as we're walking in the right direction. Thank you so much. Thank you. This is amazing. Can you please tell the listeners again the title of your book, but also they're interested in or are there podcast and your website, like where can people find you on the Internet and um, yeah,

Speaker 4:57:08right. So the book is mansplaining masculinity and you can find that it's, it's on the unbound website which is a forward slash books published last mansplaining, hyphen masculinity. Nice and a nice and snappy. That url if you want to snap your url, Dave pickering, dot UK is where you can find everything I do is a lot more than just I, I'm not defined by my work on masculinity, although these days it feels like I am increasingly more and more within that box. And you can find mansplaining masculinity to the show as an audio free audio podcasts, the research stuff and loads of, of uh, information to radio four piece I did about masculinity, mansplaining, dot UK. And I'm on twitter at goose fat one. Oh one. And I'm always up for making new connections, hearing from different people. So. So look me up and reach out. But yeah, if you google is your friend, anything you can't find from those urls you can find just by googling it, it will be there

Speaker 3:58:11and I'll put your website or description of the show. Thank you so much dave. This is amazing. And listeners, a specialist. This men you can then if you're interested in gender, people of both genders can also buy the book that I've written out to understand your gender, a practical guide for exploring who you are, which is so not snappy. Title of our book. We wanted to go the gender guide for everybody, but the publisher at other ideas we're getting noisy against property are Keanu go for today. So thank you so much for listening. And until next time, hope you enjoy dismantling the patriarchy.

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