6 min read

10 Masculinity Ted Talks You Should Watch

Eldra Jackson III speaks at TEDWomen 2018: Showing Up, November 28-30, 2018, Palm Springs, California. Photo: Marla Aufmuth / TED

As gender roles are being redefined, I compiled 10 masculinity Ted Talks that provided me with a lot of guidance and inspiration in my journey. I hope they bring you value and help you navigate these uncharted territories.

1- Why I’m done trying to be “man enough” | Justin Baldoni

Justin Baldoni wants to start a dialogue with men about redefining masculinity — to figure out ways to be not just good men but good humans. In a warm, personal talk, he shares his effort to reconcile who he is with who the world tells him a man should be. And he has a challenge for men: “See if you can use the same qualities that you feel make you a man to go deeper,” he says. “Your strength, your bravery, your toughness: Are you brave enough to be vulnerable? Are you strong enough to be sensitive? Are you confident enough to listen to the women in your life?”

2- A call to men | Tony Porter

At TEDWomen, Tony Porter makes a call to men everywhere: Don’t “act like a man.” Telling powerful stories from his own life, he shows how this mentality, drummed into so many men and boys, can lead men to disrespect, mistreat and abuse women and each other. His solution: Break free of the “man box.”

3- How I unlearned dangerous lessons about masculinity | Eldra Jackson

In a powerful talk, educator Eldra Jackson III shares how he unlearned dangerous lessons about masculinity through Inside Circle, an organization that leads group therapy for incarcerated men. Now he’s helping others heal by creating a new image of what it means to be a whole, healthy man. “The challenge is to eradicate this cycle of emotional illiteracy and groupthink,” he says.

4- Violence against women—it’s a men’s issue | Jackson Katz

Jackson Katz, Phd, is an anti-sexist activist and expert on violence, media and masculinities. An author, filmmaker, educator and social theorist, Katz has worked in gender violence prevention work with diverse groups of men and boys in sports culture and the military, and has pioneered work in critical media literacy.Katz is the creator and co-founder of the Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) program, which advocates the ‘bystander approach’ to sexual and domestic violence prevention. You’ve also seen him in the award winning documentary “Miss Representation.”

5- “Locker room talk.” Says who? | Alexis Jones

Having spent the past three years working intimately with male athletes, Alexis Jones is redefining “manhood” one locker room at a time. After growing up a Texas tomboy with four older brothers and working in “the lion’s den of dudes” at Fox Sports and ESPN, Alexis takes an inspiring, hysterical and at times inappropriate approach to empowering young men to better respect and protect the girls and women in their lives with her exclusive locker room curriculum, ProtectHer. (Viewer discretion advised.)

6- Be A Man | Joe Ehrmann

Joe Ehrmann has been an educator, author, activist, pastor and coach for more than 30 years. He was a college All-American athlete who played professional football for 13 years. Among numerous awards, Joe has been named “The Most Important Coach in America” for his work to transform the culture of sports.

7- Unmasking masculinity – helping boys become connected men | Ryan McKelley

McKelley wants men to do away with the mask. Sometimes emotional restriction is necessary, but it doesn’t need to be the default mode, he says. He challenges men to eliminate phrases like “man up” or “stop acting like a girl.” They should understand that opening up and being vulnerable is courageous. Taking small risks to open up will give them a broader experience of all of their emotions and allow them to make deeper connections.

8- Why “boys will be boys” is a myth—and a harmful one at that | Niobe Way

“Boys will be boys.” It’s a phrase that’s often used to describe the mischievous, competitive, or aggressive behavior of some boys and men. However, when we use this phrase, we may not realize that we’re helping to perpetuate a stereotype. In an era of increasing rates of suicide and violence among boys and young men, our cultural fixation on men being strong, autonomous, and emotionless deserves to be reevaluated.

9- The Masks We All Wear | Ashanti Branch

Can we share our authentic selves while negotiating the often rigid pressure of cultural roles? There is surprising power in unveiling what we often hide, deny, repress or ignore. What if we showed the world what’s behind our masks? The Ever Forward Club and Ashanti were featured last year in the documentary, “The Mask You Live In,” which premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. Ashanti Branch works to change how young men of color interact with their education and how their schools interact with them.

10- The Mask of Masculinity – the traditional role of men is evolving | Connor Beaton

Through powerful stories from his own life, Connor illustrates the damaging impact of the ‘man mask’ and how our perception of masculinity is one of the biggest challenges men face today. His solution: a call to men to cast off the broken ideals and discover new ways of living fully and authentically. Connor Beaton is the Founder of ManTalks. He supports mens’ health and wellness by giving them tools to be better fathers, husbands and leaders in their communities.

Which one did I miss? Do you know groundbreaking Masculinity Ted Talks ? Share them with me on Instagram!


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