Feb. 3, 2021

63. For the Love of Men: Conversations About Masculinity with Liz Plank

63. For the Love of Men: Conversations About Masculinity with Liz Plank

Hello everyone! This episode is really special to me. I've wanted to speak with Liz ever since I read her book "For the Love of Men: From Toxic to a More Mindful Masculinity" back in the summer of 2020. It's such an empathetic approach to the conversation that I absolutely loved the book and have mentioned it numerous times on the show.

Well, with her paperback coming out this week (February 2nd so much sure to go check it out) it was the perfect timing to make it happen! We cover a ton of topics including why she wrote the book, why it's important for men to listen to women on the topic of masculinity, what are Men's Rights groups, what it was like to talk about masculinity in the Trump era, emotional intelligence and much more. Please please please go check out her book. I will also be doing a giveaway of some of her books on Instagram once they get here so much sure to follow me there @theimperfectpod.

If you liked the episode, make sure to press subscribe, follow, leave a review and message me on Instagram @theimperfectpod or email me at Luke@theimperfectpod.com and join my Facebook group. I always always want to hear from my listeners and continue the conversation!

More about Liz: Liz is an award-winning journalist, author and the executive producer and host of several critically acclaimed digital series at Vox Media and NBC News. She’s the CEO of Liz Plank Productions and is a columnist for MSNBC and has been listed as one of Forbes’ 30 Under 30, Mediaite’s Most Influential in News Media, and Marie Claire’s Most Powerful Women, and was named one of the World’s Most Influential People in Gender Policy by Apolitical. She’s built a loyal following on numerous social media platforms, but her proudest accomplishment by far remains being blocked by the 45th president of the United States. Liz regularly appears on national and international television programs to provide a perspective on politics, gender issues, and reproductive rights, including The Today Show, The Daily Show, MSNBC, CNN, ABC News, Fusion, Al-Jazeera America and BBC World. Through her activism and creative approach to journalism, Liz has made it her mission to elevate the voices of those who are often not heard. Before becoming a journalist, Liz worked as a researcher and behavioral science consultant at the London School of Economics, from which she holds a master's degree in policy with an emphasis in global gender politics. You can follow Liz on Twitter and Instagram @feministabulous, subscribe to her Newsletter, watch her on YouTube or check out more of her work on her website!


Luke: [00:00:00] Uh, hello, imperfect listeners. I'm here today with Liz plank. I'm very, very excited for Liz to be here for those that, uh, are. Average listeners to the show or dedicated listeners, you know, I've referenced her book quite often throughout the last 30 episodes, I think since I've read it.
Um, but Liz, I'm going to give you the same treatment that I give everyone else with asking you the same. First question is who is one person dead or alive that you would like to invite over for dinner? And what would you cook for them?
- Liz: [00:00:30] Well, uh, just because of the moment in time where you're asking me this question and I'm realizing, sorry, you're right. That if you're using video, it'll be weird if I'm holding the mic. So maybe I should just. Not do it. Yeah. I'm just realizing like it, cause I hear all the other podcasts that like, doesn't matter, but yeah.
It'll look silly. Um, so yeah, because of the times that we're going through right now and the grief that I still have not yet processed about Ruth Bader Ginsburg and her passing. Uh, in 2020, I would definitely invite Ruth Bader Ginsberg over to my house. And I would cook her what ever she wants, literally, like it could be a peanut butter sandwich with pickles in it.
And like aside I would just, I would go and move mountains to find what Ruth Bader Ginsburg wants to eat and, and, and be able to, I just feed it to her.
Luke: [00:01:25] amazing. I know that was, I know that was a huge impact. I don't know too much about her, but I know that was a huge impact for the women's movement in the States, which is where you're. Mainly living now. Right. Even though you are a Canadian.
- Liz: [00:01:38] am Canadian. Yeah. Yes. Um, and, and I've been living in the States for the last seven, eight, I mean, does 2020 even count? I feel like we're not counting that as a year. Um, but yeah, for about eight.
Luke: [00:01:51] Perfect. And, and I, knowing that you're from Canada, Montreal, I believe just for all of my Montreal Canadian listeners, what is the best restaurant [00:02:00] that, uh, or your favorite food place in Montreal?
- Liz: [00:02:02] my gosh. Um, so I used to live above a lab jet, which is a, a really great wine bar and they also have just the best French fries and snacks and sort of if I'm vegan. So it's a little tough, but there's damn these amazing boards with like meat and cheese and like, Chicken and, uh, but it's a great, they also have great salads and wine.
Uh, wine is vegan. Thank God. Uh, so I, yeah, I really love when I go back to Montreal, um, going back to, to that place because yeah, I lived above it for several years and, um, it's just very nostalgic for me when I get to go back. Yeah.
Luke: [00:02:42] lots of wine in 2020. I'm
- Liz: [00:02:44] Lots of Y uh, lots of, lots of anything that's legal right now. Like very thankful to be in California.
Um, where, yeah, you can just get all kinds of little helpers to get you started. And actually
Luke: [00:03:04] well that's
- Liz: [00:03:05] is legalized in Canada, too. Right? It got legalized a few months ago, or I guess in 2020, right.
Luke: [00:03:12] Uh, I think it was like 2018.
- Liz: [00:03:15] I mean, again, I should just avoid talking about years and time.
Luke: [00:03:19] I think it's been a while. Even then it was decriminalized. I believe. I don't know if my parents, my parents listened to the show. I've
- Liz: [00:03:25] We never know no one smokes weed. What is that? Never. We don't
Luke: [00:03:30] So knowing that. I mean, so I remember before even starting this journey of my podcast, masculinity, I remember walking into a bookstore in Toronto and seeing it there.
And I'm like, Hmm, this seems like an interesting book. And then about seven months later, I actually bought the book and I read it all in one weekend at my cottage, which is my favorite place on earth. Um, your book for the love of men, uh, taking the step to a more mindful masculinity [00:04:00] is. Coming out on paperback very soon.
I believe, hopefully it's
- Liz: [00:04:04] February 2nd. Yeah. Yeah.
Luke: [00:04:07] the day after, or a couple of days after this podcast, before this podcast will be posted, I'm really curious that as a woman, living in the States being Canadian, what was your motivation behind writing this book in the first place? And what's your personal story with masculinity and that whole journey?
- Liz: [00:04:26] Yeah, thanks. That's a great question in the States. Um, and, and, and working in the States when it comes to, uh, women's rights, uh, was, was a calling that I just kind of felt, um, you know, I, I obviously had done a lot in, in my own activism when I went to the Guild, I was in like every club, like annoyingly.
Asking you to come to all of our movie nights and like books, uh, big sales. And like I was at that person. Um, so I was definitely involved in, in Canada, but once I, um, basically moved to the States, I really realized that. Unfortunately, the United States, um, felt like a third world country, uh, when it came to women's rights.
And obviously when it comes to a lot of human rights and we've seen it during COVID really worsen and, um, we've seen particularly masculine, um, and the, um, I think wrongful. Definition. And the misleading definition that we have in our society really prove itself to be that much more damaging, um, not just on a personal level for people, but on a societal level.
So we've seen that, you know, leaders of countries that have, um, that exhibit certain kinds of traditionally masculine traits. And I hate like, Calling it traditionally masculine because to me, tradition, you know, there's some great things about tradition. Um, but to me, um, it's, it's, [00:06:00] it's, you know, when I say traditional masculinity, I mean, those sort of old ways of defining, uh, masculinity rooted in dominance and aggression in winning at all costs.
Um, you know, when we think about the leaders in the world that kind of represent that kind of masculinity or that kind of definition of masculinity, people like obviously Donald Trump, um, Ballston arrow in Brazil and Boris Johnson in the UK to a certain extent, all of them really, I think there was a, a clear, especially the summer, um, Realization that those were the worst places.
The places where someone, you know, their populations were the worst off and where it was handled, um, really, really badly. And all three of them got COVID by the way. Um, and you know, it was no surprise when Donald Trump got COVID. It's kind of like, you know, when, when a kid. Is jumping on the bed and you're like, stop jumping on the bed and they keep jumping on Ben and they fall off.
You're not like happy, but you're like, yeah, duh. Um, so, so we we've seen, I mean, COVID has just been like this amplification of, of all inequalities, right. And all of the ways that, uh, our world is, um, Can't reach its potential and people can't read their reach, their potential, um, when we're stuck in these old ways.
And, and I think, yeah, COVID has shown us, especially when it comes to masculinity, um, that, that we, uh, need to rethink and reimagine what it means to be a man, because right now, um, it's leading to, and I'm sure we'll get into it, but yeah, it leads to, um, A lot of, of, of difficulties for men ranging from, you know, mental health issues, um, from feeling very isolated and feeling like you can't be vulnerable or intimate and connect with people because you're supposed to be this tough guy.
And, um, and yeah, it's leading to, you know, rise in suicide rates and deaths of despair. Um, there are a lot of men who are suffering and, and that's what I really came [00:08:00] across when I started writing the book. I was just really determined to bring men, to wake up men, actually to the need, to come into the gender equality conversation.
But the more I talk to men and the more I interviewed men, the more I realized that they, uh, should be in this for us, for women, but they should also be in this for themselves because there is so much to gain from being part of this movement.
Luke: [00:08:30] Yeah. And one of my favorite things for those listening about your book was that it was very empathetic. It wasn't accusatory of men at all. I didn't, I thought going in that it would be because you kind of hear in quick tweets and social media, a lot of brashness towards men, a lot of, um, just it's it's not a healthy way for men to be involved in, which is why I'm.
I'm totally against the kind of kill all men movement, which is viral, because as you mentioned in the book too, uh, there's a quote that you had about admission of, of growth. And if you're accusing men of being bad, they're going to not going, they're not, they don't want to grow through that. They are just going to stray away from that conversation, which is why I really think your, it stood out to me.
And I'm like, I totally agree with this as a man, because I've never really felt conditioned by. Society standards. I don't know if it was cause I was homeschooled until grade nine, so I didn't kind of grow up being a grubbing told, you know, boys will be boys. I never really heard that term. I have two sisters, I'm the youngest of four.
So I think that really helped me with where I am today, but that's why I liked. Your book so much is it was just empathetic. I read it and I felt heard not. You're a terrible guy. And you used a lot of stories throughout the book, uh, trans men, um, men in the oil fields about sharing their stories. And I'm like, yeah, like the, this, these are our how men feel.
And that is [00:10:00] more true. Right? And you're there. They're going to feel hurt. They're not going to feel heard, which is the most important, in my opinion, when you're trying to get them on your side, which is why I love your book so much.
- Liz: [00:10:10] Yeah. Well, thank you for saying that. I'm so glad that it was, um, that it was helpful for you and, and I, and I think it's that. Tension right between. And it's something that I still struggle, you know, to be completely honest with you. Like, it's something that I have to remember because it is like so easy to, um, just go into, just go into hate or go into negativity or go into, um, you know, basically the opposite of, of, of empathy, which is, you know, not being forgiving and for the, for a long time, like I was that way, but I also.
I realized like this actually doesn't help the person who I'm trying to help. And it also doesn't help me because ultimately forgiveness is also about, it's actually less about the other person than it is about you and about freeing yourself. And that's where I see this as a, as a win-win where I see it as a win for women, not to have to.
Take on this burden and take on, you know, harmful behaviors or tolerate things that they don't want to tolerate. I think that women, uh, tend to, I mean, we tend to stay in situations that are. Unsafe or that aren't, you know, where we're being mistreated. Because I think that we are told that we're nurturers, we're told that we have to be empathetic, but actually like being empathetic to yourself and to another person is also holding them accountable to a certain standard and saying, I understand that you're doing this.
Um, and instead of just saying, you're doing this because you're a bad person saying, I know that you're actually better than this and I want to help you get there. Right. Um, and I think that [00:12:00] shift for me was just very liberating. Um, and I got, you know, I still get criticism. From particularly women who are like, why do we need to talk about men again?
Like, you know, why did you spend four years writing about men when, uh, you know, women's stories aren't told enough. And, but, but that's where I, I actually think, um, creating this was a way to set myself free. Um, just as much as I hope it sets men free too.
Luke: [00:12:29] Yeah. And there was a quote that you had at the B at the end of, uh, the intro. I think intro chapter where it says, I want to make it clear that talking about masculinity is not a distraction from the problems of women, rather it's the most effective way to properly address them. That's the quote I took a picture of and put in on my Instagram because I'm like exactly, because when I first started this podcast, Everyone was saying, why are you making a men's space to talk about these things?
And I'm like, well, men get accused all the time of not sharing these things. So that's my main goal. It's not to create like a male only space. I want it to help women who listen and can say, okay, this is how I open up with my. Or I get my husband or boyfriend opened up, or this is how I understand that men also help body self-esteem issues.
Like it's not supposed to be anything but helpful to women like that. That is the main goal. It's why I've had like a self-proclaimed feminist on to say. I cause I honestly think feminists and men's rights activists. And as I read Michael Kimball's book too angry, white men, they're on the same page. And almost if they only understood that they're on the same page because men's rights activists, you know, they want more fair, um, custody battles.
They want to be able to feel like they can love their children. That's the same thing feminists are doing. It's just the way of getting there seems to be a little bit different and men feel. Not heard in that process, but you know, I think if they just reframed the [00:14:00] conversation, like the men's rights after this just reframed in their head, what was going on, they'd see that the patriarchy, the same systems that you alluded to are the ones that are, are holding men down.
It's men, freeing men, not women, freeing men or women being against men. That is the problem.
- Liz: [00:14:17] It's exactly right. And I think the men's rights activist movement. I mean, I remember hearing that word for the first time and being like, you just think it's a positive thing. You're like, Oh, like, yeah. They just like fight for, you know, and unfortunately I think it's one of, actually one of the saddest.
It really makes me sad. It really makes me sad that it's been co-opted. Um, to your point to exploit, I think real suffering and real pain that that many men are feeling, um, and say, I hear you and I love you. You women are to blame, right? It's this the same way that, um, you know, unfortunately we, we see these, you know, white nationalists.
I mean, it's, these online communities are doing it really well, but, but, um, where they, yeah, they lore people. Um, with real, you know, because those people are isolated and those people are suffering and they have vulnerabilities, but they exploit the pain, uh, for their own gain. And so, and they, I think, give you the wrong solution to your problem, which is, you know, yeah.
Being against feminism, uh, for men, uh, is that, uh, Loring, I think solution that they're presenting and they're saying, well, you feel in pain because women have. Too much power or women are to blame for that pain. And if only, yeah, there was a us being able to, to your point, join forces and be like, we, we want to pain and suffering and you want to come together and here's how we're going to do it.
Um, by ridding ourselves from this, this, this, this super oppressive system that we've [00:16:00] all been brainwashed really to believe in. Is is true, in fact. And, and when you think about even, I mean, it applies to so many movements, it even applies, I think, to, um, you know, income redistribution and how very often the poor are really exploited, um, to support policies or support, um, politicians, populists who present very alluring solutions to their problems that are really real, the problems are really real.
And it makes me sad because. You know, and I'm gonna always come back to Trump, even though we're done, but, but you know, Trump's supporters, quote, unquote, have become this V you know, ultra villain. In American society. And I know, and I understand for, you know, people of color for women, for, you know, all kinds of people, how, how, you know, and people who have, you know, uh, had conflict within their families.
But it's so sad to me that Trump supporter is the villain and not Trump, right? Like that the person at the top who is wielding their power and, um, exploiting vulnerabilities. Um, sh should always be the one that's held accountable and the people who are vulnerable to falling for that kind of, uh, exploitation.
Um, if we blame them, then we're actually doing what the, what the system wants us to do. Right. We're turning against each other, which is what I feel like MRIs and feminist end up doing MRIs and feminists end up fighting each other. Instead of realizing, oops, um, wait a minute. We want the same thing. And uh, if we, if, yeah, if we fought together, um, we we'd be able to choose something.
Luke: [00:17:41] Yeah. And I definitely wanted to bring up Trump too. Cause I know that you talk about him a lot to me. So I've joined a couple men's groups on Facebook that are more on the right-wing side. Like. Some of the language that they use. I'm not sure if you've heard of like order of man Ryan Mickler, he's a big, big
[00:18:00] - Liz: [00:18:00] tell me what that is. What is
Luke: [00:18:02] So it's, uh, like their slogan is protect, provide and preserve like that. It's very much traditional masculinity. He seems like on his podcast, more of a great. Kind of dude in a lot of ways, like he's, he does want men to be accountable. He does want men to be noble. You know, the typical traditional, not fully bad qualities, but bad in some ways.
But the problem is, is that I don't understand why so many men who communicate that. To themselves then vote for Trump, who is none of those characteristics. Like that is the part that really surprises me about the whole Trump era is that yes, they love these church goers, God loving, dedicated to their wife, um, work hard type of, of men.
That's the, that's the type of man that I aspire to be, which Trump is literally none of those traits. And that, that is the most confusing part of it all to me as, as. What seems to be rational or, or what they desire to become is the exact opposite of what they vote for when Biden. I mean, I'm not American politician politics systems to me is kind of just whatever, but like he lost his wife he's or a child he's gone through a lot of pain.
Seems like someone, you should be able to empathize a little bit more when it comes to those things. And yet he's vilified. Because of his idea on gender politics. So, so to me, it's, it doesn't really make a lot of sense. Um, so I was really curious to hear a little bit more of your insight about how that puzzle comes together.
As you've talked to I'm sure Trump's supporters you've been at Trump rallies to, to interview them. I know you had a post about that recently,
- Liz: [00:19:42] Yeah. Yeah. I was, you know, on the campaign trail for box, um, starting in 2016 and, uh, or actually, you know, even before that in 2015 is actually when I, uh, when Trump started, you know, announced his run and, and because we're always in election year stage, it's just like [00:20:00] never ends, um, And yes, you're right.
There was a lot of, um, there was a lot of masculinity politics, I mean, coming from women and men, it wasn't just from men. And, um, you know, we would just ask them a simple question, you know, why are you here? Why are you, why do you support Donald Trump? Um, and very often it was just very coded. Language around, around masculinity and around being taken care of and having someone in charge who is tough and who will, you know, I even had a doctor, uh, this, a woman doctor who was a woman of color in New York.
You know, you just kind of like expect, uh, her to be anti-Trump, but no, like she is an immigrant and she was like, You know, doesn't Trump make you think of your, of your dad? Like, like he does not. Um, I, my father could not be more different in my model laying of masculinity. Could've not been more different.
I actually talk a lot about my dad in the book. Um, but yeah, there was a certain sense of life. That's what the man of the house. Right. And he yells at me screens, but like he's in charge and you're safe. And even I went to a Trump rally, um, Just into any, yeah, I was still up, it wasn't a box yet. It was 2015 and Donald Trump, uh, it was the rally where, and, you know, no one, I don't know.
It's a really hard to remember all the crazy things that Donald Trump said and did, but it was the time that he called Ted Cruz a pussy. Um, and I'm sorry for your parents who are listening. Um, but you know, I don't
Luke: [00:21:38] worse has been said on this podcast.
- Liz: [00:21:40] Yeah, I just don't like to send, I hate, I don't want to censor his own vulgar language.
Like I don't want it. I feel like that's a disservice to, um, to really being truthful about how, how, um, violent. Uh, discussing his butt. So he called Ted Cruz, a pussy, [00:22:00] um, a woman. What happened was a woman yelled. He was talking about Ted Cruz. And this was, you know, obviously went to the Cruz was, uh, running against him.
And Ted Cruz said, Donald Trump is the biggest threat to America. And now he is, uh, you know, supporting Donald Trump in every possible way. But, uh, so a woman in the audience yells Ted Cruz is a pussy. And she was in the front row and I was, uh, around there and, um, Donald Trump laughs and then everyone, everyone laughs you know, sort of in the audience cause they heard her and he knew he was on TV live and see it.
So he goes on, you know what she said, that that's a bad thing to say. She called and, but then he repeated it, right. She called supposing. And I actually, this one of my proudest accomplishments, I'm still waiting for my Pulitzer. Um, I found the Ted Cruz pussy lady. Okay. And all the journalists were looking for her by the way.
Cause it, it, that was the zoo. And like, we were all like, where is she? And I got a hold of her and I interviewed her. Very briefly. And I asked her, why do you think, um, like, why are you supporting Donald Trump? And she said, and I quote, he has the balls, the size of watermelons. And then she proceeded to describe the size of the balls of all of the other men who were still running for the Republican ticket, but Republican, um, uh, you know, to be the nominee.
And she goes, you know, Marco Rubio is like raisins. Um, it is, it's like grapes. Uh, and she just, and I, again, this is, I wrote an article about it. I did like publish the interview cause I was like, this is pretty. Fascinating, but I think back a lot at that woman. And I think back at a lot at how overt the, this was, you know, we tend to think about Donald Trump as like, Oh, sexist voted for him or racist [00:24:00] voted for him.
And actually data came out just after the Capitol riot that more than sexist beliefs, more than racist beliefs, more than homophobic beliefs, a belief in a very. Archaic and traditional definition of masculinity is what predicted support for Donald Trump in 2016 and 2020. So we should be talking about all the other isms, but Holy cow, like. How can we be? So, you know, to me that that should have been like on the front page of every newspaper, like, and, and that's how I felt writing the book where I just, it just blows my mind that, you know, we are having these conversations, but we're still not mainstream. Like people like you're talking about masculine, like.
And so, yeah, it, it is incredibly important to, um, to understanding American politics, to really understand how the definition of masculinity has really carried, um, so much, so much of so many of the narratives and, and Jackson Katz. Who's an incredible author. Uh, just made a movie called the man card.
That's a documentary really documenting how masculinity was represented in every election, since I think the 1960s or like, yeah. And he really goes into details. It's amazing. Um, and I wish we had more of those analysis too, because then we'd really be able to understand, um, a movement like that. And, and why, if he was so effective
Luke: [00:25:32] Yeah. And I, uh, I reached out to Jackson, uh, like two weeks ago or something trying to get them on. Uh, I think I read some of his stuff cause I took communication studies and so I was familiar with his name and then I saw him through, and then I read some articles afterwards. I joined a few like more on the left side of the conversation about masculinity.
So I'm getting a nice balance of opinions, but the Facebook groups. Terrified me around the Capitol Hill. Cause I'm like, I'm in this group just [00:26:00] seeing what's happening. And it's like, if you post about like liking Trump, it's, it's all hooray and yay. And if you post about. Voting for Biden. Everyone will call you like a communist and a socialist.
And I'm like, I don't know what you are thinking, but it's, I, I'm more there to people observe, but I definitely wanted to see your stance on it because you were so much part of that campaign and it's, and it's interesting to
- Liz: [00:26:25] Can I ask you like, Do you think having been in both spaces because you're right. There's a mess. There is a masculinity conversation. They don't call it that. Um, but there is a masculinity conversation happening on both sides. So what do you think is like the biggest difference between how the Wright talks about masculine and how the left talks about masculinity?
Like what are the solutions that they see and what do you think like leads a man. To go, like, you know, not to call one the dark side and whatnot, which is, you know, that's how I feel about it. But like what leads a man down the right wing path? Like that's like, or the MRA path, what are, what are the, what are the, what are they seeking?
You know, to really,
Luke: [00:27:15] Yeah. I think they're seeking outlet is, is my biggest thing or, or seeking welcoming. I think like the fundamental aspect of all humans is that they want to feel part of the community. And as you talk about in your book, a lot, a lot of. Like almost everyone in this one group is I would say middle-aged man, or maybe like between 25 and 35, uh, or, or to 45.
When I think that's, when men become really lonely and they kind of lose out on a lot of things. It seems to be in the, in the right communities. It's a lot of trades, um, which are typically vote, uh, more. Republican. I would, I would say, cause it's more blue collar workers. Um, but I, I would say that the main difference [00:28:00] is it's, it's really fascinating because I would, I would say that the main difference is wanting to, to be like, I feel like both of them are lost in the sense that they've never been told that they are a man.
And they're trying to figure out where their manhood lies. Uh, with one side, it tells you that you're responsible for it. You, uh, You have to provide, it kind of gives you because of the thing with providing financially is that it gives you a goal that a lot of men think they can achieve. So it's like very clear cut.
Okay. I just have to make a certain amount of money. And then I I'll feel like a man I'll have to be a certain amount of success in sports. And then I'll feel like a man, I would say on the left side, it's a lot more self-reflective or there has to be a little bit more work done on your. And to figure out how you fit into the puzzle.
Um, for me, like when it comes to some of the conversations on the left, I know like getting rid of the, uh, I think gender terms in, in the house is what they did recently. To me, I think it is detrimental to get rid of the terms, father and mother. But I think that you could also include the word parents. I don't think it's bad to get rid of gender neutral terms, but I don't think it's also helpful to get rid of them because I think there's still an importance in, in honoring a father and mother co mothers, co fathers.
Like, however it works in the relationship. And the right. We'll see that as a detriment to manhood, they'll
- Liz: [00:29:32] an eraser.
Luke: [00:29:32] away an eraser of a goal that they're told manhood is supposed to become. So as, as a man, you're supposed to become a good father. If they take away that title from you, which is I think how they see it.
That takes away a goal. If you're taking away the idea that men have to be a provider, well now what do I have to do to, to feel like I'm a man, but I loved how in your book that it separated the idea of what provider means, like why does it have to be such a [00:30:00] narrow lens of provision only means financial. Why can't it also mean. I'm a nurturer in the providing way. my wife, like, to me, it's like, I can't afford a single house or a single income household anymore. It's like impossible in any world who cares. If my wife makes more than me, I want to work from home. I want to be around the kids when I'm like, I'm a dad or, or a father.
Like I being homeschooled. My mom worked from home. My dad worked from home. So I mean, like I, that was just always. What I, I kinda knew. And it surprises me that I guess more people don't feel that I would say that's the main difference is one has clear outcomes of what it means to be a man and the other.
One's like, you figure it out. You put in the personal work and a lot of people don't want to do as much as people talk about doing self care and self love. A lot of people don't
- Liz: [00:30:47] well, it's hard. Self-care and self-love the thing about it is that people don't realize it's not, you know, going to the salon and the spa. It's a, it's the deep shadow work. And that's a really good point. Yeah. I think, I mean, it, it speaks also to, I think the way that the right and the left tend to talk, which is the right tends to make things really simple. And the less
complicated. And I mean, this is not a novel, you know, take a lot of people, um, talk about this, but, but it, it, it, but, but you're right though, that it's like the past. Yeah. I love thinking about they're both loss and they're both trying to figure out who they are. And one option is presenting them a pretty simple, uh, way that doesn't.
Sure. I mean, it's simple, it's not achievable, right? Like, and, and that's what I talk about in the book with, with guns particularly, right. That, uh, providing is becoming really difficult in America, particularly, but all over the world where income inequality is just growing. And so what you have is [00:32:00] actually the wealth of white men has continuously increased, but most white men.
Do not see their wealth increase, they see their wealth stagnating. And how do you explain that contradiction? And I understand that's a really frustrating conference contradiction for a lot of white men, right? Who are barely making, you know, being able to pay for their bills, being able to feed their children.
They may have one, two, three jobs. And then they see white men have everything and white men have privilege, right. That I understand that that is such a contradiction, but the reason why the huge amount of wealth that's owned by white men has not trickled down to most white men is because of income. Uh, you know, the failures of, uh, income redistribution, particularly in the United States where we've seen now, the 10 richest men in the world could have provided vaccines for the entire world.
Right. And we there's this. Oxfam report that came out, it's pretty jarring. Um, if we re if white men, as a group redistributed their wealth in a way that was equitable, white men in this country, wouldn't be able to provide, uh, they would be able to protect and I think would be able to achieve that, uh, you know, sort of masculine.
I don't know if my fantasy or ideal, but most men can't. And so that's where guns come in. That's where so many other devices come in where, um, and, and, uh, Angela Stroud, who is an academic, I interviewed for the book. Talks about this. She talks about how, because so many men can't provide for their families.
They're going to opt to protect and protect again in the very simple term, very simple solution. Here's a gun you're going to protect your family. As we know is not. Uh, it's actually, you know, having a gun inside the household actually puts [00:34:00] a man himself and his family more at risk. Um, having a gun inside your home for a man, it is just, we know that suicide rates are, are, are very high in the United States for particularly white men and that having them done inside the household just makes it that much more, um, you know, possible.
So, so I think you're right, like it's. Um, I think that if like complicating those terms and complicating, what does providing mean and what does protecting me, right. Uh, I think would add so much more value, um, to people's lives, but you're right. That it takes deep inner work because our society is not doing that work.
You have to take that on individually.
Luke: [00:34:40] Yeah. And like, as you said, the group is, is a very pro gun group. Like they love talking about hunting, fishing, like the rites of passage. And to me, it's like, why do rites of passage with your dad have to be fishing or hunting? Like. The Rite of passage, isn't really the memory of hunting. It's the memory that you had with your dad?
Why does it have to be specific about what you're doing? And if you like hunting by all means, make it hunting. That's where I think that there's a lot of complication too, is because people on the left are kind of taught and told to hate the ideal man on the right. And the ideal man on the right is told to hate the idea of man on the left.
So that one calls them. Sissified the other one calls them toxic to me. It's like, I talk about this quite a bit is you can be a lumber Jack who has a beard grizzled and whatever guns loves to do it. Cause that's what you grew up in rural America. Um, but if you don't judge a guy who wears his nail Polish and maybe a little, it looks a little bit more feminine or acts a little bit more feminine than to me.
It's like, Who cares because you're owning the masculinity that works best for you. That's where I don't really like the definition of toxic masculinity because you know, to me, one of the things that is talked about a lot is sports and how athletes will fight through pain to try to win, uh, and, and assert dominance [00:36:00] competition.
To me, that is totally okay. If it's the choice of the man that is. Performing that way, obviously like a lot of it comes from their childhood. It's like maybe their dad put pressure on them to perform in sports. I've had conversations about that, but if it's on the onus of the man to do it and they want to do it, I don't think there's anything wrong with that mentality.
And I don't think we should be judging the people who throw themselves in that ring, in that competition, if that's what they love to do.
- Liz: [00:36:26] I mean, yeah.
Luke: [00:36:28] and I think that's where a lot of the problem is. Like, if you're not, if I'm not able to. Compete with a really competitive guy. Then I should be the one getting out of the ring.
I like they shouldn't have to tone down their competitiveness so that I have a chance, like I'm strongly against participation metals, because I think that's a false way of should like the world. So like to me that I, I feel more included in having conversations in the left. And I think a lot, I feel scared sometimes being in the group that's on the right, but I see.
Both in how they talk about each other and that's not helping either. And I, that's why I try to bridge that gap. I talk to men that like cross-dressing and I like talking, I've talked to men who voted for Trump, like there's, I just try to connect the dots and that's all I do. And your book has helped me give lots of different topics about it.
I had a whole day. I decided to do a whole episode on same sex, uh, gender roles, because, because of your book and I'm like, why isn't it? It just decided like assigned to the person who likes
- Liz: [00:37:31] likes the thing. Yeah. Who's like good at the thing. And again, if you're thinking, if you're a woman and I mean, I'm, I'm a very, I have the nurturing gene. Like I really, and it was just something that I always really had as a child. Right. And I, you know, was enrolled for a masters in social work.
Like that was always going to be, that was always something that I liked, but. I want to do that. And I feel good in that. And that doesn't mean that a woman who doesn't have the [00:38:00] nurturing, you know, gene or need, um, who wants to be a bad-ass and be, uh, you know, just be herself. Um, yeah, we, we kind of, we're starting to give women more of that flexibility.
And I think that we, yeah, we're not there yet when it comes to men. And, and to your point, I think then each, uh, archetype becomes a threat to the other. And they become enemies instead of, uh, yeah. Being just on a spectrum, right. Or object to being
Luke: [00:38:31] coworkers. Yeah. In terms of being on a team, like you have a coach, you have players and everyone kind of has their different association. There are different roles, but for whatever reason, when it comes to men, we don't believe that we have different roles in society.
- Liz: [00:38:47] What's your, like, what do you think is the biggest mistake that the left does when it talks about masculinity that turns some of these guys off that would otherwise be on our side or on the side? W what do you think is the biggest mistake?
Luke: [00:39:07] I think it's, it's just the, you know, the, one of the things that I get annoyed with about the left is that they preach empathy so much, so much, but they only hold empathy for people that. Aren't the people they need to be empathetic to. Like, I read this amazing quote recently and I'm quoting it all the time.
It's like morality is only what we apply to those that we dislike. And so it's just this idea that, you know, if my best friend was product going to get canceled or part of cancel culture or whatever, they had parts of their action, I would feel really empathetic to them because my morality would be applied to them.
Cause I, uh, or. I guess the general sense of my morality would go out the window because I know this person I can be empathetic with them. So the problem with social media is like, if we look at someone who did something bad and, and, or bad quote, unquote, it's easy [00:40:00] to label them as immoral because we don't know who that person is.
We can dislike them really easily because of that piece of information. It's a lot easier to, um, Apply morality to people that we don't like. And that's what I think is really the core issue. So when I think of masculinity on the left and the kill, all men movement, a lot of it comes down to, well, I've been hurt by men.
Okay. But you're applying the same thought pattern of why people are racist, which is I've been hurt by a black man. And now I don't like. Black men or black people. It's the same like thought process. That's really dangerous communicated in a different way because men are the butt of society or UN we have the privilege.
So we're not actually the butt of society, but a lot of men feel like they are because of the language that's used. So I think that would be the biggest problem. And I fail at it a lot too. Um, I I'm no high ground on empathy. I think empathy is really hard for me to be honest. Um, and I've, that's something I worked through is something I try to, it's probably one of my shadows.
Um, and I think that is the, the hard problem is that it's really easy for men to feel targeted by the left or not feeling included unless they change, especially when it comes to toxic masculinity, you know, I don't kind of determine it or think of it in the same way that a lot of people on the left do, as I mentioned, I think it's whatever backs, masculinity that works best for you, that doesn't allow you to hate other men performing the masculinity that works best for them.
And I think that is probably the biggest problem that a lot of people on the left that I've seen it make is that. Even for someone who tries to be on their side, I don't feel welcome, but like, I, I work hard to [00:42:00] make other men like, I'm that middle point? I feel like I'm in a special place where I can bring the men who do feel unheard unlistened to, to the left because I can offer them some sort of guidance or, or, you know, I understand your pain points.
But it's not really that bad. Like I understand that you feel accused and, uh, uh, hurt and unwelcome over here, but I mean, this is no better. And it's just like a closet for, or actually doing the self work that maybe needs to be needed to, to feel like you might be toxic and you might need to do some healing.
- Liz: [00:42:41] right. Yeah. And I think, you know, the difference, um, I think between, so, so first of all, I, I, I agree like we, if, you know, the left wants to be the party of compassion and empathy. And, uh, restorative justice, like that needs to apply to people who don't agree with us. Right. And I, and I, I think that's a really, that's something that I think a lot about, you know, how do I make sure that I have empathy, um, for people who, who I believe are, you know, I mean, even in the light of the Capitol riots, like, I mean, I'm not trying to have empathy for those people, but I.
I felt really bad for them. I felt really bad for them. And I, I, it was the first time that I felt, yeah, sadness replaced anger. I mean, I was sad for every, I was sad for the, you know, the members who were being targeted. I was sad for this country. I was sad for the world. I was separated for so many, but I was like, Oh, well, these are very, these are very harmed people who are doing something so harmful and, and, uh, and, and just.
Unprecedented, uh, with their pain and their suffering and it is being [00:44:00] exploited in such a big way. But I do think that like the example of, you know, women are frustrated at men because they've been hurt by one or two men is a little bit different. It's like, it's actually more like people of color. Being frustrated at white people for having repeated experiences of being denigrated by white people.
Right? Cause like that's systematic, um, and black people harming white people is not systematic. Right. And women hurting men. Certainly happens, uh, no doubt, but that is not like institutionalized, right? Like you and, and, and put into every level of society. And, and I think like, this is the call that I try and do in the book, which is like, Your life for men will be better when women are not afraid of you or your life will be your dating life.
I mean, I would love to be able to flirt again. I mean, like once we're all out and not wearing, you know, hiding our faces, like, I would love that when a man comes up to me, In a public place that my first inclination is not, um, to remember all the ways that men have been, you know, harmful or made me feel unsafe in those ways, but that I could be like, what does this guy have to say?
Like, maybe we just say good morning. And it is like, I, like, I would love that for all genders. And this is the part where yeah. It, it, just to me, is this win-win of, um, of. And, and again, this idea that like those crappy. Men are those men who do crappy things are ruining it, ruining it for the rest of you and like reclaim your gender, like reclaim, uh, [00:46:00] the yeah.
Your, your, your identity and your place in the world. And like, that was, you know, again, my hope that the book, but by, I didn't want to put toxic masculinity on the cover and be like, this is what, you know, men need to do differently. It's like, let's think of, of our, uh, you know, what our solutions, how can we, you know, Uh, you know, undefined, all of this, you know, it's not about redefining is not about me coming in and being like, this is what a man means.
You know, when people ask me, how do you define masculinity? I'm like, I'm not the one. First of all, I'm not the one who's going to do that. And every person, every man's response is going to be different and that's what we need. Right. We need men to, um, to live, to be free and live in a world where they're free to.
Um, so yeah, I just constantly see it as like glass half full.
Luke: [00:46:45] Yeah. And that was a good point. Yeah, it could because men are the oppressors in both situation that it's the same as people of color being like all white people suck. Yeah. That's a better way of going through it. Um, yeah. And I, I find that really interesting too, because one of the things that I've been thinking about a lot recently is we seem to apply what.
Happens in a relationship, uh, and how the power dynamics work there too, outside of the house, which I, which is kind of a new thing. I've been thinking about a lot, because there are things that seem to be true across a lot of relationships. From what I've heard is like a woman can be indecisive about or knowing where to eat.
Right. And the man's like, okay, we're going to go there. But what happens with society is that we then apply. Okay, because the man that made a decision here, he should make it everywhere it's like, no. How that works in a relationship between two people who are coach leaders, like as a co CEO, co CEO is much different than a woman can't make decisions for our business.
Like there's a lot less, I've been an investment there when it comes to how to lead a home is completely different than a business. [00:48:00] And I think that's where a lot of the traditional roles. Seem to be coming from, this is like an idea or thing that I've been mellowing out as I go on walks and, and trying to think about a bit more.
And I wanted to kind of hear your take on that. Is it more that we're applying what happens in personal relationships to a broader society that might be causing some problems? Because I don't really think there's like women can't lead businesses, which seems to be. Because a woman can't lead a household, can't lead a household in air quotes.
They can't lead a business, which I'm like those two have nothing to do with each other. Nothing
- Liz: [00:48:33] I mean, but that's where we learn. Right. Are, are, you know, you were talking about the way that you were raised and, um, That that, that, you know, these well, gender roles were presented to you. I mean, you probably didn't even know what gender roles meant, but you were seeing it play out, you know, in your household.
And so though, you know, that, and, and, and those spaces are, you know, the first five years of our life, right? Like those are the most defining, uh, you know, that's where our brain literally just forms itself. And so what you see at that age, and, and I think what you see growing up, we'll end up reflecting.
And, and, and guiding right. What you think men do and what you think women do. And it's been kind of amazing to see just how even like yeah. Having a female VP of color. Right. And I have a friend who is, uh, has two young, uh, he has twins and they're both, uh, Indian and, uh, yeah, it's just. The fact that they can see this woman, uh, you know, in that position, it is just so, so, so meaningful.
And it's something that, you know, to think about the next generation will never not know a female VB right. In the way that like our generation never knew a female baby. Um, and so, yeah, I think those go hand in hand and, and I think similarly to what we were saying before, We should play to people's strengths, no matter where they are.
Right. No matter if they're in the [00:50:00] household, um, no matter if they're at work, um, and that, you know, and this even goes to, you know, some women love taking notes. Some women love to do logistical work, um, and, and let them do that, right? Like, I'm not saying, you know, men have to take on the roles that. Women tend to take on as a way to correct inequality.
Like I don't think that's what we're, that's not what we're striving towards. Like we're the, and my opinion is to free everybody and I just can't think. Of a better world than a world where everyone is free to be who they want to be. And, you know, doesn't feel shamed for not being good at something or shamed for being bad at something that they are just their own individual person.
And so you don't have to suppress or repress anything. Um, And, and I, yeah, I just can't think of a better of a better world and what that looks like, you know, in terms of the job market, in terms of, you know, just everyone doing what they love and what they're best at is just a better world to live in
Luke: [00:51:09] Yeah. I remember the day after, is it called the second husband? Is that
- Liz: [00:51:13] the second gentleman. Yeah. He's the first, second gentleman. Yeah.
Luke: [00:51:18] what I found it really interesting, cause there was a tweet that went viral saying like, how emasculating is this bio of it? And I just remember tweeting imagine, cause it said devoted father and proud husband.
And I'm like, imagine thinking that those two terms are bad emasculating thing. Like I don't, that's what I don't get is they want to be a devoted father and a proud husband. That's what every man aspires to be. But then there's a masculine thing. It. You're doing it, but you play second fiddle. So it's not really about being a father and a husband.
That's the masculinity part. It's about being first. It's about that power dynamic, which I thought was really, it's a really broken way of, of looking at it.
- Liz: [00:51:55] It totally is. And, and, you know, I wrote an article for Cosmo about it, [00:52:00] about just the idea that, you know, if we want a world where we tell girls to be more assertive, And for them to become more sort of women, we need to also tell boys that they can be more supportive. And that being a supportive man is, is awesome.
And just as bad-ass, um, because actually like, and also even supporting. You know, anyone who's worked with anyone in the, in the creative arts or, I mean, really any business, right? Like a CEO has a team, right. A celebrity, a singer, a songwriter. Uh, they, they have that. There's always, you know, there's that producer.
And, you know, you put the most talented person, like, I don't know, Trevor Noah, or, uh, you know, Amy Schumer, all these amazing comedians who, who, um, are up there any late night hosts. Like you put them there without their supporting role, which is the producer. And there's nothing, right? Like, I mean, not nothing, but it doesn't look the same.
Um, and so those are super important roles and, and the same thing applies to, to, um, the white house. I mean, like. We the reason why. And I, you know, I was thinking about this a lot. When I was writing the article, I was like, do we denigrate. First ladies are for, right? Like that, you know, second gentleman, whenever you want to call it, do we denigrate it because women have tended to do that role?
Like, is it just because yeah. Women tend to do it. And so we were like, eh, like it's not that important or it's not that, but it's actually super important. If you think about the, you know, The work, Michelle Obama did the work that obviously Hillary Clinton, you know, trying to pass healthcare, um, in the nineties, like, uh, you know, the things that they did were incredibly important.
And so it's, it's yeah, it, it, I hope that because a man is doing it now, it shifts our own perception of that job and, and [00:54:00] how important that job is. I mean, it shouldn't need, we shouldn't need a man to do it for us to value it, but that's what I'm hoping the silver lining is.
Luke: [00:54:08] yeah. Mama's book right now with promise land. And he talks about, uh, the masculinization of the role of any woman in, in Paul. Like you can't wear a dress. I never noticed that Hillary Clinton and, uh, Kamala never wore. Dresses until he pointed it out in his book and I'm like, Oh yeah. Cause that would probably make them look too like feminine and a man wouldn't vote for anyone who's too feminine.
And that book is really showing me a lot about the masculinity and politics too. And I know Obama has talked about it. Quite a bit as well. Um, and the other thing I wanted to talk with you about was, I mean, there's so much, I mean, there's so much I could talk to you about, uh, everyone listening again, go pick up, uh, Liz's book.
Uh, another book I always recommend to every guy to read is know by name, by Chanel Miller, uh, which is something that another line that stuck out to me in that book was how. Catcalling. And then he talks about women flirting, feeling safe, and she's like, I remember there's a, there's a quote that stuck with me really well.
It's, you know, her boyfriend said something to her of like, I don't want to hear these stories of men hitting on you anymore. And she said, this is my life I can't unsubscribe. Or you don't get to answer. Subscribe just because you want to. When this is something that I have to go through all the time, I want you to know like my pain and that line made me cry.
When I was reading the book. Now I'm like, Oh my goodness. Like every guy needs to read this book right now to understand the systems. And one of my favorite part about your book too, is that you talk about the systems, not the men. You know, we paint all men as being violent. Not that the system promotes violence.
You know, we, when you look at, when we're talking about the Capitol Hill, My thing is attack the ideology, not the person. Like what was the ideology that got that person to [00:56:00] Capitol Hill don't attack the person that's where empathy really is. You can have empathy for the person without empathizing with the ideology.
And I wanted to hear your thoughts with that. And then the process of unlearning, like how do you unlearn those ideologies?
- Liz: [00:56:15] So big. Um, I think that one of the most destructive. Beliefs that we hold about men is that they're inherently violent. And that there's something about you that, um, that you can't help, which I think is such a. When anyone tells you that like, Oh, you just you're like this and you can't even help it. Like, there's something it's, it's, you know, it's actually, it's like learned helplessness.
You just think like, no matter what I do, this is just going to be the outcome. So matter. I might as well not try. I might as well not, you know? Yeah. Do again, whatever you want to call it, the shadow work, the, you know, and there's this really great quote, um, that I have above, above my. My a wall or on my wall that said, you know, it's a sad is Mads bodyguard.
Sorry. Mad Is bodyguard. Um, right. So the, that. Yes. Anger is a real emotion that that is, you know, all emotions have messages. And usually anger is actually a message that a boundary has been crossed that something, you know, is, is an outright and we should listen to our anger. Um, but the problem is.
Um, when that anger is acted upon, right? Like anger is not the problem. The behavior is a problem. And I think for a lot of, of, of, of men, particularly, um, yeah, anger leads to violence, anger leads to, you know, capital riot, anger leads to domestic violence, suicide, right? Whatever you want to, you know, there's so many different, uh, choose your own adventure. [00:58:00] when we say. That anger, that violence is inherent and it's biological and it's hardwired, um, which is not true. And I go into detail in the book about why that's, that's not true. Um, yeah, we, we create expectations that men end up fulfilling. When we say boys will be boys. And we say, that's just the way that, you know, that's just the way you are and the way you will be.
Uh, it's, it's very limiting. Um, To to, to, to, to tell that to someone. I mean, imagine again, like if we said that to any other group, like, if we. Told a person with a disability. You're just gonna, like, you're, you're disabled. People are going to disabled, like, you know, or, uh, black people. You're just, and we do do this by the way we would trade it.
And I talk about it in the book and I interview, you know, um, someone who was in brother's keeper, which was Obama's, um, program for, for young black men. Yes, Mo yes, he's so great. He's such a G um, he's amazing. And, and yeah, he says, you know, I mean, for, for black boys, it's, it's even more pernicious, right?
Like you're just going to become, like, you're going to end up in jail or you're going to end up selling drugs. And that's like the best you can be as be a basketball player. Right. And, and in many ways, like, That that's not just like an invented, uh, system. Uh, it is, uh, because of many institutional factors, very much the reality for a lot of black men in America.
Um, but, but, but yeah, we, we, we sort of in, you know, if we, if we tell black boys, like, you're, that's, what's going to happen to you. That's just like what the that's what's in the cards, that's what they're going to end up doing and being. So we.
Luke: [00:59:44] it's a self fulfilling
- Liz: [00:59:45] It totally is. And so we need to stop saying those things. I mean, just in the way that we need it to, you know, we needed to stop telling girls that they can't be leaders and telling girls that, you know, they couldn't, uh, you know, work [01:00:00] in computer science and STEM and coding and all these things, right?
There's all these forces at play that are encouraging girls to, uh, unlearn those things. And we really need the same kind of. Uh, curiosity, we need the same kind of resources and efforts put behind boys on learning those things too. Um, when it comes to, when it comes to
Luke: [01:00:22] Yeah. And what you said about anger is so true. I had a guest on that said anger is simply sadness masked,
- Liz: [01:00:28] exactly. Yeah.
Luke: [01:00:28] it was basically the same quote along the same lines. And one of the things I've been talking about quite a lot is I tell men, your anger is valid. That's true. That doesn't make it right.
And one of the things that. I've seen more and more as I've gotten into this is there seems to be only two emotions men can feel, and one is anger and like one is happiness and there's a whole range of why you might be angry. Well, why are you angry? Are you lonely? Are you hurt? Are you upset? Are you disappointed?
Like get to the core. Understanding of where that pain actually is. And you might find that it's not anger, but anger is the only emotion that you've been told that you're allowed to have. And then I also loved how in your book, you talk about the shame loop because when you have anger, you then feel ashamed of whatever you did and the anger, or you feel ashamed of being angry.
And then you just have more angry at yourself for being shame. And then it's a whole negative cycle of, of your life. And that's where I see a lot of the problems is we don't. No emotion. We're not emotionally intelligent enough about the emotions that we are feeling. That is why we don't know what to do when we're feeling that way.
So like, one of the things I'm doing this year is I'm journaling. I'm meditating more and I'm trying to start therapy. I don't think I like need therapy in the sense of needing therapy, but I want to do, I want to understand myself more and I want to have the tools of self-awareness that I think my friends who do go to therapy have, and I'm like, That's what I need to unlearn myself.
[01:02:00] And I do a lot of that on my own, but also just through talking with people, I'm like, I know less about masculinity than I did before, but I don't, well, I guess I know more, but I just know, like, I don't know what it is. Like I still get lost, but I still feel comfortable in it. It's a whole range of emotions that I don't know
- Liz: [01:02:19] I think, well, that's the sign that you are learning when you feel like you don't know anything about something, it means because like, right, like it's, when you think, you know everything about something that usually like, but the more you learn about something, the more you realize how much you have to learn it.
I mean, that's how I feel too. I wrote a book about this. Like, I feel like there's, you know, even in this conversation, I'm learning and, um, and, and I think the, you know, my sister does emotional intelligence training for, um, children at Harlem elementary school. And one of the things she just, uh, you know, really talks about it.
And if it's helpful to anyone listening right now, who's like, yeah, I don't know how I feel. And I'm in this anger shame loop and being able to just label how you're feeling and being able to say right now, I feel. Fill in the blank. I feel disappointed. I feel lonely. I feel sad. I feel, uh, you know, angry.
Um, just being able to do that. Offers relief because we spend so much time and I do this too. We all do it. It's not just like a, this is men's problem. Like we all need more emotional literacy and more emotional awareness, but we have so many ways of avoiding the way that we're feeling. Um, because again, we're not supposed to feel this way.
We're not supposed to, we're supposed to be perky. We're supposed to be happy. We're supposed to be strong. We're supposed to be powerful. Um, but just being able to like sit with yourself and really, really think about how you're feeling, which sometimes it will take. Several minutes sometimes I'm like, I don't know what's going on, but I'm not okay.
And I don't know why. Um, that's okay. But sit with it and figure out what it is. And it will have less power over you than if you, you know, [01:04:00] do all the other things you could do instead.
Luke: [01:04:02] 100%. Yeah, for me, going on walks at the end of every day has been like the best mind clearing thing. I've I've started this year. Um, I know we've talked about a lot. I don't know what your timeline is. I know we were supposed to wrap this thing up.
- Liz: [01:04:18] I have, yeah, I have a three 30 and I didn't eat, so I will have to
Luke: [01:04:23] going to,
- Liz: [01:04:24] soon.
Luke: [01:04:25] I'm going to ask you a couple rapid
- Liz: [01:04:27] Okay. Great.
Luke: [01:04:28] Okay. So in terms of you wrote this book as a woman, what do you think men should know about your approach to this book? And why mentioned listened to women on the topic of masculinity?
- Liz: [01:04:41] Well, I think just like, uh, it's important for white people to listen to black and Brown people about whiteness. I think it's important to listen to women about masculinity, because unfortunately what I've learned through just racial justice work is that black people of color know more about my whiteness than I do, because they have often been right on the receiving end of it, or have been, you know, involved in that structure in a way that is.
You know, almost it is impossible to ignore. Um, it's easier to, it's easier to ignore when you're not at the bottom. Right. And this is not a, you know, a dig up man to say, like, you're just not aware and like, but yeah. Women have an intense knowledge of men, most women, uh, because we, um, yeah, it it's, it's, um, it's a very dynamic. It's a very dynamic relationship. Um, and it's, and it's an inevitable relationship again, I don't know any woman who doesn't know a single man. Um, but yeah, I think that there's a lot that you can learn from women. And [01:06:00] I think that those conversations and vice versa.
Right. Um, I think that those conversations are really important and that's why I wrote a book about men, even though I'm not a man because yeah. I just, through being a woman, um, and sort of your point about observing, right. Um, women have observed men and we, because we learn, you know, to fear men and we've learned to, um, surveil and, uh, so we do know a lot about men, but, um, but also. We want to talk about it with you. We want to know what it's like for you to be a man too, right? Like this is where I think exchanging, um, and having a really compassionate conversation between men and women is really, really important where each person really listens, which is really hard.
Luke: [01:06:47] Yeah, it is. And I've had more women reach out to me being like, you know, I love what you're doing with the show and, and the topics that you're talking about. Then I have men, men, men tell me I'm courageous for doing it. Women just seem to be all in about what I like the topics and I, and. I will say Liz, that when I first read your book, I went into it thinking, what is a woman going to tell me about masculinity?
And then I ended up and I'm like, this is the best book I read about masculinity because I, I began to look at it as, you know, if you, if you think of a crime or, or. Kind of something where police got involved, you go to the victim who, a surviving victim to figure out what happened. And women have been the victims of men's violence for so long.
And men have been the victim of men's violence for so long. Then why aren't we trying to get their idea of why men might be causing violence? And that's how I started to see it is you don't go like you just. You have to get all the evidence that you can, and women are part of that conversation. They're part of that, that evidence, that buildup, and I think the same goes for, for women as, as like exactly what you said, listen to men when it comes to either they issues [01:08:00] they have with feminism or a woman who had, or their own masculinity.
Uh, we're we're allies in this a lot more than we think we don't have to be enemies. Um, that's the last question I want to ask you is you talked about your dad. I read, you know, your dad loved waffles, uh, in the book and had a whole system of that. What's like the biggest lesson that you learned from your dad and, and what's a message that you want to share if you had a future son or, or even just the men listening to this.
- Liz: [01:08:31] Wow. Yeah, my dad, you know, I did, I was in the vagina monologues, uh, when I was in my twenties and I wrote in the, you know, whatever the program. Um, thank you. To my mom for, um, always accepting me. I don't remember what I wrote about my mom. I said something, you know, thank you. I got out. She's amazing.
But like, and then I wrote in, thank you to my dad for always challenging me to be the best. And my dad came over to me after the play. And he came both tonight. I think I write that in the book. He came both nights with his camcorder because the first night the sound was not ideal. So I had to talk about my vagina or not my vagina, but say the word vagina over and over again, uh, twice, uh, in front of my dad.
And he came over to me and he said, you know, Lee, I mean, he tells me Lisa he's like, Lisa, I don't, I don't challenge. I don't want to challenge you to be the best. I've always challenged you to do your best. And that really stuck with me. And it's something I think a lot about. And, uh, so that's definitely the best lesson I've I've, uh, or one of the most important lessons I've learned from him.
And I think it applies to everyone, men or women. Um, and what was your second question about him? What have I learned about
[01:10:00] Luke: [01:10:00] Like what would be one thing that you'd want to pass down to men or, or a future son, if you, if you
- Liz: [01:10:05] Yeah. Well, so my dad, I love to like talk about a month or like do stuff with him on Instagram. And like, he's very reluctant, uh, because he doesn't understand why he's funny. Like he is Bernie Sanders. Like I'm, I'm really not joking. Like he is, has had the same jacket for the last 40 years. It is definitely made by like, he, he literally gave me those mittens, like those mittens were, I actually sent them a photo.
Like he, um, Yeah, it has, it's very humble in his, uh, in his way of life and, and in his personality. And, um, and, and just value-driven, and at one point I was like, Oh, I should, because I was making these big Urus energy, um t-shirts and these sort of feminist t-shirts and I was like, Oh, we should do, I should take a photo of you from my Instagram.
And he kind of was like, I don't. I don't like, I don't know about this. And even when he read my book, he was very, uh, it took him forever. He would read it and to read the part about himself and he finished it and was like, okay, I'm glad it's not too like, uh, show me about me and, and, and saying that I'm such a great dad, because like, I'm not like I'm just a regular person trying to do my best and same thing with the feminist.
T-shirts like, I don't want of like, I'm a feminist, like, like feminism to him, uh, from what I, you know, learned from that experience. And, and again, being father and like, we're not things that he like are things that he's continuously working through and on. Right. It's not like. It's not a label that you get to.
It's a journey you're on. And that to me is allyship. That to me is mindful masculinity. That to me is also like even being a woman in the world and being in a quote unquote empowered woman in the world, like, like. I fall [01:12:00] down all the time. Like I fall for diet culture all the time. I fall for all kinds of, uh, all kinds of, you know, gender biases.
And so, yeah, I really think staying really humble is just a way better way to approach it because then you're not defensive. Because you are, you have not claimed to be a good guy. You have not claimed to be this feminist ideal. Um, you have not claimed to be this good white, you know, person. Like you're just you and you're always going to be learning.
And that, to me, when I'm in a place where I am open to, to learning. It's just the best way I can be. And when I'm close to it, when I'm defensive, when I'm in that dark, like, I hate that. And, um, yeah. So I think like that would be my word of encouragement for my own son and for any man who's listening or any person who is listening, like.
Yeah, don't get lost in, in trying to achieve that, um, awareness or, uh, you know, evolved state of being like it's okay to just be like, do your best at it. Not be the best at it, which
Luke: [01:13:18] Yeah. And I love that my year, dad reminded me so much of my dad when I was reading the book. Cause I'm like, Oh my goodness, this is my, dad's like a fan favorite between my friends. And like everyone loves my dad. Everyone says I'm the second and favorite like West. Um, so it happens quite often and he doesn't know why he so well loved by, by everyone.
Uh, he's so confused by that.

Yeah, my dad, like I remember reading your book at my cottage. That was what I asked my dad. Let me, Hey, are you proud of this journey? [01:14:00] I'm on. And only recently was I reminded of that.
I'm like, dad, are you proud of me in this podcast? And then that's also when I asked him to be on my podcast. So I did a two hour interview with him at the cottage on my birthday. It was like a whole thing. Uh, and I wanted to say like, your book was a, is a huge part. Of what I'm doing here and I love it. I recommend everyone go and get it.
I've recommended the books that almost everyone I've had on the podcast. Um, so that, yeah, everyone listening, this is a dream come true interviewing and talking with with Liz.
- Liz: [01:14:33] dream come true. This was so insightful. Thank you. Thank
Luke: [01:14:37] so. Uh, I'm going to link all your social media as the book in the description as well. Uh, I believe I'm. Am I getting one copy or, or a couple of
- Liz: [01:14:48] I have no idea you've been in touch with OCO cause you want to give away copies. Is that, is that
Luke: [01:14:53] Yeah. Yeah. I think it was a couple of signed copies. No, it was going to send me, but I don't want to say that on the, I think, I think so.
- Liz: [01:14:59] Okay. I think we're getting that done, right? She she's figuring that out. Yeah.
Luke: [01:15:05] Okay. And everyone I'll have a few signed copies of Liz's book to give away, but this I thank you so much for being here. Is there anything that you want to share with the audience before I let you go?
And in the next two minutes,
- Liz: [01:15:16] No, I'm, I'm, I'm just happy to be here. And, you know, wherever you are on your journey is the right place for you to be. And, um, yeah, just, um, don't, don't be too hard on yourself and, um, yeah, that's it, that's it, it's a hard year. Just do what you can, um, and, and, and do it with the right people and surround yourself by the right people.
Luke: [01:15:38] Perfect. Thank you so much, Liz. I thank everyone for listening and, uh, I'm sure I'll have you back on in the
- Liz: [01:15:43] Yeah, that'd be great. Yeah. Thank you so much. I appreciate it.
Luke: [01:15:48] and we're done. How did that? I know you have to go soon, but thank you again. There's so much, I really enjoy that. Uh, the next steps is like, uh, over the next week I will edit and then I'll send you a couple, like [01:16:00] videos, quotes, um, That you can share if you want to not forced to share, but I'll, I'll try to do my best to make them as shareable as possible.
And I'll also send you the link. So I really started Wednesday morning, so everything will come to an email. I'll send it to you and Noah on Wednesday
- Liz: [01:16:16] Sweet. Thank you. You so much. It's so great. Such great timing, because I think the book comes out on to the paperbacks on Tuesday. So it'll be a fun thing to do.
Luke: [01:16:25] Uh, can I take a screenshot? I'm I'm going to share it on, on, uh, Instagram after, right after. Oh crap. Okay.
And we're good. I look awkward, but you look great. So that's, that's how it will be.
- Liz: [01:16:47] I have one more minute. I'm sure you look great, but I want you to like it too.
Luke: [01:16:52] file. Well, cause I have it on my one screen and uh, wait one second. Okay. New. Oh my goodness. Okay. Uh, I get ready to smile
and. Perfect. You'll be, you'll be featured with my Hamilton and your book, so, Oh, it's going to be backwards. I'll go to the, uh, I'll go to the recording and I think it will be the right way around,
- Liz: [01:17:26] Okay. Okay,
Luke: [01:17:27] yeah, that's it, Liz, thank you so
- Liz: [01:17:29] you. Thank you. Have a great rest of your day though.
Luke: [01:17:31] come true you 
- Liz: [01:17:32] Yeah. Great work.
Luke: [01:17:35] Okay. Thank you. Bye.