MODERN VIEWS OF MASCULINITY AND MANHOOD – by David B. Grinberg

BOOK REVIEW:
“TALKIN’ TO YOU, BRO!” 

James Baldwin, a leading voice of Black America in the 20th century, once observed: “The American idea of sexuality appears to be rooted in the American idea of masculinity.”

This truism raises complex questions at the dawn of a new millennium. For instance:

  • What is the appropriate archetype to define masculinity in today’s increasingly diverse demographic construct? 
  • What characteristics most resemble the proverbial modern man according to today’s conventional wisdom?

These questions are posed and answered in a compelling new book by  Elwood David Watson, PhD: “Talkin’ To You, Bro! Liberate Yourself from the Confusing, Ambiguous Messages of Contemporary Masculinity” (Lasting Impact Press).

Watson’s latest book lends itself to a necessary conversation from the unique viewpoint of an African American male historian of Generation X. 

In addition to being an advisor and contributor to the American Diversity Report (ADR) for many years, Watson is a nationally syndicated columnist, commentator and subject matter expert on gender and cultural issues. 

ADR Editor-in-Chief Deborah Levine says, “This book is an exceptional resource that tackles some of the most difficult issues of our time. Talkin’ To You, Bro! will be transformative to the reader on multiple levels of work, relationships, and self-care. Watson’s analysis, empathy and expertise make this book a must-read not only for men, but for their families, friends, and colleagues.”

All audiences can benefit from Watson’s astute insights debunking gender-based myths and stereotypes at the intersection of sexuality and popular culture. He deftly chronicles topics surrounding masculinity and manhood in contemporary society with a no-holds-barred approach, which provides much needed transparency in today’s overly saturated Information Age. 

Watson has authored numerous books, academic publications, newspaper articles and social media commentary focused on bridging the racial and gender divide by fostering increased communication and mutual understanding between different populations. 

His straight-forward, pull-no-punches writing style is both informative and enjoyable. His viewpoints should be weighed within the full context of an increasingly diverse and multicultural population.

“In the last two decades, terms such as alpha male, metrosexual, ubersexual, bromance, man crush, and male bonding entered the public lexicon,” writes Watson, a professor of Gender Studies, African American Studies, and Popular Culture at East Tennessee State University. 

“Diversity and pluralism personify this phenomenon in a world where men of varied ethnic backgrounds, sexual persuasions, ages, physical distinctions, and religious beliefs are having a crucial impact on the greater society at large.”

Watson does not shy away from confronting the most controversial issues with rigor. He does so in an authentic and unapologetic tone which is worthy of distinction. Watson tackles contentious conversations which are shaping popular culture and public discourse in the United States and worldwide.

The 200-page book, divided into five main parts, is a comprehensive roadmap to navigating the fluid definitions of masculinity in the new millennium, including (but not limited to) the following issues:

  • Race and Religion, 
  • Ethnic and Cultural Stereotypes,
  • Heterosexuals and Homophobia,
  • Single Men and Stay-At-Home Dads
  • Friendship and Forgiveness, 
  • Mental Illness and Suicide,
  • Sex Addiction and Pornography,
  • Self-care and Competition,
  • Sex Scandals and Bullying,
  • Donald Trump and the Alt-Right
  • Liberal Hypocrisy and the Democrat Party

Although Watson’s unadulterated writing style may strike some readers as brash, he stands firm in the conviction that this type of bodacious discourse can lead to a meaningful, empathetic national conversation on cutting-edge gender issues. This is a much-needed discussion which can yield concrete results in bringing people together during these challenging and toxic times.

The book serves an important purpose in promoting an open dialogue on today’s major topics confronting men in our ever-changing society, where definitions of male gender issues can be flawed, misunderstood and even weaponized for political and ideological reasons. 

Watson preaches universal truths which are not heard often enough. He urges society to place a greater focus on innate characteristics of men, such as “intelligence, sensitivity, curiosity, flexibility, strength and resilience” – rather than the overly saturated picture portrayed in the media of alpha males being the only real men.

This is a vital message for all generations in 2022 and beyond.

 

CLICK for articles by Dr. Elwood Watson

David B. Grinberg

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