written a book about the destructive nature of "mascul-inity". Like other men who have explored the same subject, he doesn't think we should junk the concept altogether. He says it just needs a bit of tweaking, a bit of adjustment, to make it more positive.
He thinks there's a more tender, sensitive version of masculinity, typified by men like Barack Obama and David Beckham, that should replace the cold, brutal stereotype many men still aspire to.
I think that's a cop-out. To my mind, however you define masculinity, however you try to soften it and purge its unsavoury reality, it'll never totally lose the underlying nastiness. It's so strongly linked with sexual aggression, emotional stunting, domestic violence, competitiveness, arrogance, egotism and dominance, it's hard to see how it could ever be positive.
I think the whole idea of masculinity is obsolete. It's of no benefit to anybody, either women or men. It should be consigned to the history books. It should be given a decent burial.
The answer to the problem of toxic masculinity is so simple. Instead of searching for some less tainted version of "masculinity", men should simply act like human beings. They should be kind, considerate, generous, supportive, emotional and loving. They should treat other people as equals to be valued and cherished. They shouldn't see weakness, vulnerability and fear as things to be exploited.
Could any version of "masculinity" ever embrace that sort of behaviour? However advanced your definition, wouldn't it still be a bit dubious? Wouldn't it smack of sissies, softies, slop-bags, wimps? Wouldn't it be something for you and your mates to sneer at? Wouldn't it be laughably "effeminate"?
Men can redefine masculinity till the cows come home. It will still be a millstone around our necks. It will still reek of entitlement and belligerence. But human beings are always welcome.