What about the men?

I’m making a show about being a man, mainly about the ways that being a man has hurt me and the ways that I have hurt people by being a man.

While writing the show, I got stuck on how to define masculinity. It isn’t really something I feel able to define; rather its existence seems to define me. I wondered how other men would define masculinity, and so I decided to ask them. And I thought the best way to get honest answers would be to ask them in the form of an anonymous survey.

The survey was not designed to be rational or scientific. The survey was designed to be experiential and discursive. It was designed to make my own positions clear but also to give people room to challenge them. I don’t really believe things can be unbiased; the best we can hope for is transparency about our bias.

One of the starting points for both my show and the survey was this quote from The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity and Love by bell hooks:

“Patriarchy is the single most life-threatening social disease assaulting the male body and spirit in our nation. Yet most men do not use the word ‘patriarchy’ in everyday life. Most men never think about patriarchy – what it means, how it is created and sustained.”

Once I started sharing the survey and its responses via social media, it took on a logic of its own. It grew into something much more important to me and my show than I’d anticipated. It captured the interest and imagination of people of all genders and developed into a survey of 1000 men.

When I made this survey, I thought it would just give me a couple of quotes for an already pretty much finished show, but now I’m rewriting my show completely. The show will now be my own answer to the questions asked in my survey.

The survey itself is a thing in its own right and has a lot more applications than research for my show. I’m sharing all the responses on this website as an open source resource. If you have any interest in reading or analysing 1000 anonymous men’s thoughts on patriarchy, this is the place for you! I’ll be writing posts and sharing analysis by others (as well as posting news about the show) on the More About the Men blog.

The hashtag I’m using to discuss the survey on Twitter is #ManSurvey. Please join the conversation.