by Jared Yates Sexton
Based on the provocative and popular New York Times op-ed, this memoir alternates between the examination of a working-class upbringing and a cultural analysis of the historical, psychological, and sociological sources that make up the roots of toxic masculinity and its impact on society.
As progressivism changes American society, and globalism shifts labor away from traditional manufacturing, the roles that have been prescribed to men since the Industrial Revolution have been rendered obsolete. Donald Trump's campaign successfully leveraged male resentment and entitlement, and now, with Trump as president and the rise of the #MeToo movement, it's clear that our current definitions of masculinity are outdated and even dangerous.
Deeply personal and thoroughly researched, the author of The People Are Going to Rise Like the Waters Upon Your Shore has turned his keen eye to our current crisis of masculinity using his upbringing in rural Indiana to examine the personal and societal dangers of the patriarchy. The Man They Wanted Me to Be examines how we teach boys what's expected of men in America, and the long-term effects of that socialization―which include depression, shorter lives, misogyny, and suicide. Sexton turns his keen eye to the establishment of the racist patriarchal structure which has favored white men, and investigates the personal and societal dangers of such outdated definitions of manhood.
"Sexton draws on his own boyhood in rural Indiana to challenge social perceptions of masculinity, arguing that narrowly defined gender roles hurt men and women alike." -- The New York Times Book Review, New & Noteworthy
"This book is critically important to our historical moment. It's also really good--and Sexton's voice is unrelentingly present in it. It crackles with intensity and absolutely refuses to allow the reader to look away for even a moment from the blight that toxic masculinity in America has wrought . . . What also makes The Man They Wanted Me to Be work so well is that it's largely a personal story . . . How do we as a culture get past toxic masculinity when, as Sexton suggests, its paragon occupies the Oval Office and its pathology is empowered? Sexton's great book points the way." --Nicholas Cannariato, NPR
About the Author:
Jared Yates Sexton is the author of The People Are Going to Rise Like the Waters Upon Your Shore. He is a contributing political writer at Salon, and his writing has appeared in The New York Times, The New Republic, and elsewhere. He is an associate professor of creative writing at Georgia Southern University.