What does it mean to be growing up male right now, when ideas about masculinity are in flux and power differences between the sexes are shifting? In Boy: What It Means to Become a Man in the 21st Century, award-winning Canadian journalist Rachel Giese connects with readers on both sides of the gender divide as she investigates how we can support boys to become their fullest and most honest selves.
Blending reporting, cultural analysis and personal narrative, Giese aims to reset the conversation about gender identity, toxic masculinity and the “boy crisis.” She takes us from a boys-only sex education class to recreational sports leagues; talks to Boy Scouts and transgender activists; and plays video games with her son and studies the dynamics of male friendships. Drawing on history, pop culture and sociological and psychological research, she looks at the forces that shape how boys see themselves and how we see them. With empathy and insight, she tells stories of how boys from different races, classes and backgrounds are navigating the transition into manhood.
The successes of the feminist movement have led to greater opportunities for girls and women, as well as a broadening in our understanding of what it means to be female. While boys and men have travelled alongside this transformation, what it means for them is not always clear. Boy aims to make sense of this moment of confusion, backlash and sometimes even rage. Might boys one day be free of stifling expectations about manhood and masculinity? With lively reportage and clear-eyed analysis, Giese reveals reasons to feel hopeful for our young men, and shows that this emerging new gender reality has the potential to liberate us all.
About the Author:
Rachel Giese is the editor-at-large at Chatelaine, Canada’s pre-eminent women’s magazine, and a regular contributor to CBC Radio. Her award-winning writing has appeared in The Walrus, The Globe and Mail, Today’s Parent, The Hairpin, Real Life and The New Yorker. She lives in Toronto with her wife and son.