The danger of outdated gender stereotypes isn't exactly a new point of conversation, but the topic has gained renewed significance in the wake of the sexual assault reckoning that has rippled across the world after the allegations against Harvey Weinstein were laid bare. In the aftermath, the conversation has turned to many questions — including, what institutionalized systems set the foundation for inequality? What roles do we all play in them, consciously or unconsciously?
A new series called Man Enough, created in partnership with men's grooming brand, Harry's, is tackling the role that traditional masculinity and gender stereotypes play in our lives, and the effects they can have on society at large. Produced by Wayfarer Entertainment, Jane the Virgin star Justin Baldoni's production company, the talk show touches on issues of male vulnerability and redefining gender roles.
Farhoud Meybodi, a writer and producer of Man Enough, says that the show seeks to address the deep-rooted hyper-masculinity that has become such a problem for society.
"Where we’ve gone wrong as a society is that we’ve socialized our boys to cut themselves off from women at all costs, and objectify them as if they were property," Meybodi tells Refinery29. "Men are also taught from a very young age to not share their feelings or show weakness — putting forth a facade of strength, power, and success at all costs."
It's exactly this kind of behavior that Baldoni says holds us all back.
"The gender stereotypes we are looking to tackle and demystify are pretty much every gender stereotype you can think of, the idea that men are strong, that men are brave, that men are courageous, that men are powerful, that men are all of these things," he says. "When we say that, we imply that women are not those things, and we also imply that if you are a man and you maybe are not one of those things, then you are not [really] a man."
Man Enough, then, is here to address those issues to hopefully begin to undo what Meybodi calls "the upside-down reality that is male/female interpersonal relationships in America."
"A lot of men don’t know how to listen or support when a woman is experiencing the aftermath of a sexual assault," he says. "We need to educate one another on how to be better allies and support survivors."
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