The Morality of Masculinity
Combative, provocative and engaging live debate chaired by Michael Buerk. With Anne McElvoy, Melanie Phillips, Ash Sarkar and Matthew Taylor. #moralmaze
The abduction and murder of Sarah Everard has provoked widespread anger, fear, solidarity and soul-searching. While some may see elements of a moral panic, how are we to deal with the uncomfortable truth that, despite progress in so many areas of life, the overwhelming majority of domestic abuse, sexual assault and violent pornography is perpetrated by men against women? Is there something intrinsically wicked about men? That’s a very stark question, which invites deeper exploration. For some, the problem starts with the very idea of ‘masculinity’, which they regard as a social construct; a self-perpetuating myth; a set of harmful descriptors about how men should behave. Others believe that ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ are not arbitrary categories, that they usefully describe fundamental biological differences, and that to view the male propensity for violence solely as a ‘masculine’ problem wrongly demonises all men. Assuming there are ‘toxic’ aspects of masculinity, how should we deal with them? For some, it starts at birth with the compartmentalising of boys and girls into the clothes they should wear and the toys they should play with. The inherent misogyny behind this social-conditioning, they argue, pressurises many teenage boys into not displaying so-called ‘feminine’ traits. Is it time to re-define masculinity or scrap it altogether? Others warn against the dissolution of gender binaries and believe it is possible to celebrate male strength and competitiveness without encouraging pathological behaviour. While others argue that we need to address the relationship poverty that cuts through society: from the absence of paternal role models in the home to educating public school boys about consent. With Madeleine Kearns, Dr Lucy Nicholas, Tom Ross-Williams and Dr Andrew Smiler.
Producer: Dan Tierney.