Mask Off: Masculinity Redefined


“A vital addition to books on masculinity. It is opening up conversations, whilst offering guidance towards joyful, emotional, non-violent masculinities”—Bad Form

by JJ Bola

From Blurred Lines to gang signs, how does society cause toxic masculinity?

From Blurred Lines to gang signs, how does society cause toxic masculinity? How do we define masculinity today? Dominating the world around us, seen in deadly gun violence, higher male suicide rates, and the incels on Reddit, masculinity is perceived to be “toxic,” “fragile,” and “in crisis.” What does that mean for society, and how can we understand it?

In Mask Off, JJ Bola exposes masculinity as a performance that men are socially conditioned into. Using examples of non-Western cultural traditions, music, and sport, he shines light on historical narratives around manhood, debunking popular myths along the way. He explores how LGBTQ men, men of color, and male refugees experience masculinity in diverse ways, revealing its fluidity, how it’s strengthened and weakened by different political contexts, such as the patriarchy or the far-right, and perceived differently by those around them. Chapters include:

  • Real men: Myths of masculinity
  • What’s love got to do with it? Love, sex and consent
  • This is a man’s world: The politics of masculinity, the masculinity of politics
  • If I were a boy: Gender equality and feminism
  • Slamdunk at the funk: masculinity and sport

At the heart of love and sex, the political stage, competitive sports, gang culture, and mental health issues, lies masculinity: Mask Off is an urgent call to unravel masculinity and redefine it. “What do our own perceptions of masculinity and the wider cultural norms around it mean for young boys growing up into manhood? What do they mean for young men and older men grappling with a society that encourages them to hold on to the anger that destroys the lives of women as well as the lives of many men?” Those questions and more offer food for thought for every man.

This book is part of the Outspoken by Pluto series.

Paperback | 128 pages | Pluto Press |  2019


In stock (can be backordered)

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