Men Who Take Baths

 

Feminism is about equality. And we wanted to know how to include men in the conversation. So, we put 11 of them in a bubble bath and asked the same six questions. 


1. Where do men fit in a “future is female” world?

2. What does being a man mean to you versus what you’re told being a man is?

3. How do we raise boys to be men who view women as equal?

4. How can women involve men in the feminist movement?

5. How do you speak to other men in your life about women?

6. Why did you say yes to doing this?

 
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What does being a man mean to you versus what you’re told being a man is?


I lived as a female for 22 years, so I’ve never gone around and said, ‘I’m a man.’ I recognize that I’m transgender and will never be a biological male, so I don’t really have an answer for what being a man needs to be besides what I’m learning by going through this journey. My definition? It’s about being a good human. If I’m hanging out with a group of buddies, especially if they don’t know that I’m trans, and I hear objectifying conversation—I once heard a group say that feminism is bullshit—I’m like woah-woah-woah. We’re not currently living in a state of equality and feminism is about reaching that balance; nobody is trying to overpower you. The look they gave me was like, traitor! At the same time, they didn’t know what to argue against me. It was a big eye-opener that this is what a lot of guys actually think, that feminism is bullshit and women are out to take over.

- Blake S

 
 
 
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What does being a man mean to you versus what you’re told being a man is?

If you had asked my grandfather this question, he would give you a finite definition of what it is to be a proper, strong man. Now, I don’t think you can put us into a box. There are so many versions of what’s appropriate because people are realizing that masculinity is not a one-size-fits-all. My version for what is a man, and what being a good man is, should and will be completely different than other men. I think it’s very similar to what it means to be a good person; it’s living my values and being someone that people can depend on.

I think what you’re trying to pull out of people with this question is the latter half, which is what you are told being a good man is. I was having a lot of fun thinking about this. Throughout the animal kingdom you have all of these different species that generally follow the same pattern...and it’s usually the biggest, loudest, and most obnoxious alpha male that gets to mate. Unfortunately, people are reading into this pattern way too much. Guys are told to get the muscles, be confident, be forward, and if you get into a fight along the way, fucking good; that’ll just get you the girl faster. It’s such bullshit. It’s such fucking bullshit. But that’s what so many guys believe, and that’s the thing I was realizing. To an extent, these tactics can attract a mate but they can’t keep them. Good fucking luck, you better have more substance than that, bro. Or else you’re fucked, and not in a good way, not the way you want.

- Derek Juno

 
 
 
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How do we raise boys to be men who view women as equal?

Before we think about raising strong children, we need to figure out what we want to teach them. The cool part about this conversation is that it’s uniquely human. When you look at what feminism is fighting for, it’s to be acknowledged and loved; to be valued and cared for, which is no different that what any man or human wants. We’re fighting for universal values, but the difficult part for men is that we’re like fish in water. Men are privileged to those values from day one, so they don’t know that those values are actually granted to them. We have to start by educating men who are having children about what it is that they have, that they might not even realize they do.

- Julian DeSchutter 

 
 
 
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How can women involve men in the feminist movement?


They’re inherently involved. They’re fathers, brothers, and husbands. They’re teaching, rearing children, and coaching. I think it’s important to have the conversation in a way that doesn’t make it feel like all men are bad. We need to work together, as opposed to some conversations that are like, ‘you did wrong so you can’t be involved in this.’ The world of elite sports that I came from was very competitive. I did whatever I could on the football field to make everyone else aware that I was there, I was going to do my job, and I wasn’t to be messed around with. I could use my explicit language on the field, but that needs to stay within the lines of the arena. When you’re in the locker room, you’re a human being. When you’re on social media or talking with reporters, you’re a human being. The father in me is like, you gotta be a good dude. You have to call people on their bullshit. That takes courage and I’m not perfect. What it really comes down to is treating everyone as equals. It’s about the human experience and how we’re all in this together.

- Shea Emry 

 
 
 
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Where do men fit in a “future is female” world?

I think the male conversation needs to exist in the context of Harvey Weinstein. That’s where it’s important for every man to listen to what’s happening. The truth is—and this is an unpopular thing to say—this is not a female issue. This is a male issue. There are myriad of factors that create a space for men like Harvey Weinstein to survive and thrive. Harvey Weinstein, sexual predators, President Trump—I can’t believe those two words go together—when he said “locker room talk”, well, I’ve been in a lot of locker rooms and you certainly have graphic conversations about sex lives but never once in my entire life have I heard anything borderline sexual predatory. Ever. I’ve been in shitty old men hockey rinks that I play in, to NHL and NFL locker rooms, and never has something like that been said. That version of masculinity isn’t real. But men need to talk to other men about this. That’s the conversation. In terms of feminism, who really cares what we think? If men feel left out of the conversation, that’s their own problem. Men need to listen and ask what you guys want. You set the bar for what’s acceptable and we have to follow that.

- George Stroumboulopoulos

 
 
 
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How can women involve men in the feminist movement?

I think one thing that a lot of women don’t understand, to the same degree that men don’t understand the issue with female safety, is just how wedded and sensitive men are to female disapproval. That sense of being wronged or shamed in their attempts can knock a guy back ten steps. Being patient and persistent in explaining your unique worldview, which guys have close to no access to, and him having these deeply involved conversations with his mom, sister, and girlfriend, it’s definitely going to help create a better sense of understanding.

- Jordan Gray

 
 
 
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How do you speak to other men in your life about women?

There are two key things. When I’m speaking about women, it’s always with love and respect. It’s the same way I would speak about any human. The second and most important thing is that I don’t shame the men in my life when they slip up or say something derogatory that maybe they haven’t thought through, and are actually just their father’s words or their grandfather’s words. Rather than shaming them, I’ll ask them some questions to actually tease out where that’s really coming from, what they really mean by it? It comes back to the bubbles of reality. Rather than assuming that everyone should see the world the way that I do, it’s a case of: this man is experiencing his version of reality, so let me get curious about why, and through asking questions and causing him to inquire about the opinion he’s made up in his mind, maybe I can actually shine a light on something that doesn’t quite add up, a thought that might not be authentically his. That will be the thing that actually causes him to change his behaviour. Telling him, 'dude don’t be a douche, don’t say that again,' he might back-peddle in the moment but a week later he’s going to find himself in the same conversation.

We’re only helping people learn and grow if we ask them questions and get curious, and maybe give them an access point to see the world in a different way. I’m making a bold generalization here, but there are so many millennial men that I know who are so lost, and the worst thing is, we don’t talk about it. Women, at least you talk to each other. We don’t. So, first of all we have to get over the barrier of even connecting with one another and saying that we’re having a problem with something. We’re waging a war right now against shitty men. We need some heroes, we have plenty of villains.

- Jonas Caruana

 
 
 
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How do you raise boys into men who view women as equal?


I think as a father figure, raising boys to understand that being in touch with one's emotions is an important part of being a human being. You also need other people in your life that champion that same message. For me, when I look at kids joining sports, it can’t just be about that specific activity. If it’s basketball, it can’t just be about basketball. It needs to be about leadership and learning to be a better person through that sport. I remember being in karate and the instructor was always like ‘man up.’ I hated being there. It was either you had to be tough enough or you’re not cut out for it. Well, I wasn’t cut out for it. And what better time in my life to give me a different perspective, that not wanting to be part of that didn’t mean I wasn’t a man or that I wasn’t going to amount to what I needed to. Sports are such a big factor in young boys’ lives. Changing their perspectives from an early age starts with how that kind of leadership teaches equality.

- Shafeez Walji

 

 
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Why did you say yes to doing this?

I’m in that space where I’m open to other perspectives and being part of that conversation. It’s not about shouting or having a solution or even an answer, it’s being part of the brainstorming of what could become of gender, equality, or whatever you choose to label it as. It’s exciting to play a part. It’s going to take everyone talking about it. I think it’s also hard to be open; there’s insecurity that comes from openness, insecurity with not picking a side. I know where I stand morally, but I don’t have it all figured out, and the insecurity of not having it all figured out always leaves you vulnerable to offending some group or some person in some way. I’m not trying to do that. It’s a very interesting time, but I can’t shout it out right now. It’s also exciting to think that as awkward as this conversation is right now, we’ll look back and be like 'remember how crazy 2017 was?'

- Dylan Rekert

 
 
 
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Where do men fit in a “future is female” world?

What I get the luxury of right now is being of the generation between horrible past practices and future opportunity. I get to be critical of the past and a student of the future. My answer to where do I fit? I’m finally going back to school and allowing myself not to be an impatient or arrogant student, but to be open and available to what’s next and what’s possible. And to be vulnerable enough in that process to say, tell me how to do that? You need to trust, because I bet fear instigated a lot of the problems we have today with any kind of gender bias. And isn’t that funny? What the fuck do you have to be afraid of? Equal opportunity? What are you protecting?

- Johnathon Vaughn Strebly

 
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What does being a man mean to you versus what you’re told being a man is?

Men are often taught to be dominant, powerful, and aggressive, so we grow up seeking that. When society tells you to hold back your emotions, it creates unhappiness in men. My dad was always encouraging us to explore our emotions, and I’ve seen my dad cry just as many times as I’ve seen my mom cry. Which is why I’m not afraid to cry. My dad always instilled that side of me. As long as we’re in touch with our emotions and we seek to understand them, why wouldn't we want more of that in the world?

- Nick Pons

 
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The full interviews will be released in the coming weeks.

We also believe that it's important for this conversation to continue offline. If you would like to experience the complete gallery of photos and engage in this discussion in real life, click here.  

Drinks are included. We hope to see you there. 

Photography by Brit Gill

Shot at The Shangri-La Hotel

 
 
 
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