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Undefining Masculinity with Justin Baldoni
What does it mean to “undefine” masculinity? What even is “masculinity” in the first place? Is it just another word for patriarchy? Or is there more to this phrase than meets the eye?
Today’s episode is fascinating from start to finish –– we’re joined by actor, writer, producer, director, and podcast host, Justin Baldoni. You may know Justin from his incredible TEDtalk, his movies, Clouds and Five Feet Apart, or from a little show called Jane the Virgin.
Justin is the author of Man Enough, which is his exploration of traditional masculinity and what he learned as he began to undefine it in his own life. Tori chats with Justin about the patriarchy, life’s purpose, Yak butter, and they even make sure to weave in some good investing conversation. Make sure to check out Justin’s links and check out the Man Enough podcast on your preferred podcasting platform!
Referenced in this discussion:
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Justin Baldoni is an actor, director, producer, entrepreneur and changemaker whose efforts are focused on creating impactful media and entertainment. Baldoni is the co-founder of Wayfarer Studios, an independent financial and production engine pioneering purpose-driven, multi-platform film and television productions that elevate and speak to the human spirit. He is also the founder of Wayfarer Foundation, a non-profit which seeks to change the way communities see and respond to unhoused populations.
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Tori Dunlap (00:00:00):
Financial Feminist. Welcome back. You’re going to love this episode. Oh my gosh, this episode. This conversation took on a life of its own. We asked none of the questions we had planned. We had this whole research documented that me and my team spent hours on. In the most beautiful way possible, this interview went off the rails and turned into a genuine, authentic conversation, and a beautiful exchange on masculinity, femininity, patriarchy, society, life purpose, and we even somehow weaved in compound interest. I’m so excited for you to hear this episode.
Before we dive into today’s episode, you’ve asked for it time and time again, we built what is probably the most requested resource for the Her First 100k community, introducing Debt Defeater, exactly how to understand, make a plan and pay off your debt once and for all without shame or judgment. This is one of our most affordable courses, which was important to us because we know that if you’re looking for this information, the last thing you want to do is spend a ton of money on a course.
When I tell you that this resource is packed, I mean it. We’re covering topics like how to smash your debt in five steps, how to negotiate your interest rates, why credit cards are important and how to use them responsibly. We’re talking student loan refinancing and more.
We’ve also built a brand new bundle that includes Debt Defeater and our bestselling course, Back to Basics, because we know that getting out of debt is only one step in your financial journey. Head to herfirst100k.com/debtdefeatercourse to grab the course or the Back to Basics bundle. That’s herfirst100k.com/debtdefeatercourse. We’ll also link it in the show notes. As a special offer to Financial Feminist listeners, take 10% off Debt Defeater with code “FFDEBT”. That’s F-F-D-E-B-T. Okay, back to the show.
Our guest today is actor, director, producer, author, podcast hosts, entrepreneur, and change maker, Justin Baldoni. Justin is the co-founder of Wayfarer Studios, an independent financial and production engine, pioneering, purpose-driven, multiplatform film and television productions that elevate and speak to the human spirit.
He is also the founder of Wayfarer Foundation, a nonprofit which seeks to change the ways communities see and respond to unhoused populations. You may know Justin from his incredible TED talk. We’ll link it in the show notes. It’s fantastic. His podcast and book, Man Enough, also linked in the show notes and a little show you may have heard of called Jane the Virgin, where he played Rafael.
I am so thrilled with this conversation. I’m so excited to share it with you. I mentioned this briefly in the episode, but I have been a devout follower of Justin‘s work for, gosh, five, six years. It was such an amazing pinch me moment for me to be able to spend time with him, talk to him like a friend and colleague, and just have a really beautiful conversation that felt like we were in the room together. I’m so honored to have him share his vulnerability. I was just blown away continually by his work, both on and offline to really showing up as the best man he can be and as
an ally for not only my work, but the work of every woman doing positive things in the world.
A few disclaimers before we jump in this conversation. Towards the end of the episode, we spend some time talking about feminine, masculine energies. We want to remind our audience that feminine, masculine in this conversation, we’re not gendering feminine masculine. We’re talking about energy specifically. Justin explains this so well in our conversation and uses so many great examples to explain what masculine and feminine energy are and how we need both regardless of our gender identity to thrive.
Please know that when we say masculine, feminine as we’re talking, we don’t mean them as gendered statements, we more mean them as energies. Without further ado, Justin Baldoni.
I think you know how long I’ve admired your work. I’m just excited to chat with you.
Justin Baldoni (00:04:20):
That’s very kind of you.
I’ve been, I watched Jane the Virgin every single episode, every single season, and then found all of your Man Enough stuff and just been in awe of you and your work. It’s so needed and so necessary. Thank you. Thanks for being here.
Thank you, Tori. I’m happy to be chatting with a financial feminist. Well, I’m excited. I want to learn some stuff.
Great. I’m here. I’m here for all of it.
I’m not here to teach. I’m here to learn. Tell me.
I mean, ask whatever questions you want, but yeah, I also want to respect your time and just appreciate you being here.
I have a question.
If I start now at 38, does compounding still work in my benefit?
A hundred percent. Yeah, I always say that it’s never too late and never too early, because regardless of what time you start, if you give yourself enough time, the best way to start is now because you’re not waiting to start tomorrow. If you can get started, in 10 years, you’ll have more money, of course, because of compounding than you do now, right?
What about, it’s something I’ve never understood about compounding, and I’m totally at risk and fine sounding ignorant or uneducated here…
I appreciate you being vulnerable to ask.
… if I were 18 and I started with $1,000 or $100 a month, what it could turn into, but if I have a good amount of money in the stock market or in these accounts, and I put in just a lump sum, let’s just say for example, let’s just say tomorrow I put in $50,000 into an account that already had something, is that not as good as if I had 50 grand in there from compounding from before?
It’s hard to say you could do the amount of like…
Because that’s where I get confused.
… to kind of makeup, I’m putting makeup in quotes, makeup for last time, you want to put more money. When you’re 18, you probably don’t have $50,000, right?
Yeah, 10, 20, 100 bucks a month.
Right. You’re relying more on time than the amount of money when you’re younger, because you probably don’t have a lot of money. We hope as you get older, that you do have more money and we hope that you started early. If you don’t, that’s okay. Then, you’re kind of making up for it by contributing more money.
But it’s $50,000 and again, it’s an arbitrary number, is $50,000 in my account, but let’s say I started two accounts…
… one account when I was 18…
… with and one account tomorrow. Both accounts tomorrow have $50,000. Do they compound, this is kind of like one of those SAT questions, do they compound at the same rate…
Craig and Stacia…
… if I’m 50?
… have two… Yeah. I-
One of them has been compounding to equal $50,000 tomorrow, and the other one, I put $50,000 in tomorrow, when I’m 50, is the same amount of money in there?
I’m trying to think through this math. If you are 18, and you have $50,000, let’s say now you’re 28 and you have $50,000. It’s the same $50,000 that somebody put in just now.
Got it. It doesn’t change the rate of compounding?
[crosstalk 00:07:36]. No.
They compound the same thing. Got it.
No, no. No. It’s just if you are doing more heavy lifting when you’re younger, you can kind of ease off the gas. For me, my whole thing, Her First 100k was my own 100k journey. I’m trying to save $100,000 at 25. Now, I’ve contributed more than that [crosstalk 00:07:55]-
Thank you. Thank you. If I never contributed more than that, that 100k would be 1.6 million at 65 years old…
… if I just literally just let it do its thing, right? That compounding works regardless of how old you are.
Having $100,000 at 28 or 26, which was your journey, at that point you retire, equals 1.8 million or whatever you said?
1.6 is the same as if you were to tomorrow put $100,000 in at your same age, it would still equal 1.6 at retirement. Got it.
Yeah. Because regardless of whether you-
I don’t know the right-
No. I get it. It’s really confusing.
The Tony Robbins in the Dave Ramsey’s have confused me because you see all those things. I know you have a-
Well, they’ve shamed you. That’s the big thing, is they’ve changed you.
It’s funny, because and then sometimes I’ve done the math and I’m like, “I don’t know how that quite works.” Tony Robbins, I appreciate you, but I don’t quite understand how that all works. I know a lot of people are confused about compounding.
Yeah. It’s just, your interest makes interest, right?
In the same way that student loans suck, because your interest never stops compounding, right? That’s compound interest working negatively against you…
… where you have so many people, right? I get tagged in Tiktoks all the time where somebody had $100,000 in student loan debt, they’ve been paying it off for two years, and they still have like, 98,000. They’re like, “how?” It’s because-
That’s most of my friends and people and my own family are struggling with that.
I think it’s a criminal offense what we’re doing to young people in America.
I completely agree. I could not agree more. That’s not even to mention things like payday loans that are 400% interest, which I could talk to you about another time, but it’s the same thing with compound interest.
Just it works in your favor when you’re investing. It’s like, on average, 7 to 8%. We’ve been seeing like 12% returns as of [crosstalk 00:09:42].
Oh, it’s crazy.
A lot of people don’t even realize they’re paying the interest only.
Then, they end up in 30 years old, and it hasn’t come down at all.
They’ve only paid the interest or part of the interest, yeah.
They’re paying the interest for 18 years, 15 years.
Right and I have a full episode that we’re doing…
They’re like, they’re so confused.
… about the way you pay off debt is you don’t, if you can, you don’t just contribute your monthly payments, you contribute extra money and you make sure it goes to the principal. You literally, most times have to call your debt provider and be like, “Hi. How do I contribute to the principal this debt,” because they don’t make it easy because…
No. It’s set up that way.
…they make money. Right.
They make money the longer you stay in debt.
Yeah, of course. When you tie that into our educational system and then the fact that the majority of young people don’t have a job that reflects their degree at all and/or don’t make enough money starting out that actually allowed them to even afford their college payment.
You wonder why nobody can afford to buy a house. You wonder why-
It’s too many lattes, Justin. It’s too many lattes. You’ve bought too many lattes and that’s why you can’t afford an $850,000 home that has two bedrooms in it.
It’s Starbucks’ fault.
Yes. It’s the $4 latte, which is…
It’s Starbucks’ fault.
… my transition, the most gendered bullshit as well. It’s not like you bought too many, I don’t know, season tickets to your favorite NFL game. It’s specifically you bought too many lattes, which is seemingly this very feminine thing.
A lot of the advice is very gendered as well.
I think men drink lattes, no?
I’m sure they do.
No, no, no, no. We like a black with no sugar.
Black and [crosstalk 00:11:26].
Yeah. It’s the Nitro Cold Brew [inaudible 00:11:29].
Yeah. Let me just get as much caffeine in me as possible just before I have a stroke. That’s what I want. I want it to be like just before the stroke and the heart attack…
… just before my heart literally explodes.
Where you put the butter in your coffee too? Isn’t that a thing?
Hold on. Hold on, Tori. I can’t, okay. Now, we’re crossing a line because I actually-
Do you do that?
Well, I’m on a keto diet. I’m actually pro-butter. I’m pro-butter.
Okay. You’re putting butter in it.
That actually started, it’s a biohacker named Dave Asprey, but this was a Himalayan mountain monk practice. I mean, if you go up into the Himalayas, they’ve been putting yak butter in their tea for thousands of years.
Like they’re black tea? It’s not like herbal tea, right? It’s like decaffeinated.
Whatever kind of tea they would brew. I don’t have any friends in that part of the world who have been practicing that but I do know that [crosstalk 00:12:31].
I thought you were going to say I don’t have any friends with yaks, who I can get butter from.
I would have been a better joke, Tori. You’re funnier than I am. I would have a much better joke. I don’t have any. I’m looking at yaks. Yak butter is very expensive, but we have a property here in the mountains. I could have yaks, technically. No, but yeah, I’m actually pro-butter in things like matcha, because it actually makes it tastes really good and fat is a good brain food. We’re divergent.
Yeah. No, but I find matcha it tastes like grass.
We were talking about the gendered stance on-
If we’re going to put butter in it, I will put butter in anything to make it taste better.
It does taste like grass. That’s why you got to put a lot of honey in it as well. One day, Tori, I will make you a great matcha.
I would love that.
We will talk all about gendered finance and you can educate me.
Doesn’t that sound fun for you? Doesn’t that sound so fun?
What most people don’t understand is I’m actually quite an introvert. I’m not great at small talks. These conversations are much more interesting to me. I’d like to learn in conversations. Any place I can learn, I enjoy. I enjoy being there this is… I’ve learned something. Now, I know tomorrow if I were to put a certain amount of money in an account, I wouldn’t be that far behind. I could start tomorrow.
Yeah, it’s either like, I mean, time is always better than the amount of money, I say that to anybody, but if you don’t have as much time, and you’re privileged enough to be able to contribute a bunch of money, contribute a bunch of money, because that’s how you make up for that kind of lost time.
I recently was talking, I have a wonderful business manager, he’s a dear friend. Shout out to Michael Brown. He’s amazing. He’s been really helping me a lot. We started… When my kids were born, we started college funds for them, but I’ve been thinking so much about how I don’t think that college is we know it is going to exist for them.
Hmm, tell me more.
I don’t think, I don’t, I can’t imagine my generation and your generation because we’re a few years apart, being okay with the way that college is run in America. One of the questions I asked him was like, “Hey, I’d love to do this. I want to do this, but in the event, they don’t go to college because I’m not going to make them go to college, I didn’t go to college. In the event they don’t go to college or college looks different in 15 years, in terms of how much it costs, ways to actually go, what happens to this account?”
Then, he explained, it’s kind of just like a regular investment account.
I guess I would be taxed if I don’t use the money on their college. That’s what, that was the-
I believe so, yeah. It depends on, there’s like certain state restrictions. There’s just certain rules tied to these accounts. There’s some that are more flexible of like, they can go to trade school, or they can use the money for something else, but yeah, there are some that are specifically for college and that you’re taxed if you don’t [crosstalk 00:15:23] for that.
Tori, with your beautiful mind, welcome to my podcast now. I’m asking you questions.
Great. I’m here for it.
With your beautiful mind that understands all of this, don’t you think it would be in America’s best interests to almost pay people to go to college?
Similar to Scandinavian countries as an example?
I mean, of course, in theory, I love that. My brain immediately goes, where’s the money going to come and then my brain goes after that, well, from the military, from our military budget. Sure. Yeah. No, I think isn’t it Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders and a bunch of people, they’re trying to get four-year college, or excuse me, two-year community college for free.
It would make sense. Also trade schools…
It makes sense to me. Great.
… vocational schools that teach young people actual trades versus going to school and just picking your poison and then not using it.
If we have such a labor shortage in so many areas in the country, I’d feel like, wouldn’t that be an interesting idea is to be encouraging young people versus penalizing them.
Right. Well, and I’m not an economist, but I think to your point earlier, the American dream for so long was something you aspired to is not only the house and the two and a half kids, but go to college and college, your degree is your ticket into certain rooms or opening doors for you, especially after 2008, that’s not a thing anymore. Just because you have a college degree and even if you have a master’s degree, that typically doesn’t mean anything anymore. That’s a larger conversation about just this expectation of, “Oh, I’m 17. I guess I need to go to college.”
I went to college, and I think that was 100% the right decision for me, but I also graduated debt-free. That was a combo of my parents having saved a little bit of money, and me working my butt off in college to pay for it.
Privileged. There’s some privileges [crosstalk 00:17:23].
Totally, totally privileged. I’m the first person to acknowledge that. A bunch of my friends as well, absolutely saddled with student debt and then they’re also working jobs that actually really have nothing to do with their degree and they’re like, “Well, what did this get me?”
Yeah, they’re working those jobs to pay off the student debt. Oftentimes, they’re miserable because they’re not chasing their dreams. They’re in the workforce miserable, not being as productive as the patriarchy would like them to be because they’re not happy.
Right. Right, but they’re forced to work anyway because you have to send $500 a month to Sallie Mae.
Where your credits ruined, which again, credit is a whole another issue, right?
It is a whole another issue. I don’t know how to transition out of all of this.
What did we come on to talk about? I came on… I came on-
Talk about Undefining Masculinity.
I thought I came on the podcast to learn about financial literacy because it’s never too late.
I mean, and you’re welcome to ask me any and all questions. Kristen’s in here, “Hi, Tori. Get back on track, please.” Yeah, Justin, fun fact. I went to school for theater and marketing. It was not finance, not business, not anything like that.
No. I wanted to be an actor. That was the goal.
That explains why you’re so good at TikTok.
I have to be honest, most-
It feels like it’s a skill I didn’t know I was going to need.
I’m like, “Tori, you’re going to have to get good at this app that a bunch of 17-year-olds are on all the time.
It takes skill and personality and theatrics.
It makes sense that you’re using both of those things to market the skills that you didn’t go to school for. I’m really surprised you didn’t go to school for it. How did you learn it? Again, welcome to my podcast, Tori.
My parents. No, again, I love it. It was my parents. It was my parents really being frugal and making thoughtful financial choices because they didn’t grow up with a lot. I was their investment. The money that they have saved went to me.
How did you become an expert on finances and all of this?
It was my parents’ teaching me how to manage a credit card responsibly, how to save money, and then I graduated college. I’m young and I’m 27. I graduated college in 2016. Trump got elected like six months after. I was the friend, all of my friends were coming to for advice. I realized, I really was activated to do something. I was coming into adulthood and a different America than I expected. I thought, “Oh, first female president.” Of course, that didn’t happen.
Through those conversations, and through my own financial journey, I was like, “Oh, this is the best form of protests we have for marginalized groups,” is I don’t think we have any sort of equality until we have financial equality and if we can get more money into specifically more women’s hands, I think everything starts to change.
I started learning a ton, both to better my own life and then I would share it with friends, and then started a blog that later became Her First 100k. Everything took off from there. Yeah.
I love that so much.
I think it was the viewing money as the form of protest.
No, I think that’s such a unique perspective and it’s what gives me so much hope for the future, meeting women like you and people like you despite how dark and heavy and negative it can feel sometimes looking around because again, you’re taking what you know and doing what you love, and finding ways to contribute with your unique skillset…
… which I believe every human being on this planet even as a Bahai, as a part of my faith, we’re told every human being on this planet has the ability to affect the world in a positive way. All of us are given a unique meaning that nobody else on the planet has the ability to contribute in the way that we can, perspective, and we can all be of service and true prayer and faith is blending your work with your service. Finding a way to affect the world through your work is such a gift to humanity and I applaud you, Tori for doing this.
Justin, that’s how I feel about your work, is it is so [crosstalk 00:21:41].
Look at you transitioning. Look at you transitioning.
It was twofold. I wanted to give you a compliment and I also wanted to transition. It was not an inauthentic compliment.
I didn’t even [crosstalk 00:21:54].
It was not inauthentic.
What you and your producer don’t know is I didn’t come on here to talk about me. I really was excited to just talk to you. This is going to be like-
We can forego all questions. I’m good with that. I’m fine with that. We can keep talking.
I’m just here to talk.
I think you’re a badass.
[crosstalk 00:22:11] questions. That’s fine.
No, you can still ask me questions, Tori.
Mm-mm (negative). No. That was the principal.
I just thought it was really funny. That was the principal.
Hey, its’ a good one. Pun intended.
Principal? Mm-hmm (affirmative). Thank you.
Thank you. I’m very interested in talking to you.
I love it. I love it.
That’s coming out of nowhere. Wow. I’m more awake today, I thought.
That’s going to be-
It’s the butter in my coffee.
You have to put that on TikTok but use like, I don’t know one of those jingles at the end.
Oh, yeah, sure. Sure. That sounds great. No, I’m here for it. I’m here for all of it.
I was honestly trying to give you a [crosstalk 00:22:50].
I do appreciate what you were saying. Thank you. I hear you. Clearly, I’m not good at taking compliments.
None of us are. You’re going to really appreciate this. I think it was actually on TikTok. I saw a quote the other week that said, I’m going to give you your flowers regardless of if you water them.
Mm-hmm (affirmative). That’s great.
I’m going to compliment you, and then what you choose to do with it…
… that’s yours, but I’m going to keep doing it. I’m going to give you your flowers, regardless of who you water them. I’m like, oof.
I love that.
I know. Sounds like I want to [crosstalk 00:23:22].
It’s such a great place to learn.
You just have to be really careful. I think it’s important that everybody else so understands that it’s really a game that…
… a large company is playing with you.
So long as you can set time limits, you can be aware of yourself, you can be aware of your brain and how it’s working, how your dopamine is increasing or decreasing.
You can trust your gut, so when somebody says you can make money and retire tomorrow, it’s maybe not true.
Maybe not true. All of these things are important. TikTok can be a great thing. Social media can be a great thing, so long as you have the awareness to use it correctly.
What most of us don’t have is that awareness because our brains are oftentimes the ones in control. We don’t even realize we’re becoming addicted to something until we are.
They’ve built it like that and I think we’re only just understanding after now becoming
addicted, “This thing was addicting.” You know what I mean?
Well, everything is built that way. It’s all random reward theory, right?
It’s all built and created to keep us scrolling, not being sure what happens next because the longer we spend on the app, the more money that they make. We are users. There are only a few industries in the world that call their clients users.
Users. Yeah, well, if you’re Facebook, it’s community members, right? Where it’s like-
The drug… Right. Drug companies, you know? Drug dealers?
Right, right. Right.
Of course, all of us who are on social media. Casinos have been using the same technology forever.
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah.
I mean, when you walk in, there’s no difference. I look around now. I know we’re not talking about anything you wanted to talk about.
I don’t care.
Let’s dive in. We can talk about masculinity. We can totally talk about masculinity but when you walk into a casino, have you ever just seeing, you see all those older people, generally some younger, but they’re just sitting on the slot machines. They’re kind of sloshed over and they’re just…
Just pressing the button. You don’t [crosstalk 00:25:22]…
… fully do the action anymore. It’s just a button.
Now, it’s just a button. You’re just pressing the button. Pressing the button. Pressing the button. There’s no difference…
… between that generation and us. If you go to a park, if you walk around, if you go to a mall, if you watched children interacting or kids interacting with their phones, it’s the same thing. We’re just pressing buttons, pressing buttons, scrolling, scrolling. That’s what’s dangerous. That’s the thing that’s dangerous, which is why if you can learn from somebody like yourself in that scroll, you’re kind of saying, “Get off of the app. Go do this other stuff.” I think that’s also really important. Again…
I’m trying because I’m addicted to it, too.
… more [crosstalk 00:26:01].
I’m no better. I think we’re all… I remember literally, I think I turned 18 and my Nana, I love my Nana-
I called my Nana, Nana too, yeah.
She’s my only living grandparent. She’s my Nana. She was like, “Okay, I’m going to give you $25 and we’re going to go to the casino.” She was so excited. I remember that was like the worst hour of my life.
It was so depressing. It was so sad. Yes, it was a lot of older people who like slack jawed just like pressing buttons. You’re [crosstalk 00:26:34].
That’s how that generation got their dopamine hit in many ways.
What’s so sad about it, the hard part is that a lot of those people are sitting there because they genuinely need money.
They’re hoping for that hit, if they could just get it, if they’re lucky sevens, if all three sevens, that’ll like they can pay their rent, but it’s no different than what we’re doing to young people on TikTok, the illusion of fame.
The illusion of, “Wow, I could go viral.” What they did on TikTok was so brilliant as they made it, they democratized virality…
… so that anybody, regardless of your followers, has the chance to go viral. The more people that experienced virality and took a little bite of that five seconds of fame, the more they stayed on the app searching for the next one.
This is so funny…
They [crosstalk 00:27:28] to the next one.
… you say this, Justin, because I’m literally about to give a keynote in an hour and a half about how to grow on TikTok. I feel incredibly called out in the most beautiful way because I’m about to literally go teach people, “Here’s what I did to go viral and here’s how you can do it too, and apply it to your business.”
I would say is this, you’re not asking me for my advice. I’m on your podcast but what I want to-
I would love your advice.
Here’s what I would say to you going to talk to all of these young, impressionable kids who look up to you, is their sense of themselves and their why and their purpose must be bigger than their desire for virality.
Yes. We have six slides about how you have to serve your audience before you try to sell them on anything.
Even the fact that everybody wants to go viral, I think it speaks to a bigger issue, which is a collective experience of nobody feeling enough.
Wanting to be seen.
Well, that’s at the core of enoughness, right?
I want to be seen. I want to be valued. I want to be liked. I want to be loved. I want to be appreciated. Really, social media and TikTok and this casino, who’s going to go viral next game, it’s a deep desire to be loved…
I just want to be loved. This illusion, the mirage that, well, if I go viral, then I’ll be liked. That is a mirage because when you get there, the only thing that awaits is a desire for it to happen again.
It’s a quick dopamine hit, and then a desire to repeat whatever the process was that you just did, so that it can happen again because when you don’t get it then, you feel terrible about yourself.
It’s nobody’s fault, either. It’s just it’s our brains and then an app conditioning our brains to expect it.
It’s not just the app. I mean, we can happily tie this back to your work and also my work but that is the goal of the patriarchy.
It’s to make us feel like we are not enough as we are. That’s how it ties into everything, from racism, to capitalism, and the element of control and power that a certain group is possessing, is so sad because it makes everybody else feel like no matter what they get, they just want a taste of that power, they want a taste of that virality, they want a taste of what it feels like to be seen.
Then, they get it for a second but only long enough to give you a sense of the power so that you want it more. That thing that’s happening on Tiktok is what happens with men from the time they’re little boys. It is one of the reasons why our country looks the way that it does and the world looks the way that it does. We just so desperately want to experience enoughness. We just want to feel like we’re in power, like we’re enough, like we can provide, which is why my wife and I have these amazing conversations of how the patriarchy and how this system is hurting us both. It’s not just women.
It’s not just gender nonconforming and trans and queer folks, it’s also the men. We are suffering and dying…
… because we are willing to suffer at all costs in order to experience and feel just a little bit of that power to feel safe enough, manly enough, man enough, financially stable enough because the world is working against us.
Well, I don’t know how much you’ve read. I am literally five days from submitting a manuscript for my book.
I’m so happy for you.
It’s very terrifying.
Writing a book is hard.
Thank you. I’m so excited. We’ll talk about it another time. Oh, my God. I don’t know how to anybody does this. I am extremely ambitious and very hard working and this is the hardest I’ve ever done.
Yeah, it’s really hard.
It’s fucking awful. One of the things that, unfortunately, shouldn’t have shocked me but did was when I was doing research, there’s one stat in particular, on the census, the last time we took it, I’m trying to remember what year that was, but in heteronormative couples, where a woman made more money than her male partner, she lied and said she was making less.
Her male partner lied, and says he was making more in the 21st century.
Again, it shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did. Of just still these narratives that are perpetuated not just about money, but about specifically how money relates to masculinity or traditional masculinity of like, men still have to be providers, they still have to make more money, and that it is a threat to their masculinity. Assuming they’re in a heteronormative relationship, if their female partner, their woman partner makes less than they do or excuse me makes more than they do.
It’s, I don’t know. It’s crazy to me. Still, this is perpetuated. I see it in my own life.
It’s not crazy to me. Just like I’m not surprised that racism still exists in our country.
Sure. It’s more just like, I just want us to [inaudible 00:32:56].
Yeah, but when you say that, what I feel is sadness.
I feel in my body, as you said, that is like, I feel so much empathy for that man that had to lie…
… and for that woman who had to lie.
For the woman, right, right.
Right? Because what we’re looking at is a system that has taught them their entire lives that they have to pick and stay in a lane and believing that lane.
Well, and then punishes them if they choose to leave.
Exactly. Leaving that lane is dangerous…
… because there was a very good chance the woman loves the man and the man who is the father to her children. He’s a very good man. She doesn’t want to hurt him because of his fragile ego that has been conditioned since the time he was a child, which is the other… I don’t think we can have these conversations. I think, a lot of men have a hard time having these conversations because there’s so much anger and aggression towards men on the other side of it. It’s like we’re blaming the men. We can’t blame the men because the men are hurting too.
It’s the insecurity. It’s the bullying that happened. It’s the fact that genuinely, men feel as if they are not male. This is how we’ve conditioned men, that they are not male. They can lose the rights to a club, simply because they don’t earn as much as their woman. That is an example is just one of a hundred.
Right. Can you give me some others?
There’s so many more-
I know there’s a billion.
They’re not all financial. I mean, look at sex.
Of course, not.
I mean, we could look at sex as an example. We could look at penis size.
We can look at…
… emotional stability. Oh my God, we could look at height, right?
This myth that a man is only a man if he’s over six foot tall when in reality, a very small percentage of men, especially in America are over six feet tall. The average height is what?
Between 5’7 and 5’9?
5’10 in Europe, 5’9 here. I’ve Googled it, apparently, clearly.
What are we seeing? What are we seeing? We’re seeing shoe companies coming out with shoes that help men look taller, as if that eventually the woman’s not going to find out that he’s shorter.
We’re programmed to feel less than in every area. At the very least, what are we told as boys growing up? That our job is to protect women, to provide for women. That is what’s programmed into us as young boys, as if the schools we go to are little factories turning us into robots. We’re not allowed to feel. We’re not allowed to ask ourselves, how we’re doing or how we’re feeling. We have to keep our head down. If we’re in pain, we can’t say anything. We cannot cry. We can’t show emotion, unless it’s anger or rage. We have to provide. We have to protect. We have to make more money.
I mean, these are all programmed into us. It’s no wonder we end up the way that we are. Then, when we do finally fall in love, when we do finally experience those of us that are in hetero relationships, the strength and the power and the beauty of women, we then become even more insecure because society has told us that these women, if they do find their voice and their power in this society, are threatening.
We are not manly enough or men enough if we’re not able to then control that. Like it’s a reflection on us, right?
It’s God forbid. God forbid, a woman then makes more than us. What are we doing wrong versus the question should be, how did you get her? How did you pull that? That’s awesome. Because we’re killing ourselves. We’re slaving away. We’re grinding ourselves to the bone and we have nothing left, yet…
… what would it be like if we found a woman that made as much or more than, it would mean we have to work a little bit less. It would make us happier.
I am grinning because the vast majority of my own romantic relationships have ended largely because nothing I did directly put this person down, but the very act of them seeing me be successful and be independent and know who I was, was a threat to themselves.
Rather than seeing that my healthiest relationships have been when that person, when both of us see what the other person has, that maybe we don’t and use it as a healthy challenge of how can I rise up and how can I, this is amazing, right?
Rather than a threat to myself or threat to them.
It’s like a gift. It’s like [crosstalk 00:38:11].
He’s a better communicator than I am. Okay, well, then how can I learn to communicate better? Great. How can I rise to his level? How can… This person is amazing. How can I continue this relationship? Okay, I need to learn how to communicate better. Great. Challenge accepted. Let’s go.
We all have… Yeah, right. We all have things we’re great at and things that we bring to relationships…
… but we have been brainwashed in these fundamental ways that these things are deal breakers because they reflect poorly on ourselves. If you really tap in, if you’re a man and you really tap into what you want your life to look like, the idea of the subservient woman who’s at home and available for you whenever you are ready and has dinner on the table for you, and it’s just what the kids, like that 1950s idea that really, really, I think existed because we went to World War Two.
The men had to go and fight for their country. This is what ended up happening and then we just got used to this idea that, “Oh, yeah, women are just like, they’re just there. They’re just there to make us feel better about ourselves.
They’re there at home.
They’re just there to have dinner cooked for us. No, I think it was a byproduct of years and years of sexism, but also like the fact that we went to war. That was the way our country looked at the time, but let me go, let me just go back to this idea of, what do I want my life to look like as a man?
If I really tap into who I am as a human being, and the father I want to be, and the husband I want to be, and who I want to be in the world, what’s the most important is showing up for the people in my family and being present, because that is what I’ll never get back. I have my whole life to work.
I only have 18 years to rais
e my children and we forget about that and we spend our life, we think that we have to work, work, work, work, work and then even when we find a woman that maybe that also works or makes more than us, it’s almost like, no, I want that burden because we’ve been conditioned to need that burden, because that’s how we’re validated and feeling loved.
Well, that’s your identity. It’s tied to your identity.
Our identity is tied to productivity…
… in a patriarchal society.
If we’re not producing, we have no role, but what about producing wonderful children as fathers? What about being a role model? What about being present? What about taking your kids to the park? What about having a wife, sure, that maybe works and you have some extra time to be with the kids?
What about the joy of being able to feed your family to actually feed them, make the food versus put the food on the table? We don’t think about the other benefits that this type of equality can bring into a marriage, they’re there and they’re beautiful. I always joke with Emily, I’m like, “Hey, if your company takes off, I might retire early.”
Great. Now we know how compound interest works, we can go for days.
Yeah. I feel like I just learned. I am going to put money in the bank account tomorrow. I’m not going to kick myself about not starting when I was 18. There’s always room. There’s always time. You go when I would at home. I mean, those things are options but we have to be willing to look and address that root. The thing in us, the thing that we were taught at such an early age that causes us to feel terrible when somebody else has the illusion of more money or power.
Success or whatever. Yeah, my brain immediately zooms out further to and goes, of course, I want that for men in my life and just in general, right? We still exist in a society that not only, if we bridge the patriarchal narratives for men, we still exist in a patriarchal society where if men take the children for the day, it’s like, “Oh, that’s so nice for him to babysit.”
It’s like, these are his children too, right? We know, and again, I can bring the financial into this, we know that when men have children, they are actually, it’s called the fatherhood benefit is that they then make more money because they have children and need to “provide,” but when women have children, they are penalized for it.
There’s data. There’s actual data that shows that what you’re saying is 100% accurate.
Women are at the bottom of that totem pole.
Even if we overcome that, and Emily, I think on the podcast, she gave this beautiful thing of, mothers are at the bottom, right?
It’s like, of the benefit to capitalism or to society, mothers are at the bottom of that totem pole. Even if we’re able to overcome a lot of the traditional masculine perspectives or commitments that men are forced to make, we still exist in a society, though that is demanding conformity.
Yeah. Bell Hooks writes a lot about this, the late Bell Hooks in A Will to Change. A part of that is also, and again, this is where it can’t just fall on men. A part of this is also reconditioning that female perspective because everybody suffers from internal misogyny.
Again, it’s like, because guess who are the ones saying, “Oh, it’s so nice of them to babysit?” Women.
I had a whole internalized misogyny thing around Taylor Swift. I didn’t like her for years. I was just like, I don’t think she’s that talented. I don’t get it. Why does she have to keep writing about all of her exes? Why can’t she write about something else? I did this for years. Part of it was weirdly, I was jealous, which makes no sense of random me being jealous of Taylor Swift, but then, literally last year when Olivia Rodrigo blew up, you know Olivia Rodrigo?
Who is very much, has talked about Taylor Swift’s influence on her where she made this whole record about this one boy breaking her heart. I’m like, “Yes. Get your money. Take your trauma if you want to and turn it into money,” and then literally in real time, I was like, that’s what Taylor Swift has been doing this entire time. Very brilliantly, right?
I’m going to take my heartbreak and even if I’m 17, this heartbreak is valid, and I’m going to turn it into a song and then I’m going to turn that song into a global thing. I just realized I was like, “Oh, interesting.” I have been sitting on misogyny against Taylor Swift for almost a decade.
Yeah. I’m happy [crosstalk 00:45:10].
Again, Olivia Rodrigo comes up and I’m like, “Oh, how brilliant.” I’m like, “Wait, Taylor Swift’s been doing this shit for 20 years.
What are they called? You’re a Swifty now? Is that what it is?
I guess, which even feels weird. She’s not my favorite musician by any means, but now I have so much more respect for her of like, I don’t think she’s the most talented singer. That’s okay. She has taken something really smart, which is, “Hi. All these boys broke my heart and I’ve made a fucking brand out of it.” I’m just like, I was so, the misogyny around, “Oh, why does she have to keep singing about all of her boyfriends? Is she just dating men to have stories?” That’s literally what I started thinking to myself when I was like 21, 22. Yeah.
Yeah, I’ve heard similar things, not just about Taylor, by the way, I have a Taylor Swift tat. I’m just joking. [inaudible 00:46:01] tattoo.
I was like, “What?”
No, no, no. I’m just joking.
Is it the scarf? It’s just a scarf on your pack.
Just a scarf.
No, it’s a real thing. I’ve heard a lot of women talk about this female to female competition, jealousy I mean, but it makes sense…
… because we’ve created a culture in which success is so scarce that it’s almost as if you have to like, it’s the same thing that men do. You have to pull down another woman when she’s winning in order to feel better about yourself.
We’ve been told there’s one seat at the table.
Yeah. That’s it.
There’s one seat at the table for women.
They’re all competing.
Of course, the patriarchy does this because then they’re like, if we tell them there’s one seat at the table, they’ll just all fight each other for it and then we don’t have to do anything.
Yeah, but it’s also important as we think about this is, I think that there’s a difference. We have to in these nuanced conversations, separate the patriarchy from men.
That’s not what’s happening right now, which is why so many men feel under attack.
Yeah, tell me more about that, because I hate the not all men thing. I hate that.
You mean the hashtag, not all men?
Yeah, I just feel like, it feels to me like all lives matter.
Oh, it is, but no, but that is v
ery much what that is. It is very much a-
I feel like it’s men’s, it’s a man’s well, hopefully well-meaning, well-intentioned response to them feeling attacked, right?
Yeah, but that’s what it is.
Right. Then, it’s like not all men and it completely, I don’t know if disenfranchise is the right word, it removes their or any man’s responsibility from-
Yeah, account, exactly. Then, it makes women feel like completely unseen and unheard of just what?
It is exactly that.
I mean, that’s the whole thing. What I mean by we have to separate men from the patriarchy, is that these are nuanced conversations because I or Joe Blow over here, did not create the system…
… but we are benefiting from it.
That’s [crosstalk 00:48:16].
… and sometimes contributing to it and sometimes upholding it.
All of them, but we didn’t create it. What we have to figure out how to do is recognize that the system is hurting us also and we have to then figure out how to change the system while we’re in it. It’s the matrix. It’s literally the matrix, right?
Especially when you look at the matrix, which most men love, right?
One of the greatest action movies of all time, and then you realize that the two directors created the Matrix, really as a metaphor for trans identity.
I did not know this.
The Wachowskis, right?
They’re transwomen. It’s very much looking at the patriarchy in that way and saying like, “Okay, we’re all in the same team now living in a system we didn’t create.” Some of us are benefiting more, some of us without even realizing it or upholding the system. We’ve also been conditioned at such a young age to believe that this is the system that we have to uphold. We have to, oftentimes, fix but fixing it can also end up hurting people we don’t realize we’re hurting because we have privilege.
What does privilege do? It makes us, it unfortunately prevents us from seeing all of the things that we should be able to see because we have these unconscious, subconscious internal biases. What I mean by that is like looking at men, and like looking at men as partners, and I’m talking about myself here, versus looking at men as the enemy…
… because nobody is going to win. The system will never be taken down if men are the enemy, right? True equality. We know from a feminist perspective is all of us on the same team figuring out how to blow this thing up…
… but men will never join the team if they are the bad ones, if they’re the ones that are terrible, or screwing up, which is why I understand and I don’t support it, the not all men hashtag. I’ve gone public and said, “What are you? Of course, it’s not all men, but there’s way too many men, so just shut up.”
Don’t say all lives matter. Don’t say not all men allow the women to say, “I don’t feel safe walking to my car at night,” and it’s not because of women.
It’s because of men, right? If you’ve ever walked too close behind a woman, it’s also partly your fault. Women are not out there making it unsafe for other women. We know that. Therefore, when this hashtag starts, maybe you should be quiet and not allow your ego to jump up and say, “But some men are good. I’m good.” That’s what I mean is like-
Right, well, I can speak to that as a white person during the resurgence of Black Lives Matter movement in 2020 is you want to be one of the good ones. I put that in quotes, right?
Is you want to be like, “Yeah, those white people are terrible,” but I’m trying, and I even feel this in myself still. I don’t want to fuck up. I don’t want to make a mistake, right? I want to be seen as one of the good ones. I was having a conversation with a good friend of mine last week. She’s like, “If you’re more focused on protecting your ego versus hurting somebody else, that’s the issue, right? It’s like if you’re-
That’s called performative allyship.
Right. Right. If you’re more worried about your reputation, then what kind of hurt you’re causing potentially or could cause? That’s the issue, right? I feel like that’s, and it’s a very common response because, again, we want to be liked and we want to do good, and we feel like we’re well intentioned people. I feel like that is the response from men with the not all men thing. It’s like, “Yeah, men are terribl
e,” but it’s not me. It’s like, it might not be you but you’re still doing some shit, you know?
A lot of those men who are writing those things are genuinely good men who, if they saw another man attacking a woman, would intervene…
… but what a lot of men don’t understand is it’s in our daily behaviors. It’s in the microaggressions in the moments that we should intervene and don’t. It’s in the conversation and the way that we talked about women.
It’s our inability to stand up and say something when a friend makes a deeply, uncool sexist joke or when we see a guy, a friend of ours, take a girl home from a bar who’s maybe a little too drunk, this is where it starts. We can’t, there is no binary here. We have to be willing to lump it all in together for the time being, in order to care enough about women to make sure the world is safe.
Really, that’s why the hashtag doesn’t make any sense. Just like it’s what black people have been saying forever. You don’t care enough about me. You don’t care enough about me to stop these things from happening to me. I have to protest and do all of the things that I have to do to get your attention. The same thing [crosstalk 00:53:35].
Sometimes we have to say very exclamatory statements…
… like all men are trash or men are trash, right?
When I hear that, again, I go back to, I understand, I understand why so many women say it because one in four women for the course of their life. I mean, is that what it is now, between one in four and one in five?
It’s one in three. It’s one in three.
It’s one in three for rape?
Sexually assaulted? Mm-hmm (affirmative) one in three.
Sexually assaulted, yeah, yeah. You look at that and you’re like, “Of course. If I was a woman,” and now again, now you have, again, this is the other part of the conversation, which is where intersectional feminism comes into play is at the bottom of that, then you have transwomen, black women, right?
Black transwomen. Yeah, I would hate men too if that was my life…
… because I remember the first time, I mean, I just had Jackson Katz on my podcast. We released his episode today. The first time I read Macho Paradox I was blown away because I really thought violence against women kind of was a women’s issue. I didn’t think about it as a man’s issue, but it’s 100% a
Then, my wife starts telling me all the things that she’s had to do over the course of her life to feel safe. Why she doesn’t go. Why she wouldn’t walk to her car at night. Why she always has her phone in her hand. Why she has pepper spray. Why how she would put her…
Keys between her knuckles.
… keys between her fingers [crosstalk 00:54:54].
Every single woman.
Every woman does this.
It’s not just women. I knew this when I was a 12-year-old.
I think everybody listening. That’s what I loved, Liz, on your podcast, it was a clip that went viral. It was so brilliant of like, why are you the expert on masculinity. She just had the most thoughtful response, which is, I’ve had to deal with it. Of course, I’m the expert of masculinity. I know better than anybody because I’m the one who’s on [crosstalk 00:55:24].
The way that it hurts.
Right. I’m on the flip side of it.
I would also suggest that there could be another viral quote where a man could say a very similar thing…
Tell me more.
… just [crosstalk 00:55:35] experts on it. Well, I’ve also been hurt by men in the same system, which is why I’m doing my work. What men don’t realize is how much we’re hurting at the hands of each other.
The whole system is hurting everybody. We’re all hurting. The only reason men are killing themselves at alarming rates and other people is because we’re hurting.
It’s because, it’s different but similar, the same reason why women are attacking each other for that one seat at the table. It’s the same reason that we have war and that we are doing what we’re doing to the world and the climate. It’s all coming from the same place, from a deep feeling that we are not enough, and from our worth being measured by our productivity, and proximity to power.
That’s it, which is why a feminist gaze, not in a man hating way because that is not feminism and this is what I tell men all the time, feminism is not manhating.
Mm-mm (negative). Not at all.
Especially if you read, especially early black feminist authors like Bell Hooks. It’s not.
We have to bring everybody to the table and that can only happen with radical acts of love, and kindness and acceptance. If a man is open to having these conversations, if a man is open to feel, if the man is open to take account, and accountability for the things he’s done wrong, that’s a man that I want on this team.
We have to be willing to just open that door for all of these men who maybe haven’t thought about it this way. That’s the kind of going back to separating the patriarchy from men, in terms of our neighbors, our friends, our fathers. I think of this system like the Matrix, almost like from the time we’re born, we’re brainwashed. I can’t be mad at somebody who thinks that they are a chicken. You if you genuinely think that you’re a chicken and you have feathers.
How am I going to be mad at you? If you’re walking around and you genuinely believe the sky is green, there’s something in you that has been programmed that way. I can’t be mad at you. I might be confused but I want to figure out, okay, well, how can I help you understand the sky is blue? How can I help you see that you’re not a chicken? You’re a human being. Terrible analogy but I’m trying to make it visible.
No, it’s great. I just want fried chicken that’s all and some ham.
I can’t be mad at, that’s great. I can’t be mad at them. I have to have compassion for them.
I have to. I’m not saying women have to. I have to have compassion for them. I have to find a way to bring them in and help them see that, no, the system made you think the sky is green. It’s actually blue and it’s beautiful. You’re enough as you are. You don’t have to see things that way anymore.
That’s what I hope for the future. That’s why I believe that the key to all of this is healing. The key to all of this is us, men, especially men, learning how to heal, starting to take account for how we’re feeling about the world, how we’re feeling about things, asking ourselves questions we’ve never asked ourselves before because nobody gives a shit what we say as men.
Men don’t care what other men say. Why would women care what other men say? We’ve been the oppressors. Nobody cares. Here we are in a system that devalues us, that makes us feel like we have power for devaluing others, and in reality we’re getting lonelier and lonelier and lonelier. It’s through that perspective that we can all come together and heal.
I think, as a society, we’re just not comfortable being uncomfortable.
Of course not.
That’s where the growth happens, right? It’s so easy to exist in comfort but never change. Being brave enough to be uncomfortable, and ask yourself what part do I play in it, is the step to ultimately being a better man or being a better ally or being a better person just in general.
We’re great at that.
Well, Justin, one of my favorite things is the story you tell in your TED Talk where you’re like, “I had to take my male friends on vacation for me to have any sort of opening up,” and you did it like the last possible moment on this vacation.
Yeah, it wasn’t even me. A friend mind said something first.
Tell me more about that because it’s my favorite story because I feel like, again, vulnerability, all of these things are hard enough just as people, but I think specifically again, the patriarchy has made it impossible for men to be vulnerable, so difficult.
Yeah because vulnerability is akin to weakness.
Weakness is akin to femininity. I mean, even I remember when I was researching early on, I think maybe it was from my TED talk, but I was like, “If I type in feminine, what happens?” I remember…
What does happen?
… something came up. I read, even in music, there’s a feminine note. It’s a weak note. That was how I remember, I read the description, I’m like, “Wow, even in music. There’s a weak and strong.”
Like a chord? Yeah.
I do believe that there is something to masculine and feminine energies.
I 100% believe that there is such thing as masculine. If anything, masculine is a penetrating force. There’s masculine and there’s feminine, which is a receiving force. We need these two push and pulls in life to have balance. We need it in love but it’s an energy. It’s an energy. It’s spiritual in nature.
The divine masculine, the divine feminine, this is whole for another podcast, these are things that we need. Even in nature, we need them. In the animal kingdom, we need them. In the plant, in the mineral kingdom. The yin yang, this is energy flow but we’ve done is we’ve attributed it to gender, and then said, “You can only be these things. If you’re outside of the box of these things, then you don’t fit in this box…
Right, because you have to conform.
… and you’re worthless.”
When in reality, that’s not how the energy of masculine and feminine works. Especially, if it’s spiritual in nature. You and I, I could flip into feminine right now and you could be the masculine. In many cases, this podcast started in that way where I was asking you the questions and you were giving. I was receiving, and you were penetrating my brain with your brilliance.
Well, and I work with an energy coach, and literally, the last year and a half has been her just being like, “I think you need to calm down on the masculine energy.” I’m like, “Really?” She was like, “Uh-huh (affirmative).” I was like, “Okay.”
That’s understandable, Tori. My wife and I have long conversations about this because in order for women to feel like they have a chance to make money, be powerful, benefit from the system provide, they have to develop oftentimes a masculine energy to compete in a world that says there’s only one seat at the table for them.
Right, well, in a negative masculine energy…
Well, it makes perfect sense.
… because there’s so many parts of me that are the masculine energy that I absolutely love. I think my productivity, my ambition, but my rest, my softness, I have lost over the past couple of years in trying to build what I want to build.
You’re not alone.
No, because life and society and all of this is really hard. I have very much defaulted to the, and again, when we say masculine or feminine, we don’t mean the societal masculine or feminine, or like the social construct.
Energies, the energies.
Right. We’re talking about literally just like, in its purest form what is it and it’s not tied to gender. For me, it was just, I was in such a building phase for so much of the last couple of years and still am. I’ve lost so much of the rest and the piece that is feminine energy.
You’re so right, Tori, that so many women are experiencing this.
Anytime, and this is why I like the idea of toxic masculinity, I never say it, but anytime, we are only allowing ourselves to be one thing that eventually becomes toxic…
… because if I were to, as an example, breathing is masculine and feminine. If I were to take a breath, I have to inhale and then I have to exhale. If I were only inhaling, I would explode. That’s what’s happening.
It’s happening to men all over the world. It’s been happening to women now. We’re trying to keep our head above water. We’re exploding because we’re not allowing ourselves to exhale, t
o rest and then to inhale again. If the ocean was only slamming us with waves, we would all be underwater, but what happens? The ocean has a very masculine aggressive force and then a very feminine pullback, masculine, feminine. Everything in life moves in waves.
It’s fundamentally spiritual. It’s how I believe we’re designed. What we forget is like, “Oh, wait. Men also can be feminine. There’s a feminine energy and men too.” Why? Because we’re human beings. We’re created with masculine and feminine. Every human being is unique. Every human being is different. Some human beings will develop very masculine personalities and energies, and some will develop very feminine. That does not look like male or female either.
It’s not about the actual gender or the biological differences between the two. Now, that said, there, of course, is data and science behind the fact that there are many more men that exhibit early on masculine traits but what does that mean? Then, all of the ones that don’t, they have more feminine traits, are thrown out? They’re not allowed? They’re not included?
Right. They’re not men.
No, that’s the purpose of my work in my book. That’s the purpose of undefining the definition of masculinity. The same thing goes for women, but in a system like we’re living in, when we tell women that they either have to be extremely feminine or extremely masculine, you’re creating toxicity in both sides, just like we’re doing with men.
Men who are so filled with rage and anger, generally, those are the ones who have never allowed themselves the feminine parts to come out. Those are the men that have never allowed themselves to experience the feminine parts of themselves.
It’s super important that we look for balance in all of these things. Back to your question, the reason why as men can’t be vulnerable with each other is because that vulnerability, which is ascribed feminine and weak, is used against us growing up.
We can’t show other men we’re weak. Why? Because we’re going to get bullied or made fun of, or picked on, or lose our standing. It’s life or death for us men, which is why I have so much compassion for men, which is why my work is with men, because we’re hurting. We so badly want to be vulnerable, but we can’t because if we are, we might lose everything.
It feels like life or death. It feels like paralysis to men. When I took my friends out, because I wasn’t able to call them and tell them I was struggling, when I took them to Mexico on this trip, it required one of my other best friends on the third day being the one to open up, because he was suffering with something for me to open, because we, men, learn from modeling. We need to see another man do it for us to know that it’s okay.
We haven’t seen another man do it, we stay away from it because that means men don’t do that. The most important thing for us men is that we’re men. That’s our allegiance. It’s not to humanity. It’s to men because that’s what the system has taught us. It’s life or death.
That’s why we got to reach our young boys at an early age and tell them that that’s not the way, that life can be beautiful and sweet, and fun and joyful and you can dance and sing and be free and be vulnerable and have deep friendships that don’t mean you’re gay. If you are, you’re still a man. All of the things we have to teach our young boys so that they don’t grow up carrying so much shame and anger in their bodies and end up hurting not just themselves, but the people they love.
I’m over here crying. Thank you. I admire you so deep.
Thank you for having me, Tori.
Thank You for being here.
Thank you for teaching me too.
This is amazing. Where can people find you? What do you got going on in your life?
They can find me at financial feminists on TikTok.
Stop it. Her First 100k on TikTok. No. Plug, plug yourself. Please, please, please.
No, really they can find me at Her First 100k on TikTok because that’s where they’re going to be listening to us.
Then, I’m sure you’ll link all the places that they can-
Man Enough podcast, amazing movies.
Yeah, the paperback is about to come out. The paperback of Man Enough…
… and it’s cheaper and more affordable. I highly suggest those of you looking at that. If you’re a woman listening to this, please consider gifting it to a man in your life. Let me just say this, don’t tell him he has to read it. Don’t make him feel like he’s bad or that he needs to fix something, because that doesn’t work. Say you just heard it. You felt like they could resonate with it. Don’t force them to do it.
That’s great advice.
Eventually, maybe they’ll get around to it. If they really love you, and it’s important to you, then maybe they’ll read it.
Yeah. Amazing. Thank you, Justin.
Thank you for having me. Thank you for educating women…
… and helping create more balance in the universe.
Always. What a fucking episode. Oh, it’s so good. I am so thankful to Justin for sharing his wisdom and advocacy with us. I hope you have a new view of masculinity after listening. Much like he said about his book, this is a great conversation for anyone regardless of their gender identity, but specifically for male identifying people in your life.
Like he said, maybe invite them to listen. Don’t call them out. Don’t force them to listen to the episode. I think it’ll be a really powerful conversation, especially for the men in your life. Please make sure to check out Justin‘s work at We Are Man Enough on Instagram and TikTok and of course The Man Enough podcast. It’s a wonderful podcast also co-hosted by a colleague of mine, Liz Plank.
Also, will link The Man Enough paperback in the show notes. It has just come out recently. Since we recorded, Justin also announced the release of his new book, Boys Will Be Humans, a book for boys ages 10 and up that helps them embrace their feelings and their fears instead of repressing them. You can pre-order that book now through the link in our show notes. I can’t wait to see you back here Financial Feminists, I’ll talk to you soon.
Thank you for listening to Financial Feminist, a Her First 100k podcast. Financial Feminist is hosted by me, Tori Dunlap, produced by Kristen Fields, marketing and administration by Karina Patel, Olivia Coning, Cherse Wade, Alena Helzer, Paulina Isaac, Sophia Cohen, Valerie Oresko, Jack Coning, and Ana Alexandra, research by Ariel Johnson, audio engineering by Austin Fields, promotional graphics by Mary Stratton, photography by Sarah Wolfe and theme music by Jonah Cohen-Sound.
A huge thanks to the entire Her First 100k team and community for supporting the show. For more information about Financial Feminist, Her First 100k, our guests and episode show notes, visit financialfeministpodcast.com.