It’s Time for a Men’s Liberation Movement

Alida Brandenburg
6 min readJun 11, 2019

Editorial note: “Men,” in the context of this piece, refers to individuals conforming to certain traditional masculine ideal behaviors collectively known as “toxic masculinity.”

Many years ago, I came across a man tabling at UC Berkley when I was studying there for undergrad. He was promoting his new independent mail-delivery system, Pirate Mail, and we got into a lengthy, philosophical discussion about radicalism. I don’t remember what he was illustrating with this anecdote, but he mentioned that he had a young daughter who, naturally, often misbehaved, and that as a parent, he needed to guide her, which presented himself with a choice. Paraphrasing:

“If she’s jumping on the bed, for example, I can tell her, ‘Stop that!’ but then what does that offer her? She can stop, but then what? Does she know what she can do that *is* okay? Alternatively, I can say, ‘Please get down off the bed and stand on the floor instead,’ and now she has a directive — a clear understanding of what I’m asking of her that *is* okay. I’m making clear what I want, not just what I don’t want.” This blew my mind and stuck with me.

Photo by mwangi gatheca

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lesson recently in the context of toxic masculinity. The problem with the current discussion on the topic isn’t that toxic masculinity isn’t legitimate, or isn’t a problem. It is indeed…