Hi, I will read the book “The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love” by bell hooks. Does that come back to you guys? I’m going to read one chapter at a time myself. It’s about time I reread it, and I think it’s particularly relevant right now during this time of increased racial capitalism fueled by patriarchy and toxic masculinity tendencies. Some of you might not like these words. Still, I think our response to the conditions of violence, inequality, and the pandemic is very much intertwined and related to how we behave as men, what we’re capable of doing, and what we’re not capable of doing. I strongly do not want to participate in any more of that as much as I can and divest, defund, and abolish those systems of domination and control. One that I heavily benefit from is patriarchy, and I hope that people understand that. To confront toxic masculinity is not to say that men are inherently trash. However, we often exhibit those behaviors, those are systems of oppression that we benefit from, and it’s in our best interest to confront those. So, I will scan the book’s blurb, post a preface, and go chapter by chapter.
This is what it says inside the book’s flap: “Everyone needs to love and be loved, even men. In this groundbreaking book, bell hooks get to the heart of the matter. They show men how to express emotions that are a fundamental part of who they are, whatever their age, ethnicity, or cultural persuasion—written in response to the author’s in-depth discussions with men who are inspired by her trilogy ‘All About Love,’ ‘Salvation,’ and ‘Communion,’ bell hooks’ ‘The Will to Change’ addresses maleness and masculinity in new and challenging ways. With trademark candor and fierce intelligence, hooks answer men’s most common conservative concerns, such as fear of intimacy and losing their patriarchal place in society. She believes men can find their way to spiritual unity by getting back in touch with the emotionally open part of themselves. Only through this liberation will they claim the rich and rewarding inner lives that have historically been the exclusive province of women. Men can access these feelings by permitting themselves to be vulnerable. As they grow more comfortable and start believing it’s okay to feel need and desire, they will thrive as equal partners in their intimate relationships, whether straight or gay, black or white. ‘The Will to Change’ helps men reclaim their best part, and this book is from 2004. I’ll probably post some questions and some other materials, podcasts, articles, etc., to update and add things I think might support the book, to bring it up to date with some language of 2020, particularly broadening the understanding of sexuality and gender a little bit more, as well as race beyond those binaries of gay and straight and black and white. I hope this is useful for someone besides me because I know it’d be helpful for me, and I hope something can come out of it between us.
I look forward to working with other men to care for ourselves better, so we can do a better job of caring for the loved ones in our lives. All right, thank you.