Asking For More Podcast Episode 11: Toxic Masculinity with Wagatwe Wanjuki

In this interview, we answer the questions:

  1. How can we be traders to patriarch. What does that look like?
  2. Entitlement to women’s attention

Guest Bio: Wagatwe Wanjuki

Wagatwe Wanjuki is a feminist activist, speaker, writer, and digital strategist best known for her work as a national campus anti-violence advocate. Since launching a campaign for a better sexual assault policy at Tufts University in 2009, she’s continued to work for a world free of gender-based violence.

As a sought-out writer on social issues, she’s been published in outlets including BuzzFeed, Feministing, Upworthy, The Establishment,, The Daily Dot, ESSENCE magazine, and The New York Times. Her commentary on sexual violence and related issues appearances include The Daily Show, Democracy Now!, CNN, and MSNBC’s All in with Chris Hayes. She’s also a sought-out speaker on the lecture circuit; her past engagements include Rutgers, Stanford, Yale, and Delaware County Community College.

When she’s not plotting ways to end rape culture, you can find her petting her pet bunnies, reading a new book, or venting about something on Twitter.

In July 2016, she co-founded a new anti-rape organization — Survivors Eradicating Rape Culture. Its inaugural campaign, #JustSaySorry, received international media attention with one video covering the campaign racking up over 7 million views in one week.

Her website

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Rough Transcript: Toxic Masculinity with Wagatwe Wanjuki

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): Welcome everyone to the asking for more podcast for today I am so lucky and excited to have what that way when Sheiki speak with me. Um, thank you so much for being here. I’ve followed your activism for a long time, and

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): um i’m a member of your Patreon, and I believe in your work so much. Um,

Wagatwe: yeah, totally. Hi. So my name is, and there’s this. It’s kind of hard to summarize what I do, but I guess I could say I do independent feminist scholarship with a focus on rape prevention through education, and I also do a little side of activism. But I think it’s sort of the activism. I like to train activists and inspire them. So.

Wagatwe: Um! Most of my focus has been on policy on um around campus, sexual assault. And also these days I do a lot of stuff around media. Um: traditional media and social media.

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): Hmm.

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): Yeah. So title nine. And then also like just looking at how people are framing the discourse online is what i’m hearing.

Wagatwe: Yeah, framing a discourse online. Um, even just what media is doing uh like traditional media, and also just a relationship between the two, right like I feel like

Wagatwe: um. We are in this age where discourse on social media right can trickle up to traditional media and amplify that. And what does that mean when algorithms are biased towards certain groups of people?

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): What about that? Oh, my Gosh! Oh, that’s that’s a great question, and I love that. Um! Well, before we get into all of it uh what is bringing you joy right now?

Wagatwe: Oh, I moved into my little office, and that is bringing me joy, cause I like having a little

Wagatwe: like a room, a specific space to like work, and then I can leave it, and it’s there. And I’ve already noticed that it’s like been really helpful. So that’s pretty. We joy that i’m like curating spaces for myself.

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): Hmm.

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): I love that. I love it having a better. Um,

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): it delineation between work, time and not work. Time.

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): That sounds really healthy. Um! What’s bringing me joy right now Are these Creator chose flowers that I bought for myself

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): and um I get to look at them as I

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): hang out with you, and that is bringing me joy. So yeah, um. And I made Leni last night with my friend Sasha, and it was really cute, little clean, and we had them with like sour cream and

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): um, and smoked salmon and dill. And it was it was Chess kiss. Oh, that sounds so awesome! It was I me a little bit of joy. Um, um! So this podcast is called asking for more. And so what we really talk about here is, you know

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): we’ve gotten used to a lot in the society in this culture. And so my goal and my hope and our discussion today is to really kind of

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): unpack some of the things that we’ve gotten used to in terms of toxic masculinity, and then talk about shifting inside as well as outside, to help us do a better job of resilience and resisting

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): Um. So my first question to you is, um, you know. Okay, So a little. I’ll just say a little bit. When we ask for more we change the world. And one of the ways we ask.

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): You can ask his first naming what we are seeing, and then asking for a different behavior. So today is going to be by meaning. So. Um,

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): here’s the first big question: 

How can we be traders to patriarch. What does that look like? Yeah, it’s a big question. 

And so, you know, I think the thing is when there’s a big question there’s can be a million different answers. But i’m gonna try and focus on one that I think it’d be helpful for the most most amount of people. So one of the tools I like to use is feminist theory, right and famous theory. We like to try and explain things in a different way, or use different frameworks or whatever. And so one framework I really like, because I think it shows the parallels between

Wagatwe: um interpersonal violence or relations, and also our relationship to our systems of oppression. And so I think it’s really powerful to think about it through. What is your relationship to patriarchy? Relationally?

Wagatwe: Um and understanding patriarchy as a system. Um, this is not necessarily people. You don’t have to be a man. You don’t have to be a patriarch to uphold the system, because fee turkey gives out different roles to different people, depending on your class, gender, sexuality, et cetera. And so, when we think about that, what is it like to be a trader to the system. We have to look at the different ideologies. So basically different beliefs and norms all those you know what the patriarchy wants us to do wants us to be. And what behaviors they want us to do to sort of just maintain the status quo. So what does it look like it’s peaking out when you see certain things, I think um, you know, being subversive to different standards. So um, there’s something that I guess we’re gonna be talking about a lot of it today, Right? There’s something called hegemonic gender. And you know, hegemon and masculinity and hegemonic femininity. And so right hegemonic masculinity. Is, basically you know,

Wagatwe: it’s a relational construct as well as the way that a lot of feminists like to talk about it. And so, um, Matt, it basically says that masculinity has to be achieved, and it’s achieved in a way to maintain domination. So how can you disrupt

Wagatwe: systems of domination, or how can it manifest interpersonally. So um defending abuse victims um organizing a union in your workplace because that’s against domination. Um, you know, on learning you know, actually making the effort to educate yourself about different toxic messages that patriarch is sending you through the media, being mindful of your media, or at least critiquing it. Um. Those sort of things, I think being traders to Patriarch is just about like disrupting and questioning your relationship to it in the messages it’s telling you about like what you’re supposed to do. Um, Yeah, that’s that’s a little bit long. But I didn’t want to give something specific. We just sort of like this how cause I want people to like find their own answers? How can we work from a commonplace, even though we’re all going to be doing different things, because I think that’s how you create effective social change that people are actually invested in.

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): You know I really appreciate you saying that. And while you were talking. You were reminding me of this book by Dean’s altitude called Choose yourself. I think when people start out on this journey they think Well, if I just use myself and don’t kind of look at these systems that have a lot of people that are oppressors in them, and I can make a system outside of the system and individualistically overcome dominant systems. But i’m hearing in your answer that there’s something wrong with that answer, and it sounds like that’s not taking into account everybody else.

Wagatwe: Yeah, I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s wrong. But I would say to different view, right being like into scholarship, and being a theorist is like having a tolerance for different points of view. Um, so it’s different. I think the way that I’ve framed it like just relates to me more, and I think it resonates with a lot of folks. Um, because it’s like, How do we think about these issues in a way that we don’t opt out right. We need to do more than the bare minimum. And I think a lot of times we talk about systems of oppression as ways to point fingers at other people, and we rarely do it to like. Look at ourselves. And I think that is something that has been one of my guiding principles is just sort of like, Okay, I don’t like a pressure. So what could I do to like? Minimize my contributions to it in my everyday life. What does it mean to? Uh, you know, be anti rape in my everyday life? Uh, you know those sort of things.

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): I really appreciate that clarification. Yeah, it would be an either or one right like way. Kind of thing. You’re totally right. Um, You’re reminding me of what bell that says, and the will to change about systems of dominance. Um, that’s so cool. Um, I think people don’t even understand how many dominant systems they currently just accept in the nonprofit sector in the world. Um. So um, for example, in your assessment of toxic community, we actually um. There’s like a screen that I think, from one of your videos is really beautiful, like diagram of masculinity. 

You talk about entitlement to Women’s attention. Could you speak more on this?

Wagatwe: Yeah. So I think it’s a manifestation of domination, actually right, because it’s just sort of like women are supposed to cater to men. Um. So we’re thinking about toxic masculinity. Essentially, it’s not saying that all masculinity is toxic right. It is just talking about the norms of hegemonic masculinity that are toxic to men, to women, to children, to everyone, right people of all genders, all ages, everything, and it’s destructive. But what’s in like? Why? The reason why we pull out the concept of toxic masculinity is because of the process of socialization. Um, The best way to talk about socialization is just sort of like how society rewards or punishes people according to social norms. And so the thing is is that toxic masculine is talking about these harmful things that are rewarded in men or in certain men. We should say right, the ones that conform the most to has dramatic masculinity. And so one of the things that hegemonic masculine is that, like men, they have to like earn their place. So it’s always about little act of domination. And these sort of things. So um dominating women’s attention and time. That’s just sort of another way to show that, like men are more important masculinity, men are supposed to be guiding. Men are supposed to be telling women what to do. Um. And so this can manifest, you know very often when uh like cat calling right um!

If you don’t respond the right way, they’ll get very angry right, and this law just can often lodge into something called projection violence, and that is also connected to toxic masculinity, because it’s just sort of like. They kind of have to recoup the loss of masculinity that they felt by being rejected. Because you’re supposed to earn a woman’s supposed to get a woman’s attention, and so by recuperating that they do it by um being violent, being harassing um, putting them down, and so that’s This is harmful, not only to the victim that he’s targeting. There’s also harmful to himself, because that’s not how you’re supposed to relate to people, and i’m sure you’re not living a happy life if you’re like harassing random woman running down the street

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): Suddenly, I want to date you. I don’t think anyone could have said that that never. But I even catch myself like doing this like Pre Covid. I’d be like Oh, I have to look at this man and smile and walk quickly, and then i’ll be safe in this interaction. It’s like almost like I internalize that, you know fear of male violence and male dominance into everyday interactions. And now, where my mask everywhere, and i’m like, Nope, Not like you

Wagatwe: keep walking. It’s amazing. Just my earbuds. Yeah, exactly. Not looking at anyone. Right. You get it right. No, totally, totally. I love it. Uh, yeah, And I think that’s that’s just sort of like the little ways that we get people or in the home, right? So like that’s no public space. But then also in a private space, where to someone’s uh believes in a hierarchy where the man’s the head of the household right? He’s gonna feel entitled to um the woman in relationship dropping everything at, you know, whenever he wants. So there’s just different levels of it in different ways it happens, but all is about like putting uh people in their place

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): mhm mhm and maintaining dominance, maintaining the hierarchy. Yeah, and maintaining traditional gender roles as well, which is another aspect of what you said.

Wagatwe: Yes, yes, exactly, and it’s like. If you fail to get a woman’s attention right. You’re less of a man, and then men freak out right? So it’s also another. It’s like a test, and men have to sort of. You know It’s part of a test that they’re trying to pass. So it’s also like there’s like a stake in there for them as well.

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): Hmm. That’s very, very interesting.

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): Thank you for sharing that insight. Um, yeah, I’m. I’m really already learning so much from you. I love it. I’m so lucky. Um! Another aspect of Patsy masculinity that you talked about in your diagram was infantilization of women. What does that look like when you talk about that?

Wagatwe: Yeah. So you know, it’s really rooted in this idea, you know, if we can think about it in the idea of like uh Christianity right like Eve is from um Adam right from his rip, or whatever. If I recall it correctly, It’s been a while since I’ve been to church, but um, you know so that she’s lesser than And so how does this this look? Um,

I think men are trained to just like, think that women don’t know things right? And so that is connected to like this inherent misogynistic mistrust. Um! And so you know for what it says. Something. Is she an expert on it? And then a dude comes in who’s never thought about it before. So it’s like No, actually, you’re wrong. Rightly. The concept of man, explaining essentially, is very much connected to a fantilization. And then we can say, like in a private sphere Again, if we’re thinking about like an abusive person. Right? Um! The woman has to take orders from the man, and so I think it’s really just another way to assert dominance right? And it’s also connected, I think, to how um toxic Masculinity also is about devaluing devaluing children like children, are also harmed by head or patriarchy. Um, and they are also a class that is a press, and then it’s very much justified through the system. And so it’s just sort of like talking about the proximity between, like femininity and childhood, or youth, or whatever that sort of thing, so it could also look like um media representation, I think very often. Uh it. There can be. I don’t know uh what was the you I try to. I’m like I fantilization of women in media. Yeah, I mean, like just like different tropes, right about where you know the butt of the joke is that, like the woman doesn’t know anything she’s so silly. 

What’s going to be trying to think. Modern family, I think, is one of the the shows, and like there was an immigrant woman, and she was just so silly. She’s just like a child, cause she has an accent, and she’s a woman kind of thing. So there’s a lot of different ways, and then we can say it manifest structurally or institutionally, when we’re thinking about um just how the concept of credibility right? Uh? We think about a lot of the struggles of child abuse. Victims are connected to like a lot of a lot of women had gone through. And so there’s this are already just like mistrust. You need to be guided. You can’t be trusted to govern. You can’t be trusted to uh control finances Right? You can’t be trusted to influence the culture. So it it’s very much about like You’re being dominated for your own good is essentially the message.

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): to look at Media again for a second. Um! You remind me of the problematic nature of the movie. Um, We have sorry pitch, pitch perfect um like, and how the Asian woman in that um has a tiny little accent and has tiny little voice, and it’s just a weirdo right? So the intersections of Rachel, oppression and her, and in that character, and then the back character has to be gay and out for sex all the time, and, like again, intersections of racial oppression. Europe, you know. Yes, yes, subscribe to your Patreon because you break this down um Media critiques all the time, and I am getting so much knowledge from you and your Patreon all the time, and I love it also. You have Youtube videos that people should watch, But your Patreon is where all the real action happens. So

Wagatwe: yeah, they should get in there. Please check it out. I think it’s more important than ever, especially if you’re on social media to to have media literacy. It’s just It’s just so important special with this information.

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): It’s so true, and it’s it’s hard to know what to believe. And I just love that we have theorists like you coming in and saying, here’s what’s really happening when they’re framing it this way, and we so case in point. Um, My cousin, who likes to think of herself as liberal, sent me a an article from the New York Times. Don’t read New York Times. Don’t read it, but he read it, and it said it said, Uh, get this Um trans. Women want to erase the word woman and and and and and right, and she’s like pass such an interesting article. What do you think? I’m like?

Okay, let me break this down for you. This is Don’t care. They, them people are not trying to take what you’re right, You said you’re a woman, and so it becomes the framing that people miss you like. Oh, Oh, they’re against me, You know that’s one of the aspect. How we have to have media literacy, because sometimes well-meaning white women can have a

Wagatwe: rich people who own the New York Times are willing to push this sort of trans panic because it is about getting people who might be well meaning. But Don’t have extra contacts or or education. Right? It’s very hard to to access this sort of um. You know theorizing and analysis and philosophizing like It’s not easy. America does not make it like, and it’s not like you’re giving us tons of uh time to to learn either. It’s usually an immense privilege.

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): It is. Um, and uh, I mean, there’s so much that’s different now than when I like. Went to school for gender studies as a bachelor’s degree like back in the early odds, and it’s it’s fascinating how you know there’s so much more out there now that unless you’re keeping up, and at least you have time to keep up on it. And my cousin has two little kids, you know. She doesn’t really um. She’s very busy. So um, and she’s working so uh

Yeah, that’s why we need people like you to be like, Hey, check out the framing here. This is the context. This is why we don’t believe this, which leads me to my next question for you actually, which is um.

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): It’s related to this article that I just mentioned, but this belief in naturalness and superiority of cisgender hetero people have to do with toxic masculinity.

Wagatwe: Yeah, I mean, essentially,

Wagatwe: basically people who ascribe to toxic masculinity are usually uh transphobic um homophobic

Wagatwe: um. And essentially the ideology is that we are under a system of heteropatriarchy, which is very a specific kind of patriarchy; that um, essentially because of Christianity, right Christianity, and I think the Greek patriarchal system came together, and we have what we have now. And so part of Christianity is that um what they added to patriarchy is that they want to encourage pro-creative sex. Um. And so there’s very much like this idea of like being abstinent is the most virtuous thing. But like if you’re gonna not do it fine like, at least make sure you’re a heterosexual marriage you’re in a heterosexual marriage. So you can pro-create

Wagatwe: um. And this is also a system that is inherently um associated with white supremacy and colonialism too right? And so, when you want to encourage the nuclear family.

Wagatwe: Heterosexuality is a great way to be controlled under the systems of domination that we have. So not just white supremacy and head or patriarchy, but Um also capitalism. There’s a lot of theorizing around the world capitalism, and there’s even, you know, some Marxist feminist and Socialist feminist that I’ve talked about

Wagatwe: the nuclear family as like a microcosm of our larger systems of domination. Right where the you know, the oppressor is essentially the man, and he is able to exploit everyone else in a household and enjoy that excess value. That comes from exploitation, because that’s very much the essence of what exploitation is right. So it’s sort of like the idea of

Wagatwe: um oppression and privilege. Privilege is basically the things that is siphoned from the oppressed. So when you believe that it’s natural, you don’t question it, and when you don’t question our current heterosex um hetero patriarchal um ideology. You’re going to think Well, men are superior, and it’s straight men, and if you’re gay, that is unnatural. And people don’t understand the origins of Header patriarchy like I had. I had. I had no idea

Wagatwe: I had no idea there was all these advertisements of patriarchy. And then there’s a way that you come together and emerge into this and into that like It’s it’s so cool, but like I had to dig in like stumble into it right? And so, toxic masculinity, basically sort of like, I like to think of it as sort of like, All right. So patriarchy, all this this is of oppression technically, are designed to benefit the same, like greedy ten billionaire Jews right if we’re going to think about it. But how do they convince people to let the system to continue? They give Little Tree to give little concessions to people who don’t have as much um power right? And so, when men are willing or more willing to be like, you know what the the status quo is fine, because we’re told that I am naturally superior. I’m supposed to be calling the shots, and that’s how i’m going to cope with being in an oppressive world.

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): I really appreciate your contextualizing that. Um, And it’s reminding me of Caliban and the Witch, by Sylvia Federici. So if anyone wants to like learn more about how like Empire colonialism intersect with the Church, you know. Coll. Uh creating the nuclear family, creating these rigid gender roles. Um to get control of more land and more money.

Wagatwe: Yes, exactly right. So that’s um something. I think that you just alluded to very gently that I want to like. Come back and share like, hey?

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): This is why you might not be um uh questioning this. It’s because it’s been happening for hundreds of years.

Wagatwe: Yes, yes, exactly. And I Yeah, The colonialism.

Wagatwe: Yeah. Yeah. Exactly. So right. The thing about nuclear family are thinking about um head or patriarchy as a as a tool of genocide right for that forced indigenous peoples. Not just here, um in the Americas, but like in different parts of the world, right like even in Africa, that’s been a tool of colonialism. And so we have that we see how it being seen as natural. It’s also very inherently colonial, because it’s like. If we’re natural, then everyone needs to follow our rules,

Wagatwe: and when everyone follows their rules right, it helps um. There’s different. There’s different rules for different types of you know men right so has your monting masculine is ultimately for white men. By if everyone follows the rules right the way, people they’re able to. Um. If they get a nuclear family. Right? You get more land.

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): So then it’s another way to like steal land to keep stealing land from indigenous people, so which is something that we I rarely see talked about. Yeah. Oh, yeah, um. I mean, we have made some strides recently in terms of like um getting the land back movement. We have gotten some people getting their land back, but it’s still like a very long way to go, and you know It’s not just about like like far off matriarchy, far off, you know, like matrimonal societies, are like, you know, multiple positive people taking care of kids and not really worrying about what marriages like it’s. It’s more about like domination, as you said, Control domination. Um! And we’re seeing this today. I mean less. People think that this is not happening just this week. I was like, Let’s not have drag people in drag anymore, you know. And then, like all these people, um, you know, saying, Oh, you can’t have drag Queen Story hour in libraries, and we’re gonna ban all these Lgbtq books, I mean, this is still happening.

Wagatwe: Mhm Mhm

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): So this is why this is relevant. People listening right now like, Where does this come from? And then, maybe at the end of the you know, chat Today we’ll talk about where we go from here. Um! But um!

Why is individualism and self-sufficiency? Art of toxic masculinity?

Wagatwe: Yes, So this is um, you know it’s not in inherently bad right? It’s not bad to want to be self sufficient. Um, However, when it comes to toxic masculinity Essentially, when we’re thinking about

Wagatwe: Hegemon he hegemonic masculinity. The kind of self sufficiency they’re talking about is that basically you can’t depend on other people you need to be dependent like depended on. So It’s just like another way to sort of justify right? Like men are supposed to be getting economic um benefits where you’re supposed to get the car. The flashy things. You’re supposed to do all these things.

Wagatwe: Um, but you have to do it yourself, or if you do achieve those things, you think that you did it yourself right? Because if you worked with other people that’s like that’s like fat that’s feminine. That’s weak. I don’t want to be like that. Right? So you have to claim this self sufficiency and individualism, and it also provides a way to normalize um How things can be for users right where it’s just sort of like

Wagatwe: They’re only looking at for themselves. They think about relationships transactionally, rather than being way more relational and effective right about feelings and sort of stuff like that. So

Wagatwe: um, it’s just another way one way that um. I really like the way that Patricia Hill Collins talks about hegemonic gender, hegemonic masculinity versus femininity. And so the way she talked about it was that, like, Had you like masculinity, you kind of have to earn it, you have to do these actions. You have to get the hot wife. You have to get the car. You have to get the home. You have to get the family.

Wagatwe: Um, hegemonic femininity is kind of passive like. Either you have it or you don’t more or less right. You have to be chosen to be the hot wife. Okay, how do you become a hot wife? You more or less have to be born to look a certain way, right? Because, like, yeah, you could do make up. You can do plastic surgery, but you could only go up the ladder

Wagatwe: so much

Wagatwe: and so thinking about how

Wagatwe: that can really feed into. Men have to by themselves work on it, earn these things so, and cause, or else they’re a failure right? Because again, we have to remember hegemonic masculinity sort of like a benchmark. It’s a thing it’s like this is what men are supposed to be, and if they’re not their failures, or they’re less manly and like, What does that mean in our patriarchal society? What do they do to men who are seen as less manly?

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): Mhm, They they they police them. They attack them, and that’s part of the the drag Queen. Um The war on Drag crease. Yeah. Yup, Yup! And it’s. See how they’re willing to limit free speech, to do that right to the grass validity they they’re not of. They’re not conforming to head or patriarchal norms. And this is what we got.

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): Yes, yes, so that’s again like how you know sexuality and class um and gender oppression intersect.I love that we’re bringing in all the different pieces in this conversation it feels very rich to me. This feels very like, Ooh, it’s so juicy. Um. And uh, yeah, like I I totally have seen this with people that have really followed the party line. The individualism that self sufficiency, what they don’t realize is that nobody gets anywhere on their own,

Wagatwe: and much of what they have is because of their relationships and the privilege that they have. As you said, um out, people are uh

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): uh sort of like their privilege to come from other people’s, you know, just taking what other people have, you know. And I think that that’s really that’s really scary for a white six hundred hetero male to look at, because then he, as my brother tells me, feels like he didn’t earn what he has, and he should be ashamed. And I think it’s how fear fear as in white supremacy kind of plays into this?

Wagatwe: What do you think about that? Yeah, I mean, I think that’s what there’s like that version of soft power, right where it’s that threat. Yeah, people, there’s a threat of shame. And then, because of toxic masculinity men are very resistant To go to therapy, to deal with that shame, because, like shame is a is a trauma response. It can be there might. It might be fostering feelings. I get it, but it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have a responsibility to address it right. But then we see how toxic masculinity is like Don’t be like a woman right? Don’t do this, don’t talk about your feelings, and so they don’t want to sort of get that that help, unfortunately, and I would wanted to add um One of the bad things also. One of the negatives about the self sufficiency and individualism is that it kind of helps them justify exploiting others right? Every man for himself. And you have this scarcity mindset, because if everyone is by themselves that for themselves, and there’s only so much of whatever they want left. Then I gotta do whatever it takes

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): right right. And this plays into like our current economic model by looking at people basically privatizing the retirement by buying a house be like well got mine screw, you, you know, like i’m good. Instead of thinking like, How do we collectively build power, so that we actually have enough in retirement to not have to worry, even if we live in an apartment. Um, so. Um, there’s actually a wonderful podcast, called the upstream podcast, and they have a guy there. I forget the interview. Now we can look at the show notes. He’s just talking about.

Um! There’s this block of friend control departments. Um in a building that’s owned by a collective in New York City, and it’s like we are trying to change this model on our scale. So there’s hope we don’t all have to advertise our retirement. Yes, there is. So how can we um ask for more from toxic masculinity. What does that look like?

Wagatwe: So I don’t think we should be talking to toxic masculinity. But uh, no, I mean, I think we should be asking more from other people terms of the relationship to masculinity, because what I was thinking is like, we just need to talk about healthy masculinities like again, like the reactionaries and the right wing, and the Conservatives are like. Oh, there the feminist are calling all masculinity toxic, and it’s like No,

We just believe that there are healthy manifestations. You can have the values of wanting to like. Take care of others, and you know, be a provider. There are healthy manifestations of things that still conform to hegemonic masculinity. And so

I think that’s where we have to start to sort of like. How can we um think about and talk about the different ways that people can express their masculinity in ways that are not harmful to everyone, including themselves right. I think that’s the thing is like we’ve rarely talk about in a productive way. That’s not like making excuses for men or whatever. And a way of like. You know it. It hurts you all, too. You know we’re all miserable. We’re not having a good time like Let’s let’s regroup

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): Well, I mean when I think about how this relates to me as a as a white Cis woman. Um, even if i’m not hetero like um. I see the way that I’ve been kind of like having conferences and being in charge and being the explainer and taking over spaces with um Immigrant women, you know women of color in it, or marginalized people in it. And that’s another aspect of this. That’s how whiteness affects right like people like feeling like. Maybe they even have to act more masculine. You be heard, understood, and you know, expected right? So there’s this aspect of internalized toxic masculinity as well that women can have one hundred and one.

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): And so this year my experiment has been organizing a conference, and not being in charge, and just being like, Hey, I want people to leave me. I want you to do it. Please do it, and they’re like Yes, we will, and i’m like if i’m doing anything impressive. Please let me know, and I just want to support and like that’s going really well. And I want anyone who’s white listening to this to understand that it’s so wonderful. Let go of control. You have no idea how wonderful it is to let go of bugging control I am living through. I’m such a half. Your person when you let go, and you can’t let go, and there’s not like a limited amount of power. There’s infinite. I infinite power for all of us.

But realizing you don’t want to fix things and be in charge if you’re a hetero white man listening to this Um, it’s actually really nice to just be a support

Wagatwe: Yeah, I I totally agree. Let go right. Don’t always have to be in control of the time. Um, there are different lessons to learn from different positions and our relationships to other people, too, you know. It’s also a way of like self development and self and power and empowerment. Yeah, I mean, I think that’s something that has to be done consistently like education. So what first popped into my mind when you asked, that is thinking about the the consciousness, raising groups right back in, like the nineteen seventies amongst women, where they just chatted. And then they realize how there’s so many commonalities with their with their um, their experiences, and I think part of it is understanding.

Wagatwe: Um womanhood not as this like a very fixed finite thing, because that’s what patriarchy wants, but rather um a political socio-political class. It’s socially constructed and it has a political meaning,

Wagatwe: and it will manifest in different ways. Right. But we’re still in this category. So how can we mobilize together so just sort of thinking about? What are these beliefs that are self defeating for me and also defeating my um,

Wagatwe: Maybe a drive to coach for collective action, right? Because it’s not just about getting your own getting into these um institutions right? That’s one of the downfalls of like Liberal activism is that it was it got very individualistic. What you want is redistribution of power. You don’t want just to have some individuals have power. You literally understand

Wagatwe: how it is now is unfair. So let’s

Wagatwe: you know, dismantle all of it, and rebuild.

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): I love that. I think that is a very, very smart answer. And again it comes back to that individualistic nature, and just pulling back from that, whether you grew up in like American culture or Canadian culture, wherever you’re listening to this one.

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): Um, you know It’s something that has actually infected the world in a lot of ways, and it. It’d be wonderful if we started thinking more, as you said about how can we take these systems of dominance and turn them around and be like. Let’s notice these, and then let’s like pull away from them and make a different system. So um

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): anything else you’d like to add about toxic masculinity or anything like that.

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): Oh, I think we we did. Uh pretty well. Yeah. Excellent. Okay, What is Um, uh? I hope everybody has learned from this conversation. I think it’s incredibly powerful. Um! And before we end I would like to ask you,

Wagatwe: uh, I would say, hanging out with my niece. She’s really cute, and she’s one and a half, and she is so much energy, but so fun. I love that

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): I love that, you know. Um. I think little kids really can be so hopeful and tearful, and it’s it’s the best. It’s the best, especially when she sees me as she like screams with excitement.

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): My little besty, you know, was, bring me hope of something similar. I went to see my friend Vanessa in um Victoria, Pc. And I haven’t travelled all year, but I took the ferry, and it was so so so so fun to see her little one, who’s two and a half, and we like played together. We read books together, and I was like what a cutie! And then she was like. Let’s go to the beach, and i’m going to give you a little sea glass pieces, I find, and i’m like,

Wagatwe: Thank you for mispronouncing my name, and like being so cute, and I hope that come back so you can remember me. Yes, yes, the famous. I love them so much like I’m so glad I get to like. Have a niece, now that I guess I hang out with like. If I don’t want my own kids, I will love the heck out of my niece.

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): Same so um! How can people reach you if they want to support your work. And where should they go?

Wagatwe: Yes. So you basically find me on social media. Uh, we’ll got way.

Wagatwe: Is my handle everywhere. Instagram Twitter tik tok Youtube even um. But to support my work directly. H. You can be a monthly um supporter, and then I also have a go fund me for my therapy fund. Because turns out doing this work needs um good mental health, and I love to keep having access because I have not had access for really long time. So folks have been supporting me. And oh, I just love being able to study what I do right into focus and not have to worry about um some other bosses agenda. So yeah,

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): I love that. And I want a good give to you therapy fun right now. I’m actually going to have to review it after this. So yay for there be yay for therapy, everyone.

Mazarine Treyz (she/her): Yes, I I love it. Yeah, Well, thank you. Thank you so much, and everyone thank you for listening to you from our podcast. Um, I hope you go give to you that way right now, and have a wonderful rest of your day.




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