Masculinity Research News

The Five Stages of Masculinity August News Roundup


As is often the case, this month’s articles are weighted towards Stage 3, which is largely representative of the media class’s worldview on masculinity. Stage 3 is an important stage, but has its shortcomings. One example of this is the trend of revisiting historical cultural products and viewing them via a contemporary lens, thus missing some of the subtlety of their time of origin. One new article entering this territory is Chasing Amy and the toxic “nerd masculinity” of the nineties. It’s easy to identify examples of toxicity in hindsight, but it might be prudent to consider that at the time “nerd masculinity” was considered counter-hegemonic as it did not perpetuate the kind of Rambo-style masculinity of the 80s.

I also want to bring your attention to one of my own articles this month, Have We Reached Peak Toxic Masculinity? This article examines the limitations of the Stage 3 criticisms of “toxic masculinity” and “masculinity so fragile” and asks the question, Will a relentlessly negative discussion about masculinity result in positive change?

I have focused a good deal on the shortcomings of Stage 3 in these commentaries this year. This is not because I feel it is especially bad. Indeed, Stage 1 and 2 are much more dangerous, however Stage 3 commentators already provide ample analyses of these lower stages. I have been focusing on Stage 3 because there are fewer analyses of what it gets wrong.

There are not a lot of articles around this month at Stage 4 and 5, although we have some characteristically strong cover artwork on the new Young Thug mixtape, who continues to bend black masculinities (even if I’d rather people think bent rather than look bent):


The artwork kicked off an interesting conversation on MTV about whether or not he—as an ostensibly straight man—is appropriating queer culture. This question is relevant to Stage 4 which would see this as less appropriating queer culture and more demonstrating its breadth, while at the same time troubling the assumption that queer=gay.

Finally, thanks to David Shaw who has written an article, Gelfer’s Five Stages of Masculinity and the Men of Babel. In this article, David likens the five stages to a “Rosetta stone” for conversations around masculinity that “quiets the pissing contests as to whose voice should be listened to above the din”. I like it!

Five Stages of Masculinity Certification: Advance Notice

In 2017, I will offer a course that will result in official certification for those who want to apply The Five Stages of Masculinity to their professional work and lives.

The course will be delivered remotely, but participants will work individually with me. This is not an online course where participants passively watch videos and take simple quizzes.

The course will comprise five modules (one module for each of the five stages). Participants will receive descriptive worksheets for each module and engage in exercises about how the five stages manifest generally in society and more specifically in participants’ work and lives.

This will be the first time that official certification in The Five Stages of Masculinity has been offered, so it is a valuable opportunity for participants to establish themselves as an early adopter and practitioner of this emerging model.

Certification will be beneficial for:

  • personal and business coaches
  • counsellors and therapists
  • social and youth workers
  • group facilitators and trainers
  • individuals with an interest in masculinity and personal development.

You can read more information about certification here.

Stage 1

Austerity has caused young men to turn into ‘spornosexuals’

A nation of eunuchs or athletic youths?

Stage 2

Breadwinning and Brexit: Putting one father’s vote to Leave in historical context

Money on the mind: Breadwinning men have worse mental, physical health

The cancer side effect we don’t talk about: losing masculinity

It’s Not Easy Being Green — and Manly

Why most Syrian men are not joining ISIS

Body image ‘a problem for boys’, says advertising think tank

Stage 3

‘Wolf Pack’ pushes men to have brave conversations about masculinity

Chasing Amy and the toxic “nerd masculinity” of the nineties

The Desire to Drown

Building Peace in Colombia, One Man at the Time

Depression, violence, anxiety: the problem with the phrase ‘be a man’

Dylan Jones: men have never had it so good

Have We Reached Peak Toxic Masculinity?

Redefining masculinity in Canadian literature

Asian-American men, toxic masculinity, and racism

MEND wants to challenge men’s masculinity

President Barack Obama Says, “This Is What a Feminist Looks Like”

Stage 4

Young Thug’s Jeffrey Cover Complicates Black Masculinity and Challenges Identity Labels

Man Down: Defining Deflated and Liberated Masculinity

Modern masculinity and music