Rolling Out

A Call to Men and the 2024 definition of masculinity

Addressing stereotypes and current state gender

Ted Bunch is on a mission to redefine masculinity.

Recently, the chief development officer of A Call to Men spoke to rolling out ahead of the organization’s Celebrating Healthy Fatherhood 2024 virtual event. The event is scheduled for 1 p.m. ET on June 13.

Why do Black children need the presence of a Black father or Black male mentor figure?

Fathers are vital in any community or any group of people. They are needed just as much as mothers are, and certainly in the Black community.

Fathers are needed and are vital. They’re needed as role models, as people that children can look up to no matter what the gender of that child, whether male, female, or gender expansive, that a child can look up to this male role model, this male leader in their life, this example of masculinity and manhood.

We must have the positive role models in our families and communities.

Fatherlessness is across the United States. Fatherlessness is an epidemic in many different communities, not just the Black community. The Black men I know are either with their children or spend time with them. It’s a real stereotype that Black men are not [present], and we in our community know this isn’t the case, but general society doesn’t always highlight it. So, I want to shed light on that here, and I appreciate the platform for allowing us to do that.

We recently did a story on Skaiwater, an artist who uses the pronouns they/them, and a lot of the public feedback was there’s a current push of anti-masculinity. How do you feel about that narrative?

I don’t see it as anti-masculinity.

There are rigid notions of masculinity and manhood that have been challenged. That’s a good thing. The same thing a lot of men are taught that we pass down to our boys is to be homophobic. We are also taught and teach our boys not to show emotion, openly cry, or express feelings.

Those emotional manifestations that don’t get expressed later on turn into suicide. We live about six years less than women. These rigid notions of manhood are harmful to all of us. So, not just women, girls, and the LGBTQ transgender conforming folks, but it’s impacting men and boys, as well. So I see that there’s a reimagining and a critique happening around traditional images of unwritten notions of manhood and masculinity that need to be challenged.

As a man, I don’t feel threatened by anything that other people, who are being their authentic selves, do. I don’t feel like my masculinity or manhood is being threatened, and I still am the same man I’ve always been. That’s what I want to be, but I’m continuing to evolve and uncover different things about me that I want to continue to improve on, which, hopefully, in this human experience, is what all of us want to do.

What did you think of Cam’ron on CNN saying while he was praying for Cassie, he didn’t want to talk down on Diddy’s abuse allegations because he didn’t want to kick a Black man while he was down?

We do have to believe victims when they come forward. Also, when we talk about violence against women and men’s violence in particular, men need to be held accountable. There has to be accountability.

We want to be able to do things in our work that prevent this violence from happening in the first place and also encourage men to speak up when they see these things building.

If you or a loved one are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please call the suicide hotline at 988 or text 741-741.

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