November 19th marks International Men's Day; a day to raise awareness of all male centred issues and celebrate the positive impact that men have made on society. It's a day to think about role models, paternal relationships, sexuality and gender specific health issues. In light of this day, we would like to suggest a couple of books that explore masculinity.
Psychotherapist Terrence Real's book I Don't Want to Talk About It is an important exploration of male depression. It is a study of the unhealthy ways men cope with depression and tackles the effects of the damaging pursuit of 'manliness' and what impact this has on mental health. For men suffering from depression and those close to them, Real's book is an important first step towards recognising and understanding the condition as well as finding ways to cope with it healthily.
For a more light-hearted read, L.A. Times columnist Joel Stein's book Man Made: A Stupid Quest For Masculinity is slightly less serious but just as enlightening. Spurred by the birth of his son, Stein sets out on a quest to find the ultimate manly-man and discover what truly defines 'manhood'. Spending his time with fire fighters, sports stars and soldiers, Stein makes a lot of realisations about masculinity but the lessons he learns aren't quite what we might expect them to be. Filled with jokes and awkward encounters, Stein's book is one that is as enjoyable to read as much as it is ingenious.