In The Man They Wanted Me to Be, Jared Yates Sexton tells the story of how toxic masculinity played a major role in his life. From the time he was a young boy, all the men in his life, especially his father, pushed the unrealistic pressures of toxic masculinity onto him. Not naturally fitting into the acceptable masculine stereotypes, he felt lost for most of his life and even now fights to not give in to these unrealistic expectations.
This is something most men can relate to. Whether it’s from their fathers, brothers, peers, or simply society, this pressure is still present today and not going away fast enough.
The mentality produced from this pressure is detrimental to society. The book mentions how many men feel entitled due to this mentality, and because they aren’t taught how to properly express their emotions, they act out in anger and aggression when they feel that they haven’t been given what they deserve.
The first step to addressing this issue and slowly fading it out of young boy’s lives is to spread awareness. In The Man They Wanted Me to Be, toxic masculinity is talked about in a relatable and open way. It allows the reader to enter into the discussion surrounding toxic masculinity and encourages progression.
Books like Jared Yates Sexton’s need to be read, especially by the men of today’s younger generations. If we are educating ourselves on this issue, we can begin to solve it. Reading Sexton’s book can be your first step to gaining a better awareness of toxic masculinity, learning about the men in your life, and slowly, but surely, erasing the unreasonable societal pressure to "be a man."