Changing gender roles are key to accelerating the culture shift around changing the way we work and live. Redefining Masculinity is an editorial package that investigates what it means to be a man in 2017—and beyond. As part of it, we’re asking a wide range of men across industries, ages and background to answer questions about what masculinity means to them. Read more about the project here.

One might call Tucker Max aggressively woke.

Max, who gained fame and notoriety in the 2000s for his book I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell and other works of gonzo bro adventure, was lambasting me in an interview about masculinity for interviewing him about masculinity. (Thrive has launched Redefining Masculinity, a special section examining manhood in 2017 and beyond.)

But Max, whom one might assume to be a man’s man, wasn’t into the whole manhood thing. When I asked him about what he’d teach his young son about manhood, he promptly rebuked me.

“I can’t think of a better way to cripple my son than to teach him things in the context of manhood,” he said. “I can’t think of anything that I could possibly do that would be more awful than to say, ‘Okay, Bishop, you’re a boy so you get these certain set of emotional lessons. Okay, Vaughn, you’re a girl so you get a different set of emotional lessons,’” he said of his son and daughter.

He teaches them identical things about emotions and relationships, which, he added, are criminally under-taught in schools even though social-emotional skills are “literally the most important thing you can learn in life … learning how to develop relationships, and how to manage your emotions is the most important thing.”

To Max, it’s non-gendered.

“I don’t understand what the fuck that has to do with masculinity,” he said. “So you’re assuming women are taught that and men aren’t? That doesn’t make sense.”

When I replied that boys and girls are socialized differently in regard to how to approach their interior lives, it didn’t land.

“Why the fuck would I not teach them the exact same things?” Max asked. “Humans are still humans, emotions are still emotions,” he says. “Why would I teach them different things?”

Point taken.

Read the full interview here


  • DRAKE BAER is a deputy editor at Business Insider, where he leads a team of 20+ journalists in covering the shifting nature of organizations, wealth, and demographics in the United States. He has been a senior writer at New York Magazine, a contributing writer at Fast Company, and the director of content for a human resources consultancy. A speaker at the Aspen Ideas Festival and other conferences, he circumnavigated the globe before turning 25. Perception is his second book.