The Man They Wanted Me to Be

Toxic Masculinity and a Crisis of Our Own Making
Narrated by: Jared Yates Sexton
Length: 6 hrs and 42 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (154 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Based on his provocative and popular New York Times op-ed, The Man They Wanted Me to Be is both memoir and cultural analysis. Jared Yates Sexton alternates between an examination of his working class upbringing and historical, psychological, and sociological sources that examine the genesis of toxic masculinity and its consequences for society.

As progressivism changes American society, and globalism shifts labor away from traditional manufacturing, the roles that have been prescribed to men since the Industrial Revolution have been rendered as obsolete. Donald Trump's campaign successfully leveraged male resentment and entitlement, and now, with Trump as president and the rise of the #MeToo movement, it's clear that our current definitions of masculinity are outdated and even dangerous.

Deeply personal and thoroughly researched, The Man They Wanted Me to Be examines how we teach boys what's expected of men in America, and the long-term effects of that socialization-which include depression, shorter lives, misogyny, and suicide. Sexton turns his keen eye to the establishment of the racist patriarchal structure which has favored white men, and investigates the personal and societal dangers of such outdated definitions of manhood.

©2019 Jared Yates Sexton (P)2019 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

Editor's Pick

I like my memoirs with a side of gender theory
"Having studied gender and masculinity in college, I always get excited when I find a listen that offers up gender analysis with a personal twist. Moving between personal anecdotes and scientific arguments that support his arguments, Jared Yates Sexton offers a glimpse of how toxic masculinity has affected his own life and lived experiences. Feminism has explored what it means to be a woman, but isn’t time we take a deeper look at what it means to 'be a man'?"
Michael C., Audible Editor

What listeners say about The Man They Wanted Me to Be

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Predictable

Sexton clearly has a horrific upbringing. I predicted before ever opening the front cover that his message would be a response from pain. Wow this is not a bad thing it just led to the book being pretty predictable in my opinion. Sexton is extremely intelligent and well written but is not a masterful storyteller. Sexton sorely describes Dr. Jordan Peterson out of context and paints a picture of him unfairly. Honestly it was not until the final five minutes of this book that sexton finally mentions healthy masculinity. That was redeeming as it exhausted me the entire read to hear just want to throw out the idea as a whole. I believe it is right and good to demonize toxic masculinity but it is dangerous to try to throw it away altogether. Moreover, HEALTHY masculinity is needed and Sexton really barely mentions or touches on that and how to achieve it.

1 person found this helpful

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One of the most important books of our times

I am a woman, a feminist, and one that, after been hurt by so many “manly men”, had little interest in learning about masculinity. I wasn’t interested in learning what makes these men tick. I follow Jared on twitter and I respect him. And I’m not sure exactly why I decided to give this a chance but I did.

I cried listening to this book in parts, but in a very good way. I can say after listening to this book I find I have the power of understanding that helps me deal with toxic masculinity I come across.

More over, as someone who is repulsed by toxic masculinity all the men in my life are feminist. This book helped me understand the times when my husband didn’t quite make sense to me. I made him read it, it was so affirming to him and we now have a basis for dialog. I have perspective and a Base knowledge to be able to really hear him and my husband now has the words to express his struggles.

Thank you Jared, for sharing something so personal in a way that speaks compassionately and intelligently on this thing that has haunted the lives of so many, men and women alike.

5 people found this helpful

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I feel seen and heard.

I’m a trans man and this book was 100% relatable. I’ve worked in construction my whole life and everything about putting up with pain and misery and destroying our bodies is my story as well. Yes. Work is hard. That’s why it’s called work. But it’s not all of me. I have a right to be tired, vulnerable, sad, moved to the point of tears, and to voice concern when it comes to the well-being of anyone, including myself. True bravery is the courage to be seen for all of who I am in spite of the risks.
I think it took immense courage for Jared to write this book. I’m so grateful for it.

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Not what it claims to be

This book is an autobiography. It had rave reviews so I indulged. However, I feel robbed of a credit. This book may be great for someone who has gone through a similar circumstance, but if you are someone looking for information about the subject in general. This is not the book.

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  • 02-09-20

Interesting, insightful

Jared’s story of the abuses he and his mother suffered at the hands of men subscribed to the myth of masculinity is often difficult to listen to. It is a story well told, though, and Sexton does a great job of making it easy to understand how the patriarchy exploits many and is exploited by others. I saw people I know in this story, and my guess is that you will, too. Sheds light on the rise of the malignant force in the White House. Highly recommended.

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Thought-provoking

A powerful mix of personal narrative and societal observation. It gave me new perspectives. Only critique: drags a little at certain points.

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Essential

I purchased this book on a lark, it was on sale and I’d previously not heard of it. I was completely blown away by how compelling, insightful, and utterly important it is. It’s sociology and it’s personal history, it’s the personal and the political. This book deconstructs the complexities of toxic culture with an elegant and earnest simplicity. I’ve been evangelizing about this book to friends as an absolute must read, having just completed it I can say, down to the last word, read this book now. Read it twice, pass it on.

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An unpleasant and uninformative bore

The book advertises itself as an academic book about the woes of toxic masculinity, but it is a self-indulgent autobiography with some pseudo-psychology thrown in for good measure. The book is neither informative nor is it entertaining.

10 people found this helpful

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This Book Explained My Dad

After reading this book, I finally understood my Boomer dad's worldview for the first time in my life. Instead of seeing him as an old racist homophobic, I now understand that he is just a scared old white man trying to live up to the impossible standards of masculinity that his generation accepted as the norm.

11 people found this helpful

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life changing

Sexton helped to verbalize so many of the feelings I struggle with and the expectations I feel pressing upon me. He helped to explain why anger is my go-to emotional state.

3 people found this helpful