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Obama explains how 'sports and sexual conquest' in pop culture reinforce toxic masculinity

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Speaking on the Renegades: Born in the USA podcast, co-hosted with Springsteen, the former President explained how certain negative aspects of masculinity are encouraged in society. The podcast, launched in February, sees Obama and Springsteen, both of whom are fathers, share their thoughts on a range of topical issues affecting not only the US but many other countries globally including race relations, fatherhood and class struggle.

In the latest episode, titled ‘Wrestling with Ghosts: American Men’, Obama opened up about several conversations he had with his daughters.

The former president said: “So much of popular culture tells them that the only defining thing about being a man, being masculine, is you excel in sports and sexual conquest.”

He also claimed violence as another aspect, but added: “Violence, if it’s healthy at least, is subsumed into sports.

“Later, you add to that definition, making money right? How much money can you make?”

Obama also made mention to the degree in which those aspects haven’t changed since he was growing up.

He continued to note that not all masculinity was bad, hailing a sense of responsibility and altruism as worthy of emulating.

One other thing that remains part of the problem, according to Obama, is the inability to share and express emotions.

“You don’t show weakness, you don’t show emotion, you don’t talk too much about how you’re feeling,” said the former president.

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The former president added: “There is a bunch of stuff in there we did not reckon with.”

“And now you’re seeing with Me Too, part of what we’re dealing with in terms of women still seeking equal pay, part of what we’re still dealing with in terms of domestic abuse and violence.”



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