I started listening to The Highlevel Showdown, a local politics show with two guys, Elliott Tanti and Michael Vecchio, from opposite sides of the political view talk about what the heck is going on in the world of politics. Now, lucky for me they also were curious about questions of manhood, and questions in how masculinity works in politics as much as I did. Even more lucky for me, they were curious about their own masculinity, and how their lives intertwined as immigrants, first generation Canadians (like they are), and most importantly as long time friends.
Now because I had a lot to ask of them and the conversation was flowing I decided to split this into two parts. The first part you’ll hear right now is Elliott, Michael, and myself talking about what was going on with the intersection of politics and masculinity which involves, yep, Donald Trump. But we also talk local politics and specifically the struggles that women have to get into politics, be heard, and the harassment they face.
For today’s episode, I wanted to speak directly about men’s mental health and how men have problems getting the help they need either through the system that creates barriers or the society that sees them in a different light. This ties hand in hand with Men’s mental Health Awareness Day on June 13.
So for this, I wanted to speak to a front line worker here in Edmonton that deals directly with people with mental health disorders and problems. Jessica Craig has been helping kids and adults with mental health problems for years now, and is now an intake worker for a prominent place in Alberta. Lucky for me, she’s got a keen particular interest in men’s mental health, and also is a good friend of mine. I was lucky to share a bowl of pho with her, and sat down on her couch with her dog Zoe to speak about the issues that she sees in the front line.
Allen Featherstone has gone through his own journey of understanding how to be a proper man and human being. And it took him a long struggle with addictions, with hard drugs, then alcohol to understand what he has to do.
In this interview, you can see that he is still on this journey, one that he is willing to share with anyone who will listen. You can hear that he is working to better himself, and some days he wins and some days he loses. You can tell he wants to be more at peace with himself, with his wife, and with his daughter.
In early May, Modern Manhood Podcast celebrated one year of life. In the last 12 months we have had an awesome collection of interviews and guests, each providing a unique spin on what they call manhood. In the first of many different clip shows, I’m going to be providing some feedback on my favorite parts of these interviews, as well as try to parse them in a way which is relevant to the study of masculinity.
He also created the Five Stages of Masculinity model, which is used to view a person’s understandings of masculinity. This model is the basis of the Masculinity Research organization directed by Joseph Gelfer which offers ” insight into men and masculinity in three key areas: Market research for products and services, Social research for non-profit and governmental policymakers [and] People and culture development for businesses and organizations.”
The five stages, which you can find here, are briefly described as such: The stages are 1: Unconscious Masculinity
1: Unconscious Masculinity
2: Conscious Masculinity
3: Critical Masculinities
4: Multiple Masculinities
5: Beyond Masculinities
And to learn these would be an important primer to the conversation that we’ll be talking about today, which delves a lot into how we as people who talk about masculinities. We talk about the current problems of the discourse involving masculinities and how we can move beyond just talking about the opposite of “toxic masculinities” and how we as a society are stuck in stage 3 of masculinites.
Dr. Gelfer has written these books:
Numen, Old Men: Contemporary Masculine Spiritualities and the Problem of Patriarchy (Equinox Publishers, 2009)
The Best of Journal of Men, Masculinities and Spirituality (Gorgias Press, 2010)
Today we’re going to talk about the law. Not the law in regards to masculinity or how it affects males, but the law profession. How it affects the notions of self-care, and how the law profession is heavily run by males, and what the effect of that dynamic can be. We’re going to talk to law student Ian Moore from Vancouver about this, plus I wanted to ask about his own life and what stories might he have over how he views his masculinity. Including an interesting story in which he gets mugged.
If you haven’t done so already, please check out The Ferdinand’s new story by Derek Nadeau titled “Coping.” In which Derek goes through his journey into finding coping skills to take care of his own mental health, which took a drastic toll.
On April 1st, Men Edmonton put on a special event screening the movie The Mask You Live In by the Representation Project.
Through this movie Men Edmonton invited a panel of different men with different viewpoints, including old guest David Shepherd, to talk about masculinity in an open manner. The panel was hosted by 630CHED’s Ryan Jesperson, and the event was kicked off by Councillor and friend of the show, Scott McKeen.
I was so happy that Men Edmonton did this, and received quite well too. More than 400 people attended the free event, and I got a chance to talk to some of them before the movie, to hear what brought them to watch a movie about masculinity, after the movie to hear what they liked and didn’t like, and their own perspectives on masculinity. I also got a chance to talk some of the presenters.
I got a text from one of my friends and it said, “You need to check out Shea Emry” and attached was a TED Talk from him. I knew of Shea from an article I read about his retirement as a CFL linebacker. After being engrossed by what he was saying, I sent Shea an email and he gladly obliged.
One of the main reasons I wanted to have the two-time Grey Cup Champ on the show was because he’s a been a voice on the positive tenants of keeping your mental health in check, and he was a great example of doing something for people past your professional career. But as you hear him talk, you find out that this is something that Shea was born to do. You’ll hear about his life as a young man, his fascinations with axes, his views on locker room talk, and the reason he wanted to create Wellmen, a group for men to find their inner vulnerable primal being.
Stick around after the break because I want to invite you to something, but until then here’s Shea Emry.
Men Edmonton is hosting a free movie screening of The Mask You Live In, the Representation Project’s take on masculinity in the modern world. After the movie, we’re going to have a panel conversation with four prominent men about masculinity and what it is to be a man. It’s going to be hosted by Ryan Jespersen, and going to be held in the Garneau Theatre on April 1st. I’m going to be there, if you’re coming let me know, I would love to say hey! I hope to see you there!
You can catch me on Twitter and on Instagram @modernmanpod and search me on Facebook.
Daniel Letourneau is a cook that started questioning how his work fed into toxic masculinity, especially in regards to addictions, bad mental health, and an almost macho environment. Along with that, Daniel is also a survivor of child abuse and used this cause to create Food for Thoughts. Food for Thoughts is a campaign that highlights mental health problems in the food industry, and Dan along with Stuart Whyte, and Cory Rakowski used this platform to raise awareness about mental health in the kitchen and to raise funds for male sexual abuse survivors through Momentum Counselling.
Besides being a cook though, Daniel has had a journey into self-discovery which he wanted to share with me and with you. He talks about how he deals with therapy, with feelings of anxiety or stress, and his journey to recovery which involves mindfulness and the outdoors.
On this episode, I traveled outside of Edmonton for a stop to my favorite new restaurant, Chartier out in Beaumont. And this time it wasn’t to chow down on their cinnamon buns, or fresh bread. But it was to sit down with its owner, Darren Cheverie. Now Chartier began its life as the most successful crowdsourcing campaign in Canada. Darren and his wife and co-owner Sylvia, put a lot of love sweat and tears to make Chartier come to life. And now 11 months into its life the Cheverie’s wanted to give made Chartier a place you need to visit. But besides their amazing story of restaurant success, they also wanted to shine a light on an undocumented problem: addiction and negative mental health. Especially in the food industry. Darren’s story of loss and grief allowed him to put his money where his mouth is, by affording his staff a mental health fund, which they could use however they like.