[ Fanfare plays ] I´m Gavin Haynes,
and I´m a man. As a man, I´ve ruled society
for millennia, even if it doesn´t always
feel like it when I´m trying to get
a waiter´s attention. But ruling society isn´t easy, and as an effete
British asshole, I´ve always looked
towards Americans for a steer on what it takes
to be a man. New York, baby! Mainly, that´s meant
the key pillars of monster-truck rallies,
fraternity hazings, strong-man competitions, and Republican candidates
bragging about the dimensions
of their, uh, hands. They´re fairly large, actually. But lately, it seems
there´s a growing movement of American men who think
that something has gone wrong. The once supreme American male
is lost, flailing, out of sync
with his wider world and his true feelings. The best way
to fix this, they contend, is to really focus on
what it means to be a man. They´re interested
in taking masculinity itself by the cojones and reforming it into a new gospel
of conscious manhood. They be outsiders today, but they think
they´re the chosen ones. I´m here to meet
these non-conformists and have the new American
masculinity mansplained to me. First, though, I wanted to find
the most needless, balls-out expression
of male competitive energy, and I found it soon enough
in the gamification of America´s most popular
pastime — eating. Competitive eating
has been around since 1916, the year of the first Nathan´s
Famous hot dog competition. And in the modern world, the likes of “Man v. Food”
has taken the idea of eating a pulled pork burrito the size of a baby´s torso
into the mainstream. I´m at the Lunchbox
in Staten Island, where I´m about
to eat the Motherload, a 10-pound sloppy Joe I must finish
in under 30 minutes. We have our 8 pounds
of our secret recipe mojo, 1/4 pound of onions, and 1 full pound
of cheese sauce. I´ve managed to track down
a competitive eater called Wayne who´s
already done serious damage to the Lunchbox´s wall of fame
and possibly also its toilets. I like to bring
a big spoon. So, are you ready? Haynes:
I have my own spoon. I have a spoon for you. That´s terribly thoughtful
of you. Oh, and it´s still warm
from your body heat. Okay.
I mean, is this an assertion of your masculinity
in a way? Is there something —
Oh, of course. Um, I mean, is that what modern
American man is into? Like, slapping his dick
on the table and… Oh, yeah.
…waving it about. A big dick.
Yeah? A big dick.
All right. Some would say that´s
a negative conception of masculinity,
Wayne. I don´t know.
Let´s ask the ladies. Do you ever
ask the ladies? Have you ever heard a lady
turn down a big dick? I mean, do you —
Well, I don´t know. Here we go. -Ready for this?
-I´m ready for this. Cheers, buddy. Oh, my God. Oh, my God.
[ Laughs ] Didea: We have two contenders
for the Motherload challenge. Five, four, three,
two, one. Let´s go, guys. All right.
Edible. This is as masculine
as you can get right now. Eating a big meal. How did you learn
to be a man? From my dad. He taught me to be
confident in myself. That´s exactly what
I´m doing right now. I´m confident
that we´re gonna finish this, and you need
to be confident also. Do you think it´s a bad thing
to be girly? -If you´re over-girly, yes.
-Mm. Like, right now,
you need to do more eating. You´re being
a little girly. Mm, I mean, is this what
Americans normally eat? And they like it?
Oh, yeah. It´ll grow on you.
All right, guys. This is what separates
the boys from the men. Gavin, how are
we looking, Gavin? This is not good. No, I´m all right.
I´m all right. No, no.
[ Wretches ] Don´t do it.
Don´t do it. It´s just so horrible. Haynes: If this was
what it took to be a man, then I couldn´t say
my testosterone levels seemed to have
markedly increased. My blood-sugar levels,
however, were pushing me towards
a hyper-manly diabetic coma. I hear the “Rocky” theme song
in the background right now. “Eye of the Tiger.” I want to finally clock this. Let´s see what we got. We are good at 6:15,
ladies and gentlemen! Don´t you feel
more manly, now? Haynes:
Having bested the Motherload,
it was home for a few hours of queasy,
antacid-punctuated sleep. Controversial male studies
expert Dr. Edward Stephens presents one thread
of men´s studies that emphasizes
the physical differences between men and women. They fear that the world is
becoming increasingly feminized, leaving men without the traits
needed to succeed. Fewer men than women
graduate from college nowadays,
and if you ask Dr. Edward Stephens why,
he´d tell you it´s because of
the increasing feminization of the education system,
something he´s working to redress with
his Foundation for Male Studies. I guess the last 10,000 years of male cultural dominance
were basically a clerical error. Stephens: If you ever watch —
It could be primates — and you watch the little boy
monkeys are running around and they´re
biting each other and they´re [chomps]
chasing each other. And if you watch
little boys at play, they do what´s called
“rough and tumble.” And if you watch little girls
at play, they´re — You know, they´re
more sedate and whatnot. So, if you have boys
standing around in a circle and they´re passing
a ball around while they´re
learning geography, they learn better. Would girls also benefit
from passing a ball around during class? I don´t know. [ Laughs ]
[ Chuckles ] We have to start thinking about
how does a boy become a man. So, you reject the,
I guess, more modern idea that gender is a pretty
constructed, fluid thing. You think there are
real biological, mental differences
between men and women. Why, on God´s earth, would you call
that a modern idea? That´s a degenerative idea
that comes out of sociology. Just in terms of your brain,
you got two hemispheres and a little connector
called the corpus callosum. And in females,
it´s this thick. In males,
it´s this thick. So, if something
happens with a woman and they get
a lot of emotions, you get
an impulse to act. In this era of feminism, we´re going to have
to redefine ourselves, but not in terms
of feminine concepts but in regard
to what we are from an evolutionary
point of view. Do you think men
are being culturally imprisoned by the feminist movement? I-I´ve created
a few descriptors for this, one of which is
the lace curtain, which is my equivalent
of the glass ceiling — situations where there are
many more women in the workforce than men. The men can see
through the curtain, but they can´t
get through it. You know,
one of the important things that we´ve been
through in this last go-round with the recession is men
not being able to find work. This really goes
against our biology. Men who want to be
stay-at-home dads — You know, it´s culturally
still frowned upon. I mean,
what would you say to them? Do you have any sort
of support for them? I think a man
who wants to stay at home and be a stay-at-home dad,
um — He´s choosing a good path. -Hmm.
-He doesn´t have to work. [ Both laugh ] He doesn´t have to go out
and break his neck, break his back. Haynes:
Dr. Stephens was adamant that men were from Mars
and women just weren´t, and that we could all
only truly be happy if we acknowledged that equal
didn´t mean the same. While women have spent years talking about where they want
to be in society, men have barely considered
the question. And as a result,
they´ve watched passively as their roles
have changed around them. Man:
Men are finished. At the top
of the cognitive pyramid, women are now a majority
at our universities, graduate schools of law,
business, and medicine. Haynes: But what about those men
who are disobeying all of Dr. Stephens´
genetic commandments, breaking with
what many would consider the deepest coding of all — the bond between mother
and child? I tracked down at least one man
who´d done just that. Lance had given up the 9-to-5
to let his high-flying wife go out and win some bread
for a change. Was this, as Dr. Stephens
had joked, a leisure lifestyle nirvana? Or was it, as Dr. Stephens´
work seemed to imply, a recipe for misery? Good morning,
sweetie pie. Hi, sweetie pie. Men with babies.
Don´t get me wrong. I´d always been keen
on spreading my genes, but so was Genghis Khan. Didn´t mean he hung around. I watched Lance putter about,
doing chores for the kids, and tried to recognize
the emotions flickering across his face. It was the one
I´d feared most — undiluted joy. You made a big poop,
didn´t you? Did you make big poopies? Life it upside down right now. We´re just getting
through each and every day. I´m very fortunate
to be able to participate where my dad certainly didn´t. You know, my mom
was the at-home mom, and my dad was
the primary bread winner. He wasn´t an active participant with changing diapers,
getting me fed, that kind of thing. Now, this is Lance´s
little daughter, Jade, who is not going to school, but in the background,
young Jake is getting
his final teeth brush of the morning
and then heading off to school. [ Laughing ] My prev–
What is my previous experience with kids? Um, I´ve looked
at them in parks, but not too directly,
I guess. People, you know —
People cast assumptions. Oh, no.
Oh, it´s very natural. Does this mean she´s still — She´s fine, right? She´s not kind
of going to die or anything? No. Do you feel
that you´ve stepped back in order to let
your wife step forward? Maybe a step back in my career to let my wife have
the opportunity to excel. My wife
and I — We did what was best
for our family, and so I am no longer
earning an income, but because she values
the work I do, it´s like we´re earning money
for the family. I don´t feel
like it hurts me in my identity because I´m not
earning a paycheck every week. Well, that´s it — So long as the other person
sees the value in what you´re doing…
Yes. … that feels
valuable to you. And so, I can see
where it might be tricky in some other families,
where it´s like, “You´re home all day.
You´re not earning.” “What have you done?
What have you done all day?” Exactly. You know,
“Why isn´t the house clean?” I came home and you´re still
in your jim-jams,” yeah. Haynes:
Lonely as it may sometimes feel,
Lance certainly isn´t alone. Dr. Beth Latshaw´s
2009 study suggested there are more than 1 million
stay-at-home dads in America, and it was to reach
out to other dads that Lance had started
New York´s first meet-up group for them. -Love you, bud.
-Goodbye, Jake. Haynes:
With Jake safely at school, he´d invited me
to a well-earned bro-fest in the park. Lance: We´re meeting up
with a small group of dads. Dads could be at home
by themselves in the confines
of our small apartments, and… Just want
to get out. …be socially isolated, or you can crave
some adult interaction. Good to see you again.
Good to see you. Thanks for coming. Haynes:
So, Nick, when did you become
a stay-at-home dad? Nick: I was working
for a music agency, and then, once
my wife got pregnant and we both made the decision,
you know, instead of hiring a nanny
or going to, you know, daycare, that I would
stay home with — you know,
with the baby. And how do you deal
with the challenges of that on a day-to-day basis? It´s definitely
challenging. I mean, especially being
in a reverse role. Do you feel the burd–
Do you feel unmanly? Do you feel like —
At times. I mean, coming from working
in a music agency, where I was representing, you know, major deejays
and live acts and traveling the world
and partying and going to clubs
and then, you know, a year later, being
a stay-at-home dad is definitely a —
you know, a 180. Haynes: Stay-at-home dads
have complicated lives, balancing the needs
of their wives and kids with their own personal egos. I hadn´t thought much
about having kids before, but hanging out
with Lance and the kids made it seem
more of a reward than a punishment. I´m in Westchester
to speak with Ray Rigoglioso, a life coach
and cultural theorist who´s written the book, “Gay Men
and the New Way Forward.” Ray has promised
to take me into his house and talk me
through the 14-point test, which will decide
how masculine I am and potentially
how gay I am, too. I´m terrified,
but as a real man, I´m just gonna go with it. Rigoglioso:
The mission is to understand and advance awareness of gay men´s contributions
to society. I became curious.
That´s how it began. It was really
just a curiosity. And it evolved into
an understanding of our gifts, those things that gay men
do that are different than what the majority of heterosexual men
do, for instance. And what is the ultimate
prize here? Is is to be
the most kind of “Urh!” man you can think of
or is it to, I guess, kind of embody
some feminine traits? That´s the great dilemma,
isn´t it? It´s really
to embody both. The challenge with the way
masculinity is understood is that it emphasizes masculine
overfeminine. So, to express feminine traits
is devalued and shamed. What is needed
in the world right now is the ability
to be masculineandto be feminine. So, when you are able
to do both, you are a very powerful
problem solver. You innovate,
you bring different ways of human relation
into the room. And this is what I see
with gay men — That it´s a trait, it´s a gift
that we come pre-wired with. We embody masculinity
differently because we express both. And this is what humanity
will need to move toward if we´re going
to survive on the planet. Okay. Um,
and as part of that, there is a test
that you give? Yes. Yes. And what
does that entail? If begins with the three-dimensional
masculine/feminine profile. Okay.
Okay, so, do you tend
to act as a leader? I´m more of a follower,
Uh, no. Individualistic?
Yes. Okay, do you
make decisions easily? No.
Okay. Let´s go
to the feminine traits. Oh.
All right. Do you consider
yourself affectionate? [ Sighs ] No.
Okay. Are you eager
to sooth hurt feelings? Uh, no. No.
No. These are —
These are universal traits. They´re just —
Our cultures determine whether they´re masculine
or feminine, right?
Yeah. So, in terms of
how you hold your hands, do you tend
to hold them at your side, or do you hold them
on your hip? Um… Wherever
is the least awkward. Do you tend to have a narrower
or a wider range of attire? Uh, it´s quite narrow. Narrow?
Okay. Again, this is just meant
to get you to think. Okay.
Okay? So, I´m gonna take the numbers
down to the bottom. Okay, the total´s one,
two, three, four. Okay, for your body, you tend to assess yourself
a little bit more masculine, okay? Okay.
All right. Same ratios for your body
movement and posture — a little more masculine
Okay. And same with
the style of dress. Oh, yeah.
All right? So, that´s consistent
across all three. That´s me.
Okay. Good. Haynes: Ray´s test saw me
for what I was — a man with
unimaginative dress sense and awkwardly-placed arms. I was naked before him. I quickly got psychically
dressed, though, and headed off
to another group with bold ideas
about how learning to cry with other guys
could change your life. Man:
As men, we feel trapped by an expectation
of who we need to be. I have to be father
or I have to be provider. Haynes:
The Braveheart men´s group
was founded in 2010 with the goal
of breaking down the barriers that divide men, mainly
be re-educating themselves on what it was to be a man. I decided to head
to upstate New York, where a group
of Bravehearts had already amassed
with a clear intent of loving, supporting, and barrier breaking
at a log cabin in the woods. After four hours
in the car, we´ve landed
in upstate New York, and I am about to meet the Bravehearts
men´s support group, and I´m super excited, because this is gonna be
my first log-cabin slumber party since I was 11 years old. So, let´s go and meet them. -Hello.
-Hey, Gavin. What´s up, man?
We give hugs here. Haynes: It felt cozy,
being embraced by men. All right.
We give long hugs. I realized as good
as a woman feels, these were different hugs. These were unconditional. So,
you´re all men, huh? And we´re men! Let´s walk. Manly men! Miller: We meet once a week
to talk about different topics that come up for men. We all have these different
stereotypes of the man that we´re supposed to be. So, for me, it was always about being as strong as I could be,
being the best, you know, getting the most girls, who was drinking the most, there was doing
all these things like the most,
the most, the most. Badder, stronger,
faster, bigger. And did you manage that? [ Laughs ] As best I could.
Okay. Until I crashed
and burned. Haynes:
As much as I was enjoying
the manly atmosphere, I couldn´t help but feel that,
should we encounter another men´s retreat
in these woods, they might set upon us
and beat us up as sissies. Maybe there´s something
in this whole masculinity thing. All right, brother.
You´re good. We got you.
Brother, take me to safety. Now you got to jump.
Okay. Jump yourself over.
Yeah, I´m gonna leap the pond. Nice.
Beautiful. Jeremy: This is one
of the few communities of men that I can be together with
and play — like, play like I´m, like, a six year old,
an eight year old. Whatever dumb, weird,
stupid, goofy idea I have, this is a great space
to do that in. We act so self-restrained
in our daily life because, as a professional man,
I´m not supposed to do that. But I want to do that,
because I´m a man and I have a need to play
and be joyful with fellow men. Is this the lost boys´
club, then? I guess.
Maybe in some way. So,
what we´re doing is trying to be unapologetic
in our moving. So, part of that — the silliness of doing
these gestures — is to explore being playful
and what happens with your voice when you are
completely free. So, the first thing
we´re gonna do is imagine you´re
a tree in the wind. And you´re gonna make
this sound. Shh!
Now we´re gonna do it like this. Shh!
Shh! Like a tree in the wind.
Exactly. Just like that.
Beautiful, Gavin. That´s so free, so awesome.
I was starting to think that a conversation
about masculinity didn´t start with men
learning to be men but instead
learning to be boys. [ Warbles ] [ Warbles ] [ Both warble ] Nice job. So, let´s work on the shimmy. Shoulder, shoulder, shoulder. Faster, faster, faster. Okay, now make some sound. Shimmy to the left. And then a shimmy down.
One, two, three. Nice. What would you like?
We´ll follow. Let´s go. Do you want to lead us
through something? Why don´t we just hit each other
with sticks and… [ Laughter ] Man: All right. Shall we?
All right. The Braveheart crew seemed
to be giving me the chance at a second childhood, and since the first one
had been ruined by the tragic death of Diana,
Princess of Wales, it seemed like a chance
worth taking. One, two, three, drop it. And group-hug him. The new masculine! The new masculine! Take it! Yeah!
Yeah! [ All sighing ] Oh, yeah! Haynes: They were trying
to make me less stiff, but I guess the British in me is
more than just stiff upper lip. It´s the entire torso.
And most of the lower body, too. What was your favorite thing
from today? Man: I think my favorite moment
of the day was watching you, Gavin, do the jaw thing. And the shimmy. That was definitely
my favorite. Thank you, Michael. Do you think you´ll ever
outgrow the group? Or do you think you´ll all just
grow together for life? Man #2: The thing with growth
is you never really arrive. You´re always —
You always continue growing. You grow together or apart,
in parallel. I think there´s always — There will always be a place
in my life for a group like this. Does anyone
have any s´mores? S´mores. [ Chuckles ] Good night, Bravehearts. -Good night, Gavin.
-Good night, guys. Man: Good night, Gavin. Good night. Haynes: While I dreamed,
I remembered all my fun times with the men of America. In many ways,
this new masculinity is concerned with
the same timeless basic goods like love and acceptance. I certainly sense they were
all scrambling to keep up in a world where the messages about men had gone from merely paradoxical
to utterly contradictory. It felt like a reaction
to broader trends in society, to our gender politicking 2010s. With everyone else dialing
into their sexual identities, is it really so strange
that men are taking note? Haynes:
Would you like to hug? [ Laughs ] Shall we embrace each other
and say goodbye? Let´s hug.
Let´s give a hug. All right. Haynes: Take care,
men of America. Be sure to hug
each other regularly. -Thanks for coming.
-I feel your masculine energy. [ Laughter ] All right. Oh! Oh, no! Wow. See you. I already miss Gavin. All right.