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Terry Crews: Modern Day Masculinity Can Be as Damaging as the Taliban

Illustration for article titled Terry Crews: Modern Day Masculinity Can Be as Damaging as the Taliban

While you probably know Terry Crews from Brooklyn 99, Everybody Hates Chris or his time playing in the NFL, you might be less familiar with his work as one of the most progressive and thoughtful voices in gender criticism. The actor—who just published the book Manhood: How to Be A Better Man - Or Just Live With One—recently took part in the What Makes A Man 2014: Maps to Manhood conference and sat down with Elamin Abdelmahmoud to discuss feminism, consent and what it means to "be a man" today.

The entire talk is well worth a listen, but here are some particularly choice excerpts.

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On feminism:

I think the big thing about feminism is that it scares men because, you know—the big deal is that people are scared of being controlled...I want to be clear that feminism is not saying "women are better than men." That's not what's going on...What it is is that we're talking about gender equality, true gender equality...but the problem is that men have always felt like they're more valuable...I have been that guy where I felt I was more valuable than my wife and kids.

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On being outspoken about the problems with modern day masculinity:

I get a lot of guys who are like, "You know, that's good, man. That's cool," and I also get guys who are like, "What are you DOING?"...It's like, what is the big deal? But it's [that I'm] telling. [I'm] telling. "It's MAN CODE, dude. Man Code! C'mon."...but does Man Code work when it's your daughter who gets raped? Man Code—does that work when your mom gets abused?

...I'm living in the real world and you can drink the Kool-Aid all you want. A lot of guys love the Kool-Aid. The sports world is Kool-Aid world...You can do anything if [you win]...What happens is they win and they go, "You know that girl? She's my trophy. I deserve that girl. In fact, she don't even want to be with me, but I don't care. I'm going to take it." What kind of mindset is that? Never never never never never should that ever be accepted. That's not "code." That's Taliban. That's ISIS.

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On the importance of men supporting the feminist cause:

I kind of relate it to slavery. Or even civil rights. Let's not even go back to slavery, let's go to civil rights—the people who were silent at the lunch counters, when it was the black lunch counter and the white one or the schools were segregated...and you were quiet. You were accepting it. Same thing with men right now. If you don't say anything, you are, by your silence—it's acceptance. I'm not going to be silent.

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Crews also expounds on the many ways that perceptions of masculinity hurt men. (Again, give the full interview a watch!)

Conclusion: Terry Crews should lead talks across America.

Image via Getty.

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DISCUSSION

I just think Terry Crews is the most delightful person, and that opinion is compounded every time I watch him in an interview. I even love the way they initially cast him in Brooklyn 99, which is as a sergeant who has to stop working in the field for a while because he gets panic attacks at the thought of dying and leaving his wife and two baby girls alone. The whole arc is done with a lot of humor and levity, of course, but it was neat to see them portray this hulking dude (easily the most obviously badass and masculine of the group) grapple with therapy and re-acclimating to the field in a kind of realistic manner.

Also, his baby girls are named Cagney and Lacey. And he fully expects them to both be the president.

(Can you tell how much I enjoy this show?)