Dr Carole Hooven: Natural feelings should be celebrated, not punished
Boys and young men are in crisis and growing up confused, anxious and angry about their place in the world because of anti-masculinity movement that demonises all aspects of traditionally male behaviour, even positive attributes, such as bravery and risk-taking.
The toxic masculinity backlash is also the reason for the rapid rise in popularity of figures such as Andrew Tate who have built huge social media platforms for espousing misogynistic rhetoric.
These are the controversial but considered views of highly-respected academic Dr Carole Hooven, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and associate at the Harvard Department of Psychology.
As the author of “Testosterone: the Hormone that Dominates and Divides Us”, Dr Hooven has fearlessly and repeatedly spoken out in support of the science around how our hormones inform our impulses, decisions and behaviour.
She is adamant we must approach some of the most divisive and incendiary culture war issues from a starting position of established facts and not emotion-driven feelings. (Watch her other Unfiltered interviews on how sex difference denial is a danger to society and why cancel culture is a threat to social progress.)
In an exclusive interview with Unfiltered editor-in-chief Joe Warner, Dr Hooven now takes aim at the anti-masculinity movement, arguing that the risks of society demonising all natural male feelings far outweighs the benefits of reining in a few high-profile men determined to keeping living in the dark ages.
Not one to mince words, Dr Hooven slashes through the pervasive politically correct narrative, arguing that the zeal to combat harmful stereotypes means we’re throwing the baby out with the bathwater, and how the crusade against so-called toxic male behaviours is forcing a generation of young men to walk on eggshells, haunted by the question “are my instincts inherently bad?”.
That’s why, she argues, it’s high time to differentiate between genuinely harmful actions and the natural expressions of testosterone-fueled masculinity. If we don’t, who knows the impact it will have on the long-term psychological health of our sons, nephews and grandsons.
Toxic masculinity has become a key battleground term in the escalating culture wars, but just like other key fronts – such as the unchecked rise of gender-neutral language or transgender sport participation – Dr Hooven believes we’re in danger of leaving science on the sidelines, with a small but vocal minority deliberately over-complicating issues that should be easily navigated, if we can allow common sense to prevail.
And common sense, supported by robust science and unapologetic candour, is why Dr Hooven refuses to be silenced on the growing issue of toxic masculinity, despite her public positions having already cost her work as well as professional and personal relationships.
But as the mother of a young son, when the stakes are this high speaking out in support of the science is her only option. And, as she is so keen to stress, our incendiary Unfiltered conversation is more than just a clash of ideologies; it’s an urgent wake-up call to society.