Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Tulsi Gabbard enters the presidential race, Megyn Kelly cuts ties with NBC for good, and toxic masculinity hurts everyone—men and women. Have a mindful Monday.
• Toxic masculinity’s universal plague. Last week, the American Psychological Association’s new guidelines aimed at promoting better mental health for boys and men created all sorts of buzz. Its recommendations took aim at the rigid construct of “traditional masculinity,” which APA experts point to as a key source of stress, anxiety, and poor outcomes among males. It’s the first time the group has published tips for how practitioners can best care for male patients, and, naturally, it drew ire from select corners of the political sphere that interpreted the findings as anti-man.
In actuality, the APA doesn’t criticize all masculinity, but an over-reliance on the too-narrow “traditional” concept of it; the “particular constellation of standards that have held sway over large segments of the population, including: anti-femininity, achievement, eschewal of the appearance of weakness, and adventure, risk, and violence.” Clinging to this insufficient set of traits can cause men frustration and stress and can keep men from asking for help when they need it.
We often blast toxic masculinity as a threat to women—manifesting itself as sexual harassment, sexual assault, or workplace discrimination. But it’s just as important to recognize the harm it’s doing to men.
I’m reminded of the Nathan character from this 2017 piece in the Economist’s 1843 magazine titled “The Man Trap.” While professionally satisfied, well-paid and—it should be noted—well aware of his privilege, Nathan envied his female peers who’d stepped away from careers to be full-time caregivers. “They weren’t perceived as failures. If anything, they were told ‘That’s so great, you’re choosing to be a mom, that’s the most important thing in the world.’ That is not an option open to men,” he said.
I often bang the drum of women needing to off-load their disproportionate share of caregiving duties; what goes unsaid is that men need the leeway to pick it up. It’s commonplace to celebrate women as they break the stereotypical mold (such as these female farmers who, The New York Times says, “are reclaiming the American West”); rarer, it seems, are tributes to men who embrace nontraditional roles.
If our image of women is (thankfully!) evolving, society must adopt a broader definition of what it means to be a man too. Failure to do so is bad for men’s health, as the APA points out, and it also jeopardizes the march toward equality that needs everyone’s buy-in.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Political roundup. Hawaii Democrat Tulsi Gabbard officially entered the 2020 presidential race, joining Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Julian Castro. In other political news, Nikki Haley and Ivanka Trump are reportedly being considered to replace Jim Yong Kim as president of the World Bank. And Ruth Bader Ginsburg is healthy, with her lung cancer completely gone, the Supreme Court says.
• Kelly makes a killing. Megyn Kelly’s separation from NBC is official, and she’ll be paid what remains of her $69 million contract. She was forced to leave the network after making comments on air supporting blackface in October.
• Rosy outlook. Mary Barra’s General Motors released an optimistic earnings outlook—fueled by the expected results of its 15,000 job cuts. GM projects the cuts to boost operating profit in 2019 by nearly 20%, or more than $2 billion.
• Faces behind the food. Fortune‘s Beth Kowitt and Dan Winters traveled down to Texas’s Rio Grande Valley to talk to the workers whose labor keeps food prices low and grocery shelves stocked. Women in the region said they left restaurant work for produce picking, which can be more lucrative.
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: PG&E Corp., California’s largest utility, said yesterday that CEO Geisha Williams is stepping down amid political and financial pressure over the company’s role in sparking California wildfires. Mary Kay Bowman leaves her role as head of payments at Square to be head of seller solutions at Visa. Cat Lee, the former head of culture at Pinterest, joins venture capital firm Maveron as an investment partner. Tara McCann joins Rockwood Capital as managing director. Angela Conley and Irene Fernando were sworn in as county commissioners in Hennepin County, surrounding Minneapolis, the first people of color to hold the role.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Shareholder backlash. Alphabet’s board of directors is getting sued by its shareholders over the $90 million exit package the company awarded Android founder Andy Rubin after an investigation found he had sexually harassed an employee.
New York Times
• Listen up. An audio recommendation today: Friday’s episode of Call Your Girlfriend, the podcast hosted by Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow. The episode examines the two-year history of the Women’s March and puts the recent allegations of anti-Semitism within the organization in that context. “So many people are right in this conversation,” Sow says of the debate. “And so many people are wrong.”
Call Your Girlfriend
• Econ 101. The #MeToo effect has hit economics, where female economists are pushing their field to improve. Issues of sexual harassment took center stage at the annual meeting of the American Economic Association, where Janet Yellen said that addressing the treatment of women in economics “should be the highest priority” for years to come.
New York Times
• Fashion forward. It’s a big moment for menswear. Specifically, companies like Nike, Lululemon, and Gap are trying to “cash in on men caring more about their appearance.” Sales of menswear are expected to outpace those of womenswear over the next two years.
ON MY RADAR
MacKenzie Bezos and the myth of the lone genius founder
When honest women replace ‘self-made’ men
New York Times
You should care that Richard Spencer’s wife says he abused her
Missy Elliott will be the first female hip-hop artist inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame