‘The Man They Wanted Me To Be’ Probes The Pitfalls Of Toxic Masculinity

Jun 5, 2019

Jared Yates Sexton explores masculinity in the wake of the Trump election in his deeply personal book 'The Man They Wanted Me to Be.'
Credit Courtesy Jared Yates Sexton

Jared Yates Sexton rose to prominence for his coverage of President Donald Trump’s political rallies in the lead up to the 2016 election. His reporting culminated in the book “The People Are Going to Rise Like the Waters on Your Shore: A Story of American Rage,” and his interest in the culture surrounding Trump only continued to grow. 

Writer Jared Yates Sexton explores how his upbringing shaped his understanding of masculinity in his new book 'The Man They Wanted Me to Be.'
Credit Counterpoint

In his new book, he pivots from the political to the personal and intertwines his own story with an analysis of the problematic masculinity he attributes to President Trump and other men. In “The Man They Wanted Me to Be: Toxic Masculinity and a Crisis of Our Own Making” (Counterpoint/2019) Sexton explores his relationship with his father, a man who he says performed a particular type of hyper masculinity. Sexton contrasts his interactions with his father to his experiences with his grandfather, a purple heart veteran who allowed himself to be openly emotional.

Sexton talks about his latest book with host Frank Stasio in advance of a book talk in Asheville on Thursday, June 6 at 6 p.m. at Malaprop's Bookstore