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Melissa Hutsell is an award-winning freelance journalist with a deep rooted passion for both community and international journalism. She was born and raised in Northern California, and has lived, studied, worked, and traveled in more 20 different countries. Melissa holds a Master's degree in Global Journalism from City University London, as well as degrees in Journalism and Globalization from Humboldt State University. Though she covers various topics as both a writer and editor, she specializes in business and cannabis journalism.
The “Manhood, Now” project by "Death, Sex and Money" helps shed light on what men feel like it means to be male in America today—and how that’s changing.
To preface, the podcast asked listeners: “What’s the most confusing thing about being a man today?” Sale said they asked because, while there’s a lot of talk about men—and how they should or should not behave—there are few conversations about it that involve men.
Throughout the podcast, Sale interviews people—like Duane, a father from Ohio, Jack, a teacher and trans man, and Dre, a business owner from California—who feel stuck between what they grew up learning and what's expected of them now.
"There’s a very unclear set of expectations as far as how a man should behave," said one male. "The confusion comes from being told your definition isn’t strong enough," said another.
The interviews highlight a common feeling among men: males feel a need to change and let go of the expectations of "manliness" they grew up with, said Sale. But it's isn't easy, or clear. Their stories help illustrate feelings of resent, confusion, fear, and optimism.
These firsthand accounts are complimented by data collected in partnership with "FiveThirtyEight" and "Survey Monkey". The data includes responses from more than 1,600 men across America. Some of those figures show just how much pressure men feel from society, and from themselves.
When asked: "What do you worry about on a daily basis?" 54 percent of men reported weight. That was followed by finances (53 percent), physical health (49 percent), sexual performance (23 percent), etc.
In addition to these stressors, data also found that nearly half of men report feeling lonely, and that 40 percent don't ask friends for personal advice.