‘How Not to Be A Boy’ is Webb’s autobiography with a bit of a difference. One of his intentions in writing it was to share his experiences with toxic masculinity, and why it’s so damaging.
Note: When I say feminist I mean someone who stands for gender equality rather than simply women’s rights
I heard a lot about ‘How Not to Be a Boy’ when it first came out, it sounded really interesting, and just like my sort of book, so I added it to my wishlist, and, like most things on my wishlist it sat there (I have such a bad habit for impulse buying books rather than buying books I already knew I wanted to read). Then one day I was flicking through the pages of netgalley and, to my surprise, it popped up, so of course I requested it.
In reality the book wasn’t quite what I expected. I think I expected it to be more feminist (or have more of a gender equality drive). Essentially though it was Robert Webb’s autobiography. At times he took a step back from the ‘story’ to talk about toxic masculinity, and from some of the things he said- especially when he was talking about ‘the trick [which makes women sad and men have better jobs]’ – he does sound feminist.
If I had gone into the book expecting more of an autobiography I don’t think I would have really wanted to read it. I know Robert Webb’s work- at least to a point- and I don’t dislike him, but I probably a not familiar enough with him to want to read his autobiography. Now though, I like him a lot more.
His autobiography is pretty unfincing. Whist he blame toxic masculinity to a point to the ways he has behaved in the past he also accepts that he is the one that needs to change it. This leads on to the greater idea that it is a man’s job to say no to being made to feel like they have to conform to gender roles. When something is so ingrained into a culture it is hard to sometimes even see that you are encouraging gender roles, just in the different things you might do when with a boy or a girl e.g. how you can call a girl pretty, but a boy has to be handsome which has completely different connotations.
This video was going around facebook for a while, I think it’s a perfect illustration