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Boys: What It Means to Become a Man in the 21st Century

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  130 ratings  ·  21 reviews
What does it mean to be growing up male right now, when ideas about masculinity are in flux and power differences between the sexes are shifting? In Boy: What It Means to Become a Man in the 21st Century, award-winning Canadian journalist Rachel Giese connects with readers on both sides of the gender divide as she investigates how we can support boys to become their fulles ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published May 1st 2018 by Patrick Crean Editions
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3.92  · 
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 ·  130 ratings  ·  21 reviews

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Ina Cawl
i am not impressed or convinced by this book
I really wanted to like this better... Ok, I’m glad this book was written and Giese does make some good points — like when she argues that the “boys in academic crisis “ trope is overblown, but I expected something a lot more powerful, based on what I’ve read of Giese’s journalism. For one thing, there is too much background information: anyone who picks up this book is almost certain to be pretty familiar with the fundamentals of gender studies — there is no need to start the reader at square o ...more
My feminist reading list has been woefully missing books about masculinity and how that holds boys and men hostage in some ways, so this book was a great start to more broad reading and knowledge. I found a lot of value from the topics discussed, and the fact that the book concentrated on Canadian and international examples. Feminism really does benefit everyone, and it’s helpful to realize that each person is an individual and can have a multitude of personality traits that may or may not fit w ...more
Aug 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As the Nana to two young grandsons I think it is crucial that I understand the toxic expectations of masculinity and the complexities of gender. I want these lovely youngsters to live their truths. This requires me to think outside my female-oriented mindset. Giese’s thorough review of boys becoming men has opened my eyes and my mind to better understand the issues my grandsons will face as they grow. I feel much better prepared to be their ally and if I am truly blessed, their confidant.
Apr 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Full disclosure: I read this for a research project. I've also been reading all day and I'm exhuasted, excuse the grammatical errors. I thoroughly enjoyed it and finished in one sitting (I skipped over the boys education crisis part, it wasn't relevant to my research), but I still think i read a good enough chunk of this book to give it a fair rating. *If you are a beginner in gender and sociology studies* like me, this book does an excellent job at breaking down complex theories that can alread ...more
Jun 02, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's something refreshing about a book that showcases alternatives instead of answers. It goes a long way to debunking some of the more traditional myths surrounding masculinity and the cause of problems for/by/about Boys (rather than starting out with the problematic and ultimately, wrong premise that Boys are naturally built to be problems themselves).

I was surprised at the level of intersectional interaction (though would have preferred a deeper involvement there which is the only reason
Jun 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Some might hesitate upon seeing Boys: What It Means to Become a Man in the 21st Century because it seems almost academic in nature. It would surprising, then, to discover that this book is engaging and easy-to-read. It is truly interesting and addresses key elements of manhood (ie. stereotypes of what manhood is supposed to look at) and how these mandatory manly things affect both boys and men throughout their lives.

Giese addresses many of these key features, including sports, video games, and (
Amanda Judd
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An in-depth and hopeful look at the issues facing boys and the transition to manhood in North America. As a Canadian, it was refreshing to see so many local examples used and balanced with American examples (rather than citing primarily American sources and claiming the insights apply more broadly) as well as international contrasts. The solutions she offers to counter harmful trends facing children are hopeful, but tangible and within the realm of possibility (at least on an individual parentin ...more
Apr 03, 2019 rated it liked it
This is the fifth and last book that I needed to read for the Eldercollege Pre-Writers Festival class. It is not one I would have picked up otherwise. Giese has done thorough research into every fact as well as fiction regarding the challenges boys face as they meet the realities of growing up. She addresses such issues as special needs, color, sports, video gaming and sexual identity. While her premises are well documented, I was disappointed in her wrap-up. She presents lots of challenges but ...more
May 27, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you're raising a boy, look to 'Boys' as a starting point for ideas on how to do it well in our current world--but don't expect a how-to parenting guide.

Ms. Giese discusses many common problems with modern masculinity and explores some uncommon solutions discovered through her work as a journalist. Enlightening as those ideas may be, an even greater emphasis on solutions would have been welcome, rather than a reiteration of the well-known issues (but that may speak to the larger problem facin
May 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
My overall take-away is that the 'Boy Box' is defined as the absence of stuff: caring & tender emotions; femininity; and being unique (different from the group). JW's review raises a good point: "an even greater emphasis on solutions would have been welcome." Treating every individual with tenderness is one approach. I sense, however, that group think (e.g. locker room settings) makes typical (group) settings of interaction more difficult than individual interactions.
While somewhat technical at the start this book was incredible. Every man and woman should read this book. I think that we parenting is changing - it does seem that many young men are parenting in ways that certainly never would have happened in my youth. One piece of advice for all parents - take your ear buds out when you're out with your child and put your phone down. Treasure the time with your children and use the situations you encounter with your children and use them as teachable moments ...more
Tej Swatch
There's nothing about this book I disagreed with, and there wasn't much new to learn. I'm in the choir, and this is a song book.

If nothing else, it is a one-stop source for an understanding of modern masculinity and its context. However, I wish it read less like a series of long news articles and had more of narrative cohesion. Giese is a great journalist and a clear writer. I fear the book didn't have anything for me.
Chad Lucas
Jun 22, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended for anyone raising, working with, or otherwise concerned about boys. Rachel Giese's writing and research covers a multitude of arenas (friendships. school, sports, gaming, sex and relationships) in a thorough, frank but considerate way that challenges some of the common narratives around boys and masculinity.
Ciaron Czajkowski
Jan 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Easy and interesting to read but a bit repetitive at times. I would have thought there would be more direction for parents regarding how to actually raise boys but an interesting conversation starter nonetheless.
Gerry Brown
Nov 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A worthwhile read for her ideas on the genetic, cultural and personal forces at work on how boys become men. I like that she includes her own son's history into the book as it gives her ideas a personal perspective.
Lauren Simmons
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
An absolute must-read for anyone who parents, educates, or exists in the world with boys. So many insights in to the realities and pressures of modern boyhood.
Jun 26, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
The author seemed to string together pieces from past articles and personal experiences as a mother of a boy; lacked cohesion, lacked focus. Not well done.
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting read for parents and boys. While there is nothing ground breaking in terms of conclusions, it is an informative, clear read that approaches the subject in an entertaining way.
Aug 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a must for anyone who has a stake in raising boys. The premise is basically that if we hold boys to the typical “man box” of masculinity (boys don’t cry, are not emotional, are violent and aggressive) that this is ultimately damaging to boys and also to girls as may result in men who do not respect women and don’t understand healthy relationships. The author breaks this down very well building a strong argument for challenging stereotypical gender norms. Very well researched, access ...more
Rohan Khadilkar
So insightful. Definitely worth a read!
I. William N.
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May 16, 2018
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Amber Lee
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