What is a man? How should he look? How should he talk and behave? Many of the mental-health problems which men face come from a struggle to embody some kind of archetypal masculine ideal, often presented through various media. Poet Andrew McMillan presents a series of essays which examine the gap between the masculine ideal and the real person. Surprising, troubling, and uplifting, these wide-ranging stories explore issues from body image and trans identity, to fatherhood and race.
In men, body dysmorphia can be expressed as ‘bigorexia’ – the belief that your body is too weak and thin – or anorexia. Andrew McMillan explores two sides of the same coin.
Sometimes men just don’t like football. Writer and teacher Okechukwu Nzelu decides to be himself in front of his students.
- Photo story
“It’s really hard to describe to people how you know you’re a man when those ways of describing masculinity to me aren’t true. You need to find your own.”
Two men in a café dressed in practical workwear might seem indistinguishable, but closer inspection reveals layers of complex, nuanced identity.
About the editor
Andrew McMillan was born in South Yorkshire in 1988. His two collections of poetry are the multi-award winning ‘physical’ and, most recently, ‘playtime’, both published by Jonathan Cape. He is a senior lecturer in creative writing in the Writing School at Manchester Met and is the guest editor of the ‘Explaining Men’ story series.