Paperback: 128 pages
Publisher: Pluto Press, 2019
What is masculinity? Dominating the world around us, from Trump’s twitter outbursts to deadly gun violence, from male suicide rates to incels on Reddit and 4chan, masculinity is perceived to be ‘toxic’, ‘fragile’ and ‘in crisis’.
In Mask Off, JJ Bola exposes masculinity as a performance that men are socially conditioned into. Using examples of non-Western cultural traditions, music and sport, he shines light on historical narratives around manhood, debunking popular myths along the way. He explores how LGBTQ men, men of colour, and male refugees experience masculinity in diverse ways, revealing its fluidity, how it’s strengthened and weakened by different political contexts, such as the patriarchy or the far-right, and perceived differently by those around them.
At the heart of love and sex, the political stage, competitive sports, gang culture, and mental health issues, lies masculinity: Mask Off is an urgent call to unravel masculinity and redefine it.
JJ Bola is a writer, poet and educator. He is the author of the novel No Place to Call Home (2017), as well as three poetry collections. He is one of the winners of the 2017 Spread the Word Flight 1000 Associates Prize.