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Jay Taylor

By August 12, 2020No Comments
Episode 26

Jay Taylor

Social Worker, Educator, & Resource Trainer at A Call To Men

Jay Taylor is a social worker dedicated to social justice and equality initiatives. Taylor has worked in anti-human trafficking, community health centers, young men’s restorative programing, psychiatric hospitals, university wellness centers, and as an adjunct college professor. His involvement with men’s issues began when he worked with men in anti-human trafficking and domestic violence programs. Today, Jay is a Resource Trainer and Specialist in Violence Prevention for Colleges & Universities and Mental Health Education at A Call To Men, a violence prevention organization and respected leader on issues of manhood, male socialization and its intersection with violence, and preventing violence against all women and girls. We sat down with Jay Taylor during the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation Summit in 2019, and our conversation about how pornography influences problematic behavior, particularly in men, is still relevant today.

You can learn more about A Call To Men and their efforts in the anti-exploitation movement at acalltomen.org.

EPISODE TRANSCRIPT

Garrett: What’s up people?! I’m Garrett Jonsson and you’re listening to Consider Before Consuming, a podcast by Fight the New Drug.

Today’s conversation is with Jay Taylor. We recorded this in June 2019, so we’re stoked to finally be publishing it. Jay works with an organization called A Call To Men. A Call To Men was founded by Tony Porter. Side note, you should check out Tony Porter’s Ted Talk from 2010, GQ Magazine has named it one of the “Top 10 TED Talks Every Man Should See.”

But back to Jay. He works as a trainer for A CALL TO MEN. A Call To Men is a violence prevention program that educates men all over the world on healthy, respectful manhood. They claim that embracing and promoting a healthy, respectful manhood prevents violence against women, sexual assault and harassment, bullying and many other social ills.
With all that being said, let’s just jump into the conversation. We hope you enjoy this episode of Consider Before Consuming.

Garrett: Um, so Jay Taylor!

Jay: yes.

Garrett: Do people ever call you Jay Tay?

Jay: That’s never happened a lot of people when I introduce myself, I’ll say my name is Jay and it’s, it happens at least once a week. Someone’s like “Jason?”, I’m like, ?Nope. I didn’t say that. Definitely. Just Jay.” Yeah.

Garrett: For some reason, I feel like if we were buddies, I feel like I would just call you Jay Tay, I don’t know. It’s just, that’s what came out naturally.

Jay: You can call me whatever you want. My nickname’s Flamingo. So, you know, whatever, whatever…

Garrett: Where did that come from?

Jay: That came from, uh, my first, uh, first trip to Burning Man. That was my Playa name.

Garrett: That’s cool.

Jay: Yeah.

Garrett: FIRST trip to Burning Man?

Jay: Yeah. Well, I say “first” because I intend to go again. I’ve only been in one, but yeah, it’s a very open space where people really get to just express themselves and you kind of get to see what the world could be if people really honestly connected. And there wasn’t all these, uh, made up barriers between people that, that exist. It’s, it’s really a cool space to be in.

Garrett: That’s awesome. Well, uh, welcome to our podcast. Our podcast is called Consider Before Consuming and it’s podcast by Fight the New Drug. Do you know, I’m not expecting you to know honest question. Do you know about Fight the New Drug?

Jay: I’ve seen, um, some things online about it. I don’t know that, but it’s been very brief. So I don’t know much about in depth of what it is, the mission or the vision or how it is that you go about doing your work.

Garrett: Cool. Um, just to give you an idea, eh, we are a nonreligious, non legislative, nonprofit, the educates on the harmful effects of pornography using only science, facts, and personal accounts.

Jay: That’s great.

Garrett: And so we are, we’ve been trusted by over 500 schools around the world. We go into like junior highs, high schools or colleges.

Jay: I got a question. You said it’s a non non-religious, non, non legislative. Is it gluten free? [laughter]

Garrett: Yeah, and it’s organic and non GMO. [laughter]

Jay: [laughter] Alright.

Garrett: So tell us a little bit about your organization.

Jay: Sure. So I work for an organization called, uh, with name A Call To Men (ACTM). So I’ll call two men and we are a violence prevention and gender equality organization that by and large works with men and boys. And we discuss the culture of masculinity and manhood how it is that men are socialized to be in our world. And I say world, because it’s not restricted to a region or a state or even a country, but men across the world are generally socialized in the same kind of ways. We have our own nuances and our own cultures, but in general, men are socialized to be a particular way in the world. And so what we do is we engage men in conversations. And I say conversation, cause we’re not educators. We just have talks with men about what it is to be a man, how it is to be socialized and how men are actually a part of the solution to domestic violence, sexual assault, and pretty much violence of all forms, homophobia, bullying you name it. When we do our work, we know from our own research, we’ve been doing this for about 20 years, that when we go in and, and really implement one of our programming, we see a decrease in every form of violence. Um, whether that’s verbal harassment, sexual harassment, domestic violence, bullying, or homophobia, we see those decreases, um, because we galvanize men to step into a healthier form of masculinity. And once someone’s in that space, they behave differently and they feel liberated.

Garrett: That’s awesome. Um, one thing that you said is you want men to be part of the solution and that kind of brings in this undertone that right now they’re a part of the problem. Right?

Jay: Well, what I would say is that men are not the problem. The socialization of men is the problem. And men and women are both socialized to understand men in a particular way. So it’s our socialization. That is the issue. And I, myself, just like so many other men, um, have fallen victim to an understanding my identity in one very particular narrow way. And I can talk more specifically about what I mean with that in a minute. Um, but in doing so, it creates a breeding ground for violence to exist. And we recognize that I called them in that if we want to end violence against all women and girls, we need to start with engaging all men and boys in embracing a healthier form of masculinity. And what happens is when you liberate men from the narrow confines of male socialization, they are liberated. And then by proxy, all women and girls are more valued and safe.

Garrett: Interesting. So how do you do that? You go into these organizations and what does that look like or do, do you also work with individuals?

Jay: Uh, we Mo mostly in group group format. So we work with coaches. Uh, we, I think we’ve done talks at over 200 plus high schools and universities across the United States. Like I said, we’ve got every major sports organization. We have a contract, so we see them every year. Uh, we worked in the U S military over in Japan, in Kenya. We have a, uh, a healthy masculinity jump rope program in Kenya. Yeah. That was a, that’s a very random thing that occurred. We didn’t see that one coming. Um, so we work mostly with groups of men. Um, and I, and I, I personally have, um, worked with a lot with college age men. So sort of emerging adults as they’re really figuring out who they are as a person, but who they are as a man as well.

Garrett: Do you find it more enabling and empowering for men to do this in groups?

Jay: Yeah, because men understand their socialization together in many ways. Right? Um, so I should, I should first sort of lay the foundation for our work. So it all the rest of it makes a little bit of sense. Um, what we understand is that that men are socialized, uh, inside of what we’ve coined the term, the Man Box, right? And the Man Box is it’s a box for a reason because it’s, it’s sort of a prison. So to speak that there’s particular ways that men are taught to always be in the world, that they have to be this particular way. And then there’s rules associated with being that way. Right? So I’ll ask you, if you don’t mind, what are some ways that you can imagine men are socialized to be in the world? How do you have to be in order to be a man?

Garrett: You have to be… cool.

Jay: Okay. You gotta be cool. Right. Swagger.

Garrett: You gotta be good with words.

Jay: Okay.

Garrett: You got to be tough.

Jay: Yeah.

Garrett: You got to be able to hold your own.

Jay: Right. Independent.

Garrett: You gotta be, uh, be able to make money.

Jay: Right. So, yep. Yep. Obviously wealth is a part of it.

Garrett: You got to be a provider.

Jay: Yep. Being a provider. So what we kind of see is inside the man box there’s, you know, men are taught to always be dominant, always be powerful, always being control. Don’t ask for help be the provider, be the protector, make the money, show your wealth. Right. And there’s more, that’s just, that’s one part of it. But those are some of the predominant ways that men are taught to be in the world. And anything outside of that is typically seen as feminine, right? And antithetical to masculinity because men understand their identity at a distance from the lived experiences of women and girls. And so what holds the Man Box together is homophobia because anything in the Man Box is what we identify as masculine manhood, anything outside of it is feminine or gay. And that’s when we’re not supposed to go there.

But what we at A Call To Men recognizes that inside the man box men have limited resources for connection. They’re cut off from their own emotions. There’s an increase in mental health problems, anxiety, depression, men’s rates of suicide is four times that of women we’re not allowed to connect in the world inside the man box. There’s no connection to ourselves or others. And when we’re allowed to ask for help, and we’re allowed to show weakness when we’re allowed to be vulnerable. And that gets accepted by the world around us, we become bigger and we become liberated. So this work is because we believe in hope and healing for men, and that when men heal the world will be safer place because less violence will exist.

Garrett: I like that.

Jay: We always talk about, rather than if you want to create cultural change, you don’t cut off the leaves. You, you get to the root, right? And as we’ve learned about at the conference that we’ve been attending, um, there’s a lot of issues with pornography and its deleterious effects on men’s health and on their relationships and with their children. And I mean, it just goes on and on, right? The statistics, they just kind of keep pouring in and people keep mentioning about how all of this is happening, but it’s all happening mostly with men, right? I mean, by and large, 90% to 95% of the problems that we’re seeing with pornography. And the problem that we’re seeing with violence in the world is it is happening with men. It’s from the hands of men. Now that’s not to say that men are not sometimes victims of domestic violence and sexual assault that does occur. No question about it. And especially within the LGBTQ community, we see that as well.

But the, but the issue lies with the perpetrators are most often men, once again, that’s not to indictment, but rather to say that the way that we’ve been socialized is problematic and we can resocialize ourselves and we can change. I speak from my own experience. I mean, I lived in the man box for years and I always felt like I wanted to be different. And I wanted to show vulnerability. Cause that’s kind of, I was a sensitive guy, but I got stuffed back in the Man Box in high school, over and over and over and in college, over and over. Cause anytime I’d step out and show vulnerability or weakness, you know, I would be socially rejected by a woman or rejected by guys.

Garrett: So you did step out, you did attempt and it was con it wasn’t comfortable?

Jay: I have all this at the time though. Right? I didn’t have this language. I didn’t have this understanding to work with. I just knew that authentically to me, I was a little bit more of a emotionally InTouch guy.

Garrett: But you kept it in the box?

Jay: Yeah. I grew up to later become a, a clinical social worker and have a private practice. And I teach at a university now. So I’ve always had that a part of me, but I never, there was always this in congruency between who I thought I was supposed to be and why authentically was right. And it was really when I got to understand this work, that I was able to fully embrace who I was and leave behind that man box stuff, but don’t get me wrong. There’s a lot of beautiful things about being a man that I love to hold on to.

Garrett: Um, so one common word right now or phrase, is toxic masculinity. And so it’s about chipping that away?

Jay: That’s a good, I’m glad you bring that up. A toxic masculinities is very interesting thing that people keep kind of throwing around and I get the point of it and I understand it, but I have to kind of sort of qualms with, with toxic masculinity. The first one is that it’s often used as a mechanism, a linguistic mechanism to shame and blame men. And as soon as you do that, you lose them. You’ve lost them in conversation. And now you’ve told them that there’s something wrong with them, right? And I want to say that rather than indicting men, we need to invite them into a conversation. So we had to call them in. Don’t talk about toxic masculinity because it immediately cuts off that invitation to a conversation. But more importantly, toxic masculinity is also gives men a choice to opt out of the conversation because well-intended men, which is 85 to 90% of men who do not cause harm who do not hit women, who don’t verbally assault women.

Who’ve never committed rape and never have any intention of doing so they’re just what we would call sort of quote unquote well-intentioned men. I’m assuming you fall in that category. And myself included well-intentioned men when they hear toxic masculinity, their first thought is, “Well, I don’t do that. So I’m not a part of this conversation.” but that’s not true. Every man is a part of this conversation. And if we can galvanize enough men to embrace healthy masculinity and develop a voice to speak up, to intervene. And to say, you know, “That kind of sexist language.”, isn’t going to cut it here. We’re not okay with that. If more of that happens and there’s less silence, we reduce the violence.

Garrett: Dude, As you said that I got the chills, bro, because that, that is important. Yeah, I like it.

Jay: Yeah. So our work is prevention. We don’t, you know, if, if you think about kind of the harm that’s done in the world and domestic violence, sexual assault, only about like I said, 10 to 15% of the men in the world are the ones causing the harm. That’s not where our work is. Our work is our creators are I say, creators, that sounds strange. Our CEOs have been doing this for 20 years. They actually started their work in batterer’s intervention programs, but they decided the intervention wasn’t enough. It was time to swim upstream to prevention. So our work is with the other 85% of the male population that has good intentions for the world and wants to see a healthier, safer world. Let’s talk to them because between, you know, your, you identify as a man, I assume there’s unwritten codes between you and I.

There’s these codes of silence and unwritten ways that we have to behave around each other that you and I know, but we don’t speak of on the surface. And those unwritten codes are often about silence. And those codes are often about connecting as men together at the expense of women and girls. But if every man can start to see that well-intentioned men can start to see that network of these unwritten codes and rules that we have to behave in, they can start to deconstruct it, break it apart, and then choose which parts they want to keep that work for them. And which parts are harmful to the rest of the world. And then when they see someone else acting in a harmful or, or difficult way, they can step up and say something. Our work really at the end of the day is about helping men develop a voice because we all have a platform, whether you’re a coach or a teacher or an, or an uncle, you have a platform to speak to other men.

One of the issues that we see over and over, and one of the reasons that it’s so important that a men’s organization, which by the way we have, we have women on the board. We have women in our administrative staff. We have women who do trainings with us. We often do. So we work right alongside with women. It’s not like we’re isolated as all men, but the reason that men go out and do trainings with other men is because unfortunately we live in a society that is built on a patriarchy and the truth is men and boys really only listen to other men. If a woman walks in the room and starts talking about this, the boys shut their ears off right away. But when I walk in, they’re going to listen to me. So men have to do this work with other men.

Garrett: My question is, why do you think that is?

Jay: Well, that’s a good question. I’ll actually bounce it back to you. What do you think?

Garrett: I think it’s projected on us that we should listen to men. And so I think whether it’s the athletes, we see how they interact, the music we listen to, the TV shows we watch. I think I w because of where I’m at in the audience that we speak to, I think one thing that influences men is pornography.

Jay: Sure. Yeah. I actually can’t believe I forgot to say this at the beginning. Um, sort of the foundation of our work is this sort of two fold. And I already explained the man box, but the piece that I forgot to explain, which is part of what you just said is that men are socialized in three very particular ways. The first is to view women and girls as having less value comparative to men. Number two is that women are seen as objects, particularly sexual, and that women are the property of men. And it’s those three things combined that form the foundation for violence against women and girls. And it’s those three ways of understanding their identity as men at a distance from women and girls, which is why men are less apt or adept at having these tough conversations, when a woman’s leading the conversation.

Garrett: That makes sense. One question I have is as you go into whatever organization you go into at the time, and these people, “We’re in our box.”, right?

Jay: Yeah.

Garrett: “We don’t want to come out.”

Jay: Yeah.

Garrett: Are people just like…, or is the goal to like poke a hole in the box? So we can see a little hole, and see some light coming through?

Jay: Yeah.

Garrett: Or is it to destroy the box? Or what’s the goal here?

Jay: Yeah, that’s a really good question. I liked, I liked the visual metaphor there. Um, I would say that the goal is to just see the box for what it is, and then choose what you want to put in it and keep and what you want to take out. Right? Because like I’ve said before, there’s a lot of really beautiful things about being a man that I want to keep. And I want to maybe kind of live in the man box a touch here and there. But by and large, a lot of those ways of being are harmful to me. They limit and restrict my lived experience and who I want to be in the world. They prevent me from creating connections. And so I think rather than poking a hole or breaking the box apart, we just want to see it and recognize that it exists so we can choose what we want to do with it. And then everybody can make their own individual choices to what they, what they keep and what they discard.

Garrett: So do you find yourself as a leader in the organization and teaching others, do you find yourself still trying to fight media that is projecting onto you or like thoughts of what should be in your box?

Jay: Every day? I screw and I screw it up every day. I mean, this morning I was working out at the, here at the hotel gym and, uh, um, I think one of the, one of the songs I was listening to was, you know, it’s a workout song, so I’m trying to get hype, you know, for sure. And, uh, can I say some difficult language on there?

Garrett: Yeah.

Jay: So like one of the lines and I hit me, I was like, Oh, there it is. It’s just, it’s all around us is like “all these fake hoes, all these fake hoes.” And I was like, and I’m still, you know, I worked for a call to men. I’m still listening to it while I work out, but I recognize it and I see it and I recognize I see it for what it is. uh, I still listen to a lot of mainstream media and music that is really deeply misogynist, but when I hear it, I, I hear it for what it is and I don’t just kind of fall victim to it. Right? Um, but I also, I mess up all the time. I mean, I told a story the other day when I presented of when I was, uh, I ended a long six year relationship and I was in the online dating world again. Uh, well, it was first time I was online dating, but I was in the dating world again. And so I was like, “Well, I don’t know how to meet people. So I guess I’ll do this thing that everybody else is doing. Just get online, open dating profile.”

What I found myself doing. And this was only a year and a half ago. I’ve been with, I’ve been, I’ve been doing healthy masculinity work for some time, many years now. And only about a year and a half ago, I was on a date with someone and she went to the restroom and I found myself pulling out my phone, opening up my dating app to find more girls to meet. And I, and it hit me a few days later when someone was asking me how my dating life was going and then said, they asked me about that. And I gave them the truth. I said, “Well, I’m dating multiple people right now. And some know some don’t.” And they said, “Oh, you work at a university”. Yeah. And I said, they, they said, “Do you do anything else?” And I was like, “Oh, now I have to explain.”

It was finally like, I got to see clear as day that I fell victim to objectification again. And, and I, I mess up all the time. I always like to say that “I’m never fully cooked.” Right? We’re always in process. They’re healthy. Masculinity is not a destination. It’s a process. It’s a journey just like life. Right?

Garrett: For sure.

Jay: And, uh, and I mess it up all the time and I say dumb things and I recognize it right afterwards. Uh, and that’s it, it’s just, we want people to be more conscious and aware of the way that they show up in the world. Um, but even someone who does this work messes up all the time and, and that’s OK. Um, I’ve heard this statement and I love it. Fail early, fail often and fail forward. And I’m going to fail at healthy masculinity. Sometimes I’m going to mess up, I’m going to say and do the wrong things. I’m going to offend someone who’s part of the trans community, because my CIS normativity prevents me from seeing her or his lived experience. Right? Or their lived experience.

Garrett: You’re learning.

Jay: Yeah. I’m learning and I’m growing. And that humility, I think, is a big part of what healthy masculinity is about, is being humble and saying, “I don’t have the answers, but I’m willing to listen.”

Garrett: Yeah. I like that. So, in your opinion, Jay, what, what is pornography doing to men? How is it influencing that box? Is it like taking the box and then just like wrapping it in duct tape, making sure that never opens up again? I don’t know…

Jay: Yeah. That’s another great metaphor. Um, I can speak to myself personally if that’s okay. And then I’ll speak to sort of men in general, I think personally, you know, my own, uh, my own, uh, pornographic consumption. Um, it very subtly made me believe that my body needed to be a certain way. Right?

Garrett: Yeah.

Jay: And that the women in my life needed to look and behave in a certain way. And it’s real subtle stuff. It wasn’t overt. Right? It wasn’t really big. But I recognized that when I was consuming more of it at certain times, I saw a correlation between my consumption and my body image. And I was like, Oh, that’s motivation enough to, to, to stop because I’m feeling bad about…

Garrett: It was perpetuating a false expectation.

Jay: Exactly. And I also found myself, you know, in my younger, like in my early twenties, when I think about probably college age, when my use was higher, um, I would maybe be engaged in some kind of a sexual encounter with my partner at the time. And I wouldn’t even be able to be with her. I couldn’t be present with her. I had to think of the women that were on the screen that I had been watching. Yeah. And so you, you lose the beauty of what you have in yourself and in your partner.

Garrett: Did you notice that in your experience pornography affected you in any of the ways you’ve talked about not being present?

Jay: Yeah.

Garrett: A little bit of objectification and then also a…

Jay: Body image.

Garrett: Yeah. Any other ways?

Jay: Um, you know, I think just subtly and very simply without recognizing it just so many other media sources, um, it just it’s, the whole process is very devaluing of humanity and specifically of women and girls. Right. And so there’s no way I could, I, that there’s no way in heck I could watch porn and then go out and value women as much as someone who isn’t watching porn. It’s just, it’s not possible. Even if I’m doing this work and being this kind of guy, I just can’t, there’s no way you can watch those kinds of images of female degradation over and over, and then walk out and see a woman as equal to you.

Garrett: One question I have Jay, it’s kind of a more toward jerks, your personal experience. We’re a nonreligious nonprofit, but I just was curious about your background. Did you come up in a religious home?

Jay: Yeah, I grew up in the Midwest, so I was in kind of the Bible belt area and I grew up in a slightly religious home and, and I was involved in the church for many years when I was younger. Um, I’m not part of that now. Um, uh, that’s not a piece of my life that I’ve, that I’ve decided to hold on to. So, um, my work with A Call To Men, um, …

Garrett: And ACTM is a nonreligious organization, correct?

Jay: Yeah. We’re non religious, nonpolitical, you know, we’re just trying to start conversations around our socialization. Um, and I personally don’t have a have a role in, in the faith community. Um, either I just am committed to seeing a safer health world.

Garrett: Yeah. That’s awesome.

Jay: Yeah, no, I, my, my thoughts or feelings about, uh, masculinity or, or pornography’s effects on masculinity, um, are completely divorced from religion and faith in, in my mind.

Garrett: Nice. Um, so develop a voice. You mentioned that that’s the goal.

Jay: That’s the ultimate goal. Let me ask you a question. If, um, if you do one of our trainings, which I hope you do, and you’ll probably, if you stick around long enough, you could see Ted Bunch talk. He’s one of our CEOs.

Garrett: He seems like a stud.

Jay: Uh he’s he’s amazing. He’s like a father to me. Um, we were just talking about father’s day. Actually. I told him that.

Garrett: That’s right, it’s coming up.

Jay: But, um, one of the things that, uh, he’ll, he’ll probably, he may, he may bring it up. May not, is that we challenged people once you’ve gone through a little bit of our training and you get to see the work, um, something that we’ll ask people to do is men specifically say, if you’re sitting in, um, if you’re watching the super bowl, uh, with your, uh, with your nephew, do you happen to have a nephew?

Garrett: No. I only have nieces, but I have two sons and a daughter.

Jay: Okay. You have two sons. How old are your sons?

Garrett: Um, six and one.

Jay: Okay. Six and one. Okay. So we’re going to fast forward a few years. Let’s imagine your six year old is now 10, right? He’s 10 years old. You’re watching the Super Bowl and an advertisement comes on for beer that is very clearly utilizing the female form and body to sell beer. And it could, that can come up in a lot of different ways. Right? We have very specific ways that we talk about this. Cause we show specific images of past advertisements from, you know, beer, advertiser agencies, things like that. And that 10 year old boy looks to you and says, “What do they mean by that?” Before doing our training, most men would deflect. They wouldn’t go there. They wouldn’t talk about, what’s really being said in that, that advertisement, our goal after doing our trainings is to be able to give men a voice, to say, “You know what, they’re trying to sell beer. And they’re using women’s bodies as a way to sell it because they know that works with men because men oftentimes in our world, don’t always value women and girls as much as, as they do other men.”

Garrett: One question I have is what if the kid doesn’t turn because in my experience, the ten-year-old is not going to turn to the dad and say, “Hey, why does, why is that dad? Why is that? Why is that a, why is that commercial sexually exploiting…?”

Jay: [laughter] Sure. Yeah. Most 10 year olds you’re right. Are not going to turn to ask. Um, but that’s when the onus is on dad, uh, you as a father or myself as the uncle, or, you know, the, of a friend of other men, or just even a human being on this earth with other men around right. Is to be able to say, you know, that that’s the way our world operates. And it’s unfortunate. And it’s based in a particular, uh, system of the way that men believe and behave about women and girls. But you don’t have to do that. You can make a different choice and you can see that women do have equal value to men and that you don’t have to buy into these messages about women’s bodies as a way to manipulate you as a man, because truth be told, um, as a man I’m sometimes a little bit offended by these things, like, do you think I’m that simple that you can sell me beer just by showing me some breasts like cleavage is, am I that barbaric? No, I have an intellect. I’m sophisticated. I, I have hopes and dreams of a different world. Like sell me something intelligently. I think men should actually be offended by that kind of advertising and marketing because it degrades us as, as, as being,

Garrett: How often do these conversations, does it need to happen to help form a, a healthy ten-year-old?

Jay: That’s a good question. Yeah, I don’t, I don’t know that there’s any, uh, specific magic number that, that provides it. I think it’s when the opportunity strikes and there’s opportunities ripe everywhere in our society to have these conversations, whether that’s a song that comes on the radio or an advertisement on a billboard, or, um, just a general conversation about relationships that might come up because they’re having a fight with their friend when they’re 10 years old, right. And maybe their friend is someone of the same sex. And what you see happening is if it’s a young boy, then maybe the clash that’s going on between them is actually situated in some kind of man box behavior. There’s an opportunity to talk about it. Maybe he’s, he’s having a fight with his female friend who’s 10 years old, and you can talk about what it is, what it means as a boy to relate to other girls and how not to degrade them when you’re frustrated with them, how not to see them as having less value, just because you’re mad at them.

Right. And that gives you an opportunity to talk about gender equality and, and those sorts of things. So I think it’s not about how many times, but rather just being able to recognize the opportunities that arise. I think in our world, you could artificially create the opportunity if you want, like at a dinner table or maybe after a baseball practice or something, or you can just wait for them to arise on their own. And if you’re looking for it, you’ll see them almost every day.

Garrett: Right.

Jay: Uh, Tony Porter, our CEO has said something that for some people can feel a bit controversial, but I think if you dig at it, it’s quite true. And he says that he thinks that the truth is, is that women femininity the way women are socialized. They’re closer to humanity. And that, that men are just socialized to be further from our connection to what real humanity is, which is why men are the ones who start Wars. And men are the ones who commit most of the violence and perpetuate all of the pain that we see in our society, because there’s that distance from our very own humanity, the core of what makes us good as beings, um, is socialized out of us. So I think we’re thirsty as health to connect with ourselves first and foremost,

Garrett: For sure, man. I think one, one phrase or equation that I’m thinking of right now is that happiness equals reality minus expectations. And those expectations are kind of forming that box. Yeah. And I, and then I was looking at pornography, like I loved what you said, thirsty for connection. And if you look at like pornography, pornography is usually drives people towards isolation, the opposite of connection, you know?

Jay: Yeah. Um, I teach a course at my university on substance abuse treatment. And I say that the opposite of addiction is connection.

Garrett: Yeah.

Jay: And people obviously do get addicted to porn.

Garrett: And also oftentimes people turn to a substance or behavior because of the lack of connection. Right?

Jay: Yeah. Because it forms a, an inauthentic and, um, it forms a loving bond to something that gives them what they need temporarily. Yeah. When I define addiction as a false loving bond, uh, to, to a thing or a behavior, because for a time period, that thing does give you what you need, whether that’s dissociation and disconnection from your own reality or connection to something that feels good. Right? But over time, the problem is that substances and things can’t reciprocate that love. So they just drain you of what you’ve got.

Garrett: Dude, Jay Tay!

Jay: I really enjoyed the talk.

Garrett: Yeah. That was a good conversation. Um, any last words?

Jay: Yeah. I think, I think the biggest things is that we understand that masculinity shows up at an intersection of race and class and gender expression and sexuality and orientation and ability, right? That there’s no one way to be a man. There’s no one way to understand masculinity, or manhood, that everybody has to find masculinity that works for themselves. And that works for the world. But the first step in that is just taking pause to say, “Yeah, maybe there’s something going on here that I can change for myself.” and in doing so you’ll create a safer world for everyone else.

Garrett: Jay, thank you for being here.

Jay: I appreciate you having me on, I can’t wait to listen to this and share it with my family and friends.

Garrett: For sure. Thanks.

Thanks for joining on this episode of Consider Before Consuming. Consider Before Consuming is brought to you by Fight the New Drug. Fight the New Drug is a non-religious, and non-legislative organization that exists to provide individuals the opportunity to make an informed decision regarding pornography, by raising awareness on it’s harmful effects using only science, facts, and personal accounts.

If you’d like to learn more about today’s guest and the conversation we had, you can check out the links attached to this episode.

Big thanks to you for listening to this conversation. As you go about your day, we invite you to increase your self-awareness, look both ways, check your blind spots, and consider before consuming.

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