#EvolveTheDefinition: Retailer Bonobos Takes On Toxic Masculinity


What does masculinity mean to you? This is the question retailer Bonobos asks in a new spot asking its followers to #EvolveTheDefinition of masculinity.


In the 90-second “mini-documentary,” all different types of men read Google’s definition of “masculine” and compare it to how they self-define, making it clear that traditional textbook definitions are inadequate when it comes to describing the depth, breadth, nuance and potential of evolved definitions of manhood.

Toxic masculinity is defined by Wikipedia as “adherence to traditional male gender roles that restrict the kinds of emotions allowable for boys and men to express, including social expectations that men seek to be dominant (the “alpha male”) and limit their emotional range primarily to expressions of anger.” While prevalent for centuries, as of late, it’s become a huge topic; for instance, we can’t weigh the impact of the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements without equally considering the effects of toxic masculinity; nor can we look at the policies of our current administration without doing the same.

In attempting to address the issue head-on, Bonobos’ respondents include men of all races and sexual orientations—including trans men—proving the point that manhood should be self-defined, not culturally mandated; and that those mandates often do more harm than good.

Most importantly, Bonobos begs the question: What does—and should—masculinity mean now?

Maiysha Kai is managing editor of The Glow Up, host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast and Big Beauty Tuesdays, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door. May I borrow some sugar?



This is a cute first step.

I just find it ironic though that the definition they used to explain masculine was explained but yet no man there fit the bill.

To confront the issue, it helps to show all who benefit from it. We needed an alpha male, jock, and an airhead to express their definition of masculinity.

We need to have all sorts of men in this position to clash with what they think is right versus what is real and necessary in the world today. There are many of us men who don’t fit the bill of masculinity but we also need to confront those who uphold it and challenge the notion of why they believe it is important to keep that going.

But as a first try? It’s nice.