The Waves

The “Masculine Mystique” Edition

The Waves on the APA guidelines for men and boys, Gillette’s new ad campaign, and the women running for president in 2020.

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On this week’s episode of the Waves, Hanna, June, and Noreen discuss the new American Psychological Association guidelines for boys and men—and the crucial distinction that many commentators who disagreed with them missed. Then, a new Gillette ad has gone viral for its invocation of toxic masculinity and #MeToo, provoking strong reactions from feminists and misogynists alike. Should we be wary of “woke” brands, or can marketing campaigns like this one be a sign of genuine progress? Finally, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris have officially formed “exploratory committees” for 2020. The hosts debate why both are emphasizing motherhood in their messaging and assess the state of the presidential race as a whole.


In Slate Plus: Is it sexist to consider Mary Oliver a “middlebrow” poet?

Other items discussed on the show:

• Our upcoming live show at the Sydney Opera House

• “APA Issues First-Ever Guidelines for Practice With Men and Boys,” by Stephanie Pappas for the American Psychological Association

• “Invisibilia: How Learning to Be Vulnerable Can Make Life Safer,” by Angus Chen on NPR

• “In Search of Non-Toxic Manhood,” by Ross Douthat in the New York Times

• “Why Gillette’s Toxic Masculinity Ad Is Annoying Both Sexists and Feminists,” by Kaitlyn Tiffany in Vox

• “The Boys Are Watching,” by Melinda Wenner Moyer in Slate

• “This Beautiful Ad, Featuring a Gay Couple and Their Children, Is Stunningly Moving,” by Mark Joseph Stern in Slate


• “The MAGA Teens Aren’t Innocent Victims,” by Ruth Graham in Slate

• “Covington Catholic Student Hired PR Firm Co-Founded by Mitch McConnell’s Former Aide,” by Clio Chang in Jezebel

• “Kirsten Gillibrand to Put Women’s Issues Front and Center of Her Presidential Campaign,” by Amanda Terkel in HuffPost

• “Kamala Harris Enters 2020 Presidential Race,” by Matt Viser and Chelsea Janes in the Washington Post

• “Beto O’Rourke’s Beatnik Road Trip Through the Southwest Is Good for America,” by Ben Mathis-Lilley in Slate


• June: You on Netflix and Fintan O’Toole’s Heroic Failure: Brexit and the Politics of Pain

• Hanna: Agnes Callard’s Aspiration: The Agency of Becoming and “The Art of Decision-Making,” by Joshua Rothman in the New Yorker

• Noreen: Tara Westover’s Educated: A Memoir

This podcast was produced by Jessamine Molli. Our production assistant is Alex Barasch.

Please remember to like our Facebook page. Send your comments and recommendations on what to cover to And come to our live show at the Sydney Opera House on March 10!