Terry Crews: The Type Of Man All Feminists Need On Their Side!

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Feminists of the world rejoice, because awesome dude Terry Crews is one of us! You may have already heard, but his recent interview with The Agenda where he shared his thoughts on feminism, masculinity and how men play a vital role in the fight for gender equality leave no room for questioning.

In a world where gender and racial stereotypes still exist (which he acknowledges) it’s awesome to see such a manly man go against the grain of the culture he was brought up in to lead the way for other men to follow his example.

Back in September he shared his thoughts on the domestic violence scandal that had taken front and center in the NFL because of the incident where former Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice was caught on tape dragging and beating his unconscious wife through an elevator. Terry explains how that was his reality as a boy, seeing his own father punch his mother in the face, so he is well accustomed to the idea of men exerting their control physically over a woman, which is probably why he decided to ensure he was nothing like the “manly” example he grew up with!

Earlier this year Terry also released a book called ‘Manhood: How to be a better man, or just live with one’ and he also shared some of what he wrote about in the book, in his interview with Elamin Abdelmahmoud.

Terry was the keynote speaker at a conference for the White Ribbon Campaign called What Makes A Man 2014: Maps to Manhood in November. The focus of the event was how to involve boys and men in ending violence against girls and women. They wanted to challenge traditional notions of masculinity and introduce complex possibilities of being a man, beyond just “toughen up.”

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“His book was inspired by the threat of his wife leaving him. He talks about how he came to a realization that he had always defined his success as a man by controlling those around him. He tells of a life where he used aggression and intimidation as a means of getting what he wanted out of people. But he also tells of a time when he realized that the connections he was fostering were not genuine, but manipulated. He understood that masculinity, for him, was a mask to hide behind in order to avoid vulnerability. And above all, he sounded the alarm on the consequences of a narrow definition of manhood,” writes Elamin.

Terry starts out by saying that these days men have a choice how to act, whereas in years and generations past, the narrow definition of what made a man was he dominant line of thinking and it made it more difficult to be different.

Here’s what he had to say about why it’s important for him to be a feminist:

“I think the big thing about feminism is that it scares men, because, the big deal is that people are scared of being controlled. I want to be clear that feminism is not saying “women are better than men.” That’s not what’s going on. What it is, is that we’re talking about gender equality. True gender equality, that’s the deal. But the problem is that men have always felt they’re more valuable. I have been that guy. I felt that I was more valuable than my wife and kids,” he says in the video below.

When it comes to masculinity, he said that because he has been so outspoken about the issue especially in relation to domestic violence in the NFL, that other guys have criticized him for “breaking the man code”.

“I get a lot of guys who are like, ‘You know, that’s good, man. That’s cool,’ and I also get guys who are like, ‘What are you DOING? It’s MAN CODE, dude. Man Code!” But does Man Code work when it’s your daughter who gets raped? Man Code, does that work when your mom gets abused?” he asks.

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“I’m living in the real world and you can drink the Kool-Aid all you want. A lot of guys love the Kool-Aid. The sports world is Kool-Aid world. You can do anything if [you win]. What happens is they win and they go, ‘You know that girl? She’s my trophy. I deserve that girl. In fact, she don’t even want to be with me, but I don’t care. I’m going to take it.’ What kind of mindset is that? Never should that ever be accepted. That’s not code. That’s Taliban. That’s ISIS.”

He goes on to say it will never work, and men need to do better than to uphold the man code, they need to speak out about it. Amen to that! Terry likens the treatment of women to the civil rights movement, saying men need to be alongside women advocating freedom, not sitting by idly while terrible things happen to half the population.

“I kind of relate it to slavery. Or even civil rights. Let’s not even go back to slavery, let’s go to civil rights—the people who were silent at the lunch counters, when it was the black lunch counter and the white one or the schools were segregated…and you were quiet. You were accepting it. Same thing with men right now. If you don’t say anything, you are, by your silence—it’s acceptance. I’m not going to be silent.”

“But I know they need a man like me to say something because then they go ‘OK, it’s OK, [Terry’s] still living, doing his thing, he didn’t get pelted by rocks, so I guess it’s OK’. People are trying to see if it’s OK to step outside.”

Him talking about being a role model to other men to step up shows the importance of representation. We talk about that word a lot here at GTHQ because for women it is the same thing. We need to be willing to step outside the stereotyped and negative cultural boundaries, so that others in turn will be willing to do the same.

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Elamin asks Terry about some high profile sexual assault cases including the Bill Cosby rape allegations, and what his thoughts are on the conversation surrounding consent.

“The big thing for me is that when you see another person as your equal, there’s things you won’t do. The problem is how you see them vs you. You would only go ahead after someone says ‘no’ if you feel you own them, or if you feel you’re above them. You would only rape someone if you felt that she was property.”

He mentions that yes, a lot of these cases are very high profile, including Bill Clinton, but his concern is the everyday examples of abuse, rape and violence that occur which don’t get the heavy media attention.

“We’re not battling people, we’re battling mindsets,” he says, reiterating that too often we deal with the symptoms and place so much attention on that rather than the actual root of the problem.

There is so much gold in this interview, we highly encourage you to watch the whole video below! Terry even talks about an incident with his 6 year old son when they went to see ‘Iron Man: 3’ in the theater which made him realize that the problem with masculinity today starts very young. Adult men have the power to break that hold over young boys, which is what he chose to do.

Thank you Terry Crews for being an ally, both to women and men, we need more humans like you in the world!

3 Comments

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