Being A Man

Being A Man

What makes a man? A festival at London’s Southbank Centre looks to find out

The rigid and archaic ideals that have defined masculinity for decades are finally loosing ground. Gender debates are consistently hitting headlines whilst identity politics are becoming a staple in everyday conversation. With perfect timing, London’s Southbank Centre returns with the fourth instalment of Being A Man – an annual weekend-long symposium exploring the contemporary male experience. Nordic masculinity, fatherhood, porn and mental health are amongst the speaking points that are sure to spark lively debate, alongside an impressive schedule of performances and activities. Below we highlight some must-see talks set to enlighten and inspire.

Robert Webb – How Not To Be A Boy

Why are boys not allowed to cry? Do all men like sport? What does it mean to “man” up? These are some of the questions that award-winning comedian and author Robert Webb (of Peep Show and That Mitchell & Webb Sound) grapples with in his new book How Not To Be A Man. In this talk he’ll divulge his own particular journey into ‘manhood’, revealing why he refuses to conform to conventional masculinity.

Porn: How does porn affect male expectations of sex?

Porn remains a taboo subject, but this vast industry has played a big hand in shaping perceptions of sex. In this urgent talk, experts will shed light on the uncomfortable reality of porn’s influence. Wendy Jones (author of upcoming book The Sex Lives of English Women) and Justin Hancock (co-author of Enjoy Sex) will be amongst a panel of experts discussing the relationship between porn and addiction, objectification and play.

Reggie Yates in conversation – from TV presenter to documentary storyteller

Reggie Yates’s debut book Unseen details his beginnings as a young black working-class man navigating the various challenges that come with working on screen. In what promises to be an endearing conversation, the popular personality brings the pages of his tome to life with insightful meditations on his career, family and identity.

Being A Man will takeover London's Southbank Centre from 24-25 November

  • Words: Monique Todd

  • Photography: Southbank Centre