I felt compelled to buy this book because growing up, I didn’t have many real-life male role models. Yes, I had a dad, but I never really appreciated him as the model I wanted to be growing up.
Instead, I defined my masculinity from my experiences growing in the school system.
That obviously went to shit.
Defining my masculinity by looking towards a groups of insecure boys for inspiration was a recipe for disaster. It’s hard for boys to talk about ways to be a better man, when everyone is just as clueless as you are.
So we developed the traditional desires of young boys: we all wanted money, babes, and ultimately, to be cool. An important point to make is that we didn’t want to be labeled as a non-man. We wanted to fit in with “the boys”. There was no room for being a “pussy” in boy groups.
Even now at 22 years old, I find myself falling into the same mental traps that bothered me since middle school. I still feel the need to toughen up for other people, to hide back feelings. I still feel a pang of inadequacy when guys talk about how much money, girls, or success they have.
And that’s why Lewis’s book intrigued me: I needed to confront my own psychology. In this book, he promises to deliver solutions on “how men can embrace vulnerability, create strong relationships, and live our fullest lives.” I had to see if that was true.
He starts off by stating that the 8 Masks of Masculinity are:
- Stoic Mask
- Athlete Mask
- Material Mask
- Aggressive Mask
- Joker Mask
- Invincible Mask
- The Know-It-All Mask
- The Alpha Mask
As I was reading, it all made sense to me. I could feel bits of each mask in my life, some more than others. The ones that related to me most were the Stoic, Know-It-All, and Alpha masks.
I don’t think Lewis is the most eloquent writer, but he gets to the point. And it gets a little cheesy sometimes (especially in the What’s Available When You Drop This Mask sections) but maybe that’s my Stoic Mask telling me so :)
The stories from interview guests of Lewis are the main attraction to this book, as he backs his main points with stories often. This is the part of the book where I felt like he extrapolated too much from the stories of his guests. Sometimes he would use a quote and pull something way out of it that seemed like a bit of a stretch. However, it was refreshing when he talked about his guests and how he openly disagreed with them, as I don’t see many authors doing this.
Overall, the Mask of Masculinity has helped me experience breakthroughs in what it means to be a man. I’ve always been curious about why I feel almost impulsive needs to act a certain way, even if I knew it was wrong. Lewis captures these masks in a framework that is easy to understand.
To all the men out there, if you want to understand why you act the way you do, this is the book to read. It’s easy to digest and helps you get to the root cause of many of our greatest insecurities.
Great job, Lewis.
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