Wade Davis TEDTalk caro

Taking Off the Mask of Masculinity

Former NFL player Wade Davis explains how masculinity often prevents men and boys from truly expressing themselves.

Wade Davis TEDTalk caro

Wade Davis

Growing up, I loved that people saw me as a masculine man. I loved the power, the access, the respect and the perceived safety that masculinity provided me. So in late 2015, when the University of Florida asked me to give a Ted style talk at their 2016 TedX Conference in March, I decided to call it “The Mask of Masculinity.”

As I wrote in my recent essay explaining, why more Black men should be feminists, I wanted to use personal narrative to highlight the big problem with masculinity.

Here’s a hint: It’s NOT real. 

“We raise young boys to wear a mask of toughness in order to be a man, and we rob them of their childhood and their innocence.”

Masculinity is a performance and a mask we, men, wear to shield ourselves from pain, and the performance of masculinity never ever means freedom and self-love.

It’s time to get free.


Former NFL Player Wade Davis is a thought leader, writer, public speaker, and educator on gender, race, and orientation equality. Davis is currently a senior consultant at YSC, a global leadership consulting firm, as well as the NFL’s first LGBT Diversity and Inclusion consultant, and the Executive Director of the You Can. 

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