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The Gender Knot

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The ideas podcast where we untangle the new masculinity and femininity.

The ideas podcast where we untangle the new masculinity and femininity.
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United Kingdom


The ideas podcast where we untangle the new masculinity and femininity.






How women can ask for what they want

Former dominatrix and Taoist nun Kasia Urbaniak teaches women about power and influence at her school The Academy. She walks us through this unique time where women are finally speaking openly and honestly and expressing their rage, and how we can best get men and women to support each other through the necessary but transformative mess ahead. **Guest:** [Kasia Urbaniak](, women’s power and influence coach and founder of [The...


Dan Savage: what straight couples can learn from same sex couples

The love, sex and relationship guru and host of the Savage Lovecast gives us his thoughts and tips! Note: this episode is very Not Safe For Work – download now and save for later if that’s relevant! Also, co-host Jonathan Freeman is leaving us and signs off! Finally, The Gender Knot is on hiatus until 15th October. We’ll be back with a new season then. **Guest:** [Dan Savage](, sex and relationship advice...


Men and commitment issues: fact or fiction?

It’s a big cliché that men are scared to commit, don’t want to be tied down, are always ‘hitting the road’ and leaving promising relationships with women. Today’s guest thinks this is a simply not true and actually leads to us all suffering and having worse relationships. We dive into the nuances. Note: The Gender Knot will be back in early October - we are taking a break during September but will be back in a few weeks. Write to us in the meantime! **Guest:** Dan Carroll, co-host of the...


The roots of male shame

Why is shame such an issue for men despite the privileges men still have in almost all societies? Is privilege itself part of the problem, and what can be done to tackle this issue? Women are also being vocal about their experiences due to toxic masculinity and also male shame. Where does this leave men as they try to grapple with their own experiences? **Guest:** [Rob Kandell](, coach and consultant, host of the [podcast Tuff...


Women and pay: How can women negotiate for better pay?

In April, a report by the UK governments and the Equalities and Human Rights Commission showed that 80% of large companies still paid male employees more than the women. In the US, in 2017 women still earnt just 82% of men’s salaries, according to data by the Pew Research Center. There are structural changes that still need to take place, how do men and women approach pay negotiations differently? How receptive are bosses to women asking for more money, and what are the best ways women can...


Men’s groups: potential problems?

Therapy is important, and men’s groups can’t be a substitute for therapy says today’s guest. We recently looked at men’s groups and had some interesting feedback. Despite all the positives we hear, that can be problems which are worth knowing about. We speak to someone who actually runs men’s groups and also works helping teenagers develop healthy relationships. We delve into the potential problems and how to best utilize men’s groups. **Guest:** [German...


Guest episode: Ministry of Ideas – White Balance

Jonathan is stuck in the library in DC, and Nas and Sam and Jonny in London are all swamped, so we decided to play you an episode of one of our favourite podcasts while we work on more Gender Knot material for you for next week onwards. The Ministry of Ideas is a podcast about the ideas that shape our world, and is from Harvard Divinity School. Their episode ‘White Balance’ looks at how understanding race in American also requires understanding its relationship to class. It’s a compelling...


Men’s groups: can they provide the support that men need?

‘Transformative’ is a word we’ve heard from so many men who’ve benefitted from men’s groups. It’s a topic that’s comes up on this podcast a lot. Why are so many men getting together with other men to talk about their lives and experiences? How do these groups work and what do they talk about in them? And can they provide men with the support that they need? **Guests:** Kenny Mammarella D’Cruz ([The Man Whisperer](, men’s group founder and personal development...


Friends and love: what role can friends play in our love lives?

This week’s guest emailed 700 friends asking to be set up on a date, and followed up with everyone a year later detailing what happened. The most interesting part of her results are that the people she knew the least were the ones who set her up with someone. Our friends know us best, yet why do we under utilize them in our search for fulfilling romantic relationships? Should friends set each other up more? And why is it likelier that people we know less well are the ones who may actually...


Male Shame Pt 1: What role do women play?

Male Shame lies at the root of so many problematic dynamics between men and women, whether on an individual or a society-wide scale. The problem is many men have a very limited space where they can explore their shame, if they even have that space at all. How can women play a role in this and what’s the best way to make a man aware of the consequences of his shame based behaviour? A coach and consultant helps us figure this out. **Guest:** [Rob Kandell](, coach and...


Women in business: what should they keep doing?

Speaking more forcefully, being more assertive (or even aggressive), over-confidence and being unrealistic about outcomes; these are just some of the ways in which women in business are told to approach investors if they are to raise money. But is this advice fair or even accurate? We're going to explore this, focusing on the world of technology. Why is it harder for women in tech to raise investment money, what needs to be done to change things around, and what advice to women get which...


More women are cheating. Why?

We got a curious email from the folks at Ashley Madison recently – that’s the dating website for people looking for discreet encounters, such as affairs. They’ve seen a rise in the number of women signing up, and there’s evidence showing that more women are cheating on their spouses – or perhaps women are now more open or honest about their affairs. We delve into why this is happening. We speak to a woman who has had an extra-marital affair to find out her reasons for the affair and her...


Ambitious women: why are some men scared of them?

In season 2 we explored why we’re scared of ambitious women, and talked to one of our co-producers Sam, and heard from a teacher about the roots of this problem. It was an episode which really resonated with so many women who listen to this show and a dilemma we just had to revisit. Mark Pagan has talked about his mixed attitudes to dating ambitious women on his own podcast Other Men Need Help. Mark finds ambitious women attractive but is also threatened by them, this being a dynamic which...


Esther Perel: What’s next for men and how women can help

This is the century where men need to rethink their identities at home and at work, says world renowned therapist Esther Perel, and that things will only change for women once men do this. We hear about her experiences working with couples and the unique challenges men face when trying to navigate their inner lives, and she advises us on how men and women can better communicate with each other. **Guest:** [Esther Perel](, therapist, author of ‘Mating in...


#MeToo comebacks? Charlie Rose, we’re done!

Stephanie Butnick of the Unorthodox podcast and Tablet Magazine joins us to kick of season 3 where we ask if the men accused of sexual assault and harassment under the #MeToo movement can make comebacks. Note: There are rumours that Charlie Rose may have a show where he interviews other accused men, that Mario Batali will be opening more restaurants and that Louis CK may be making a comeback, along with rumours about many others too. Is now the right time for a comeback, and should they even...


Flawed Male Heroes: What do men do when their heroes are flawed?

Pulitzer Prize winning author Junot Diaz recently joined a line of men such as Louis CK and Aziz Ansari who had been looked to by some people as being allies to women, but who have recently been accused of sexual assault or harassment in the wake of the #MeToo movement. These men have helped some men grapple with their own masculine identities and are people who have ‘gone there’ and have tried to attempt being better towards women, especially given it can be hard for men to talk about these...


Do men need nature to be better men?

A man going off on a solo expedition into the wilderness when he’s having a dilemma or a tough time or when he needs to make a difficult decision is a staple of so much literature, and especially of fiction aimed at boys. It also seems to be a thing in reality too. Is this simply a form of romantic escapism or can it help men to solve their problems and to deal with difficult times? And do men actually need to spend time in nature to become better men? An outdoors-y Californian man helps us...


Men and feelings: How can we go there?

We’ve heard a lot about the dilemmas surrounding men and their feelings on this podcast: how boys are raised with little acknowledgement of their feelings or disallowed from expressing or exploring them, to the destructive impact this has when they grow up, be it through high rates of depression and suicide in men or potentially violent behaviour. And then there's the huge amounts of emotional labour that many women end up performing in many areas of life as a result. Last time we tried to...


How can men best help feminism?

We just made Time Magazine’s list of [50 best podcasts](, and they recommended this episode from earlier in season 2, which is also one of our favorites, so we’re replaying it now. We explore the best things men can do if they want to help feminism, and the things they should avoid. We also look to the push for racial equality to see what lessons can be learnt and applied to the movement for gender equality. We are on hiatus and back with our next...


Why are we scared of ambitious women?

Ambitious women get held to tricky double standards; there’s the expectation that they should have the drive and vision of ambitious men but are also expected to ‘be nice’, to care take others and to not threaten men. And women are often harshly judged for many of the more negative downsides to ambition – such as being less considerate of others and demanding your worth – which are either seen as positives or neutral when done by men. We’re living in an era when there is probably more...