Changing gender roles are key to accelerating the culture shift around changing the way we work and live. Redefining Masculinity is an editorial package that investigates what it means to be a man in 2017—and beyond. As part of it, we’re asking a wide range of men across industries, ages and background to answer 6 questions about what masculinity means to them. Read more about the project here.
Thrive Global: How would you define masculinity?
Ryan Harwood: Historically, masculinity was associated with strength, machismo, and muscularity. Modern day masculinity is more complex. Confidence and a strong sense of integrity come to mind, combined with a high emotional intelligence. Strong family values — being a great, present father and partner brings a strong sense of masculinity.
TG: Who in your life shaped your view of masculinity?
RH: My father, Scott Harwood, and my grandfather, Martin J. Simon combined to form my strongest views on masculinity. They were both great fathers that were driven and ambitious to be great at whatever they took on. Both were honest, worked hard, and wholeheartedly respected women.
TG: How has society’s view of men changed since you were a kid?
RH: It used to be much more prevalent that the man was the provider for the household. Dual income couples is increasingly popular, and more emphasis is being placed on being a great husband and father than ever before. Showing emotion as a man is welcomed and championed more than frowned upon.
TG: Does masculinity influence your work? If so, how?
RH: I work with 75+ women and was the only male employee at PureWow until employee #31 — being able to encourage independent, strong females was core to my personal success and the company’s success. I’ve always steered clear of any typical masculine stereotypes when hiring.
TG: What should children be taught about masculinity?
RH: Being yourself and not trying to be someone else is the most masculine thing a boy can do, it shows lack of fear and a sense of self awareness that is the greatest sign of strength.
Ryan Harwood is the Founder and CEO of PureWow, a digital media company that specializes in women’s lifestyle content. He founded PureWow in 2010 after noticing a void in the digital landscape for the Upper Millennial and Gen X female. PureWow publishes original content that provides unique, under-the-radar discoveries related to fashion & beauty, food & travel, home decor, tech, recipes, health, and more. In January of 2017, PureWow was acquired by Gary Vaynerchuk as the first property under newly formed publishing company, The Gallery, a sister company to digital agency VaynerMedia. Prior to starting PureWow, Harwood worked for Goldman Sachs & Co. for five years and was instrumental in the development of the Goldman Sachs Private Bank. He is a graduate of the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.