Man Up | Masculinity, Race, and Relationships in the Modern World

Man Up | Masculinity, Race, and Relationships in the Modern World

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On Man Up, host Aymann Ismail invites men and women to tell embarrassing, funny, and sometimes disturbing stories about their lives as they try to figure out what they still have to learn—and unlearn—about being a man. They’ll talk relationships, family, sex, and identity, trying to understand their experiences to help listeners make more sense of their own.


The Real Threat of Video Games
Sep 11 • 27 min
Video game scholar Megan Condis joins the show to explain why white supremacists have been targeting online gamers. She says there’s a specific subset of men, whose fear of newcomers in the gaming space make them attractive recruits for hate groups.
How a Drag King Parodies Masculinity
Sep 4 • 31 min
Pretty Rik E, a DC-based drag king, talks to Aymann about what it means to treat masculinity as a performance. Rik E is part of a group called Pretty Boi Drag, whose drag shows involve lip syncing to hyper masculine songs, dancing confidently, and…
The Fear of Male Birth Control
Aug 28 • 33 min
Aymann realizes he’s a little squeamish about the current birth control options for men. First he talks to writer Angela Anagnost-Repke, who’s been trying to convince her husband Brad to get a vasectomy. Then Dr. Paul Turek joins the show to explain what…
Becoming “Man of the House” Too Soon
Aug 21 • 32 min
What exactly was going through Kareem Rahma’s 20-year-old head when he found out his father only had 6 months to live?As he tells it, nothing. He was entirely fixated on how the family dynamic was about to change. As the eldest sibling, as the oldest boy,…
Where Mass Shootings Often Start
Aug 14 • 28 min
This week on Man Up, Aymann talks with Kim Gandy about the link between mass shootings and domestic violence. Gandy has been an advocate for survivors of domestic violence for over 30 years, so she knows better than most the cost of staying silent on the…
My First Therapy Session, on Tape
Aug 7 • 29 min
This week on Man Up, Aymann sits down for his first-ever therapy session with psychotherapist and host of the Hey Man podcast, Avi Klein. He learns something about how he copes, and about how some therapists might be pushing men away. Tell us what you…
The Trouble With Being an Asian Guy on Tinder
Jul 31 • 34 min
This week on Man Up, writer Eddie Kim talks with host Aymann Ismail about sexual racism, why he thinks Asian men are at a disadvantage on dating apps, and how some toxic subcultures react to that.
Chefs Don’t Have to Be Jerks
Jul 24 • 25 min
When J. Kenji López-Alt landed a job as a line cook at the elegant No. 9 Park restaurant, he wasn’t expecting to spend his first day standing in the corner with a figurative dunce hat on his head. He was being punished by the chef for incorrectly chopping…
Your Opinions on Her Wardrobe Are Probably Unwelcome
Jul 17 • 20 min
Noor Tagouri knows better than most what it feels like to have everything she does under a close watch. Her interview in Playboy Magazine caused an international firestorm not for what she said, but for what she wore. This week on Man Up, Noor shares what…
Men Try to Attract Women in All the Wrong Ways
Jul 10 • 23 min
Nichole Perkins knows what straight women look for in a man. She’s a romance novel enthusiast and former co-host of Thirst Aid Kit, a podcast that focused on sexual desire and celebrity hotness. In this episode, Man Up host Aymann Ismail talks to Nichole…
An Intervention
Jul 3 • 24 min
Over the weekend, Aymann was going viral on the less savory, right-wing corners of the internet. An admittedly poorly worded tweet had exposed him to an avalanche of criticism, some understandable, others sinister and racist. And when a total stranger…
Why Men Refuse to Do Yoga
Jun 26 • 32 min
When Terrell Starr started doing yoga in his 30s, it opened up his mind to new possibilities of what his body could do—not to mention what he could do as a man. He realized he’d been restricting himself not only physically but mentally because of what…
What Brown Men Do to Make Others Comfortable
Jun 19 • 25 min
Simran Jeet Singh has worn a turban his entire life. It’s a requirement of his Sikh faith but it has also made him a target for racist harassment. This week on Man Up, Aymann and Simran share their experiences experiences and discuss how Simran’s Sikh…
A Black Trans Man Meets the Police Again
Jun 12 • 26 min
Trystan Cotten was not prepared for the way his relationship with law enforcement would change after he transitioned in his late thirties. As he wrote in the Washington Post last year, it all came to a head when a cop pulled his gun on him after he called…
Men Aren’t Doing the Dishes at Work, Either
Jun 5 • 20 min
In an effort to distribute office tasks evenly, Slate’s New York office implemented a sign-off sheet for loading and unloading dishwasher—when you do it, you cross your name off. After a quick, unscientific study of the list, it’s clear that there’s a…
What Hollywood Gets Wrong About Black Manhood
May 29 • 25 min
Growing up, Cord Jefferson never really saw himself reflected in the characters on TV. Now, he’s a script editor for shows like Master of None and The Good Place. Aymann talks with Cord about what happens when you don’t relate to the characters you’re…
How Kids Can Change You
May 22 • 24 min
Aymann talks to his brother, Mohamed, about how they grew up and why he’s chosen a distinctly different parenting style from what they grew up with. Podcast production by Danielle Hewitt and Cameron Drews.Contact us about this and other topics by leaving…
A Ghost Story
May 15 • 27 min
What happens when you finally meet an absent father who haunted your childhood.
Let’s Talk About Sex
May 8 • 22 min
Jessica Valladolid is a sex educator in New York city. Her deep friendships with boys during her formative years helped her understand how they start thinking about sex and helped set her on the path she’s on today.
When Fighting Comes First
May 1 • 24 min
Eric Kelly was so successful at fighting off bullies as a kid in Brooklyn, that he grew up to become an Olympic level boxer, until a bar fight ended his career.
Introducing Man Up
Mar 22 • 1 min
On Man Up, host Aymann Ismail invites men and women to tell embarrassing, funny, and sometimes disturbing stories about their lives as they try to figure out what they still have to learn—and unlearn—about being a man. They’ll talk relationships, family,…