LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
seismic change is indeed under way—
and that we still have a lot of work to do.
As I think you’ll find, this issue is
the beginning of an open-ended con-
versation. We’re not attempting to be
comprehensive on the subject of mas-
culinity or o≠ering a strict how-to for
being a better man. Instead, this issue
is an exploration of the ways that tradi-
tional notions of masculinity are being
challenged, shifted, and overturned.
It’s also intended as an exploration of
how we can all become more generous,
honest, open, and loving humans—
especially if we rebuild masculinity on
a foundation of traits and values like
generosity, honesty, openness, and love.
Needless to say, one of the voices
in the mix is that of our cover subject,
Pharrell Williams, who is an icon of
progressive thinking, music making,
and dressing. Pharrell has a long his-
tory of shattering cultural norms—and
he has also shown a profound ability
to adjust as the world around him has
Clare Waight Keller
changed. That dynamic combination of
leadership and responsiveness is aspi-
rational, and exactly why we wanted
him on the cover.
Before I step aside and let all the
many thoughtful voices in this issue
speak, I want to unpack one word that
keeps coming up in these pages as the
antidote to toxicity: empathy. Empathy
is our ability to feel what other people
are feeling. It is the foundation of love
and of the Golden Rule.
If Pharrell, Tarana Burke, and
Hannah Gadsby are right, it’s also
something that men urgently need to
cultivate right now.
I’ve thought about empathy a lot
over the course of editing this issue.
And it strikes me that before you can
feel what others are feeling, you must
first be in touch with how you feel.
In other words, you have to have empa-
thy for yourself. And then you can turn
that hard-won superpower outward
and do unto others as you would have
them do unto you.
It might seem counterintuitive that
the people we need to learn to love
first and foremost are ourselves, but I
believe it’s true. Toxicity simply cannot
thrive in the golden presence of genu-
With that, I’ll pass the mic. Time,
once again, to listen.
EDITOR IN CHIEF