Updated: Jul 30
The quick answer is that I have two sons, and as children sons are what I understand.
There's more to it than that, but to properly explain I'm going to have to tell a story first that my mother-in-law once told me about elephants and rhinoceroses.
A diminishing elephant population saw its numbers increase thanks to the hard work of researchers, local government agencies, and of course, male and female elephants themselves.
However, because of the unnatural way that the population had been increased, there were more young elephants. As the the young bulls matured, they began to kill rhinoceroses. This behavior was not usual.
Researchers soon realized that the young bull elephants were being driven nuts by the usual things: horniness, hormones, and a need to test their limits and sow their oats.
Without the guidance of the elder males, they were being driven to unnatural violence.
The story ends, as I remember it, with concerned scientists airdropping* in older males to regulate.
*Not be confused with Operation Dumbo Drop.
She was telling me this story as metaphor to hammer home that boys need strong healthy males as models for all the reasons the bull elephants did.
What boys don't need, however, are old modes of manliness.
...Asshole dads who suck it up -- and demand their sons also suck it up. ...Frigid fathers stuck in stoic mode.
...Sullen males mired in the belief that a Man Must Do It All on His Own.
The 21st century requires new narratives of maleness. Aspirations of domination and conquest, extreme perversions of hyper-competitiveness, no longer serve. I know I speak for a lot of men when I say these ideals of manhood never matched me.
In fact, it is not exaggeration to say that toxic masculinity has landed our species in hot water.
Consider for a moment that the four countries with the worst response to COVID-19 are run by strong-men or strong-men wannabes: Trump, Bosinaro, Modi, Putin.
(Bojo postured toxic Eaton maleness until he contracted COVID-19 and recovered just barely under the care of two female immigrant nurses.)
Building New Narratives
This is a long way of saying that Baby Barbarian is our way of contributing to a new narrative of maleness.
What will Brom and his family learn on their journeys? Not even we can answer the question entirely.
But one thing we know he won't be taught is that you have to do it all on your own. There are tasks that must be accomplished individually, but the journey should not be a solo one.
We hope you too will stick with him as he learns about his world, his family, and his responsibility to both.
And come on, you've got to admit. He's a real character.