Boys will be boys, right? Ben Hurst rejects this commonly-used phrase as a ‘get-out-of-jail free’ card for boys, men and toxic masculinities. Instead, he states, boys will be what we teach them to be. Citing Tony’s Porter’s TED talk, ‘A Call to Men’, Ben references the workshops he conducts with boys and young men to illustrate the pressure the patriarchy places on men to repress their feelings and embrace hyper-sexualisation and violence. Ben believes that we need to challenge our assumptions around toxic forms of masculinity by encouraging conversation, providing space for men to express emotion, refusing to accept minimum standards of behaviour and building positive masculinities. Ben’s work focuses on challenging traditionally toxic forms of masculinity, and exploring ideas of minimum standards and positive masculinities. He is the Head of Facilitation and Training at The Good Lad Initiative (GLI) and coordinates their workshops in schools and universities. Ben also works with Fearless Futures, an Anti-Oppression organisation, and is the Founding Director of SPACE for PSHE, an independent PSHE provision for secondary schools that facilitates important conversations with young people around sex, race, and gender equality. Ben is also the Co Founder of D/ecology, which facilitates conversations about decolonising shared spaces. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

Ben Hurst

Activist, Facilitator, Model and Podcast Host (he/him)

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