Posted in episodes

Episode 30: Toxic Masculinity

The homework for the episode:
Martha: Devils Within by S.F. Henson (2018 YA novel)
Pete: The Sopranos, 1.01 (“Pilot”)
Caitlin: TED talks from Jackson Katz and Tony Porter

A teenager escapes from the Neo Nazi compound that raised him and tries to integrate into the real world, overcoming years of brain washing and conditioning…while those same White Supremacists hunt him down for killing their leader.

A modern day mob boss starts going to therapy after the pressures of his life cause a panic attack and blackout episode.

Two learned gentlemen discuss the role men have in conquering our culture’s ingrained misogyny and sexism.

Friend of the show and fellow educator Caitlin Hofert joins us today for a tricky, sticky subject: Toxic Masculinity. Timely!

Your podcasters’ credentials:

Pete: Wizard-themed pop-up bar in Milwaukee (it’s Harry Potter with the labels scratched off)
Martha: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black (2018 YA novel)
Cailtin: Whitechapel (2009 BBC television show)

Martha and Caitlin both have credentials that would fit pretty well into the episode, completely by coincidence, so let’s get right into it.

This is probably one of the most timely topics we’ve discussed on the show, and we all have Many Feelings about it, which is why we run a little bit long. Some of the questions we get into:

    1. How do the fictional stories we looked at reflect the ideas from the TED talks?
    2. How do the fictional stories we look at either celebrate or condemn the toxic environments they reflect?
    3. The Sopranos first aired in 1999 – almost 20 years ago. Do we think the attitude towards a character like Tony and what he represents has shifted in our pop cultural landscape?

Caitlin also tells us a bit about how she approaches this topic with her students, which delights Martha, who also gets to tell a bit about how toxic masculinity and related attitudes seeps into her job.



Next week is a follow-up, a part two, a continuation if you will: we’re going from toxic masculinity to Anti-Heroes in pop culture. Joining us for his on-air debut is Mr. Martha Sullivan himself, Bill Sullivan!

Your homework for April 25:

Martha: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (2008 thriller)
Pete: The Maltese Falcon (1941 film directed by John Huston and starring Humphrey Bogart and Mary Astor)
Bill: Dredd (2012 action opus directed by Pete Travis and starring Karl Urban and Karl Urban’s Chin and also Olivia Thirlby)

Find Pete on Twitter @piko3000, and find Martha on both Instagram AND Twitter @magicalmartha. Follow us online @DYDYHpodcast, e-mail us at, and find us on Facebook.

And remember, if you have questions, comments, or ideas for a show, give us a shoutout here or send us an e-mail to We’d love to hear from you!



The home on the web for Did You Do Your Homework? The pop culture podcast that teaches you everything about anything using media tools. Catch our bi-weekly episodes and read our comprehensive syllabi, and don't forget to do your homework!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s