How Be a Man Made Ray Harrington ‘More of a Feminist’
New England comic Ray Harrington hopes to answer the age old question of what masculinity really means with his new documentary Be a Man, which premieres in Boston this week.
Since Harrington’s mother divorced his father at a very young age, the Maine born comedian wanted to learn how to be a good male role model before the arrival of his newborn son, which inspired the project. Harrington enlisted several well-known comics for the film—including Robert Kelly, Doug Stanhope, and The League star Stephen Rannazzisi—to help him tackle “manly” topics ranging from learning how to fight to heavy drinking.
While Harrington was searching for what it meant to be a man, he found that the question is, strangely enough, just as applicable for women.
“If you’re a good man, it shouldn’t matter that you’re a man or a woman. Does that make sense?” Harrington said. “A lot of the pressures women feel to fit into a role are the same pressures that men feel to fit into a role. I think men and women are both just trying to figure out who they are while trying to adhere to social pressures.”
Despite his hopes of debunking the debonair, Don Draper ideas of manhood, that didn’t stop men’s rights groups from showing their support for the documentary. Harrington wasn’t a fan of their ideology and believes that making the film has actually turned him into more of a feminist.
“I had a lot of men’s rights kind of people come forward and show support. I’m like that’s uncomfortable and creepy and I don’t like what you’re doing,” he said. “I think the movie made me more of a feminist than I was before because I can understand a lot of the cliché is exactly that. It’s a facade, it’s surface level crap.”
The comic believes that the meaning of the film is not really about being a man at all. Rather, it has more to do with becoming the best person that you can possibly be.
“I keep coming back to the quintessential cliché of a man, just this jacked dude who can rip a tree out of a ground, who’s building houses and made his own car that he drives around,” Harrington said. “All those things are just things you do. At the end of the day, those shouldn’t define who you are…You know who you are and as long as you’re being true to that person, that’s all that matters.”
He added, “If I can impart one thing to [my son], it’s whatever you want to do, do that and do it as well as you can.”
Be a Man plays at Laugh Boston on Wednesday, February 3 at 8 p.m.