Musician-activist Sting believes in gender equality. Interviewed about the meaning of manhood at the Printer’s Row Lit Fest June 8 at the Auditorium Theater in Chicago, he said the following…

I think in older societies, or so-called primitive societies, they had a very ritualized form of a rite of passage where a boy would go through some ordeal…go into the woods or the forest and survive or climb a mountain….

We don’t have that in modern society. It’s much more vague for men. How do we go from being boys to men? I don’t think it’s overnight.

For me, becoming a man, paradoxically, is about the nature of how you relate to women. I think you’re really a man when you treat women well.

When you integrate the elements of your psyche that were bequeathed to you by your mother—compassion, care, intuition, creativity—then you’re a man.

You’ve got a lot of other ways [to be a man]…you can buy a gun, build your muscles up, join the army, wear a uniform—[it] doesn’t mean much.

But to treat women well—in the way society treats women well—will tell us whether we are a grown-up society or not. Any society that doesn’t treat women well will never grow up. So for me to become a man is to treat women as they should be treated—as equals.

To watch the Youtube video of Sting’s remarks go to: