In the United States, over one in four children live without a father in the home. This leaves many young men to navigate manhood on their own. Today’s guest is a YouTuber in Norway. He started out as a Viking bushcrafter, but now he has become a kind of mentor to young men finding their way in the United States and Canada.
Bjørn Andreas Bull-Hansen is a best-selling author, former international powerlifter, and Viking bushcrafter. Despite all his successes, he is best known for his YouTube channel, which has become popular among young men in North America.
Striking a Chord with Young Americans
Although Bjørn’s channel initially focused on the Viking age and bushcrafting, he started to discuss men’s mental health as well.
Bjørn Andreas Bull-Hansen: The men’s mental health thing started with a YouTube challenge that went sort of viral called “Show us your steak.” The idea was that you go out into the woods and you fry a steak and you talk about men’s mental health. Now, I continued posting videos now and then about men’s issues, and I found that this is something that many men are struggling with in this society.
I have like 95 percent male viewers, and most of them are in North America. So I have found that what I’m talking about and what I’m doing in the videos seems to interest men. I’ve received so many emails from the viewers. — Bjørn Andreas Bull-Hansen
Searching for Manhood
Are there any messages from your YouTube fans that have really touched you? What’s the main thing they’re telling you?
Bjørn Andreas Bull-Hansen: Most of the emails are from young men, and they are basically all telling me the same story. They grew up without discovering their manhood, and they still don’t know what it means to be a man. They don’t know how to be a man. And they are now trying to teach themselves. It kind of breaks my heart because we’re talking about many wasted years.
The good thing is that they are now discovering masculine strength within themselves, which they believed was something bad–which is a big problem, by the way. It seems like masculinity is seen as something bad now these days, and that’s a tragedy. — Bjørn Andreas Bull-Hansen
Men’s Issues Today
What’s the biggest issue facing men today?
Bjørn Andreas Bull-Hansen: I’m a man on my own terms. You know, I won’t let anyone else define or decide what I should think, what is bad or is good. Obviously, you shouldn’t be rude to people and so on. That’s just common sense. But I will never apologize for my masculine thoughts and my masculine behavior. Why should I? It’s not bad behavior, it’s just masculine behavior.
The problem is that, when you have people who are themselves not masculine trying to define how a man should live, how a man should behave, how a man should think, it’s a recipe for disaster and depression. — Bjørn Andreas Bull-Hansen
Why North America?
You said most of your viewers are in North America. Why do you think that is? Is this also a problem in Norway?
Bjørn Andreas Bull-Hansen: I’ve been giving that a lot of thought. Why are they so crazy over there in North America? We don’t have the insane, militant feminist. Why is that? I think it’s because it hit us much earlier. Now, I’m not against feminism. It was needed, you know, but the way we see it now, it’s a bit insane. It’s totally insane if you ask me. But back then it was a bit insane in Norway and Scandinavia. This is my personal theory. I don’t know if it’s true, but it hit us before the Internet.
It [feminism] did shape the society here in Scandinavia. But then people kind of shrugged it off a bit and they moved on. They pretty much moved back to, I would say, traditional family life. — Bjørn Andreas Bull-Hansen
Press play to listen to Bjørn’s whole interview. What do you think is the biggest issue facing American men today? Please let us know in the comments below.