Books & Lectures



Hugo is an exciting, dynamic lecturer and workshop leader who is available to speak on a wide variety of topics.  Four of his most popular talks are:

  • Men, Women, and Body Image
    Surveys show that an astounding 80-90% of high school and college-aged women are dissatisfied with their bodies.  Though the numbers are far lower for men, the percentage of guys who struggle with eating disorders is on the rise.   This lecture looks at how we enlist men as allies in the fight against the epidemic of low self-esteem among women – and how we can better respond to young men who are themselves in crisis.
  • The Martha Complex and the Slacker Dude: the Gendering of Perfectionism and Anxiety
    In this lecture, Hugo explores two related phenomena: young women’s perfectionism and young men’s declining ambition.  Girls today have more opportunity than ever before – but for too many, those opportunities quickly seem to turn into crushing obligations.  At the same time, their brothers are increasingly likely to drop out of college, delay leaving home, and to spend ever-increasing hours playing video games.  As this lecture shows, both young women’s perfectionism and young men’s “slackerdom” are driven by an anxiety about achieving success in an ever more competitive culture.  Hugo shares practical solutions for reassuring and motivating both groups.

The Caveman Cult: How the Myth of Male Weakness Hurts Everyone
Pop psychology and conventional wisdom tell us that men are hardwired to violence, infidelity, and even predatory sexual behavior. We live in a culture which is profoundly suspicious of men’s ability to keep promises, to concentrate in school, and to self-regulate. As this lectures shows, this dim view of male potential is based on a misunderstanding of science and evolution. It’s also a relatively new view historically. Hugo examines the roots of the “male myth”, notes the harm it does both to men and to women, and offers strategies for combatting the myth in our relationships and in public life.

  • Holding Men Accountable: A Global Campaign
    It’s a widely accepted truism that aid dollars are best distributed directly to women in the developing world.  Micro-lenders attest that women are substantially better credit risks than men.  In this lecture, Hugo examines the “myth of male weakness” (the belief that men are inherently more impulsive and less reliable, particularly around issues of sex, money, and drugs) and the implications that the widespread acceptance of this myth has for global development policy.  This lecture examines strategies for engaging men and creating culturally sensitive yet effective programs for developing men’s accountability.

Other Lectures:

  • Navigating Pornography: Equipping Young People to Understand (and Talk About) What They See
  • The Paris Paradox: Why We’re Raising a Generation of Girls to be Sexy But Not Sexual, and What Parents, Peers, and Educators Can Do
  • Consent and Enthusiasm: Moving Past the Stoplight Game

What people are saying about Hugo’s lectures:

Your talk at Pepperdine on the Myth of Male Weakness was one of the most well-received presentations I’ve seen over the past five years. It is so rare to have a speaker keep the attention of 200 college students for an entire hour, yet you had them so engaged that their questions/ comments kept coming well beyond the designated time! What I really appreciated about your talk was your ability to connect with the audience and integrate aspects of theology, church history, gender studies and psychology – exactly what we were hoping for. We look forward to planning our next event with you soon!

– Robert Scholz, MA (Assistant Director, Counseling Program, Pepperdine University)

Hugo’s lecture was an excellent kick-off event for our Body Image Awareness Week. Even though my school has brought other individuals to speak about eating disorders, Hugo provided a fresh look at discussing body image issues and their close relationship to our society’s pressure for perfectionism. Hugo discussed the impact on men too, which is rarely discussed in our culture. Not only did Hugo help us better understand how everyone is affected by body image issues, he also helped us realize how we might be able to improve our perception and conversations surrounding body image. We hope to bring Hugo back to campus for another great talk in the future!

– Sarah F. (student, Colby College)

Hugo’s talk I feel was eye-opening for many of the people who attended. He deftly connected statistical facts to a larger cultural analysis. He is a smart speaker who doesn’t engage in jargon but gets right to what is important in terms his audience finds both understandable and exhilarating.

– Quinn L. (student, Pomona College)

Hugo is an engaging and captivating speaker.  He recognizes the importance of privilege-related issues in ways that are both personal to him as well as relevant to the audience.  Hearing him speak is refreshing and enjoyable, and educational both for newcomers to feminism as well as those who consider themselves more well-versed in feminist matters.

– Lily S. (student, Brown University)


Teen runaway, supermodel, and actress Carré Otis found herself in the public eye from a very tender age. Millions of people gazed at provocative images of her in magazine and billboard ads from Guess and Calvin Klein as well as in features on the pages of Playboy and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. By the time she was twenty, they had also seen her on posters for the controversial film Wild Orchid, with Mickey Rourke. The troubled marriage to Rourke that followed soon thereafter was widely reported on in the media, as were Carré’s struggles with drugs and a particularly brutal eating disorder. But to see someone naked on the page or exposed on the screen and in tabloids doesn’t mean we know who that person really is.

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