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Old 04-21-2010, 11:53 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Who are healthy male role models?

I've been thinking lately about being male and the perceptions of masculinity today and a thought crossed my mind: who are healthy male role models today?

I don't think I'm alone in that my father was a terrible role model, partly because he was an alcoholic and partly because he was largely absent, but mostly because he was withdrawn, passive, and otherwise not in tune with his children.

That said, to whom can boys and men look when it comes to positive role models? What does it mean to be a "good" man today? What are positive masculine traits?

I'm at a loss here and quite confused. Since the '60s and the sexual revolution and feminist movements, the idea of masculinity has been reshaped and readdressed. In many ways, the waters have been muddied. Some perspectives view masculinity as generally negative, while others view it as being in crisis. I'm sure many are just fine with what is considered traditionally masculine.

And these days, there is certainly a lot of focus on "girl power" and continuing making inroads into equality for women. But where do men fit into the picture when they view themselves and their own masculinity?

What are the challenges of being a "good" man today? What makes a "good" man?
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Old 04-21-2010, 11:58 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who've ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandered. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need. We're the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War's a spiritual war... our Great Depression is our lives. We've all been raised on television to believe that one day we'd all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won't. And we're slowly learning that fact. And we're very, very pissed off.
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Old 04-21-2010, 11:59 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Holy mother of god this is a good topic. I am writing this so I will remember to respond to this when I'm off work and have a chance to respond.
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Old 04-21-2010, 12:08 PM   #4 (permalink)
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My father is a good man. He is devoted to his family, works hard, and clearly loves my mom after 28 years of marriage. He is caring, compassionate, and a good friend as well as a good dad. He is our rock. My fiance is a good man. He is a bleeding heart in a lot of ways, but he possesses an inner strength I envy.

I think what makes a good man are traits that make good human beings, regardless of sex: caring and compassion for others, interest in life and the wider world, consideration for others, empathy, good listening skills, inner strength, supporting those you love, the desire to make a difference, etc.

Who can men look up to now? I think there are some great male role models right here on TFP, men who embody the traits I mentioned above.
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Old 04-21-2010, 01:03 PM   #5 (permalink)
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My challenge in responding is separating positive traits of humans and positive traits which are distinctly "male". It becomes a highly antropological endeavor and falls on the line of offensive. "Hey, I know a girl who's like that. How dare you associate that as a male quality?!?!" So, rather than respond with that - please understand that I recognize the shades of gray and embrace them. So, here's my shot at it. You want a good male role model? Me. And I say that without a moment's hesitation.

I love and respect the women in my life as equals. I honor them for the strengths and abilities which I lack. I acknowledge and appreciate the distinctly feminine roles they play in my life.

I accept my distinctively male size, strength, and abilities. I accept the responsibilities which come from that size - be it physically protecting my family, mowing the grass, or opening a tight lid. Mind you, these things don't make me better than females, they are opportunities for me to contribute to the family as a physically larger human with greater stamina.

I am capable of providing for my family financially and physically. I can bring home a paycheck and I can bring home a hunted animal for dinner. I am not ashamed of this fact, nor do I revel in the taking of life. It is a necessary skill and others in my family can not do it.

I recognize how difficult society has made it to be a woman these days - the pressure to be all things to all people. To have a full career and still be a complete wife and a complete mom. To be pretty ALL the time, to be thin ALL the time. To be fashionable ALL the time. I am completely supportive of my mate when it comes to her sometimes wanting to drift with this tide and sometimes wanting to swim against it.

Besides that, you have the standard gentleman's manners of doors and chairs, handshakes, and iron-clad words of honor.

All other things like putting a marriage and family first in life, being honest, etc. I think they are just good human qualities to strive for. Nothing particularly male about them.
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Old 04-21-2010, 01:06 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Just to mention a man who's unrelated to me, but is still in the public eye, Henry Rollins. To me, a young man, he's my role model. He uses his anger and frustration to get things done, his work ethic is through the roof. Aside from his view on politics, I agree with most everything he says. He gives out a strong confidence. He's always active in the activism world, supporting gay rights and entertaining the troops overseas.

All of those qualities are something I strive for as I get older. All in all, I grow a big rubbery one for Henry Rollins. Just sayin'.
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Old 04-21-2010, 01:16 PM   #7 (permalink)
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people should be their own role model.
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Old 04-21-2010, 01:29 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by guccilvr View Post
people should be their own role model.
That worked out great for Adolph. GODWIN'D!


The gender of a role model is basically moot so long as you have access to a wide array of good characteristics. What behavioral aspect could a man have that a woman couldn't? My aunt (dad's brother's wife) could have literally ripped the testicles off Jack Bauer without a second thought. One of my closest woman friends loves women even more than I do. My first personal trainer was Billy Blanks in a C-cup. Aggressiveness, sexual assertiveness with women, testosterone-pumping activities: all attributes which in the past have been stereotypically linked to men. Masculinity can be found in any gender, just the same as femininity.

All that being said, I have/had a few role models that I certainly appreciate, chief among them my maternal grandfather, ex-boss, a few teachers from elementary school, high school and college, and some family friends.
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Old 04-21-2010, 01:38 PM   #9 (permalink)
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what I'm sayin, is if people would worry about what they believe and what they should be doing instead of what every athlete, millionaire or movie star is doing, they would be better off and be happier in life in most cases.
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Old 04-21-2010, 01:43 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Old 04-21-2010, 03:17 PM   #11 (permalink)
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I'm not sure if this is a Men's Lounge thread, but honestly, I think that younger boys and men do need a figure or type to look up to that doesn't have emo hair and that embodies the characteristics that make a good person. If you're actually looking out into the "celebrity world", I'd suggest the current Johnny Depp? Family man, politically aware, etc... but doesn't really embody the "masculine" spirit. He really does enjoy a lot of eyeliner. Baraka, this is going to take more thought, if the Ladies are invited to participate. But my SO and I have this debate all of the time... how men have been somewhat emasculated by being raised by single women, beaten up by "Girl Power" movements, and taught to bow down to their women in many economic classes/regions/societies. I'll get back to you as well...
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Old 04-21-2010, 03:27 PM   #12 (permalink)
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-----

Seriously, though, I have no idea.
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Old 04-21-2010, 03:35 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by FuglyStick View Post


-----

Seriously, though, I have no idea.
YES!
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Old 04-21-2010, 03:59 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Just to weigh in, I can't think of one good role model for a young boy to look up to, and have their father alongside and state, "well, son, if you truly apply yourself to your aspirations and goals, you can someday be like ____".

Every popular figure in our media mainstream has faults, and with the way our journalism and entertainment news works, those faults eventually become badges of this famous person's personalities, even if it was a rare instance they faltered, for whatever reason.

I'm thinking of leaning toward writer, but most of the novelists I read and follow are not from North America. Also, while it's certainly not a selfish thing to want to nominate someone in your own family, or a notable person you are especially close with, chances are their status as a role model may only apply to soely you and your family, and perhaps a small segment of that person's community involvement.

For the most part, when the word "role model" is thrown around, it is usually used as a broad defining term for someone with wide-reaching status, a celebrity, politician, athlete, musician, millionaire corporate entity, etc.

And still, with all those choices, I still cannot think of one "just" and honorable man.
Maybe we're just inherently evil, and we find whatever good we can in a person and cling to that.

For me, though, if I were to ever adopt a role model, which seems unlikely as I've never depended upon the context of another's life to mirror my own drive and dreams, I'd look for someone who grew up in humble beginnings, and through sheer determination and an incredible ethic to both furthering their mind's intellect and current situation, rose above it all and grew to become a household name.

Maybe I could state that Andre Johnson should be able to pass as a suitable role model for young ones, as he is very humble, he works hard, is arguably the best at what he does, and toiled for years upon years to achieve what he has now, and does not take it for granted in the least. But then again, I don't know him all that well, so I may think of another to add later.
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Old 04-21-2010, 04:22 PM   #15 (permalink)
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END OF THREAD
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Old 04-21-2010, 04:31 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Also, while it's certainly not a selfish thing to want to nominate someone in your own family, or a notable person you are especially close with, chances are their status as a role model may only apply to soely you and your family, and perhaps a small segment of that person's community involvement.
Absolutely. That is why I am glad that my dad does what he does--he works in education, and has the opportunity to be a role model to thousands of students in his 40 year career. I'd like to believe that he has had an impact on those kids, and given that I've had the opportunity to talk to some of his former students, I know he has reached some for a fact.
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Old 04-21-2010, 04:36 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Yes, educators.

Thanks for bringing that profession to the light, snowy.
I'd like to take this moment to thank all my history teachers, for they were all great role models in the 90+ minutes I saw them each work day of the work week for the past and last eight years of my education, consecutively (though a few were female, so I guess that disqualifies them in this discussion?).
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Old 04-21-2010, 04:58 PM   #18 (permalink)
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But... all humans are flawed, so shouldn't role models be? I wanna be Steve Jobs.
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Old 04-21-2010, 05:15 PM   #19 (permalink)
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I think we can agree that a role model is a person who has some recognition in their community, though community size can be extremely variable. I think we can also agree that role models are generally leaders in their communities, people who have -- in their respective field -- provided guidance or sought change. I think we can agree that role models also embody generally valued traits that we do not associate exclusively with one sex or another. Finally, let's agree that we are speaking in generalities, that men and women, for cultural and/or biological reason, differ significantly in their behaviour on the average; and that exceptions to this rule are just that, exceptions.

I think leader-models differ along their sexuality in their leadership and problem-solving style. From John Graham's book, Outdoor Leadership:

Quote:
...[T]he chart below lists five personality features common to both men and women leaders. I've anchored each feature with a negative extreme at either end.

egotistical----------------------Presence in the world---------- self-effacing
tunnel vision-------------------Focus----------------------distractable
rigid---------------------------Flexibility--------------------waffling
belligerent---------------------Dealing with Conflict---------peace at any price
isolate------------------------Inclusiveness----------------overly solicitous

Good leadership for either gender means not moving too far from the center point of any of these lines....men, more often [fall off] the extremes to the left side of the chart....when women fail, they are more likely to fall off to the chart to the right.
If men tend to generally fall to the left in their leadership style, particularly when NOT in the extreme, we can garner a sense of their actions as leaders and role-models. So while a masculine failure of leadership to resolve conflict might be belligerence, we can say that a good, masculine way of solving conflict could convincing others through force of character. I'm sure we can think of other examples.

As who, at large, embodies these characters, I can't be sure. I know certainly of friends and family who I would posit, but they do not meet the recognition needed to a role model.
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Old 04-21-2010, 07:50 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I've had a couple of rabbis who were good role models, and an uncle. But in all probability, the guy who ended up having a disproportionately deep influence on my life was my high school English teacher, a guy named Barry Smolin. Among other things, it's because of him that I am a teacher today.
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Old 04-22-2010, 05:04 AM   #21 (permalink)
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what I'm sayin, is if people would worry about what they believe and what they should be doing instead of what every athlete, millionaire or movie star is doing, they would be better off and be happier in life in most cases.
A good way to do that is to look at things you dislike and don't do those things. All you have to watch out for is generating an ego problem.

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I'm not sure if this is a Men's Lounge thread, but honestly, I think that younger boys and men do need a figure or type to look up to that doesn't have emo hair and that embodies the characteristics that make a good person.

..

But my SO and I have this debate all of the time... how men have been somewhat emasculated by being raised by single women, beaten up by "Girl Power" movements, and taught to bow down to their women in many economic classes/regions/societies. I'll get back to you as well...
Thank you! That's a perfect example; why would it be good to act like you're depressed due to society's figure, as Durden suggested, by working generic, average jobs and spending your paycheck on the currently popular nonsense that you claim to be basing your life's attitude upon? (I may dislike "Emo kids"..) That's not the process to follow to make a good person out of yourself, it effectively means your actions are a circular process with no meaning.

Off topic, for being opposite: "Girl Power" movements are bad. They cast a shadow over gender equality by being loud and in charge, which is unnecessary nonsense since equality is what's important, right? I don't care if they're lesbians, that's fine, but they should stop yelling at males about it.

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-----

Seriously, though, I have no idea.
This man's only fault is that he never unites with the woman he loves.

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Old 04-22-2010, 05:06 AM   #22 (permalink)
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I'm confused. I thought we were trying to enumerate characteristics of "good men". What was it about your high school English teacher or whoever that made him a "good man"?
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Old 04-22-2010, 06:09 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Men who don't go around wondering what it means to be a man.

Not a jab at you, Baraka.

I take exception with the idea that the women's movement has anything to do with where men are at these days, rather, they are themselves trapped in the same mire as women have been since the industrial age of trying to live up to a certain packaged ideal of what it means to be a member of their gender in a society that makes their roles kind of nebulous and gives them too much free time to think about it. I don't know about any other woman on this board, but I'm not willing to go back to the age depicted in this thread just so men can feel more sure of their manhood.

I don't think male (or female) role models have to be perfect humans, but I do think the healthiest ones (for this day and age) don't think of themselves primarily as men or women. Therefore, it is my belief that women could just as easily be good role models for young men as men could be.
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Old 04-22-2010, 06:48 AM   #24 (permalink)
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It would seem some of you would either gloss over the idea of masculinity and femininity or otherwise view them as faulty constructs; otherwise, it would seem you perhaps would like to make the case for androgyny.

I'm just throwing this out there as I'm taking in your opinions. As I said, I'm rather confused with this. I've never really had strong male role models in my life, and so I'm exploring whether masculinity is something of an issue when it comes to my own self-image and the self-image of men and boys everywhere.

Is there such thing as a healthy masculinity? Or is it either a construct or an old paradigm that is reflected in such things as print ads that today are deserving of ridicule?

Are men and women essentially the same but often caught up in social constructs of gender and sexuality?

Do women generally have the same impact as men when acting as role models to boys and young men? Is the impact the same on girls and young women?
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Old 04-22-2010, 07:04 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Do women generally have the same impact as men when acting as role models to boys and young men? Is the impact the same on girls and young women?
I tend to believe so, but only based on my own experience. I don't think of any of the role models I've had as being particularly formative of my role as a woman. In fact, there is nothing (other than having a vagina) that I feel I have passed on to my own female children that is based strictly on the idea of 'this is an example of what it means to be a good woman.' Anything that I've done or that the people I have respected most in my life have done, whether I've met them or not, are to model characteristics that any man or woman could exhibit.

That's not to say that there aren't differences between men and women that shouldn't be enjoyed and reveled in...there are obvious physical differences. But those differences have no impact on my own conception of what is essentially a behavioral concept - being a role model.

This could be my own quirk though, and could explain a few things about some of my idiosyncracies.
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Old 04-22-2010, 07:05 AM   #26 (permalink)
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heh...wrong tab.


Ahem. Anyway.


Masculinity. Hmmm. The men I've looked up as role models have all been family members. My stepdad, my grandpa, my uncle. I've been sitting here trying to figure out what it is I want to say about them, and the best I can come up with is that they are (or were) "tough guys," but when it came to their families, they are/were big teddy bears. So many of the traits snowy listed, I can apply to them-- empathetic, compassionate, hard working.

But really... my female role models have the same qualities. Tough, but loving.
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Old 04-22-2010, 07:07 AM   #27 (permalink)
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Do women generally have the same impact as men when acting as role models to boys and young men? Is the impact the same on girls and young women?
There are studies on this stuff as it relates to education. I'll try and find more specifics, but I remember from my professional development class that there is an effort to get more men into early childhood/elementary education, as male role models for boys who do not have them are especially important, and there is a dearth of male educators in those age groups.
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Old 04-22-2010, 07:28 AM   #28 (permalink)
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As I feared, this thread would sprint towards the political correctness rule surrounding the forbiddance of discussing male and female differences. The fact remains, we are different and having good male and female role models in a child's life is extremely important.
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Old 04-22-2010, 07:56 AM   #29 (permalink)
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why is one opinion more 'politically correct' than another?
as if the people who don't agree with you aren't speaking their own mind?
why does it always seem you are taking this tack every time an opinion is voiced that is different from your own?
it's kind of tiresome
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Old 04-22-2010, 08:27 AM   #30 (permalink)
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The idea that biologically functional differences between sexes would not lead automatically to a functionally different gender culture has always had its faults. The idea that our gender cultures are solely social constructs, and not biologically necessary ones, has never seemed like a very good argument for me. We can certainly adjust and modify these cultures -- hence the recent masculine confusion and it's sister female empowerment -- but we can never have a shared gender culture. It will not work.

Developing good social and mental health is dependent on our ability to transition boys and girls into their respective gender cultures. Gender culture helps to define our roles and responsibilities as adults; it gives use markers by which to measure our personal development even we conscientiously choose to ignore them. Women have an actual physical marker from girl to woman. They do not require the ritualistic transition that men historically held to mark boys as men, though they do tend to have them.

Our species didn't develop these rituals for fun. I think they are very important to our mental health and functioning. Role models developed as a 'target' for these rituals: upstanding men and women of our communities that whose example in manhood/womanhood we should seek to follow.
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Old 04-22-2010, 09:12 AM   #31 (permalink)
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It's not my intention to imply that we should forgo gender as a cultural construct, just that the question 'who are healthy male role models' doesn't necessarily have to be answered with 'a good male'

I think it's far more realistic than implying that there are set behaviors and talents that are intrinsically male or female when that is obviously not true. And, could conceivably be more harmful than good for the young people who grow to fall short of those behaviors and talents without appreciating the positive characteristics they exhibit that are not gender-based. Being a man or a woman in the 21st century, particularly in western societies, is not as significant a difference as it used to be. In fact, I can't think of a single gender-based characteristic that I haven't seen at some time being exhibited by perfectly good role-model type people of both sexes.

What I do think is important is that children have relationships with good people of both sexes.
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Old 04-22-2010, 09:41 AM   #32 (permalink)
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why is one opinion more 'politically correct' than another?
as if the people who don't agree with you aren't speaking their own mind?
why does it always seem you are taking this tack every time an opinion is voiced that is different from your own?
it's kind of tiresome
If there's no difference between you and your husband's role in your daughters' lives, then I ask you this: which one of you taught (will teach) your daughters about their menstrual cycle, how to use feminine hygiene products, how to choose their first bra? Uh, huh.

Now, if you did a good job at helping a daughter through that tramatic first experience and equipping her with the knowledge and avoided her feeling embarrassment and such - well then, you were a good female role model in that regard. I've heard of women who have traumatized the ever living shit out of their daughters in these areas. Regardless, it was the very fact that you were a female that gave you the intimate experience to provide that valuable support. Things one simply can not learn in a book (as a male).

I assure you, as a male, I am NOT equipped to recommend cardboard or plastic applicators...underwire or not.

We are different, and yet we are equal.

EDIT AND ADDENDUM: I fully admit there are far fewer things that a child may feel compelled to turn to their male role model and not their female role model. To reiterate my original post, my job as a male role model is to teach my son to respect women, to do the "heavy lifting" as it were, and to provide for my family in ways my particular (and excellent) choice in a wife may be unwilling or unable to do. The fact that the list is small means I get to focus on them more intently.
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Old 04-22-2010, 10:01 AM   #33 (permalink)
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It's not my intention to imply that we should forgo gender as a cultural construct, just that the question 'who are healthy male role models' doesn't necessarily have to be answered with 'a good male'
I think you are reading the question differently. We are just speaking about who men and boys should view as a role model, but also who the men are that should be viewed as a role model. Women can certainly serve as a role model to men and boys, but in a much different capacity. That both boys and girls require role models of both sexes is not in doubt; what you seem to imply is that roles models of one gender can replace the other. Women can certainly be role models for femininity, or citizenship, or other good contributions to mankind or society as a whole. But as a role model for masculine behaviour and responsibility women lack requisite equipment. Women are no different of course; they seek equally powerful role models for their gender culture. We will never be an androgynous culture; the best we can do is seek to promote non-androgynous, gendered cultures which are positive, not regressive.

Quote:
What I do think is important is that children have relationships with good people of both sexes.
Agreed.
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Old 04-22-2010, 10:41 AM   #34 (permalink)
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I think you are reading the question differently. We are just speaking about who men and boys should view as a role model, but also who the men are that should be viewed as a role model. Women can certainly serve as a role model to men and boys, but in a much different capacity. That both boys and girls require role models of both sexes is not in doubt; what you seem to imply is that roles models of one gender can replace the other. Women can certainly be role models for femininity, or citizenship, or other good contributions to mankind or society as a whole. But as a role model for masculine behaviour and responsibility women lack requisite equipment. Women are no different of course; they seek equally powerful role models for their gender culture. We will never be an androgynous culture; the best we can do is seek to promote non-androgynous, gendered cultures which are positive, not regressive.
very well, I suppose I am failing to address the question as literally as it was intended. I reacted, I suppose, to comments seeming to imply that men were emasculated by the women's movement, which I think is more than a bit of a cop-out. It's as if a white person were to say they'd been disempowered by the civil rights movement - and, of course, there are people who do say things like that, but their comments don't usually go over too well in mixed company, lol.

but it's a whole other topic, so I'll lay off now
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Old 04-22-2010, 11:24 AM   #35 (permalink)
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Are there any "good" male role models? Sure. But good luck finding them.

Much of the problem of finding good role models of either sex lies in today's tabloid media. Sex sells, scandal sells, failure sells. And heroes sell. So a sex scandal about a failing hero sells best of all.

If we were to look at what would have been role models to earlier generations in the same light to which we subject our current public figures, they would likely fail just as today's models do.

What we need to do is tell our kids to look beyond the dirt of publicity about their heroes and try to focus on the accomplishments/admirable qualities. I think Tiger Woods has some serious moral issues to deal with... but he's a helluva golfer. I have no problem telling my kids to be as good a golfer as he is, and a better MAN (person?).

Personally, as so many have pointed out here, my goal for myself is to be not as good a man as my father was, but as good a man as my father WANTED ME to be. THAT is my role model.
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Old 04-22-2010, 12:09 PM   #36 (permalink)
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I'm tired of this. (as stated by the OP, and later remarked by myself to search out another, I give you that other:)

An educator, a motivation speaker, a philosopher,
a special action representative, a known commodity,
an astrophysicist, a scientific author, a personality.

Neil deGrasse Tyson. A role model.
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Old 04-22-2010, 12:14 PM   #37 (permalink)
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I believe the "emasculation" of men may have to do with a diminished anthropological hunter role (think early hunter/gatherer gender roles). The need for the tasks that made men feel distinctively male, like hunting dinner, protecting family units, etc. have diminished over time. Any member of the family unit can come home with a full meal and feed the family. In modern society, the hunter is no longer a necessary role. We are all gatherers. Obviously, there are deeply rooted inclinations in man(kind) to continue those roles, though I don't know if I would call in genetic. When their necessity becomes ostensibly unneccesary - well, I think subconsciously men feel less...male, perhaps. What do you think?

I don't think it is completely out of left field to say that groups lift themselves up by attempting to put others down. It certainly happens in modern politics. However, one chooses to be a victim, so such an attempt by another group has to be "received" to be affective. Even if some group was belittling to "men", the only way a man could feel emasculated from that speech would be to accept that speech. To that end, an emasculated male has no one to blame but himself.

I'll give you an example where there is definitely a bias. Modern television commercials. Do a little science project and keep a tally: Notice commercials where one person knows what they are doing and the other person is an idiot. The person who's an idiot is ALWAYS a male. The person who knows what they are doing is usually a female. I don't so much care about the person who knows what they are doing, but it does get...tiresome...when the person who is the idiot is always a male.

Is this some deliberate attempt to emasculate modern males? I don't think so. Perhaps it's simply politically correct speech - the advertisers know that, historically, one demographic is the least likely to call and complain about negative stereotyping in advertising. Who knows, but the bias is there.

Anywho, back to my other wandering:

Personally, I feel the hunter skills are more necessary than ever, considering how our personal lives are now so dependent on the continuation of all parts of our global economy. If there is a catastrophic global event which causes shipping delays (or plane delays from volcanos), that interruption could cause long term food shortages. Due to the convenience of modern food procurement, we have forgotten skills that our fathers and grandfathers had from childhood. I believe it is the duty of a good male role model to keep and teach those skills. I've also learned to sew, as well, though.
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Old 04-22-2010, 12:26 PM   #38 (permalink)
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Jeffrey Sachs

James Orbinski

Roméo Dallaire

and my stepfather.
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Old 04-22-2010, 12:46 PM   #39 (permalink)
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I'm confused. I thought we were trying to enumerate characteristics of "good men". What was it about your high school English teacher or whoever that made him a "good man"?
He was unafraid to be creative, passionate, fun-loving, deeply serious about literature and philosophy, and to utterly reject the idea that he was somehow supposed to be "normal." He embraced being himself, and, unlike so many of my peers, made it clear that manliness was not merely a factor of athletic ability, or sexual prowess, or winning fights, or capacity for liquor. A man, he showed me, could be sensitive, thoughtful, artistic, cerebral, and easygoing-- and that those things also could be foundations for strong masculinity.

It was in his class that I read some of my favorite literary classics, and his discussions of them reinforced on me the notions that a man keeps his word, that a man behaves honorably, that a man stands by his friends and stands up for those who can't stand up for themselves, and so on.

And what is more, he told me to embrace my geekiness, my nerdliness, my bent for collecting random data, my love of books and movies and plays.... He taught me, without ever referencing our common Jewish identity, the very Jewish lesson that it is good for a man to be knowledgeable, and to pass on the knowledge that he has accrued.
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Old 04-22-2010, 06:19 PM   #40 (permalink)
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Maybe I could state that Andre Johnson should be able to pass as a suitable role model for young ones, as he is very humble, he works hard, is arguably the best at what he does, and toiled for years upon years to achieve what he has now, and does not take it for granted in the least. But then again, I don't know him all that well, so I may think of another to add later.
Agreed. Great name drop, Jet. Andre is a good role model, he represents what will get you the farthest in life: hard work.

Go Texans.
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