If you look at most advertising today, men are portrayed as stupid, inept, lazy and crude.
You can still act like a man and be a "good" man. I have asked a number of woman I know and over Twitter their opinion of modern men. The majority said that the main thing that they hate in modern men is the indecisiveness. I call this apathy. An example of this is when a couple goes out to eat. The woman will ask where the man wants to go. The man will say "wherever you want". They said they would prefer that they state their preference and then work towards agreement.
In the book "Wild At Heart", the author said that we are being trained to act like a nice guy. A question that was asked in the book was "who do men look up to?"
At the age of 49, I am trying to teach my 15 year old son that it is good to be competitive and to have an opinion. It is also ok to defend himself and to stick up for his rights. I also tell him that a man is respectful of others and treats others as he wants to be treated.
In the song "Lola" by the Kinks, one of the verses says " I may not be a passionate man but I know what I am and I am glad I am a man". I am glad I am a man and my goal is to make my son feel the same way.
I will consider my job undone if he has to go through life feeling ashamed of his male essence and feelings.
How do you think that we can change society's perception of men?
Be real men and gentlemen. Associate with other men & gentlemen. Call out other men that are falling short and not acting like men & gentlemen. Speaking of that, I need to work on my brothers-in-law. I have a lot of work to do.
You're right about the advertising portrayal of men. And there is something to be said for the perception mirroring the reality, too many men "know" what to do, but not enough men do it. We know how to be decent, polite, mannered men who still can draw that bright line of manliness that separates a man from an overgrown boorish boy. Unfortunately, and I'm guilty of that as well, many men just don't act on their knowledge. To simplify, "Everybody knows, but nobody does." Without going into the whole Heinlein or Hemingway trips about what a man needs to be able to do, a man needs to be able to stay in reasonable physical condition, know how to do at least rough carpentry, basic yard and vehicle care, cook, houseclean, and literally dress and act like a mature grown-up.
I think the fact that you are there and are interested in your son becoming a man is a big step. I remember listening to a radio program a few years ago about gang violence in poor, predominately black, neighbourhoods in Toronto, Canada, and how to reduce it. The program featured a pastor from Boston who led a similar revival in his neighbourhood in Boston. He felt that the biggest problem facing these youths, who went on to a life of crime and gangs, was not racist or discrimination for their ethic background, but was the lack of male role models (ie dads) in their life. In his neighbourhood, like the one being discussed in Toronto, many men were failing their role as fathers and leaving their boys to grow up with out their guidance. Lacking this, many of these boys joined gangs and other anti-social groups in an attempt to find that role model.
Although I realize minority children growing up in an impoverished neighbourhood is an extreme example, I still think that its holds a message that is common to much of our modern society. Compared to previous generations, more and more men are neglecting their jobs as fathers and therefore more and more boys are learning to grow up to be poor fathers themselves.
On yet another radio program I once heard a caller say that he thought that the crazy actions of some parents with regards to their children's sports was out of guilt. He felt that parents, too busy to have a larger role in their children's lives, put too much into their child's sport (the program was about fathers getting into fist fights over their son's hockey games). As if making sure Jr was on the star team and winning would compensate for their failure as a good father. I thought it was a valid point.
In my mandated "Divorce and Children" class, they emphasized that children need the influence and input of both parents and not to use the kids as pawns in the personal battles. Too bad my ex did not pay attention in the class.
I expected to be, if not rich and famous, at least comfortably well off. And I have considered myself a failure, plus deep depression and things. But it's been emphasized to me that it's character that matters, working, etc. 'Scuse me while I listen to "Something To Be Proud Of" by Montgomery Gentry.
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