Category: Men

At What Age Are You Old?

By , March 31, 2011 2:17 am

Getting Old.Men and women apparently get old at different times in their lives. Or rather, they feel they get old at different times.

That’s according to a survey of 1000 people conducted by Avalon Funeral Plans in the U.K.

The NY Daily News reports women in the survey say they feel old at age 29. (That’s right, 29! Jeez!) The age men say they’re old is 58.

What made the men and women in the poll think their youthful days are in the past? For women, more than half said it’s their “assets heading south.” For two-thirds of men, it’s “decreased libido/not as ‘able’ in the bedroom.”

Interestingly, both men and women said 29 is the age when women “don’t have ‘it’ anymore.”

Alice Newsham, an Avalon spokesperson said, “We wanted to look at the perceptions of age, especially looking at men and women and the differences between them.”

What do you think? Why do you think there’s such a huge difference – twice the age – between when men and women perceive themselves as being old?

What about you? Are your assets, mojo or something else making you feel old?

Photo: Rebeca Cygnus/Flickr

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Raising Boys To Fight Sexism And Rape

By , March 29, 2011 2:26 am

What could make a group of 18 men and boys gang rape an 11-year-old girl, take pictures and video of the brutal crime and distribute those images to others?

That’s what they’re trying to figure out in Cleveland, Texas where this horrible event allegedly occurred.

So, how do we raise boys to fight sexism and sexual violence and prevent tragedies like this from happening?

Continue reading 'Raising Boys To Fight Sexism And Rape'»

Expectations Of Men With Children

By , January 22, 2011 3:46 pm

Lenore Skenazy writes in the Wall Street Journal about society’s tendency to think all men are predators.

She starts off with the story of Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray who rescued two children from a burning van a few weeks ago. The kids’ grandmother didn’t know who Murray was and what he was doing. (She apparently didn’t know the car was on fire either.) Before she realized what Murray was doing, she intended to punch the lieutenant governor.

See a report about the story here:

Skenazy writes:

And so it goes these days, when almost any man who has anything to do with a child can find himself suspected of being a creep. I call it “Worst-First” thinking: Gripped by pedophile panic, we jump to the very worst, even least likely, conclusion first. Then we congratulate ourselves for being so vigilant.

She writes about an Iowa daycare center that prohibits male employees to change diapers; a man who was verbally accosted by a woman in a store for carrying girls underwear until she found out he was an employee restocking the shelves; a training video that instructs British teachers it is inappropriate to have any physical contact with a student, even when showing them how to position fingers on musical instruments.

Skenazy also tells the 2002 case of bricklayer in England who thought he saw two-year-old Abigail Rae walking by herself on the side of the road. He didn’t pick her up, though, because he feared someone would think he was abducting her. So, the bricklayer left her. It turns out Rae had wandered away from her daycare center and later drowned in a nearby pond.

Part of this “Worst-First” thinking has to do with society’s expectations toward men. It’s not just that any man can be a predator. It’s that unknown men are thought to be physically and sexually aggressive at all times. We might know fathers, uncles, brothers, cousins and friends who are nurturing or caring, especially to kids, but strange men are always a threat.

While men don’t have to be tough and emotionally inaccessible to be considered “A Man,” it’s what we often expect from men we don’t know. Men aren’t necessarily expected to be gentle and caring. It’s why we congratulate men who do things for their kids that women are often expected to do. But when a man is caring or even just in contact with someone else’s kids, he’s potentially dangerous.

It’s about balance. There are certainly men (and women) who are dangerous to children. But if we continue thinking every man is a threat, then we’ll hear more tragic stories like Abigail Rae’s while becoming paranoid and fearful of half the world’s population.

Skenazy says, “We think we’re protecting our kids by treating all men as potential predators. But that’s not a society that’s safe. Just sick.”

h/t: Good Men Project

The Princess Boy’s Father

By , January 7, 2011 2:08 am

Would you allow your 5-year-old son to wear dresses?

On Monday morning’s “Today Show” (full disclosure: I worked there several years ago), co-host Meredith Viera interviewed Cheryl Kilodavis and her son Dyson. Five-year-old Dyson likes to wear dresses. Cheryl wrote a book called “My Princess Boy” which is as much about the public’s acceptance of boys who dress like girls as it is about her own acceptance of it.

Kilodavis seems very supportive and loving towards her son, but I wanted to hear more from Dyson’s father. Dean Kilodavis had a brief soundbite in a taped segment before live interview. He said, “It’s not contagious, he’s just like any other kid. He plays checkers, he plays in the trees. He just likes to do it in a dress. Big deal.”

It’s great that the whole family supports Dyson, but was it easy for him to arrive at that conclusion? Viera read part of a letter Cheryl Kilodavis wrote to family and friends about Dyson wearing dresses. “I had independent values, deep cultural and religious perceptions of how my sons as males should look and behave. This became a journey in self-awareness and re-evaluation of stereotypes and perceptions of what I thought I believed.”

Because spouses often share “cultural and religious perceptions,” what was Dean’s initial reaction? Did he have to re-evaluate some of his stereotypes and perceptions?

Did this father ever feel uncomfortable seeing his son wearing dresses?

Yes, the story is about this mother and son. And maybe this princess boy’s father never had a problem with it. Maybe time ran out and the question couldn’t be asked, but it’s one I would have liked to see answered.

See the full interview here.

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The Man Box

By , December 23, 2010 1:59 pm

Put aside 11 minutes to watch this video.

Earlier this month, educator Tony Porter made a presentation at the TEDWomen conference and told his audience, “Without a doubt there are some wonderful, wonderful, absolutely wonderful things about being a man. But at the same time, there’s some stuff that’s straight-up twisted.”

He was talking about the Man Box: The way boys and men are socialized into certain behaviors that are ultimately harmful to themselves and to women. Things like not showing weakness or fear, not being compared to a woman and viewing women as property or objects.

Porter talks about some mistakes he made and learned from as he raised his own son, as well as a horrible story from his childhood about being pressured to have sex with a mentally-challenged teenaged girl.

Porter said, “My liberation of a man is tied to your liberation as a woman.”

The speech is worth your time.

H/t to Ellen for sending me the link.

John Boehner Needs To “Adult Up”

By , December 18, 2010 11:33 pm

There’s nothing wrong with an adult having good cry. Sometimes you have to let it out. Maybe you’re at a wedding or a funeral. Maybe you’re watching a touching movie.

Or maybe your party just won the majority in a house of Congress.

When the Republicans won the House of Representatives, I said that not only was it fitting that Rep. John Boehner cried after an election season that was swept up with manning up, but he has every right to do it.

In last Sunday’s “60 Minutes” interview, though, the incoming House Speaker did more than just cry. He whimpered uncontrollably.. twice!

Continue reading 'John Boehner Needs To “Adult Up”'»

Do Men And Women Compete Differently?

By , December 10, 2010 4:35 pm

Last Thursday, Huffington Post founder Arianna Huffington responded to a question posed to two other executives about whether the HuffPo or the Wall Street Journal would be bigger in five years.

She said, “You guys are all about who has the biggest swinging dick.”
Continue reading 'Do Men And Women Compete Differently?'»

“Top Gear” And The Male Mind

By , November 22, 2010 8:01 pm

I mentally braced myself last night as I began watching the premiere of the U.S. version of “Top Gear.” Not only is the original UK version is one of my favorite shows on television, but it’s one of the most-watched shows on the planet with an estimated 350 million viewers. So, there’s a high bar for the American version to reach.

“Top Gear” is described as “a car show,” but it’s much more than that. It’s about travel, competition, ingenuity, all wrapped in a lot of wit and humor. There’s a lot of crashing and blowing stuff up, too.

BEVERLY HILLS, CA - AUGUST 06: Hosts Tanner Foust, Rutledge Wood and Adam Ferrara speak during the 'Top Gear' panel during the 'Top Gear' panel during the A&E Networks portion of the 2010 Summer TCA pres tour held at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on August 6, 2010 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

What most intrigued me about the new show is when I heard “Top Gear” USA co-host Adam Ferrara say it’s “a glimpse into the male mind.” Sure, this could be a good way to brand “Top Gear” in the U.S. It gets framed as a man’s show. A place where “us guys” can be Men. (Cue the grunting and chest-pounding.) But the show in the UK doesn’t try to be hyper-masculine like some other shows geared toward men in the U.S. (“Ice Road Truckers,” “Deadliest Catch”). Women make up 40% of Top Gear’s audience in Britain. Ferrara’s statement could be a nod toward the often self-deprecating sense of humor found on the show. Perhaps not coincidentally, Andy Wilman, the executive producer of “Top Gear” in the UK told “60 Minutes” something similar about the show: “It’s a journey into the male mind, which, I believe, is a really, potentially, very funny place. ‘Cause, let’s face it, nothing happens there.”

“Top Gear” USA wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but it was great either. There needs to be more personality from and better interaction between hosts Ferrara, Rutledge Wood and Tanner Foust. They didn’t seem comfortable with each other yet. The interview with Buzz Aldrin in the “Big Star, Small Car” segment was as horrible as that segment’s name. They should also have more fun with The Stig, the show’s racing driver, like they do in the UK, and include more basic info on the cars being profiled (0-60, horsepower, engine size, etc.). The Lamborghini segment at the end, though, captured a lot of what makes Top Gear great: cars, competition, good cinematography, story-telling and camaraderie between the hosts.

As far as insight into what goes on in the male mind, I’m going to give the show time. Top Gear in Britain is more than cars or the personalities of its hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May. It’s their knowledge of cars, the world in which they travel and their way of explaining their adventures to the audience in a smart, funny and colorful way. If “Top Gear” USA adds some American-flavored irony and wit to the speed, competition and explosions, they’d have a show worthy of it’s British brother and paint a better picture of what’s going in the American male mind.

Did you see the U.S. version of “Top Gear?” What do you think?

Clint Eastwood’s Endurance And Restraint

By , November 15, 2010 3:40 pm

With the end of men looming, is Clint Eastwood the man we need to re-imagine masculinity? Stephen Marche makes his case in Esquire:

Oct. 10, 2010 - New York, New York, U.S. - CLINT EASTWOOD arriving at The 48th New York Film Festival closing night premiere of Warner Bros. Pictures' ''Hereafter'' at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall in New York City on 10-10-2010.  2010..K66529HMc. © Red Carpet Pictures

Eastwood’s endurance is the endurance of saints, and what he embodies more than anything is the definitive virtue for American men both then and now: restraint. He rides the line between his own terrible desires and the world as it is with the grace we all aspire to.

Marche breaks down Eastwood’s supposed macho image. He calls macho, “a preening pose assumed by men who aren’t sure they’re men and who compensate by needing more, having more, showing more.” Eastwood, Marche says, “has always been about needing and having and showing less.”

This simplicity and restraint, according to Marche, has not only allowed Eastwood to live to 80 years old, but to thrive at an age when most people think about retiring.

Eastwood’s endurance is one of the rare phenomena that make me genuinely hopeful about men. It’s not just that he proves that you can be awesome when you’re eighty. He proves that it’s possible to be open-minded and creative and daring and still hold on to the old virtues.

When I hear terms like “old virtues,” it’s often yearning to recapturing a sense of masculinity that was lost: A nostalgia for the 1950′s, pre- Civil, Women’s and Gay Rights definition of white masculinity. Marche isn’t talking about that. These virtues are restraint and simplicity. If the undoing of the modern man is partially due to boys who can’t focus and “sit still in kindergarten,” then these virtues could turn that around. Walk away from your Internet addiction of choice, turn off the flatscreen and gaming system, and focus on something productive.

Muscles and gadgets may not be mandatory in whatever new masculinity ideal will be imagined, but endurance and restraint surely will be.

Read the full post at Esquire.

Man Up And Cry

By , November 11, 2010 7:33 pm

The night before the election, Anderson Cooper remarked on one of the big trends of the 2010 Election season: “‘Man up’ is sweeping the country.”

He was talking about a clip in which Sarah Palin responds to unnamed Republican sources who reportedly don’t want her to run for president. She said they should “man up” and come forward so she could debate with them.

Palin’s remark was the latest in a string made by candidates this election year who told their opponents they were “unmanly” they needed to “man up,” “put your man-pants on,” or that they lacked “cojones.”

If a politician is going to criticize an opponent for not being strong enough or having certain skills, just say that. Man Up implies a candidate is not a “real” man because he’s weak, ineffectual and impotent. The slur is an attempt to undermine and insult him on the basis of what society thinks an ideal man is. It’s the male equivalent of what got California Governor-elect Jerry Brown in trouble when someone in his campaign called Meg Whitman a “whore.”

Man Up hurts women, too. It assumes masculinity is a qualification to hold public office. Equating “manly” with strength, productivity and integrity demeans women by excluding them from those characteristics. It doesn’t allow femininity to be powerful. That further marginalizes women in politics, which is something that the U.S. needs to improve.

WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 02: Fighting back tears as he recounted his rise from humble beginnings to the presumed Speaker of the House, House Minority Leader Rep. John Boehner (R-OH) addresses the Republican National Congressional Committee's midterm election results watch party at the Grand Hyatt hotel November 2, 2010 in Washington, DC. Major news organizations have said that the Republicans will win enough seats to take control of the House of Representatives. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

In light of the testosterone litmus tests this year, it’s worth noting that presumptive House Speaker John Boehner cried on Election night. He wept when he spoke about spending his “whole life chasing the American dream.”

There absolutely nothing wrong with a man crying in public. In fact, it was actually fitting he did. In an election season when terms like ‘man up” and “unmanly” were thrown at candidates, the head of the winning party wept. Politics clearly isn’t immune from American masculinity’s soul-searching and attempts to figure itself out.

Boehner’s tears won’t stop the Man Up trend. It’s an easy soundbite to throw at a candidate. I do hope, though, that the next candidate who’s told to “man up” can call out the remark’s inherent sexism. If they win, they should feel free to rejoice and cry in victory.

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