While there have been many role models of the quintessential American man portrayed on television and in movies for boys to aspire to, many, if not all depict a one dimensional man. It would be much better if there were a set of icons that showed there is no one single way of being manly. Because the boy who grows up with permission to be fully himself will grow up to be a better man.
When boys struggle to fit themselves into a limited image of what a man should be, like those portrayed in the media, a great disservice is done to these boys. It’s far better to show boys how to grow up into human beings that happen to be male rather than growing up into Men. Boys who are given the chance to grow up fully featured will serve the world better than any one dimensional television hero.
Looking back to my boyhood one thing is clear; I knew and followed many rules on how to be a boy. These rules came from many sources. Perhaps most pervasive an...
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...e who bend society's strict gender rules. They must see that there are men who are nurses, women who are firefighters, and boys who can cook. Boys will particularly benefit from getting to know adult male role models that exude masculinity in a genuine and expansive way. When given a sense that there is no one single way of being manly, boys will develop self-esteem and confidence around who they really are. It is important to let them know that no matter who they are and what they enjoy doing, they are in fact real boys and will become real men. So, go now Marlboro Man. Your time has come; once and for all leave us alone.
Palmer, P. J. (2000). Let your life speak: Listening for the voice of vocation. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Pollack, W. (1998). Real boys: Rescuing our sons from the myth of boyhood. New York, NY: Henry Holt and Company.
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