So we’ve arrived.
We’d been perilously circling a crisis in masculinity for some time. But with the events of the last few weeks, the journey is finally over.
The way men in our society are viewed can sink no lower, we’ve hit rock bottom.
After Weinstein, Trump and now the Presidents Club the only conclusion that women can make is that most men act in a misogynistic manner. I fully understand that. As a man, I almost feel that way myself… almost.
Yet, I know it’s not true. I know that there are good men out there. I know there are men who, like me, are disgusted by what has been uncovered in our media. Men who are sick to their stomach by the vile abuses committed by others who happen to share their gender.
These men are a silent majority… But ‘silence’ is the word I keep coming back to.
The silence has been deafening.
Yes, I know that certain high status men have spoken up. But their voices have, in my view, merely chimed in support of the women who boldly took a stand. It’s a case of closing the stable door after the horse has bolted. Our male role models are only speaking out to agree with the already established view that this treatment of women must stop.
There is no bravery in this.
Bravery would have been to speak out before the topic was newsworthy – to rock the boat back when it appeared to be stable.
I firmly believe that we, as a society, need to find new role models for our boys and young men. We need to do this quickly. Traditionally, we’ve expected boys to look up to movie stars, sportsmen, musicians, politicians and the business elite. Yet, the starry ensemble has repeatedly shown itself unworthy of this honour.
Our designated role models wantonly display either ignorance of or ambivalence to the didactic element of their elevated status. They willingly take the benefits that society is happy to pile upon them, yet few, it would seem, ever give proper consideration to the multitude of responsibilities they have to those who model overtly themselves upon them.
Perhaps it’s unfair to expect so much from these Alpha males. Introspection is not a trait usually associated with this personality type. Essentially, masculinity in our society is in crisis because we’ve asked our young to emulate those who consistently exhibit some of the gender’s worst traits.
Kind, considerate, inclusive, sensible, thoughtful men do not make exciting heroes – not on screen, at least. They do, however, make great role models for men and would, if allowed, do wonders for our society.
So today I’m calling out. To media outlets, to newspapers, to TV, to all the influencers out there. It’s time to shift the spotlight. We need to give prominence to those men in our land who quietly go about their own business. Celebrity (in the sense of someone who is actually celebrated) needs to be redistributed to the male doctors, teachers, mechanics, coaches and builders (and the like) who are doing an excellent job. These men show off masculinity at its best. We need posters, trading cards, action figures and the rest depicting so-called ‘ordinary’ men. Although, in my view, ordinary is falsely attributed – there’s nothing so ordinary as rich men indulging themselves.
Bonnie Tyler once sang: “Where have all the good men gone?” The truth is they haven’t gone anywhere. Our society merely chose to ignore them, to deny their status. This error needs to be rectified if a future society filled with equality and inclusiveness can be built.
Kindness, consideration and selflessness can no longer be considered un-masculine weaknesses – they are traits that show true strength and it’s upon this strength that 21st Century masculinity will be built.
We don’t need another hero.
We need something better than that – our society’s future depends on it…