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Do we need new heroes and role models now in 2012 to redefine modern masculinity? What would these heroes stand for?

I am a final year University student in London (England) and I have been researching about modern men and masculinity.From my reading so far men in general seem to be suffering within the struggle to redefine what it is to be a modern man in 2012. The world is no doubt going through a massive energetic shift and it seems that this struggle can no longer be ignored.I tend to believe that the more us men open our minds and start to work on ourselves inwardly connecting to our inner power and spirituality a balance can be forged and a possible new approach to living can develop. I am interested in hearing peoples thoughts and ideas about this and whether or not you agree that newly constructed heroes and role models that promote all the great possibilities that lie in every man can possibly contribute in starting to ease this struggle. I would also like to hear people's thoughts on what they think a modern man could be ?

Closing Statement from Ryan Chappell

Thank you for all the posts, it has been great receiving so many insightful perspectives on the question.
I will be posting again as my research develops with more questions related to this. Thanks again this platform is a brilliant tool and I really appreciate all your replies.

Ryan

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    Jun 11 2012: Although all people are different, sexes tend to have great similarities and although generalising can be dangerous, it is mostly necessary if any type of analysis is to be made. On the whole, I would say as Feyisayo does, that a person should always do the right thing, especially in the face of adversity. This goes the same for men and women. Men have to demonstrate a commitment to the raising of their children and spend time with them. One of my favourite quotes from "The Godfather" is "A man who doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real man."

    Another thing that men have to realise is that a tremendous amount of work goes into anything in life which has worth. They must realise that they are there to make sure that that potential is fulfilled...this can mean a tremendous amount of self-sacrifice. A man doesn't go out and do what he wants to do and be wants he wants to be...that's crap. He can try and do after after the important work is done...raising and loving and protecting a family.
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    Jun 11 2012: No. As kids our role models are parents (close family) and teachers. As for heros we need to define what a hero is. Today we are in a generation that worships money. Any way you can get it is okay as long as you are on the top of the heap. We are a materialistic society with shrinking morals and ethics.

    As Scott said the father son relationship is the basic key. Almost all kids can name the high school quarterback and few can name the honor graduates in their class. We need to realign our priorities and better define our goals.

    Men and women can be what ever they want to be through hard work and proper education. The taboos of the past are open discussion and observation of today. Some people get hung up on these issues and fail to advance. That alone could cause a question in masculinity. There is nothing wrong with a male becoming a nurse or a woman working in industry a reverse of roles from the past. That was the past. Adjust, adapt, and ovecome ... get over it.

    Families need to resolve these issues in a manner that will allow growth and development in a ever changing world.

    All the best. Bob.
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    Jun 11 2012: We do need new heroes and role models.
    We need men who would be such; not because they want to be idolised or venerated, but because what ought to be done has to be done no matter how inconvinient it may be.
    We need a break from our present culture of instant gratification, greed and pursuit of pleasures as if it is the reason for living.
    From reading your opening statement, the problem of the present order of things became obvious: the world's current heroes were 'constructed'.
    And it doesn't have to be, unless someone is trying to manipulate.

    One of my heroes, Dr Nelson Mandela, is a hero, because he stood for what is right without compromise. Even when it was dangerous and inconvinient.
    We need people who will do the right thing even when it doesn't bring the biggest bank account; even when sacrifices are required.

    We need men who will treat women with respect and care- that would be a big boost for women rights.
    We need men who will not give excuses for failing as fathers, and would have time to show genuine concern for the development of their children(not just school-fees payers).

    Real heroes and real role models will be known. They will be different from 'constructed heroes' as the sunlight is different from a streetlight at night.
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    R H

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    Jun 11 2012: Thanks for presenting, in my opinion, this sorely needed question. This is gross generalization, but 'Men' have been relegated to to such status's as: commercial buffoon, sexual ignoramous, incompetent parent/lover/manager, and fool of life incapable of understanding and controlling basic impulses. . Men have been convinced of their own inadequacies and look to 'heroes', not as inspiration for living, but more as regretful vicarious 'what could have been' escapism. This is what I see as 'modern masculinity', or lack thereof. The current 'cartoon' version of 'super-man' with magical powers, or the 'retro' man of cliche', feeds more psychological inadequacies than ideal attainable representation. Proponents point to 'classical' themes. But classic themes tend to be gender neutral. The new masculinity needs first to be defined, and there's no male 'Oprah' to lead the way. So in this new world of singularities, quantum reality, social connectivity, massive poisoning, exploitation, redefinition of family, weapons of mass destruction, genetic transmutation, continued genocide, greater cultural division, and spritual relativism, what does it mean to be a man?
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    Jun 11 2012: The very first thing that needs to happen is no longer referring to a huge number of individuals as "men". This gross generalisation only allows people to talk about it in generalisations and stereotypes.

    The real issue of modern times (facing all people) is the reconciliation between the individual and the group. It is no longer useful to refer to large groups because of some similar traits they possess.

    As far as role-models go, Father to Son is about the only one needed.

    If people put their hand up to be a role model that's their call and your risk. If you expect public figures to be role models, you'll be disappointed when you realise they're human not perfect.
    • Jun 11 2012: Thanks for the reply.I agree that collective statements like 'men' are slightly vulgar and promote generalisations and stereotypes , however it is undeniable that the genders have common grounds due to genetics, learnt social norms and so forth.. I also agree that the biggest problem is reconciliation between the individual and the group. I tend to think this will come as the shift into aquarius opens the human psyche to new spiritual possibilities and collective thought. Yes I am with you that father to son is about the only role- model needed but that is the most problematic of relationships in the industrialised west. The research seems to point out that fathers are failing at giving their sons a positive role model and my question is that if we have newly constructed ideals through heroes that have relevance now is that a way to start to address the problem. As for public figures being role models there would be no disappointment if they were not perfect the inspiring part is seeing the human aspect that has faults and is honest but the intention is good. Maybe thats the key: honesty about what it really is to be a man.
      I also ask for you is your fear of stereotypes and the holding on and defence of the individual your resistance to reconciling to the group??
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        Jun 11 2012: It's happening now (this is the dawning of the age of Aquarius). Bureaucracies the world over are struggling because they are no longer adequate. We simply don't need centralised government any more but there's a lot of infrastructure and tradition that doesn't realise it yet.

        I'm not sure there's ever been a period of time where father and son relationships have been across the board positive.

        I think the best place to look for positive role models is within mythology. It doesn't seem to matter which mythology you look to as they share common elements.

        The search for identity is something each person must undertake on their own. Certainly, a role model can help you make some decisions in life but again, there'll come a point where no role model has walked the path you need to take. Ultimately we are alone in this undertaking though not every step of the way.

        Stereotypes are not only not useful, they are harmful and ultimately misleading.

        When I say groups in this context, I'm not talking about a social group or even a group of individuals that interact, I mean the group as in lumped together for the ease of data gathering and academic study.

        It's scary as hell because it puts the responsibility squarely on your own shoulders to make decisions and choices that shape your life but we can do it. Everyone can. We come pre-equipped to do so.
  • Jun 19 2012: The most recent definition of a man (from a societal look at it) was a male who went out worked as much as he had to in order to look after his family, and to in effect put them ahead of themselves and protect them

    the modern male is now at an impasse everywhere we look we see feminists saying respect us, we want as much as you (all well and good) and we see the new definition of feminism... without a corresponding male version leaving the upcoming generation of men as lost, many are reverting to the old definition in a world where (some) women do not want to be provided for, protected, etc creating confusion.

    As a society we need to create an image to aspire too
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    Aja B.

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    Jun 14 2012: If you're talking about fictional heroes, I've definitely been noticing a shift towards a more "modern" sort of masculinity (and femininity, too) in Hollywood films over the past generation or so. Look at the big blockbuster action movies... the latest incarnation of James Bond, one of the ultimate symbols of masculinity, is certainly a lot more sensitive and vulnerable than the original Bonds.