TED Conversations

Theodore A. Hoppe


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So, what is the purpose of men in modern families?

There are several Op-Ed debate in the New York Times asking, or attempting to answer, this question.

"In almost half the American households with children, mothers are the sole or primary breadwinners. This victory for working women shows evolving family economics — or maybe, two very different types of families.

So what is the purpose of men in modern families? We’re approaching the holiday that celebrates dads, but do fathers bring anything unique to the table?"

Reference a TEDTalk that you have listen to on this topic if you can.


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  • Jun 5 2013: Hi Theodore,
    what an interesting topic!

    I feel very fortunate that my husband and I are working together to raise our kids. We work hard at our relationship, and value each other highly in our relationship. Often times, our gender-specific roles sort of take over - I cook, I wash, I nurture. He mows the lawn, he fixes the roof, he rough-houses with the kids. Other times, our roles feel opposite. I take the trash to the dump, he vacuums the house. No matter what we do, though, we are very much a team, a unit, and our children perceive us as that. But, they also have the space to develop their own personal relationships with both of us.

    I see change in society when it comes to modern men. The 'Metro Man' or 'metrosexual', for example, comes to mind:
    Also, on the rare occasions that I watch TV, I see quite a lot of cooking shows which are hosted by or incorporate men, from baking cakes to bread to gourmet meals. And at the same time, there are violent protests in some parts of the world about accepting homosexuals males. On the one hand, society seems to be pressuring men to be more 'feminine', but on the other, they still need to watch the football game and do the barbeque. It's confusing for everyone.The media seems to promote a merging of the two genders, or even a switch.
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      Jun 8 2013: Well, you said all and well. But what I liked the most about your comment was seeing a person that is conscious about the role of media on our daily life !
      • Jun 8 2013: Thanks, Abdelbari!
        It's hard not to notice - according to the media, men are expected to play so many roles in the family these days - they have to be sexy husbands, devoted fathers, gourmet chefs, all-round handymen, full-time bread-winners, and oh yeah, they can't be afraid to cry or use skin creme...!
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          Jun 8 2013: Yes, NIVEA has now its skin creme for MEN :D

          TBH, I'm surprised about the way you look at men, I was convinced that this is how all occident women look at men and want them to be like but you turned out different, The more you know is always less !

          Now, even in my society, media has a huge impact on that same topic and I can see it clearly in the university, at job, sometimes even inside my family ..... As a man, I feel weird sometimes in front of all these new world's expectation, they just make you feel strange. This reminds me astory, i'll tell it briefly if you don't mind. "There was a kingdom once in which flows a big river, it was the main water ressource of the kingdom's citizens. Someday the river got poisoned and every one drinks from it gets crazy, so all the citizens became crazy. The king faced the plague and faught it till one morning when he found that his wife also became crazy and started to complain about the king's craziness. The king called his minister :
          -where was the guards when the queen drank the water?
          -all the guards are crazy too, your majesty.
          -and the doctor?
          -the doctor too, my lord.
          -who else isn't crazy than ?
          -sadly my lord, the is no one but you and me, all the kingdom got crazy and they're pretending that they're wise ones and we're crazy.
          -what's this bullshit? they drank from the river so they're the crazy ones !
          -in fact my lord, they're telling they drank from the river to prevent themselves from craziness, so we're crazy if we didn't drink. Now, they're the majority and they own right, justice and vertue and they're the ones who put the threshold between sanity and craziness.
          At this moment the king said: Minister, serve me a goblet from the river of craziness ... Craziness is trying to stay sane in a world of madmen.

          I don't know why I told this story, but it just acrosses my mind from time to time. And sorry for my bad english, this is why I don't translate on Amara :p
      • Jun 9 2013: You know, Abdelbari, I've known for a long time I look at a lot of things 'differently' than most women... perhaps because I grew up with two older brothers whom I adored. Perhaps, by the influence my Dad had on me, which wasn't apparent till later in life (see the tribute to Dads convo), perhaps it's just my character... I see a man as exactly the same as me, with some slight differences.

        I loved your story, and see well how it fits into this thread! "Craziness is trying to stay sane in a world of madmen." You could say "Craziness is trying to stay sane in a world of The Media."
        Drinking the water in your story, or complying to the commercial 'role' a man should play, it's the same thing. Do we succumb to the insanity, or pave our own road?
        I dare say, most male Tedians are road-pavers.

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