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Theodore A. Hoppe

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Is there a need for a "Gathering of Men" to explore the role of the man in the modern family?" Might a TEDMen Conference fill this need?

Robert Bly, the author of "Iron John" organized a series of events called "A Gathering of Men," but that was more than twenty years ago.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TP3HWLIL1Aw

When one listens to these talks it becomes clear that there is a need for a TEDMen Conference, in the same way there have been TEDWomen Conferences. The only way to make this happen might be to organize such an event as a TEDxConference for Men.
Is there a need for a TEDMEN Conference? Would you be willing to organize a TEDxMen?

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    Feb 8 2014: There is certainly a need for men to rethink their roles and values in our fast-changing society. Whether a TEDMen would help I'm not sure.
    As a member of a men's group that meets fortnightly (5 of us) and also we help each other out working together on our respective land (we have all variously retreated from Northern Europe to live in rural Portugal) I have found that working/farming together and officially meeting once a fortnight provides a great forum for rethinking our lives.
    The fact that we see each other over time and in many situations means that we have to be more and more authentic with each other, as we reinvent ourselves and question our perceived identities as men. We also witness each other in all sorts of positive and negative moods and situations.
    That "incentive for authenticity" is not something you generally find in conferences where participants each go their separate ways afterwards. However, a TEDMen initiative would probably share some useful ideas for men. Given that men have been "in charge" for several thousand years, a new self-image of manhood is certainly needed.
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      Feb 8 2014: This is a great response, so much so, that I believe that you would be a perfect speaker at a TEDxMen Conference. You and your small group share a vision, and more importantly perhaps, a process for what can be.
      While it is difficult to share this sense of authenticity that you are describing with others, you have presented it to us in a way that welcomes us to ask more about your experience which prompts reflection of our own experiences.
      Thank you so much..
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        Feb 16 2014: Hello Theodore,
        Thank you for your supportive comment.
        On the subject of authenticity, I'd like to correct one possible misunderstanding from what I wrote. We don't HAVE to be more authentic with each other, but what we have in the group is is the opportunity to practice being authentic (to the extent any one of us is willing to take the risk) knowing that we have all signed up to a few basic ground-rules - one of which is that we are committed to non-judgemental and compassionate listening.
        We also use a "talking-stick" which is passed around, as a way of reminding us to actively listen in compassion, (rather than being distracted by thinking about what we are going to say next as the stick comes round to you). This takes some practice especially if you're the next guy to get the stick, but I have experienced that being attentively listened to without judgement by 4 other men actually draws out of me the stuttering words of authenticity, long since buried somewhere deep inside me.

        Also, being all in the 55-65 age group, we have common issues of enough water under the bridge to have had a number of successes and failures to come to terms with, as well as consideration of our "legacies", what we have learned and can pass on to children/grand-children, growing into older age with its limitations, and unfinished business which we might feel under pressure to complete before it's 'too late'.
        As a member of the post-war generation who "have never had it so good" I personally feel our age group with 20-30 years still ahead of us can afford to risk again in learning how to make a new kind of contribution, where perhaps the wisdom in moving slowly has something to say to the younger generation. Taking such such a risk when you don't "have to" (& could otherwise retire quietly into obscurity) is possibly a deeper purpose that is emerging from our men's group.
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      Feb 15 2014: Joshua, There is certainly a need, hopefully there is a want. I am not for sure if we engage on such a path until we are sick and tired of an unfulfilling form of life. As Mr. T has mentioned you would be perfect, you appear to know the deal. It is in small intimate groups that we can interact freely and honestly. In time we become authentic and real human beings. The value of such small interactive meetings is immeasurable.

      I would agree with your view that conferences and large scaling are not the most fertile grounds for intimate self understanding but it is a start and it's in moving that we find direction.

      I noticed a characteristic of Robert Bly is the simple fact of being honest and authentic. Regards
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        Feb 16 2014: Hello Larry,
        Thank you for your comments.
        "I am not for sure if we engage on such a path until we are sick and tired of an unfulfilling form of life" - I agree with you; we have to reach what I call "our point of enoughness" before we are willing to really question our beliefs and concepts that guided our actions to that point when we wake up one day and say to ourselves "I've had enough - I want to change the film I'm in (or at least the part I'm playing in it)".
        Maybe it's a "man thing" to believe one has to "go it alone", as if our self-worth depended on being some Hollywood lone hero, but I don't believe humans were made to make changes in their lives without a supporting group; we need that.
        Please also see my reply to Theo above.
        With best wishes
  • Feb 13 2014: Answer to your question.. why not?
    I believe any Men or Women gathering should be prefaced by a refresher course in kindergarten, we seem to have lost the essence of those beautiful lessons we all learned their. Which is no wonder because the next 12 to 22 years we spend learning habits that conflict with those lessons. I think we would have a much better society if kindergarten was repeated every other year so we would not forget what makes a society beautiful. To begin with the teachers should have cookies and milk then lie down and take a nap together. They should learn to listen to the students and share with the students.
    "If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion"- Dalai Lama
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      Feb 13 2014: GREAT idea Keith! And the official "plan", or information, could come from the book "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten".....:>)

      There is a LOT of truth to what you say my friend, because I believe kids are born with many of the qualities we seek, and life experiences cause us/them to build walls, which hide many of those qualities from our "self" and others. For all of us women and men, it may be a matter of remembering:>)
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      Feb 13 2014: These are the things I learned:
      Share everything.
      Play fair.
      Don't hit people.
      Put things back where you found them.
      Clean up your own mess.
      Don't take things that aren't yours.
      Say you're sorry when you hurt somebody.
      Wash your hands before you eat.
      Flush.
      Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you.
      Live a balanced life - learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work every day some.
      Take a nap every afternoon.
      When you go out in the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
      Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the Styrofoam cup: the roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.
      Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the Styrofoam cup - they all die. So do we.
      And then remember the Dick-and-Jane books and the first word you learned - the biggest word of all - LOOK.
      Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation. Ecology and politics and equality and sane living.
      [Source: "ALL I REALLY NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED IN KINDERGARTEN" by Robert Fulghum. See his web site at http://www.robertfulghum.com/ ]
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        Feb 13 2014: Perfect! There is the foundation for a conference:>)
        • Feb 13 2014: By the way, going threw this exercise I figured out what the hardest job in the world is! What's that you say? "practicing what I preach"
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        Feb 13 2014: Aw yes Keith....practicing what we preach.....much easier sometimes to say...do what I say....not what I do!

        I really feel that your idea of going back to what we knew as children is a great exercise to remind us of the simple and basic ideas that are SO important in all aspects of the life adventure, and would be a GREAT theme for a conference:>)
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      Feb 13 2014: In all seriousness the sharing of food is perhaps surprisingly effective in bonding communities, which is why so many teachers at the secondary level sneak food into the classroom, despite school rules that prohibit it because of real pest issues if it is stored at school or crumbs remain in the classroom. I have split one piece of cake thirty ways in the classroom. It's the thought that counts.

      My first year of teaching secondary school, the school had a gathering of young men. Either that or it was a gathering specifically of young men of color. The library was used for several hours for this event, with male teachers, male students, specially selected male speakers who had risen from challenging beginnings, and lots of food.

      I remember there was careful consideration given to the food and that the center-point of the food was massive amounts of fried chicken.

      I remember this detail because my classroom was opposite the library and because I remember how vital it was to organizers that there be "real food" rather than, say, cookies and juice boxes.

      I believe the idea was for there to be some continuity in these gatherings with the male teachers becoming leadership figures within a community of young people holding themselves to goals and standards suggested by the conference and to which they had become associated as a result of a conference that would be very positive experience for them.

      While I remember no continuity in my building, these sorts of gatherings of young men are sufficiently common that I would think their short and long-term effects on the participants have been evaluated.

      I hope, Theodore, that you do not find me off-point of your question.
      • Feb 13 2014: Well, well my friends... see how easy it is when everyone works together? Colleen offered encouragement and direction, Theodore brought the references and Fritzie brought it all together with confirmations. Teamwork!
        When I was in Hawaii I learned all about teamwork just by going to a real luau. Everybody had a part to play in a this community project even me, I was a guest. The big macho guys went hunting for wild pig, the less macho guys went fishing and the kids swam offshore in the rocks collecting opihi. The younger ladies gathered and prepared fruits and flowers, they also made many things out of palm leaves like bowls, mats and even hats. I helped dig the hole which was lined with special shore rocks and then a huge fire was built again out of special wood that would burn long and make coals that would last all night. The elders (our version of doctors, lawyers and politicians) were always sitting together working out community problems, telling stories (their version of the library) and were always available to any member no matter what age. Their was no such thing as your kids, kids belong to the whole community and all were important. Where was I? Oh, the fire. Everything was around the fire. While the fire was going the younger kids danced and sang, followed by the fertile generation showing their seductive moves to attract a possible suitor. As the fire burned down leaving a huge hole of hot coals on hot rocks, we threw banana leaves on top and then placed the wrapped up pig, fish, turkey and vegetables on top then covered with more banana leaves. Over the top of everything was a huge tarp to keep the heat in. Huge rocks and dirt where then placed around the edges and a small team of guys including me stayed up all night making sure there were no leaks which would ruin the cooking process. The next day... eat, drink and be merry for tomorrow you may die.
        This story was about the community but if men could pull off something similar it would be grand.
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    Feb 10 2014: I would suggest that any 'gathering of men' focus first on communication skills. I cannot count the number of times that a discussion with a male or males has quickly degenerated into egos and p#ssing contests while the subject of discussion gets lost in the melee. There are those who attempt to have their view dominate while others simply tune out and/or dismiss counterpoints. When the arguments of one side's are weakest personal attacks become more and more common as if the person and the subject are inseparable.

    So before any discussion of "roles" could ever take place there is a much more desperate need for a solid foundation of communication skills first. .
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      Feb 10 2014: This is a good idea for both genders, starting early in education.
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        Feb 10 2014: Brendan,
        The option to flag comments is there for all of us. Perhaps you did not notice the flag feature, and perhaps there are a few more of your comments you might delete, including and not limited to, the one above.

        It appears that you are trying to blame the "Mexican Standoff" (as you call it) on Theodore and/or the TED staff. The kind of dialogue you guys were having takes TWO to keep it going. That kind of situation needs a hero.....one who is willing and able to let go of a need to dominate and be "right".
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        Feb 10 2014: Brendan,
        I did not send ANYONE a missive. I commented here on an open public forum.

        Why would you ask, or expect others to bail you out when you comment as you do Brendan?
        As I clearly stated in the previous comment....
        "The kind of dialogue you guys were having takes TWO to keep it going. That kind of situation needs a hero.....one who is willing and able to let go of a need to dominate and be "right".
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        Feb 10 2014: Brendan,
        I see that you edited your previous comment after I replied.

        Whatever TEDcred I have, does NOT put me above the rules. In fact, perhaps one reason I have the TEDcred after about 4 years of participation on TED, is that I follow the rules:>)

        We are certainly NOT on topic, so I wouldn't be surprised (or disappointed) if this thread is deleted by TED.

        EDIT regarding comment below....
        "Brendan Maloney
        3 hours ago: I have deleted all my hubris-generated comments, like a good boy, Mama Bear!
        If you and Theodore will do the same his chat will be ever so nice and tidy!"

        The issue is not about having a chat that is "nice and tidy" Brendan. It is about respect and stayng on topic. My name is not "Mama Bear".....it is Colleen, and I appreciate it if you need to label me something, you use my real name. Thank you in advance.

        Second EDIT
        Brendan Maloney, I did not write anything about caps, and that is one reason I left my comments. You seem to want to play the he said/she said game....not very useful!
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        Feb 10 2014: My best guess is that only you and Theodore have been reading your exchange of comments, except sporadically. When two people are, perhaps, bickering, many people will not take interest in watching that from the sidelines. People may prefer to involve themselves in other exchanges that seem to be advancing ideas more productively.

        It's kind of like how some people like to watch people bickering on reality TV and others definitely don't.

        One other guess applicable to people who may be following your exchange- when lobs are going only one way, I think people may be more likely to flag the aggressor than when both parties to the exchange seem to be pelting snowballs.

        Colleen will answer for herself, of course. I responded only to the question of why others might, or might not, have flagged comments within the thread..
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    Feb 6 2014: Yes I think there is a need for a TEDMEN Conference. Even more so now than when the Robert Bly video was made, due to the increased marginalisation of men in the family - alluded to by Bly's wisdom on that subject.

    I would invite Sir David Attenborough as one of the 'elder statesmen' of civilised manhood. He is someone for whom I have the greatest admiration, ever since I heard one of his broadcasts when I was in my early 20's. He has a gentle, 'fatherly' charisma, coupled with great wisdom, intelligence and gravitas.

    I would also invite ordinary men to speak about why they have perhaps felt marginalised by family, work and society, their relationships towards other men, and with their children.

    In order to get a sense of balance, I would also invite ordinary women who are single mothers, to speak about the difficulties that led to them becoming single, what their relationships are like with their sons who have little or no paternal contact - and their thoughts about the all too common disconnect between modern men and modern women.

    I would invite someone who possibly has legitimate claim to be a vocal 'conduit' of the often troubled younger male generation - someone like Russell Brand. The older generation may find his speaking style overpoweringly contemporary and his humour distracting, but he is a very articulate, intelligent man underneath all that. He would certainly attract an audience of younger men because of his personal experience in dealing with many of the realities that other young men have had to face.
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    Feb 5 2014: What usually works for our gender since thousands of years, is way more simple than organizing a TEDxMen ...

    Just grab a view beer, your equally confused buddies and gather around a camp-fire to do nothing but to stare at it. After a while, silence will gradually occur and all men tune into a mutual connectedness while watching the flames dance for hours on end ...

    I don't know what magic there is to it, or what changing light-pattern do to our neurons, but I found that on men it has a calming and purifying effect on troubled or disoriented minds.
  • Feb 20 2014: Another speaker for your gathering of men could be Colin Stokes. Here is an excerpt from his TEDtalk.
    "I think we have got to show our sons a new definition of manhood.The definition of manhood is already turning upside down. You've read about how the new economy is changing the roles of caregiver and wage earner. They're throwing it up in the air. So our sons are going to have to find some way of adapting to this, some new relationship with each other, and I think we really have to show them, and model for them, how a real man is someone who trusts his sisters and respects them, and wants to be on their team, and stands up against the real bad guys, who are the men who want to abuse the women."

    http://new.ted.com/talks/colin_stokes_how_movies_teach_manhood
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    Feb 14 2014: Mr. T, I think you have the beginnings of a good idea. May I suggest carefully and mindfully bringing it to form. Having many years of attending such groups, meeting or gatherings I may be able to help by offering some insight.

    I watched most of the Robert Bly clip, most interesting man as well as Bill Moyers. It is very meaty and will take more than one view for me to absorb fully.

    As with structuring of mind the first to come is the foundation. May I recommend the strong mixture of Faith and Integrity.

    One of my favorite memories as a "younger" child is the wisdom imparted to Tudor the Turtle by Mr. Wizard "Be what you is and not what you is not, people that do that are the happiest lot". Regards
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    Feb 5 2014: I wonder whether the Council of Dads talk also belongs on your list.

    I am sure if you organized a TEDxMen, you could find speakers such as the ones whose talks you link. What I don't know is whether people would fly from other parts of the country or world to attend such an event.
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    Feb 16 2014: I can say this about women. Having been left alone to my own devices most likely I would still be lost to myself. The bulk of my understanding about feelings, communicating, being kind, and being loving I've learned from the mature minds of womenkind. I am not a propionate of excluding them from any interactive gathering that I may attend, I see that as a half measure. It does seem beneficial that my wife and I go to separate gatherings simply to maintain a sense of independence. I speak only for myself, I am grateful to both men and women for what I have been taught about this thing called life, Regards.
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      Feb 16 2014: A TEDMen event certainly will be open to women, and include women speakers as well, just as TEDWomen events have been inclusive. You will notice that Bly, in the video, speaks about women's interactions with men.
      Thank you for your thoughts.
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        Feb 16 2014: Perhaps, TEDWomen on the welcome mat would not appear inviting to me. Would TEDMen appear inviting to women? Bly did speak about women but I did not see a woman speaking for herself. I did not recall seeing a woman in the "gathering of men" audience. It's as if to say your invited but please don't come. TEDxConference for Men, I see what I see. Regards
  • Feb 13 2014: NAW, Leave us guys alone.
    I would rather explore the role of women as wives, and how they have
    lowered standards until today children suffer from their mother's neglect.

    I would rather get a head count on the number of women who work as
    collection agents for district attorney's recovering welfare dollars plus
    usury times two, from father's who cannot hold a job when the women
    collection agents suspend their driver's licenses each time they get behind.
    in payments to the district attorney.

    Selling this idea to push your agenda may seem a fair thing to do.
    If Robert Bly couldn't get it to work, what make you think you can?
    After all the chatter, then what?
    Another 20 years?

    We need a Family Conference. But that wouldn't work either.
    Because nobody cares. Except the collection agents.
    ===
    Ok, since I am a displaced Vermonter, living at the beach in California,
    having gone to school in St. Albans, and Burlington, and once a swim
    in your beautiful warm water lake, I wish you well.

    And remember, Spring is coming.
    Today Morro Bay, CA 69/49 mostly clear.
    Short sleeves and shorts.

    I know, it's tough to live in sunny CA, but I think I can manage.
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      Feb 16 2014: Greeting from a snow covered Vermont.
      Many thanks for the well wishes, and for the thoughts you have added here.
      You raises an inescapable issue, and that is one of family.
      Does any of the TEDWomen Conference address this? I'll search the data base.
      It would certainly be on the agenda of a TEDMen event, specifically, but not exclusively as it pertains to "fathering."
      You say nobody cares, and I feel, deep down, that this is just not true. I care, and I think you care. Others commenting here care.
      More need to care. I will not argue that point. We need to have a discussion, and a TED events for MEN can help by providing the forum, and the focus.
      • Feb 16 2014: Theodore, I hoped that you would reply.
        You could have a point about a TEDMen event.

        My problem is, I've become "solitary", like a great Moose who stands alone
        on a snow-covered hilltop with his head turned upside-down, and antlers
        touching the ground, as he eats the leafs from a lone tree.

        I once sat on another hilltop and watched that scene develop before me.
        'Majestic' would only barely describe it.
        ===
        Took a look at your Utube link. Just the Robert Bly's "tom-tom" part and a
        few other stops as I rushed through the video, to get back to this replying...
        My promise is to watch the whole thing, and maybe some of the others.

        I haven't kept up with the Who's Who of Poets and Writers, ignorant, I suppose
        of Robert Bly. I write myself, but only short stories.
        ===
        My daughter, a young widow, raised her son by herself. I had sour feelings that
        she did not have a Father substitute during his youth. We got lucky and he has
        become a fine young man of 26. He had a problem weaning from his mother's
        finances, but may have left that behind this year. She confided that, with a sigh
        of relief, as she did re-marry and has a great many other responsibilities.
        ===
        I miss the beauty of Vermont and the many friends I made there.
        After schooling I almost stayed. I have so many wonderful things to remember.
        Upon the bi-centennial of the discovery of Lake Champlain I entered the Historical
        Society's Poetry Contest, and they published my work. That was in 1958-1959?
        ===
        TED puts a lot of work into having intelligent and dedicated people take the stage
        and display their accomplishments. TED's staff send me a new Talk every day.
        Talks I can enjoy and comment on. I have over several years been a bit too critical
        on 2 occasions. TED's staff chastised me to change my ways and do re-writes. lol

        Getting late. To Bed. Be Well. Morro Bay 62/51 Yawn...12:45am
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      Feb 16 2014: Dear Frank,
      For what it's worth.....I care, and I send you more greetings from snow covered Vermont!

      I care enough to honor your preference to leave you alone if that is what you really want. However, you are here on TED participating in conversations, which may suggest that you are reaching out to people:>)
      • Feb 17 2014: Colleen, Thank you.
        I find enjoyment in participating with yourself and others here at TED.

        I've never been much of a Joiner, nor a subscriber, nor have I participated
        in community events, meetings, town halls, and such. I've never taken a
        newspaper. Solitary me.

        Surely there are problems with men adjusting to whatever, but those went
        unnoticed by me.

        My wife used to get after me when I would suffer one of my many setbacks
        that my business partners seem to cause when my back was turned. I would
        exclaim, "That's Life", and she would fret and fume at the money lost. If I told
        you the amounts involved, you wouldn't believe me.
        My stories of these type of things would fill a thick book.... lol

        If I recall Colleen, I shared a story or two with you about my St Alban's VT school
        and my two English Lit teachers. The pregnant lady who tossed my homework
        into the trash can, and graded me an "F", and her replacement at mid-term,
        John Barry, no relation, who taught me to write poetry. He gave me an "A".

        I noticed, I write about myself. Funny that. Solitary people are a small crowd.
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          Feb 17 2014: It is indeed enjoyable Frank:>)

          I'm sorry Frank, but I don't seem to recall you mentioning that you lived in Vermont at one time....this conversation, seems like the first time I am aware of that information.

          Writing about our self is often helpful to clarify our own thoughts, feelings and perceptions....don't you think?

          I am sometimes very solitary, and sometimes not....I like the balance of introvert/extrovert at different times. If one is solitary all the time, I can see where a conference or gathering may feel uncomfortable. Have you considered viewing a TED conference on line? I did that once and it was GREAT! I was in my own space, AND connected with lots of people around the world....similar to what we do with these conversations.
  • Feb 11 2014: The last thing humanity needs is rule by conference.
  • Feb 10 2014: Maybe we (and society) would be have better results if we had a"Gathering of Young men and women" to discuss the role models they have in their lives or choose to emulate. It could focus on questioning the roles that society tries to choose for them and the issues they face together. It could also have speakers that discuss the characteristics that will help them become responsible adults. I can appreciate the need fir communication about "men's" issues like spousal and child abuse but I think you would end up "preaching to the choir" as I don't see abusers or sex offenders attending a TED conference, though that may just be a stereotype I'm holding on to.
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      Feb 10 2014: It may indeed be a stereotype you are holding onto Jacob. My father was a violent abusive person, a law enforcement officer, rock of the community and the church.....AND.....violent and abusive.

      Many of the women who called the shelter hotline, were partners and wives of judges, lawyers, doctors, prominent business people, etc. etc. etc.

      An old stereotype is that abuse happened in a lower socioeconomic group, and that is not at all true.
      • Feb 10 2014: I guess I just cant see an abuser going to a conference about the negatives of abuse. I can believe that those "in power" would seek to exert their dominance over their families though. I'm sorry to hear you had to live through it. I consider myself very lucky that my father broke the cycle of violence that was a part of our family. His father and stepfather used to beat him and my uncle regularly. My dad gave us licks with a paddle, but never in anger. He always talked to us calmly before and after about what we had done to deserve being punished.
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          Feb 10 2014: Jacob,
          Some people who abuse are genuinely remorseful, and do not understand the patterns of violence and abuse. Some people, like your father, take steps toward changing the patterns. You are right....it is a cycle, and if people do not recognize the cycle, they continue to repeat the patterns.
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        Feb 11 2014: The is addressed in the video by Bly, and it is directed to both young men and women.
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    Feb 10 2014: Re: "those labels that are taught to us by our culture."

    The influences a culture has on us are huge, and usually unknown to us, but this is not to say that we must continue to approach it in a passive manner.
    Developing nations often seek to replicate the culture they aspire to have, which many times means ours, but they actually need to improve on it.
    Perhaps the greatest challenge to this approach is the speed at which it is evolving.
    • Feb 10 2014: I don't know how unknown they are to us. We all look around us at the adults in our lives as we grow up to see how we should behave. Check out the TEDtalk "A call to men" by Tony Porter. I don't mean that we should passively accept the negatives in our culture, sure didn't mean to give that impression. I jusy meant that reenforcing the idea that men should act one way and women should act another seems counterproductive. Maybe we should instead focus on how to be better human beings or maybe yhat is setting the bar too high. It seems though what "a man should be" has changed even in my short time here on planet earth.
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        Feb 10 2014: Well, I see the effects of culture as often non-linear, (many revert to a simplistic linear "cause and effect" understanding).

        An example of this might be the TEDTalk by Jackson Katz: "Violence against women—it's a men's issue."
        Katz says, "I'm going to share with you a paradigm-shifting perspective on the issues of gender violence -- sexual assault, domestic violence, relationship abuse, sexual harassment, sexual abuse of children. That whole range of issues that I'll refer to in shorthand as "gender violence issues," they've been seen as women's issues that some good men help out with, but I have a problem with that frame and I don't accept it. I don't see these as women's issues that some good men help out with. In fact, I'm going to argue that these are men's issues, first and foremost."

        He adds, " This is one of the ways that dominant systems maintain and reproduce themselves, which is to say the dominant group is rarely challenged to even think about its dominance, because that's one of the key characteristics of power and privilege, the ability to go unexamined, lacking introspection, in fact being rendered invisible in large measure in the discourse about issues that are primarily about us. "
        (see India's current problems with gang rapes)

        This same argument can be made when it comes to abortion because we create memes around it like "a women's right to choice." Ask a man what type of birth control he uses. The response I repeatedly hear is, She's on the pill." Men neglect their responsibility before it ever becomes the "choice" of the woman.
        Welcome to "the culture."
        • Feb 10 2014: Ill have to chew on that before I respond to all of it, but I agree wholeheartedly thatif a man thinks its right (or his right) to abuse anyone the he has "issues" that he needs to deal with. But it seems we agree, if indirectly that these are neither men's issues or women's issues completely. To say one or the other is to relieve the other sex of any responsibilty to even think about them.I feel like I'm not expressing myself clearly and I apologize. It just seems to analyze "men's" role in society reenforces the idea that there are only certain things that are required of him, as a man. Let me chew and ill respond further in a bit.
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          Feb 10 2014: Theodore,
          You say..." I don't see these as women's issues that some good men help out with. In fact, I'm going to argue that these are men's issues, first and foremost."

          How about looking at the issue of violence and abuse as a people issue? There are so many dynamics with the issue of violence and abuse, that it seems less than beneficial to call it either a "man's issue" or a "woman's issue". It impacts all of us, and each of us as people sharing this earth can deal with various "parts" of the whole.

          For what it's worth Jacob, I think you are expressing yourself very clearly:>)
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      Feb 10 2014: Theodore and Jacob,
      I agree with both of you:>)

      Sometimes the influences of a culture are unknown to us because we do not spend the time and energy to "know" better.....some folks live life in a "passive manner", as you say Theodore.....simply going through the motions without evaluating.

      As you say Jacob, we all have the opportunity to look around us and as we grow, we may have more information (tools) to think and feel for ourselves.

      I agree that reinforcing the idea "that men should act one way and women should act another, seems counterproductive".

      I agree with you Jacob, that expectations of certain roles with men and women have changed. In the past, men were encouraged to NOT show too much emotion, while part of the woman's role was DEFINED as the emotional supporter....it was ok for women to cry because we were considered more emotional, while men/boys were taught to suppress emotions, or at least the ramifications of emotions.

      Traditionally, women have gathered to talk about "stuff" like this, and I think it helps first of all, to know that we are not alone with our thoughts, feelings and questions about life, and secondly, it helps to talk and discuss issues that we share as people living together in our world, AND our particular role in our family, community and world.
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        Feb 10 2014: Allow me to reply here to the thought above:

        Re: You say..." I don't see these as women's issues that some good men help out with.

        It is important to use the quote in context. He says, "That whole range of issues that I'll refer to in shorthand as "gender violence issues," they've been seen as women's issues that some good men help out with, but I have a problem with that frame and I don't accept it.
        In response to this linear process of viewing the issue, "They've been seen as..." Katz take the position that, in fact, this are mens' issues, stating, " I don't see these as women's issues that some good men help out with. In fact, I'm going to argue that these are men's issues, first and foremost."
        And I am inclined to agree with him in that, as we can see in India, men control the behaviors, the police, the courts, the media, etc.
        See the related issue of "selective abortion of female fetuses."
        http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2013/oct/10/indias-women-mixed-truth/?pagination=false

        "While female education does not serve as a silver bullet to prevent discrimination against girls, other factors make the experience of the different regions within India quite diverse. In fact, there is a sharp regional divide. In the northern and western states, there is clear evidence of extensive use of selective abortion of female fetuses. In the states in the south and east of India, we do not typically find evidence of its widespread use."

        Do you see the dynamical spiral here?
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          Feb 10 2014: I believe I used the quote in context Theodore. I watched the talk by Katz way back when, and you and I were in a conversation about it.....remember? I think on the same page, as I recall. I think his talk was GREAT, and he might be a good speaker for a TEDMEN conference.

          As he said in his talk, violence and abuse of women has been thought of as a women's issue, and women have been encouraged to deal with it for a long time. If you and Katz now want to call it a men's issue, that's ok with me.

          While volunteering in a shelter and family center for years, I began to realize that we could educate and encourage women AND that was not going to solve the problem of violence and abuse. So, I then volunteered with the dept. of corrections for 6 years, working with offenders.

          Violence and abuse is not limited to only men against women.....there is violence and abuse in same sex relationships, violence and abuse motivated by racism, homophobia, religion, etc. When I guest lectured at the univ. in a class called "Violence and Abuse in Relationships" and facilitated discussion groups, we addressed ALL types of violence and abuse, because I believe it is a global, societal issue.

          I am aware of many of the issues that you mention, and would be glad to converse about them if you wish. I am trying my best to stay on topic, as you requested (understandably) in this comment thread, and your topic question is...
          "Is there a need for a "Gathering of Men" to explore the role of the man in the modern family?" Might a TEDMen Conference fill this need?"

          I think a TEDMEN conference would be great, and Katz would be a good speaker for that event:>)
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    Feb 10 2014: Men have forgotten how to bark at a little one that is starting to spiral on their mums while they are out shopping or it is frowned upon, I don't know but it is obvious the mum is under severe stress because of it. When used it can reign in a little one.
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      Feb 10 2014: One of the modern techniques of parenting is to ask children what they "want." I hear this all the time in the supermarket, "What do you want for dinner?"
      Did we ever have the control that parents give children today.
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        Feb 10 2014: Some of us had that opportunity Theodore, while growing up (so I don't agree that it is a "modern" idea), and I think asking a child what s/he wants teaches him/her to think about choices and express preferences. It offers an opportunity for everyone involved to teach and learn. I certainly am not saying that it is beneficial for a child to GET everything s/he wants, and I think it is good to teach about choices.
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    Feb 9 2014: well, i have an gut feeling it's a good idea, but I don't think too much about my "man-ness," Theodore, I usually just try to think what is the best idea apart from any person's sex.

    Do you think much about your man-ness? What are the thoughts you have?
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      Feb 9 2014: Thanks for asking.
      One of my areas of study is human relationship. In my observations of intimate relationship, such as marriage and cohabitation, I see that, with the advent of feminism, women were afforded an opportunity for self examination in regard to your roles in the family, which extended outward into the culture and society. This affordance has had a direct impact on men but without the same direct opportunity for self examination, placing men in the position of reacting, instead of responding to the resultant changes of the last few decades.

      Several month ago a initiated a TED conversation that asked about the role of men in a modern family. I was surprise to find responses that were primarily directed to a male role in the nuclear family; the roles of husband and father. Almost none of the responses spoke about the role men fill as grandfathers, uncles, brothers, or friend, (and here I might add teacher, mentor, elder, employer among others that are societal in their orientation). That conversation draw 284 comments. Many of my other thoughts on this topic can be found there so I will just provide a link to it.
      http://www.ted.com/conversations/18788/so_what_is_the_purpose_of_men.html

      It is worth repeating that there are many TEDTalk that promote this idea of male self reflection. Some of them are listed here. I have viewed all of the talks several times and have contributed comments to them as well.

      The purpose of this discussion is to foster a conscious approach to the change in a way we might embrace.
      • Feb 10 2014: I would have to agree with greg, maybe the best path to take is too set down these roles and focus on "right" actions. I will always be the uncle to my nephews, I understand that, but respecting others, keeping an open mind, being honest, etc. trancend the lines of demarcation between man and woman, parentand child, on so on. I also understand there are biological differences between men and women, but that's not what's being discussed here. Its the labels and definitions of those labels that are taught to us by our culture. Maybe the best thing we can do is stop trying to narrowly define ourselves and start looking for the most responsible way for us to live.
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          Feb 8 2014: Why would one continue to make the assumption that all comments are directed at them even when they are not. Others will conclude that Brendan was "off topic", and contributed little to the discussion beyond that.
          Sadly, the only tool this left him was "ad hominem. attacks"
          While many of his posts get deleted, he will continue to troll the conversations here at TED.
          He was here to be disruptive. We all accept that, and have to deal with it accordingly.
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    Feb 6 2014: Tony Porter: A call to men
    Ali Carr-Chellman: Gaming to re-engage boys in learning
    Philip Zimbardo: The demise of guys?
    Colin Stokes: How movies teach manhood

    These are some off the speakers that have addressed men's issues
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    Feb 5 2014: I am going to serve notice here that comments NEED TO ADDRESS THE TOPIC. If you cannot do that please refrain from commenting here. There are other places to argue about gender biases.
    This conversation is about the questions posed:
    Is there a need for a "Gathering of Men" to explore the role of the man in the modern family?
    Might a TEDMen Conference fill this need?
    Is there a need for a TEDMEN Conference?
    Would you be willing to organize a TEDxMen?
    What speakers would you invite to such an event?


    Please watch the video provided
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        Feb 6 2014: Asking people to remain on topic and respond to the questions that were asked equates me to being a someone who had a racially motivated ideology?????
        Comments are the property of TED and this is a monitored conversation. My urging of others to remain on topic is merely an attempt to promote a productive conversation.
        My suggestion is that you organize a TEDx event. Or attend one.
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        Feb 6 2014: Brendan, TEDx conferences often cost something like $5 or $50 or something. You could look for one near you just as an example and see what it costs. The one happening at Ohio State this Saturday costs $10.
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        Feb 6 2014: I think people sometimes use all caps just because we don't have a way to do italics. It isn't necessarily meant to be aggressive.

        Maybe people should start doing something like ** please stay on topic** in place of all caps to avoid misunderstanding.

        In terms of creds, people don't choose to display them. They just pop up next to your name.
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        Feb 9 2014: Brendan, are you saying men are more inclined to think with their left brain? Is the left brain an actual physical entity, or is it more just a style of thinking? Is thinking with the left brain something we must do, a physiological mandate, or is it a choice?

        If you say that men are mostly the leaders, then apparently thinking with the left brain had some benefits, men achieved leadership positions?
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        Feb 9 2014: Thanks, Brendan. But if we're going to criticize the way men have typically led, how does it help to bring the physical brain into the conversation? We could just say "The typical way men think or approach life has often failed." How is it any more illuminating to say "The left-brain thinking of men has often failed"?

        I'm not really so inclined to criticize men. I think of the billions of people who have lived, who have at least had some good in their life, they were clothed, they were fed and sheltered, they had friends, they had art, they had music, they had some joy. and if men were leading all that, at least they did some good, if not perfect. But I'm all for opening up leadership to women, women can be wonderful although I've been mistreated by some, too.
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          Feb 9 2014: Greg, your thoughtful question deserves an answer. Please allow me to offer this one.

          Dr Laurie Santos, of Yale University, has lectured on the topic of moral behaviors in non human animals. She notes in her lecture that chimpanzees and bonobo, our two closest relative in the animal kingdom, have very different social structures. The chimpanzees have a male dominated structure with alpha leaders. This structure is the result of dwelling in regions where great apes forage for food on the ground level, leaving chimpanzees to fight for scraps, or live on the fruit on the tree. In this structure we find a territorial behavior and what Santos labels as "unspeakable cruelty" against other bands of chimps. Bonobos on the other hand do not live in regions with great apes and are free to forage on the jungle floor, as well as in the trees. Their structure developed into a female oriented structure, absent of the violence we find in the chimpanzee structure.
          We might speculate that evolution has played a role in shaping our social structure in the same ways it shaped the chimpanzees' and bonobos'. I might also introduce the idea that the current rise in the awareness of women's right and those of LGBT right way mean that our social structure is at a tipping point that may lead to an evolving human structure similar to the bonobos, but at the present time there is a lack of evidence to support my conjecture.
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          Feb 10 2014: http://www.eva.mpg.de/3chimps/files/apes.htm

          I believe this link provides the research to support you overview I have presented.

          "How did bonobos, which live in humid forests south of the Zaire River, evolve such a different social structure from chimpanzees since the two species split about 2 million years ago? Male dominance plays a big role in chimp society. Disputes are often resolved by threatening displays or by fighting. Female chimps lead a life much more solitary than that their bonobo cousins, and are sometimes harassed by the much larger males. Sex is strictly about reproduction, and reproductive tactics can include infanticide -- the killing of offspring unrelated to a male chimp. Infanticidal individuals remove potential competitors to their own offspring, and the mother, without an infant to care for, will become available for mating again much sooner.

          In contrast, bonobo society is marked by the strong bonds that develop between unrelated females and by almost constant sexual activity amongst all members of a group. Bonobos apparently use sex to reinforce bonds within the group and to resolve conflict. What evolutionary advantages do these behaviors offer? "
          http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/evolution/library/07/3/l_073_03.html

          http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-24494230
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        Feb 10 2014: Hi, Brendan. TED has a very small staff and does sometimes miss things that are violations of terms of use. Those who monitor TED Conversations have other assignments as well, which may be particularly diverting for the next few weeks because the big conference of the year is opening on March 17 at a brand new facility.

        I have no inside information, but many organizations that have both a continuous stream of activities and two huge spikes in effort/activity in what they do will get a little thinner in some functions while people are trying to get the big thing produced.

        It would be community-spirited for you two to try to handle this interaction gone somewhat awry just between the two of you.

        If I were you and Theodore, I would give your interaction a break It would be good to quit using all caps and also for you to call Theodore Theodore rather than Ted. I am fine personally with Liebchen and other nicknames, but I am pretty sure Theodore doesn't like being called Ted.
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        Feb 10 2014: Theodore has no direct line to anyone, I am certain. And I am totally fine with nicknames in my case. As you might imagine, I have been called Liebchen often in my life and I did not mind at all. I have noticed people sometimes call me Fritz, thinking that Fritzie is my nickname. It just doesn't matter to me. There are people who call me Ma'am. There are people who call me Sir.
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      Feb 5 2014: This statement merely confirms that the struggle for equality is a myth; women now want the power that they perceive men have? I will suggest that this is sadly misguided. That power is in the hands of corporations now.
      However, this is ALL off topic.
      Allow me to ask, which of the TEDTalks listed do you disagree with?
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          Feb 5 2014: Again, this is off topic!
          (Beside the fact that your also wrong: Stand your ground laws allow for justified killings, to cite one example.)
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          Feb 5 2014: Lilly Lilly, Tank you for commenting.
          Let me assure you that there are both men and women working toward a more fair and just world for all.
          My vision for a TEDxMen would be to raise awareness as I believe these TED Talk do.

          Best to you always.
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    Jan 30 2014: Please provide any ideas for speakers at such an event.