…But truth be told, I’m most excited that HUGE gains are coming with excellent books and films uncorking important conversations about healthy masculinity, including The Representation Project’s upcoming “The Mask You Live In” and colleague/ally Rosalind Wiseman’s excellent Guys Guide companion book to Masterminds & Wingmen: Helping Our Boys Cope with the New Rules of Boy World.
Fathers, sons, and the women who love them…here’s to healthier media role models FAR beyond Father’s Day!
Who do you admire these days? What changes have you seen take place with Father’s Day past and present in traditions? How have dads and daughters worldviews changed in the last handful of years? And “dads to be” what are YOUR “rules for your unborn son?”
Original Post: Nov. 17, 2009 Last week, Ypulse asked readers to share a fictional male role model they admire and why, offeringa copy of our colleagues’ Packaging Boyhood book.
I’m eager to carry the conversation forward and hear from boys to men, as well as the females in their lives who may have a different pick altogether as we grapple with heroes, archetypes anti-hero role models and the ever-shifting concepts of masculinity, boyhood studies and what it means to be a man today. I can’t wait to hear our reader’s picks on which fictional characters are most admirable, and why…
Give it a go, you’re bound to uncork some dynamic conversations, especially if you scan some of these random ‘huh? say whaaaaaaa?’ picks from this list of Top 100 Fictional Male Role models…Angela over on Ypulse started us off with a popular pick,
“Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. He is the personification of justice and how to pursue it in non-violent ways.”
Becca added, “Forest Gump: overcoming adversity while remaining ever kind, compassionate, friendly and understanding are good traits for anyone!” I even tossed one in…
“I’m gonna go light and show my age with “MacGuyver”— Resourcefulness as a life skill has come in handy for me…plus for boys action heroes he’s got a laid back vibe, prefers non-violent conflict resolution wherever possible, uses his brain over brawn, and refuses to carry or use a gun.”
Oh, and if you’re wondering why we’re narrowcasting to fictional characters instead of celebs/popular icons that might be doing good things as role models, such as The Jonas Brothers and their recent WeDay participation to 16,000 screaming philanthropic do-gooders, it’s summed up wonderfully in this erudite piece
Authored by Tyler Cowen, professor of economics at George Mason University adapted from his book, What Price Fame? (Harvard University Press) the article dips into the media, role models, heroes and our changing tides…more like a tsunami in 21st century digital depiction…
He nails it with the open, “What does it mean that the funeral of Princess Diana in 1997 attracted so much more media attention than did the funeral, the same week, of Mother Teresa?” What significance should we give the appearance of such figures as Buddy Holly and Elvis Presley on recent U.S. postage stamps?”
And proceeds to ponder in depth ‘pseudo-events,’ the pop culture zeitgeist, and the looking glass that reflects the distortion of fame shifting from merit to more of a “commercialized” point of view, where popularity over-rides virtue.
In short…he asks the right questions and makes you THINK.
He does some deep diving into the history of kids’ heroes over generations, and marks the nature of fame itself changing as society has over time…from ‘leadership’ picks and historical references to sports figures and entertainers edging out pretty much everyone in the last HALF of the century…
By 1986 the ten figures most admired by American teenagers that year? ALL entertainers. (well; Reagan & Schwarzenegger crossed/blurred the lines in both spheres)
Get out your shoulder-pads and Miami Vice couture retro fans, the wayback teen time machine picked:
Bill Cosby, Sylvester Stallone, Eddie Murphy, Ronald Reagan, Molly Ringwald, Chuck Norris, Clint Eastwood, Rob Lowe, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Don Johnson…an indicator that media culture had emerged ‘in the now’ drawing tidbits in slice of life style like a time capsule of a given moment…
Cowen even talks about the list being derived from The World Almanac (which used to be dragged out as the ‘be all and end all’ final decree in our family, since it housed all kinds of factual data from astronomy to seasons) and how the World Almanac ITSELF had shifted from a farmer’s calendar to a reference tome…Now, of course, we have Google, wikis and the fickle finger of fate (otherwise known as social media and the blogosphere) instead.
I’ll save you the full deconstruction from a media analysis standpoint because the article already did a fabulous job trend tracking the cultural shifts from Cervantes to politicians…Read it, enjoy it, then toss in your two cents on FICTIONAL male characters that you consider to be ‘a role model and why.’
Chime in…Any Mr. Darcy fans out there? Or are you more the Jack Bauer, James Bond, or Team Edward vs. Team Jacob type? How are we Packaging Boyhood with our role models in music, cinema, pop culture, and beyond?
Sound off. What’s working for ya?
Who’s your fictional male role model and why, guys?
Below: How Marketing Affects Boys: Two of the authors Lyn Mikel Brown & Mark Tappan on station WCSH6 Portland, Maine discussing Packaging Boyhood (Lyn is on our Shaping Youth advisory board)