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A Nation of Girly-Men

August 15th, 2010 No comments

Elementary schools are limiting the activities boys can use to productively channel their innate aggression and competitive drives, for example eliminating such useful games as dodgeball. Youth sports associations hand out trophies to every kid for the sheer act of breathing and their parents’ ability to pony up the $100 registration fee instead of reserving accolades for those who actually accomplish something on the field of play. Schools hand out awards for good behavior and “citizenship” (i.e., being nice to classmates) instead of mandating them and rewarding academic performace. After all, we don’t want to hurt anyone’s self-esteem by leaving them out as we hold up exemplary achievement as a mark to be emulated. Now we’re being told that modern superheroes are bad role models.

“There is a big difference in the movie superhero of today and the comic book superhero of yesterday,” said Professor Lamb.

“Today’s superhero is too much like an action hero who participates in non-stop violence; he’s aggressive, sarcastic and rarely speaks to the virtue of doing good for humanity.

“When not in superhero costume, these men exploit women, flaunt bling and convey their manhood with high-powered guns.”

Now I’m not sure what movies and TV shows she’s watching, but today the only “superheroes” that wear costumes are either parodies or remakes of classic comic book mainstays. We just don’t do the whole tights-and-capes thing anymore. Further, I’m a big fan of action movies and TV shows—even the cheesiest—and I guess we’re simply seeing completely different images. Virtually every successful action hero of late follows the same model that has sold well on screen for nearly 100 years: chivalrous, confident but modest (except when it’s necessary to fling a good one-liner at the bad guys), and motivated to fight for the helpless and powerless.

In a second presentation, Dr Carlos Santos, from Arizona State University, examined 426 middle school boys’ ability to resist being emotionally stoic, autonomous and physically tough – stereotyped images of masculinity.

When, exactly, did these qualities become viewed as harmful to boys’ development? Our nation was made possible by the stoicism, autonomy, and physical toughness of generations of men (yes, and women) who lived hard, often brutally short, lives in an effort to tame a wild and dangerous continent. While most of the specific dangers they faced are gone, they have been replaced by others which can only be met by men of equal character.

Unfortunately, academics would have us believe there are no significant differences between the genders, and consequently have us raise the next generation of boys to be women. Such nonsense can only be perpetuated to the detriment of society.

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