Thinking Outside “The Man Box”

Man, I love TED. I have used many TED videos as the inspiration for blog posts here on Dad-O-Matic and on my personal blog on several occasions and given the depth and breadth of the content from TED and TEDx events, I suspect this won’t be the last.  This time TED has inspired a more manly post… or not.  As the father of a daughter and two sons, I have given much thought to the role model I must play for my children as it relates to their gender and I try to do my best to not let my firsthand familiarity with the male mindset influence me as the parent of a girl (well, young woman now…), especially as she has been the lone female in the house for a number of years.

The video below from TED WOMEN is a pretty raw talk by Tony Porter, co-founder of the nonpro?t A Call to Men: The National Association of Men and Women Committed to Ending Violence Against Women.  I had never heard of the concept of  ”The Man Box” before, but I am certainly aware of some of it’s contents and I’d like to believe that my own views and behavior are very much outside of this box.  More importantly, I hope that the views, beliefs and behaviors I have instilled upon my two sons will mean that they will never go anywhere near the thinking that is inside this box…

Unfortunately, I have met men who appear to still live inside The Man Box.  I just hope they stay away from my daughter!

What do you think?

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Jeff Sass is the proud dad of ZEO (Zach, 22, Ethan, 20 and Olivia, 19).  He is also a seasoned entertainment and technology exec and active social media enthusiast.  You can see more of Jeff’s writing at Sassholes! and Social Networking Rehab and you can listen to Jeff on the Cast of Dads podcast.??

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  • http://www.bloggerfather.com BloggerFather

    Ha, I didn’t think I’d end up watching the whole thing, but it was great. I do have less patience with my boy than I will probably have with my girl when she becomes a toddler, but I think it has more to do with the way I feel he should behave as an older sibling, rather than this being about boy vs. girl expectations. Great stuff.

  • http://www.jeffreysass.com Jeff Sass

    Thanks BloggerFather (love the handle, btw)! When you have both boys and girls, it is always a challenge to go outside of what you are most familiar/comfortable with from a gender perspective. I wonder if Mom’s have similar thoughts/concerns about their interactions with their sons??? Any moms want to chime in?

  • http://www.russelldunkin.com Russell

    Great stuff Jeff. I noticed this a lot with my daughter vs my nephew at Christmas. She was consistently referred to as pretty, and given princess outfits, whereas he wasn’t referred to by looks, and was given games or sporting equipment. It’s one thing for us not to raise her in that way, but getting everyone else to buy in is tricky at best.

  • http://www.jeffreysass.com Jeff Sass

    Thanks Russell. Yes, as much as our own behavior can be a challenge, our kids are always exposed to “the rest of the world,” which isn’t always in sync with our personal parenting desires. Makes it more fun, I guess… ;-)

  • denise

    As a former, avid Man Hater, at 30 yrs old, I remember having this profound thought after having my male child.
    I remember thinking, “How can I have sooooo much hate toward men when I just gave birth to a child who would soon grow into a man?” My son would soon grow to be a man….how could I have so much hate toward what he was destined t become. I realized, as a new mother it was my job to show him what it is like to be a responsible loving human, not one full of hate and anger. Ted, you reinforce that in me and I thank you.

  • Joe Hage

    As a Dadomatic contributor, I have access to the database and I found this article because of Denise’s “Man Hater” comment.

    It was out of context. And it saddened me.

    I wondered why she was so angry. And I was sad imagining that someone had done something so heinous to her that she hated all men.

    I clicked on the video and sat riveted for 11:14. What a powerful message and powerful delivery.

    People like Tony help. A lot.

    But ultimately, I think this is a one-man-at-a-time effort. Each father to each child.

    I hope we gain traction. So, perhaps, there will be no more “Man Hating.”

  • Jeff Sass

    Thanks for chiming in Joe, and I agree, it is a great presentation. It is always clear when a speaker is passionate about their subject, and that makes all the difference in the world on how it impacts the audience….

    Denise, thanks for your comment and I am glad your own views (and whatever led you to them) won’t stop you from being a great mom to a boy who will become a fine young man. Our kids learn from us, and they learn from the things they sense and we as parents don’t have to say. Hopefully your son will show you a side of men you perhaps haven’t experienced often enough…

  • http://discordofmymind.tumblr.com/ Jeffrey Patterson

    This is why Chivalry will die. Feminist propaganda and men hating being men, and making excuses to be accepted. This was given to a room mostly full of women. Women like Denise, who hate men, and don’t need men, and don’t want men, because some man hurt them at some point. And those women will deprive their sons a male rolemodel, and wonder why their sons pattern behavior off of television, sports, and music icons, and continue to act, not like Men of Quality, but as confused little boys.