Inspiring Men

At the bookstore, there is a whole stand of kids’ books about inspiring female figures. Rows upon rows of books.

Boys get three inspiring males: Harvey Milk, John McCain, and Elon Musk. One would think that history has produced almost no notable males at all and Elon Musk is the culmination of inspiring malehood.

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10 thoughts on “Inspiring Men”

  1. Your post is thought-provoking and saddening. I’m male, 72 years old, and still pondering mentors, models, and role-models. I think that people of my age were usually presented with roles to be filled, and the individuality and flavor of the people filling them was not very important.


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  2. Considering that there is always some idiot anti-feminist in every online discussion board out there to tell you precisely the opposite (i.e. everything in civilisation was built, invented or otherwise achieved by men- you’ve probably seen the type) I suppose this could count as a fair balance…

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      1. Sooner or later these little kids will grow up and encounter these idiots on discussion boards. Then they will have plenty of examples to point to in order to argue against them. If these read all these kinds of books, anyway.

        Or, more broadly, it is worth pointing out that the existence of the idiots could be said to point out how most of the people deemed to be inspiring are still, by and large, thought of by the public as being men. I suppose it is true that, as you seem to be hinting, this perception could very well go the other way with the newer generations if these books are anything to go by (assuming the present crop of kids even still read books), but hey…

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  3. Maybe it is political correctness. There are few men who were considered heros during my childhood who have not been tainted in the popular cultural for racism, sexism, or something else.

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      1. Yeah, I’m pretty sure this has more to do with the tendency to overproduce “female role models” as an identity and associated tuft. I’d bet on “female role model” actually being a job description for someone, somewhere.

        What kid wants to read a book about role models that’s explicitly called that, anyway? These are for parents, to be read at their kids.

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  4. For example, Robert A. Heinlein was someone I looked up to as a child. He was my favorite author by far. But in the early 1970’s he published a novel, Farnham’s Freehold, which had cannibalism in a far future black dominated culture. Black readers have never forgiven him, and it seems to be considered completely unacceptable to say anything good about him nowadays.

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