The sexual revolution, women’s lib and shifting cultural attitudes have given us Seth Rogan, not John Wayne, as the ideal man.
Maybe you’d be surprised at the number of letters I get from women that begin, “I recently met this really cute guy…” and end with “How do I get him to ask me out?”
And then again, maybe you wouldn’t ― particularly if you’re a woman.
It seems that today’s man is all but devoid of basic manly knowledge ― how to approach women, how to build rapport and connection, how to get digits, dates and sex, how to build and manage relationships, how to lead them somewhere and in general, how to be a man.
Women are all too aware of this fact too. They constantly ask me why men just become their friends and while seeming to be interested in more, do nothing to make something happen.
In fact, there’s an easy answer to this: I call it the “Seth Rogan factor.” It’s unfortunate, but the only role models modern men seem to have are the man-children of the movies and TV. These guys are bumblers, fools, jackasses, cheaters, stalkers, dolts and children. Some role models!
“But really, Dr. Neder, are you saying that has any effect on men?”
You bet I am! I’m seeing it every single day from the tons of letters I get from readers of my books and articles and viewers of my show, BAM! TV. What I’m seeing most are men that simply don’t know how to approach women, build or deal with relationships, handle conflicts, etc. If they approach, they don’t know how to ask for what they want. If they ask, they don’t know how to move things forward. If the woman hangs around waiting, the guy eventually just stops everything because he doesn’t know what the next step should be.
But far, far more common is the guy that simply does nothing, waiting for the woman to do all his work for him.This takes many forms. Here are a few examples:
This is a little trick where the guy that doesn’t understand how women think, tries to befriend her rather than going for what he really wants. He hopes that by cozying up to her, she’ll see what a great guy he is, will fall in love with him, do all his work for him and he won’t have to take any risks.
“The Lost Call”
This is where the guy, out of fear, a lack of a plan, or simple ignorance sits on an opportunity until it’s too late. He waits weeks and then realizes that she probably forgot about him (and she likely did) and thus, does nothing, hoping for another opportunity in the future.
Most of our fathers grew up with solid, masculine role models. From characters and politicians to sports heroes, they had models of male behavior to work from ― and so did women by the way. It’s unfortunate, that the role models most guys have today look far more like Seth Rogan than John Wayne, and women, even more than men, are suffering because of it.Take a look at popular media today as an example. When you see male characters, you hear them talk not as men, but as women! The dialog and even the situations presented are feminine in nature. When you sit around talking to guys, you never hear them speak as they do on TV or in the movies!
When you look at classic male archetypes like James Bond or even superheroes, and compare them between today and 20 years ago, a staggering fact emerges: today’s male archetype is more of a bumbler and child, who seems to accidently and reluctantly become the winner ― not the man that decides on his direction and goes directly to make it reality. Even sports heroes tend to be the guys that create the most drama — not the ones with the greatest abilities and skills.
Are there exceptions to this? Of course, but the exceptions are far outweighed by this new status quo.
The New Role Model
Can a few movies or TV shows really have this sort of impact on the masculinity of an entire generation? Well, consider this: advertisers know the truth. If repeated viewing of a 30-second commercial can sell you a product, what can repeated viewing of 30- or 60- or 90-minute lifestyles sell you? It’s scary when you think about it!
If guys are trying to find a model to emulate, where do they go? It’s becoming more evident that they have to leave the realm of traditional media and seek other forms of entertainment. The Internet and wireless devices (like cell phones) are a few new options and TV, newspapers, magazines and cinema are losing committed followers because of it. That doesn’t mean these new devices are devoid of bad examples, however. As alternative media grows in importance, more mainstream programming is making its way to them – right along with the negative messages.
That means entertainment consumers have to look for these messages, realize what they stand for and vote with their eyeballs ― and dollars ― by demanding better masculine role models. This has to come from men and from women too!
This is a major theme of my own shows and book series, “Being a Man” and is something I harp on in every episode. It’s very difficult to fight the flood of bad examples with a few good ones, but it needs to start somewhere.
Why? Simple …
Women Deserve Better
Every single day I hear from women that are frustrated by the types of men they meet. They honestly believe that great guys are out there, but can’t seem to find them. It’s not that women help here either ― they are consumers of the same entertainment and have a lot to do with programming choices ― but the ultimate responsibility lies with us guys.
We have to make the choice to be better men. This can start in any of a number of ways including being careful about the programming we choose to absorb, but it doesn’t stop there.
Finding real role models and promoting their ideals to other guys is the beginning. Learning solid, responsible masculine behavior is a big part of the mission and every action, every choice, every belief that moves us in that direction makes us better men – for women.