The Mamafesto: 5 men our little boys can really look up to
Because there are so many negative messages being sent to young girls, society tends to do a decent job of finding and promoting positive role models for girls. But what about the boys? In a world where toxic masculinity has a strong hold, who can boys look up to as good male role models that aren't cliché or ridiculous?
When I first started thinking about men my son could look up to as a strong, healthy male role model in pop culture, I had a bit of a hard time. It was a lot easier for me to come up with people who had made headlines for awful reasons. And that's exactly why we need positive role models for young boys. To cut through the toxic masculinity BS and to show young men that being a man can mean many things. From real-life men to colorful characters, see who we decided on and add your suggestions in the comments!
Neil deGrasse Tyson
My son's innate passion for science only exploded while watching astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson's reboot of Carl Sagan's Cosmos. From a parent's perspective, deGrasse Tyson rocks, frequently responding to young fans and encouraging their interest in STEM. He makes science and learning fun and not something to be ashamed of enjoying.
Like his colleague above, Bill Nye knows how to engage kids in the world of science. Fun experiments become learning moments that young kids can latch on to. Plus, both these guys show that science is cool!
With everything from rampant cases of rape and domestic abuse to drug abuse and dog fighting, it can be difficult to find appropriate male role models in the sports world, but they are certainly there if you look hard enough!
The Pittsburgh Steelers' running back is a true man to be admired. After losing his mother and four aunts to breast cancer, Williams has gone above and beyond in raising both awareness and funds to help combat the disease. As a football star, Williams could easily fall into the macho man stereotype, but instead, he shows fans that you can play a hardcore game while sporting pink nail polish and hair highlights.
The Olympic skier who won everyone's hearts when he adopted all those stray dogs in Sochi recently came out as gay. While proudly proclaiming your sexuality today may not be as rare as it once was, it is still incredibly significant. Kenworthy's visibility is important both to young gay boys who need role models who are like them, especially in sports.
No list of men to look up to would be complete without Mr. Rogers. He was the epitome of "good" and men from three to 80 can continue learning lessons of kindness and friendship from him. Plus, he basically ushered in the generation of hipsters by proving that wool cardigans are adorable, even on men.