TED Talks – How movies teach manhood by Colin Stokes

By May 2, 2014Masculinity

I was recently asked to watch this TED Talk on Manhood by Colin Stokes and to share my thoughts. Hence I thought that I would share it here also.

Logging in to TED Talks the first thing I noticed was that this particular video was on twice and the first on had been viewed by 580,418 times and the second one 2,303,106 times. I also checked YouTube and the same video had been viewed 1,149,020 which means a lot of people have watched Mr Stokes presentation.

Mr Stokes starts with talking about when his 3-year-old son became obsessed with Star Wars and he questions what are the messages that his son absorbed from the sci-fi classic. Mr Stokes goes on to ask “for more movies that send positive messages to boys: that cooperation is heroic, and respecting women is as manly as defeating the villain.”

On the surface Mr Stokes line of thinking appears to be valid however at the 09:45 mark he links sexual abuse of women with movies failing the Bechdel test and then makes the logical leap that male power is destructive. To quote him, “We have tools at our disposal, like girl power. And we hope that that will help. But I gotta wonder, is girl power gonna protect them if at the same time, actively or passively, we are training our sons to maintain their boy power?”

Wow! What a simplistic response with giant leaps of gender (radical) feminism faith in his assumptions. I wanted to tell Mr Stokes  to stop attacking just Pixar & Disney and take on the whole porn industry that has been more destructive to women & men and cross gender relationships than all the kids movies combined.

More importantly I don’t think Mr Stokes understand the role and use of power for both men and women as it is obvious that he sees girl power so good and boy power as problematic. But this is in line with gender (radical) feminism! The abuse of power is not confined to males, ask any woman about how bullying happens to 10 year old girls in year 5 at school. Social Isolation and It’s terrible!

Teaching boys authentic manhood is not about seeing their power as bad but rather to move from proving their power to embracing their power knowing that it is not about them but the greater good of society.