Two TED Talks About Men

Anyone who hasn’t heard of TED Talk should bookmark it right now and set aside about a week’s worth of browsing time. A nonprofit devoted to “Ideas Worth Spreading,” the site invites some of the most inspiring thinkers to speak and then lets us listen in…for free. (These are a few of my personal favorites.)

But here are two talks that directly concern readers of the Good Men Project Magazine.

First, watch Tony Porter’s “a call to men.” Porter is an educator and co-founder of The National Association of Men and Women Committed to Ending Violence Against Women. In his speech, he talks about “the man box”—a container of all the masculine stereotypes that prevent a guy from crying in front of his family, and holds young boys and girls to different emotional standards.

I come to also look at this as this fear that we have as men, this fear that just has us paralyzed, holding us hostage to this man box. I can remember speaking to a 12 year-old boy, a football player, and I asked him, I said, “How would you feel if, in front of all the players, your coach told you you were playing like a girl?” Now I expected him to say something like, I’d be sad, I’d be mad, I’d be angry, or something like that. No, the boy said to me—the boy said to me, “It would destroy me.” And I said to myself, “God, if it would destroy him to be called a girl, what are we then teaching him about girls?”

Here’s the full video:

And then there’s Slate’s XX Factor editor Hanna Rosin’s speech, which she presented after the publication of her controversial article “The End of Men.” Rosin talks about the rapidly shifting idea of masculinity, from the Marlboro Man to the Old Spice Man, and the rising role of women in our society.

Here are some of her stats:

In my mother’s day, she didn’t go to college— not a lot of women—and now, for every two men who go to college, three women will do the same. Women for the first time this year became the majority of the American workforce and they’re starting to dominate lots of professions: doctors, lawyers, bankers accountants.

Over 50 percent of managers are women these days. And in the 15 professions projected to grow the most in the next decade, all but two of them are dominated by women.

And here’s the rest of her talk:

These two speeches complement each other nicely, but we’re not totally sure we’re sold on every point. (For instance, it seems premature for Rosin to say that women are, in fact, more successful than men.)

So we leave it to you. What are your thoughts,  dear readers?


About Lu Fong

Lu Fong was a staff writer and blog editor for the Good Men Project in its formative years. As the requisite woman on staff, her hobbies included cleaning, cooking, knitting, fainting, and childbearing. Follow her on Twitter @lufong.


  1. I am a man born in 1973 and I must say that it is refreshing to hear a woman finally admit what has been obvious to men in my generation since the eighties. All I have ever heard all my life is how girls have it hard and how girls are somehow more deserving, that my “male” tendencies are unacceptable. One need not look further than prime time television to see that men are cast as hapless saps that are somehow defective. The facts are that circumstances, laws, social trends in the US are almost entirely stacked against us. Even the educational and social resources that are designed to aid people are almost exclusively for women. The landscape seems pretty stark for men.

    Let’s add to Hanna Rosins post mortem appraisal on the health of men in our society. Men account for the majority of homeless, they account for nearly 80% of suicides, are by far the victims of violence and murder. Statistics show that men are just as likely to be a victim of domestic assault as women. Being estranged from one’s own society for being born male to answer for crimes of a patriarchal society I never knew is frustrating.

    Bottom line is, (even if you think I am unmanly for complaining), is that men need help from society too, and now more than ever. Men are useful, and dare I say we are even needed. There are compelling reasons not to ostracize us from your institutions. There is no reason to handicap us in your schools; call us dumb, or violent.

    So when you’re done being giddy about the decimated state of men in this country, we could use some help and attention too. Thanks.

  2. This is a great article! Thanks for bringing it to our attention. We thought Tony Porter’s talk has some relevant points concerning men and how it relates to drug and alcohol addiction.

    Great mag guys!

  3. @SPSMM…
    Male victims of abuse are awaiting your responses.

    Do you have any idea of the depth of the marginalisation experienced by male victims of abuse, particularly those abused by women? Do you have any idea of the extent to which your advocacy contributes to this marginalisation?

    In my country those promoting your thinking hold sway with governments at state and federal level. Agencies funded by government to help victims respond to deperate calls for help from male victims with laughter and accusations of dishonesty. In my state future welfare workers are being taught that male victims must be disbelieved. They are denied help and even acknowledgement even though their taxes pay for the services that thus abuse them.

    Half the victims of child sexual abuse. Two thirds of the victims of child abuse. All marginalised into oblivion with the help of your ideology. Their abusers given greater and greater cover and protection with every word you utter. My, how those abusers must appreciate your efforts.

    By whose God do you call upon those victims to aid you in the defence of their rapists and beaters and starvers and mutilators?

    You owe us some answers SPSMM.

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