When academics look for male role models, you never know what they’re going to find. “For one thing, there is not much substantive evidence that male role models are decisive in healthy boys’ development,” Michael Kimmel writes in the December 15, 2017 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education. “They might be nice to have, but the male role model—the elementary-school teacher, the father, the stern but supportive coach—by himself, as a single variable, doesn’t really have much of an independent effect on a boys development.”
“And that’s why single moms, lesbian moms, female teachers, and female coaches can provide exactly what boys need to develop a healthy identity.” Kimmel is a distinguished professor of sociology and gender studies at Stony Brook University.
He also offers us “some campus role models we could all emulate,” including:
• “The students who campaign for gender-neutral bathrooms around the campus because they don’t want others to feel uncomfortable.”
• “The alumni who threaten to collectively withhold their money until the administration addresses racial, sexual and gender inequalities.”
“Here’s to you, unsung heroes and heroines, the ones who support the vulnerable and challenge the powerful, regardless of the personal cost.” Of course, he doesn’t indicate what personal cost his heroes and heroines have paid.