Men sharing why they don't have female role models has sparked a debate about masculinity

Joanna Taylor
Wednesday 19 August 2020 09:45
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(Mark Wilson / Lars Niki / Ken Charnock / Getty Images )

Men are claiming they don't "see women as heroes" after a woman sparked an online debate about female role models.

The simple question – "do men have women heroes?" – garnered thousands of responses.

Some men admitted they don't have women heroes because they see women as "antagonistic to men" or "less likely to do heroic things".

Other people agreed that whether men admit it or not, they probably don't have women heroes.

Women role models just aren't held up with same reverence and respect as their male counterparts.

And of the men who did say they have women heroes, a lot pointed to their wife or mother.

Which is lovely... and in some cases backed up with very valid, specific reasons.

But in other cases, men had clearly just reached out for the closest woman to them rather than naming women they actually look up to in the same way they would a male role model.

By doing this, they effectively centred themselves in the conversation – because these women are heroes to them in their roles of wife or mother – which was supposed to be about women heroes.

Some of the lists were also a little generic.

How many times a day do you actually think about Florence Nightingale?

Go girl, give us nothing!

But some men did name their female role models with touching reasons, so it's not all bad!

If you've spent the duration of this article internally screaming not all men! this section's for you.

Other popular choices were Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Maya Angelou, Angela Davies, Jacinda Ardern and queen of everything Dolly Parton.

Many men admitted they'd never really considered whether or not they have women heroes before. And if not, well, then – why not?

The conversation also forced people to question how far we've moved on from the classical ideal of a hero as a daring man with mental cunning and physical prowess.

Equally, it's interesting to ask ourselves whether our conception of what constitutes a role model has real-world implications on who we elect as our leaders: the fact that less than a quarter of parliamentarians worldwide are women and just 16 women heads of state suggests that it might.

Women's achievements throughout history have all too often been overlooked. Let's not add to that by claiming that women can't be heroes to men.

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