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tv   The Stream  Al Jazeera  December 27, 2013 7:30pm-8:01pm EST

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>> you're in the stream. what does it mean, modern day masculinity. lisa fletcher is out today, but we have our man, oma omar, as cohost. look, you and i wear makeup for a living, and it's not the traditional masculinity, and community is talking about it.
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putting out the question of characteristics, and masculinity in our society. >> that's a harsh statement. and those of you at home, we want you to be part of this conversation. >> keep tweeting, and so what does man up really mean? this and others run through the male mind like a mantra. >> don't cry, you need to pick yourself up. >> be cool. >> as much as i like to tattletale. >> be a man. >> man up. >> man up. >> man up. >> the three most destructive words that every man receives when he's a boy, when he's told
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to be a man. >> if a guy is trying to juggle modern pressures and changing gender roles, are these messages harmful? here is aaron tracer, from salon and redbook, and he's also a stay at home dad. justin, apologists writer, and israel, a journalist, rog rico is a writer, and he's a father. and tyler is a nationally syndicated columnist. what does it mean to be a man in today's society and how does it change from the path? >> i can only speak about what it is to be a man. at least unless you know something that i don't know, i haven't checked my email, but it's not my turn. >> how about for you to be a man in today's society, jimmy, how
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would you define it for myself? >> i make no decisions and don't listen to what people tell me how to be a man, i just do what i think is right and take responsibility if i'm wrong. >> tyler, i'm going to go to you for this question. what do you think is society's definition of manhood today? >> well, i'm from texas, and as a self-proclaimed gay girly man, i had to find a new definition, but it was not a motive, and it was very strong, but at the same time had no emotion. like dads from the neck up. >> and you grew up in texas, and how did this concept of masculinity that you grew up with, how did it affect you growing up? >> i knew that no matter what, growing up, slightly feminine, or more than slightly feminine, no matter how masculine i was, i
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was never going to be the type of masculine or the type of man that society accepted, so for me, i had to redefine it for myself to feel like a man, because every mail wants to feel like a man. >> well, jeff, if we're talking about redefining masculinity. male suicides are at the highest in a decade and the worst since 1986. what unique pressures are today's men facing, jeff? >> i think that men are still trying to figure out what their roll is in society. especially men who probably don't follow a college track. 20 years ago, you could graduate high school and raise a family and have a high standard of living, and in today's economy, now, you don't have college educated people in the household, you're going to be struggling to meet the needs of not only yourself, but to have a strong, stable family. and that puts pressure, and
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we're seeing it now. >> talking about the pressure, and it seems that the test for men hasn't been material, they have been seep as the breadwinners, and the community is talking about that. >> there's an increasing number of men who are now stay at home dads, the number is up to half a million even in terms of relative numbers, and why people think that is. but we have valerie here: airplane, i know you're a stay at home parent. and was the financial part a part in your decision in and second fold to that question, have you felt under pressure in society for being a stay at home dad? have you ever felt like someone
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was questioning your masculinity for that? >> in the 70s, jobs from the united states, in the 70s and 80s, you had a drug epidemic with crack that destroyed the inner-city when jobs left. and i think that cities are glad to see men living up to responsibilities in front of them, and they don't care what it is. if it's historically what was thought of as a woman's job, and they're just happy to see that the guys who came before us. >> ro rodrigo. i want to get you in the conversation, and your wife has a masters, and you have a bachelors, and does that affect your concept of masculinity? >> my concept, to me, i don't
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think it does. it accentuates the fact that accepting, i don't have an issue, and as a matter of fact, i wouldn't mind being a stay at home dad, and it would give me i think that my wife made the decision that she wanted to do it. to get a master's degree. with the understanding that at some point, that option was open to me. >> rodrigo, how about your community and friends? did they ever once question your decision? if you say, i hung out with a bump of guys at a bar, do you think that most people would give you props for that, or behind your back, say that he's
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shirking his responsibility as a "man?" >> i said it before, it's about your responsibility, whatever is in front of you. you go ahead and take care of that. and you really should have no one question you, how you get that done. i have family members from pursue know that i don't make as much as my wife does, and question us to a degree, but that's the older generation, and i think that the newer generation has a much better understanding of what the income is for the family to stay afloat. >> we put out a question of what misconceptions there are out there about men, and we got a lot of interesting responses. here glen says:
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i want to bring you into the conversation, and what pressures do you think the media portrays what real men are? that they have to be more stoic and suppress their meetings? >> sure, as a working man, i feel that the issue resonates with me. i watch a lot of television shows where asian men are emasculated. the guy who can't get the non-asian girl. and it's something growing up, that i have always had to deal with. and i feel like for asian american men, we constantly have to fight against these stereotypes. and many of us feel that even with people like bruce lee or jackie chan, we still need to fight these stereotypes to
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improve ourselves, and i think that's an issue that definitely needs to be addressed among all asian american men. >> tyler, i want to get your opinion on this. we have seen a rise in feminism and a rise in the workplace. how does that affect how men are viewing themselves and their masculinity? >> i hope so. for me, i never would fit into the group, in my own convictions, that goes beyond the gay thing, that goes to any man. >> right, so coming up, binge drinking, are boys, the next generation of men coping?
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>> in good types, guys are close it each other, and when things get worse, you're on your own. >> i had three good friends in middle school, and as i get older, i have trouble talking. >> welcome back, and we asked about the next generation of young men and what pressures they are facing. >> we have nancy, i feel so bad for boys. so many rules and regulations to
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be in command. and always being watched..., so those are some of the thoughts coming in. keep talking, and jeff, boys under 17 are more likely to binge than any ooh, and there's a psych in suicides, and what's going on? you're a high school teacher. >> what's going on, you have a lot of broken families. you're looking at 20, 25% of all kids come from a single parent home. and almost all of those single parent homes are not the father. so a lot of the boys grow up without a close male role model. and i think it was said earlier, we don't follow a lot of these images in society, strong
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stud-like role models, or the dainty role model, but kids don't have the role model, this is okay and this is what's good about being a map, and on the other side, you need to moderate yourself. and take care of business, and something like binge drinking or getting into drugs, that's not a good thing. so when i look at high school students under the age of 17, i see broken homes, and i don't see close, positive role models for a lot of these boys. >> google, and responsibility. and check out this video. >> older men have to make it okay for guys to be genuine and authentic and reach their potential in terms of reaching healthy manhood. >> so how is the older generation right now, the generation of fathers and grandfathers, have they failed our young men? >> i would have to say yes, but
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they're largely not present, and i think there's also this kind of movement where there's a movement that men have become ashamed to be men. i don't know if you can follow that, but it just seems that no one wants to take a stand and say, hey, it's okay to be whoever i want to be. everybody wants to be who somebody else wants you to be. i think that's problematic and frustrating. if you don't have a role model, you're jumping all over the place trying to be the flavor of the week or the month you want to be. >> a man in their personal view, we have some responses. mark, we have chris here:
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tyler, is there a way to ask that question without reinforcing roles of how men and women should behave differently? >> all i know, you talk about youth and the rise in suicides, and what we're talking about. i didn't come from a broken home. i had a very strong father. and he was a very strong role model. and unfortunately, he was not the one i needed. i didn't fit into those roles, and i felt like i was continually not measuring up to this idea of what it means to be a may be. maa man. so we have to redefine masculinity as strong and femininity as weak. >> google keeps mentioning responsibility and fathers not being there, but there seems to
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be a dynamic of fathers and sons where the older generation, if you were macho, you were stern and never said i love you. >> my father has never, in 30 some odd years of life, tell me he loved me. we didn't do that, emotions were not allowed to be shown, and i tell my son i love him every day at this point. >> some of the older generations think that saying i love you is weak, and that's what women do, and men don't show emotions, and what has your response been to that? not only the bonds, but what it means to be a man. >> coming from an asian family, most asian families, where the father is the head of the family, makes decisions, takes charge, and so growing up, i always had deal with a father who was pretty strict and would kind of try to make decisions
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for me, and it was tough for me. because as an asian american, i had to constantly balance asian values, and american values, which kind of meant being more aggressive, and be more open mined and more expressive. so growing up, i always had to deal with a father who would try to dictate my decisions, and it didn't always go well. >> well, jess, can you talk about the asian american culture, and rodrigo, as a latino, how does that culture affect the father-son relationship in creating emotional bonds this. >> in response to the video as well too, me and my father, you know, we don't say i love you to each other. i never heard that from my father, even to this day. >> rodrigo, never once in your life? >> no, never heard him express
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that kind of emotion, and the which he grew up, that was not done, and because he didn't and i was looking for that affection, i found it in other people, like in the women in my life. and i decided that's something that i enjoy. and i think it's important. so i practice that with my kids. i practice that with my son, and my daughters, and i practice it with other family members as well. because this stereotype of match he's month that my father had to portray, it's not of fathers in latino society. a lot of fathers in latino society are very loving and devoted to their family. my dad would always teach us that the family comes first, and i have taken that from the relationship with my dad.
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do i know he loves me? yes, i do know that, but he shows it in different ways, and he makes his actions speak more than his words. whether it's helping out family or doing stuff, he always puts that first. also, does anyone ever hear the phrase, woman up? we hear man up all the time. but we never hear the aspect of woman up. and how is that affecting being marketing by media and all of that stuff and commercialism? >> before we go to break, we want to get community in. >> we have a video, michael, speaking on this point. >> i'm michael gaillos, at athletic business media in wisconsin. you hear the phrase, be a man, thrown around a lot. shake off your injuries, and be
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a man. but i think these days, to be a man, the lines are being blurred and becoming revolutionized. and men can have different roles than in the past. so the traditional be a man is becoming revolutionized and people are becoming much more open-minded. >> jeff, before we go to break, when you're a coach and saying things like man up or be a man, what does that mean to you. >> to me, it means persevere, do the best that you can, and work as hard as you can, and have a phenomenal work ethic. i think that the media focuses a lot on the negative con takings of be a man. but when i use it, man up, it means be strong, be emotionally, physically, mentally tough in whatever task you're about to partake. >> well, keep tweeting, and let's keep the conversation going. coming up, as the world keeps
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shifting, where does masculinity go from here? will we see tough guys and more mr. moms?
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>> a man's responsibility is to take care of a people and the country. >> welcome back. we're talking about what it means to be a man today. that was one of our young streamers weighing in, and we asked the community what masculinity will look like in the future and what do they say. >> they have thoughts about how to drive it in a more positive direction in the future...
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aaron, do you have a take on what teaching healthy masculinity would actually look like? >> i think it would just be supportive of your kids, and sort of give them very specific boundaries, but i think it's gender neutral. the one distance i saw, being a park hom for five years, was that the dads who were at the park were a lot more pe permisse with the rough housing and getting their energy out. it was not a male thing, we would let our daughters get in there too. but there was a comfort with more physical activity than most mothers had, and i think that was a positive thing about dads taking a lead-in parenting. you know? it was a little more comfortable and rough. but at the same time, giving very specific boundaries, and i'm not sure it's gender things.
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i think its treating your kids with equal amounts of reflect and sternness and support. and i don't know that that has gender. >> all right, guys, we started the show off with the term, man up. and we talked about responsibility with the younger generation and what it means to be a healthy modern man. for the new generation, how would you define man up for the younger generation? i'm going to go first with jimmy. >> of course you are. >> of course. >> well, i teach my sons behavior that as a young black man, he cannot afford to be ambiguous about who he is and what he represents. so that's what i'm teaching my children. i'm teaching my young lady similarly, to own her behavior. >> tyler, you're up next. >> for me, i think it doesn't
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have to do with mas masculinityt it has something to do with don't back down to the pressure of those around you. if you believe in something, stand up for it, especially in a situation of a group where there's a group mentality and a group think of the if you believe in something, to be a man is to stand up for it. whether you're going to be popular or call a man later or not. >> justin, you're up. >> manny, first of all, i think we should eliminate that phrase. i think that nowadays, a lot of feminists would have issue with it. but to me, man up would mean approaching things with a calm state of mind, and not letting your emotions take you over, or letting you make bad decisions. i also think that it means to be just to treat everyone equally.
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you know? regardless of race, sexual preferences, and things like that. >> jeff, you have about 20 seconds. >> i don't have a problem with the term, man up. i think it's okay to take young males, look, you can be phenomenally respectful, hard working, potential leader in our society. so that's what i'm going to tell young men. man up, be the best that you can be at everything that you do in life. >> i want to thank our guests, jimmy, jeff, rodrigo, and tyler, and our community. see you online.
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>> hello and welcome to al jazeera america. i'm tony harris. a former lebanese government official with ties to the united states is assassinated in a massive car bombing in beirut. anger in the streets from cairo to istanbul. celebrating kwanzaa, a december honoring. and a message for today.


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