Manliness – the idea of what a man should be – is a swiftly shifting concept, as Trisha Elliott writes in her article, “Man Problems
,” published in the February edition of the Observer
. Indeed, as her sons point out, there are different kinds of men out there. Each man is his own person.
That’s true. But a quick survey of men in the public eye reveals that they can be grouped into at least five modern archetypes. You won’t find many lone, tough Paul Bunyans out there; even Mad Men
’s Don Draper evolved by 1970 — or at least, he pretended to do the same.
Here are five acceptable male ideals for the 21st century — and their shadows. 1. The pretty, popular idealistIn summary:
This guy knows how the world should be, and will gently tell you about it over a cup of organic, fairly-traded Earl Grey tea.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau; former AFN National Chief Shawn Atleo; activists Marc and Craig Kielburger; and Republican candidate Marco RubioShadow side:
Fired CBC broadcaster Jian Ghomeshi, who is on trial for sexual assault2. The spiritual juggernautIn summary:
They’ll wow you with their genuine connection to the divine – and their attention-grabbing gentleness.Famous iterations:
Pope Francis; the Dalai Lama and L’Arche founder Jean VanierShadow side:
Disgraced hot yoga biz whiz Bikram Choudhury and the predatory priest epidemic 3. The gritty correctorIn summary:
He’ll fix what ails and razzle-dazzle us with gusto while doing it.Famous iterations:
Reality star Donald Trump; democratic candidate Bernie Sanders; UNIFOR president Jerry Dias and performer Russell BrandShadow side:
Roosh V, the woman-hating activist blogger who recently cancelled his male meetups across Canada and elsewhere4. The smarty-pants
Woah! Someone get these guys to cover up their protruding intellects. Famous iterations:
Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi; New York Times columnist David Brooks; author Malcolm Gladwell, author Andrew Nikiforuk and U.S. President Barack ObamaShadow side:
The billionaire climate change-denying Koch brothers5. The protectorIn summary:
In an era of gentle, desk-bound men, these guys are a welcome blast from the past.Famous iterations:
Minister of National Defense Harjit Sajjan; environmental activist David Suzuki; musician and activist Neil Young; and former UN Force Commander in Rwanda Romeo DallaireShadow side:
The RCMP officers complicit in Tazering Robert Dziekanski’s death at the Vancouver International Airport