Frequently, our culture sends very strong messages to men about what it means to be a "real man." Using abuse and violence with intimates and others is often a part of the images men receive from television, movies, advertising, and institutions such as the military and corporate America. Use the following outline as a guide to address the male acculturation process.
Brainstorm stereotypical/traditional notions of what it means to be a man in our culture (e.g., traits, roles, adjectives, descriptors).
Think about male heroes/images from comic books, television, literature, or movies in your childhood and the present (e.g., Superman, Lone Ranger, Marlboro Man, Sylvester Stallone [Rambo], Clint Eastwood [Dirty Harry], Steven Seagal and Chuck Norris [karate movies], Bruce Willis [Die Hard] ).
Think about men in your life who come closest to living up to the male stereotype/ideal/image and with whom you have had personal contact or whom you know:
How do/did you like him?
What is/was it like and how do/did you feci being around him?
Discuss the destructive impact of traditional male roles for men:
Shorter life span (e.g., heart attacks)
Physical/medical problems related to stress (e.g., ulcers, headaches)
Lack of intimacy/closeness with partner, children, extended family, and others
Obsessive desire to work/produce/make money/accumulate "things" that leaves little time for personal growth or introspection ("human doing" versus "human being")
Brainstorm stereotypical/traditional notions of what it means to be a woman in our culture (e.g., traits, roles, adjectives, descriptors).
Identify some men in your life who come closest to combining the positive male and female characteristics and with whom you have had personal contact or whom you know personally: a. How do/did you like them? b. What is/was it like and how do/did you feel being around them?
Tiink about and discuss the idea of combining the best from both the male and female sides and becoming androgynous rather than remaining stuck in the traditional male norms/roles about who we have to be. What would that be like for you?
What are the positives or advantages related to being a nontraditional male? What are the drawbacks or disadvantages?