Can Fatherhood Cure the Modern Male Malaise? A Conversation with Richard Reeves

“I have this long quote in the book from Margaret Mead, who said, “Every known human society has rested on the learned nurturing behavior of men. This behavior, being learned, is rather fragile and can disappear quite quickly under circumstances that no longer teach effectively.” The reason I know that by heart is because I’m like, “Wow, I think every single word of that is true.” The learned nurturing behavior of men: why is it important? Because it’s learned.

Men have to learn how to do this. They have to be taught. Masculinity is more socially constructed than femininity. The script is more important. It has to be nurturing, and not in the same way as mothers, but by being similarly other-centered. Creating a surplus, caring for others, sacrificing for others, giving for others….the question then is, what are we going to build that script around? That sense of being needed, giving, other-centered?

My answer to that is fatherhood.”


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