Message from Scott Cowie, Senior Division head
Upcoming Senior Division dates:
Monday, Oct. 5: Barton Lecture, Laidlaw Hall, 10:05 a.m.; special speaker Bob Duff, executive director of St. Simon’s Shelter
Tuesday, Oct. 6: IB1 parent information evening, student centre, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 7: IB2 student grade level meeting, Laidlaw Hall, 8:30 a.m.
Thursday, Oct. 8: Prize Day ceremony (special schedule), Laidlaw Hall, 11:20 a.m.
You’ve likely noticed that, in these weekly missives, I’ll often refer to times when members of our board of stewards speak in assembly. Indeed, their addresses to their peers are usually very inspiring and full of insight. As a way to promote growth and leadership opportunities for boys in their final year, dean of students Evan Williams has invited all IB2 students — both those with formal leadership titles and those without — to share the assembly podium this year.
In this past Monday’s assembly, we heard our first address from a non-steward. Reflecting on a recent thought-provoking advertising campaign from one of our local independent schools, this student challenged us all to think about depictions of gender in advertising and the media. He conveyed that, in his opinion, employing negative stereotypes of either gender isn’t a constructive way to make a point. He concluded his talk with this discerning remark: “We [should all] pursue and value determination, strength, innovation, altruism and intelligence not because they are innate to either gender, but because we are all human.”
This thoughtful student’s address prompted me to reflect on media depictions of masculinity. The iconic image of the “Marlboro Man” has all but disappeared, yet the rugged, stoic character traits he embodied as a real man are similar to many male celebrities idolized by young men today. Think about almost any action movie over the past 10 years or more and you’ll recognize the same pattern: A male, often socially isolated and void of almost all emotion except anger, gains acceptance from others and himself through violently slaying his enemies.
This story line isn’t new. Homer’s The Odyssey and earlier Greek myths idealize many of the seemingly manlyqualities that are often associated with today’s professional athletes and popular movie stars.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m a big sports fan and I’m always cheering on “Arnold” as he blows away the bad guys, but I think we could do a much better job of celebrating all interpretations of masculinity.
Here’s a video clip that was sent to me a while back that speaks to some of the traditional male stereotypes and challenges us to think about different interpretations of manhood and masculinity. I encourage you to share the video with your son and ask him to reflect on the question of what being a real man means to him.
Thanks for reading,