Male role models in early years education

A further trawl on this subject has turned up a couple of articles that press the question of why men aren’t in the classroom helping with the role modelling, civilizing and instilling of those progressive attitudes.

“The broader social context is shaped by the media, and men are portrayed as more likely to be a threat than a friend. Perhaps my sensitivities have been raised by my job, but the headlines seem to be dominated by a depressing cavalcade of child rapists, internet pornographers and young gunmen. The notion of a man as gentle and nurturing seems almost inconceivable.”

Doing a man’s job the experience of a male primary teacher

“One of the reasons they are put off is the assumption that, if you’re a male working in a primary school, there is a fair chance you will be accused of something some time or other. This is because, sadly, there are some people who clearly shouldn’t be working with children and, sadly, they generally happen to be males.”

1 in 4 primary schools has no male teacher

How did we get from here to be bogeymen??

Does puberty turn us into bogeymen?

Didn’t the traditional male parent stereotype portray a rather distant, uninvolved figure, capable of dealing blows in the name of discipline and at mum’s discretion? “You just wait until your father gets home.”

Hardly inspiring or flattering, but at least not a sinister, predatory figure. It seems to me our image has deteriorated: unlikely nurturers, not to be trusted around the innocence of youth. Damn that’s not a good look chaps and it begins to form early on!

Surely after: ~ civil rights, feminism, sexual equality, equal opportunities, multiculturalism, the maturation of sociology, advent of political correctness, and media studies, demonising half the population is preposterous. But then sociologists like Thornhill & Palmer and radical feminism have popularised the notion of all men as potential rapists as have revelations about the extent of abuse in the BBC, church and the likes of Josef Fritzl and Ian Huntley.

Two personal opinions about men as sex beasts: if women will go to the trouble of displaying their features it seems rude not to admire them, and secondly I feel in control of my sexual inclinations just as I do my violent tendencies.  No I’m not saying women ask to be raped by how they dress, and yes I understand “No means No”, but the facts remains that the curvaceous female form arouses me, a response I believe to be shared and acknowledged across the board.  It is after all used to sell just about everything these days?   Let’s not be coy about accepting the consequences of our evolutionary programming, the psycho-biological paradigm that is  flesh and blood is as powerful as it is limiting.

“Any man with any sensitivity or conscience toward the opposite sex would have a problem.  To actually assert yourself in a masculine way without looking like you’re in a hard- rock band is a very difficult thing to do”
Thom Yorke of Radiohead talks about the band’s debut single “Creep”

Going somewhat off-piste it might just all be down to the Klan ! (something new every day)

“The broader social context is shaped by the media”

Now don’t a lot of men work in the media?  Though I guess tabloid editors aren’t known for their sense of social responsibility (try ebaying “grandmother’s” they’re all there).   How often does trial by media result in stereotypes and scaremongering?  How well known is child sexual abuse by women?  I’m not trying to pass the buck, but I do believe the image men have per se needs redressing.  I’m reminded of Erin Pizzey’s words about men having been held to account more than women, how often when we scrutinise anything are we pleasantly surprised?

The affect on the media and public psyche of those few men who abuse kids reminds me of the fear of “blacks” murdering white family’s in their beds: traceable to the Ruck family being slaughtered by their servants in 1953 during the Mau Mau rebellion documented by Paige Whaley Eager. It unfortunately stuck in the public imagination contributing to Caribbean immigrants being greeted by signs along the lines of “Room to let – No Blacks”.  Is the situation now one of “Teacher’s wanted – No Men thanks”

From having worked in psychiatric hospitals, I believe that the safeguarding of society from the maniac has exacted a very great price in terms of daily human suffering and ruined countless lives. We shouldn’t need to lock THEM up in order to make US feel safe.  I’m concerned that the consequences of keeping our children “safe” from men will prove similarly deleterious in the home, the schools and the prisons.

Perhaps the next question to ask is How do Men see the job and their role in early years development?

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