The Christian Science Monitor

‘Be a man’: What does that mean in modern America?

Almost a decade ago, when Timothy Malefyt was doing research on the nitty-gritties of masculinity for his client Gillette, he and his small team of corporate anthropologists observed what they considered to be a “paradoxical” set of masculine values among NASCAR fans.

On the one hand, there was a lot of drinking, bawdy jokes, and loud behavior among the men they observed at the Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth, says Mr. Malefyt, the former director of cultural discoveries for the advertising firm BBDO Worldwide in New York. And the raucous groups of men were also relentlessly competitive about nearly everything: who had the best food, the best barbecue grill, or the most tricked out motor home.

His research took place in 2010, and at first blush their observations might seem to fit the same kinds of masculine behaviors that many believe might start out

‘Morality 101’‘Be yourself,’ unless you’re a boy

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