Tuesday, March 3, 2015

TED Tuesday: The Demise of Guys?


When I was in high school, I took an AP Psychology class and every week the instructor would plug in an instructional video and zonk out in the corner. These videos were corny, filmed in the 1980s, and starred this man, Phillip Zimbardo.

Zimbardo is perhaps most famous (other than these fascinating videos) for the notorious 1971 Stanford Prison Study, and perhaps also for role as an expert witness at Abu Ghraib. I studied him later in college during a colloquium focused on psychology and "bad behavior": lying, prejudice, stereotyping, and more. My focus in the class was on "going along with the bad", or what causes us to participate in group events that we wouldn't otherwise. Abu Ghraib was of particular note, and so I was interested in Zimbardo's studies again.

I was pretty happy when this Zimbardo TED talk popped up on my app the other day, even though it was a departure from his other studies. Zimbardo discusses graduation and dropout rates, video game, internet access and porn to argue that boys are struggling in school, relationships and intimacy. He ends with a sounding of the alarm and a call to action for society to start fixing it.

Okay, number one here, it was beyond weird to hear Zimbardo saying the phrase "a real man who they can talk to, who can dance, who can make love slowly". Um, no, weirdest mental image ever. 

But in all seriousness, is this really a demise of guys or is this a demise of the current generation? How is this specific to one gender? Maybe women are having their own sets of hurdles that are leading to our demise? I think there's a lot more to be addressed here and Zimbardo is really just skimming the top.

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