Contestant #2 says he is the Real Man because he has a culturally progressive role: he shares household and child-rearing responsibilities with his wife while they both pursue careers. He thinks of his wife as his equal.
Contestant #3 explains that he is the Real Man because he has been freed from male stereotypes and has decided to take on the nurturer role of caring for the children and home while his wife goes to work. He consider his wife equal to himself or maybe even better, since she has a more compassionate, sensitive nature than he does.
These are some of the images of manhood that are competing for men’s acceptance today. Many men feel as if they’re being asked to guess what a real man is by determining which “contestant” has the most convincing facial expressions and answers. Yet there seems to be no clear-cut winner. In addition, society keeps mixing and matching these images until men don’t know what’s expected of them anymore. They are confused and frustrated as they try to sort through their own expectations for manhood while feeling pressure from the various segments of society that are promoting these images or an impossible combination of them. Meanwhile, Hollywood is flooding society with intriguing icons of masculinity, such as James Bond and Rambo. Even though these images are superheroes rather than real men, it’s sometimes hard to escape their allure. It’s difficult not to start thinking that a real man should some how imitate the power and resourcefulness they exhibit.