This TED Talk from 2017 about being a ‘real man’ still holds up today
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When Tyler the Creator stepped onto the TED stage in 2017 he had something powerful to say – redefining what it means to be a real man. Three years on, his words still remain relevant and poignant. Though his presentation style is entertaining and lighthearted, the message still resonates. This TED Talk from 2017 about being a ‘real man’ still holds up today.
This TED Talk from 2017 about being a 'real man' still holds up today

Table of Contents

1. A Tale of Manhood in the 21st Century

The 21st century is an age of blurred gender roles. As gender roles begin to shift and merge, it becomes increasingly difficult to differentiate between traditional manhood and manhood of our time. The definitions of what being a man are in modern day society are in flux.

Traditional Values

Several fundamental values remain synonymous with manhood in today’s world. Though vast variations exist between men and their diverse cultures, men still strive to protect and provide for their family, and to carry a sense of their self-worth with them.

  • Integrity
  • Honor
  • Wisdom

Modern Manhood

The mainstream idea of manhood today is much more expansive than the traditional notion. Men are becoming increasingly empowered and encouraged to unapologetically pursue their own self-expression. We are seeing more men breaking away from traditional stereotypes and becoming fluent in the language of emotion.

  • Inclusivity
  • Empathy
  • Compassion

Manhood in the 21st century is being reimagined and revolutionized every day. Men are reconciling traditional values with progressive ones, and navigating a newfound level of freedom to define what manhood looks like in our era.

1. A Tale of Manhood in the 21st Century

2. Understanding the Changing Concepts of Masculinity

Throughout history, there have been changing ideas of what it means to be masculine. In modern times, the idea of masculinity is often associated with strength, dominance, and traditional gender roles. Yet, these notions of what it is to be a man have drastically shifted in recent years as society’s views on gender have grown more tolerant and inclusive.

Exploring New Ideas of Masculinity: While traditional masculine roles may involve being the sole breadwinner for the family, being stoic and powerful on the outside, and displaying courage in the face of danger, modern masculine roles are far more fluid and diverse. For example, there are now men who stay home to take care of their children, play gentle sports, and instead of power and dominance, they display strength in the form of kindness and respect. This opens the door for new ideas of masculinity such as being emotional, taking risks, and speaking up for social justice.

The Impact of Changing Masculinity: As the traditional notions of masculinity continue to evolve, so too do the implications for modern society. For starters, there is a greater sense of equality and empathy when it comes to gender roles and expectations. Men now have a wider variety of options when it comes to their roles in relationships, family life, the workplace, and beyond. Additionally, the changing meaning of masculinity has led to a greater emphasis on collaboration, communication, and relationships, with increased focus on emotional intelligence, tenderness, and emotional honesty.

  • Exploring new ideas of masculinity
  • The impact of changing masculinity
  • Greater sense of equality

3. Taking a Closer Look at the 2017 TED Talk on Real Manhood

In 2017, the well-known TED Talk provided a unique look into what real manhood looks like today. While the speaker was college football athlete Kwan Booth, his speech was directed to everyone – male and female. In the enlightening talk, Booth addressed the power of vulnerability, being an ally, and the power of strong relationships.

The Power of Vulnerability. Saying “I’m sorry” and allowing yourself to be vulnerable can be one of the first steps to real manhood. Booth pointed out that vulnerability allows men to be committed to the people around them, something that gives real strength. He also makes the point that being vulnerable shifts the conversation away from ego.

Reliability and Support. Booth argued that modern men must show support for their partners, family, and friends. This includes being reliable and dependable when they need it. Uniting in support of each other can lead to doing greater things than each person alone.

Supporting others isn’t just about providing tangible help — it’s also about listening and understanding. This includes being an ally and understanding what respect and reciprocity look like. Withholding judgement, honoring opinions, and being there for the people you care about is just as important as any small tasks you can do and really builds up strong relationships.

4. Why the Message of this Talk is Still Relevant Today

The message of this talk continues to be significant in the present society because it elucidates why understanding our differences is paramount to maintaining social solidarity. This resonates more than ever given the rising divisiveness between different sectors of society.

The idea of being conscious of our similarities as well as our differences has recently been further underlined by many of the most influential organizations in the world. These groups advocate for greater empathy, mutual respect, and an honest acknowledgement of our respective individual and collective backgrounds.

This talk emphasizes the power of community through understanding, and how we can rise above prejudice and bigotry. Issues such as ethnic, racial and cultural divisions remain present today, and this talk successfully draws attention to the importance of embracing our differences in order to create a world that is inclusive and compassionate. We must continue to champion the idea of diversity in order to make strides in reducing a culture of fear, judgment or bias.


Q: What is the TED Talk about?

A: The TED Talk is about how people should redefine their ideas of what it means to be a “real man” in today’s world. The speaker explores how society’s accepted definition of manliness has been used to limit people, and makes a case for embracing new versions of masculinity that better reflect the current state of our world.

Q: What does the speaker say about current definitions of manliness?

A: The speaker is critical of traditional definitions of manhood, which he argues have been used to control and suppress people. He advocates for a new understanding of manhood that encompasses a wider range of characteristics, such as kindness, creativity, self-expression, and vulnerability.

Q: How does the TED Talk still hold up today?

A: The content and message of the TED Talk are still very relevant in today’s society, especially with the discussions that have been happening surrounding traditional definitions of manhood and the evolving expectations of men. The speaker encourages people to move away from preconceived notions of what manliness should look like, and instead take a more expansive approach that celebrates all forms of masculinity.

As it turns out, the need for strong male role models and for men to take an active role in their relationships is still relevant today. This TED Talk speaks volumes about how we, as a society, should strive to craft a better definition of what it means to be a “real man”. The responsibility still lies with us to ensure that men know their worth and that they take ownership of their actions; for if we do that, we can create a better tomorrow for all.

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