What is the future of American manhood? | Brendan Stermer | TEDxGullLake



Brenda Stermer shares takeaways from his PBS web series “Manhood in Rural America,” reflects on his own experiences, and considers the possibility of a “new, more flexible, modern manhood.”

In his work in new media, Brendan Stermer encourages offline conversation and reflection around a variety of rural issues. During the summer of 2016, he created the Pioneer Digital Studios web series, “Manhood in Rural America,” an exploration of how local men are experiencing the rapid transformation of gender roles in rural society. Using just a laptop and an old iPhone, Brendan asked 18 men what it means to be a man in rural America. The resulting conversations have been featured on Pioneer Public Television, on Upworthy, and Minnesota Public Radio.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

38 Comments

  1. I haven’t watched it till the end yet, but guys, just *be yourself* because the most beautiful thing in humans is individuality

  2. Please forgive me if I sound pedantic but haven’t you got big data for the future assessment oops that’s right you can’t predict the future

  3. I don’t understand why “manliness” is so important to the presenter. For some people, it’s what they relate to, but I’d really appreciate it if all men were not painted with the same hue of manliness across the board. It doesn’t make any difference if someone is manly, or not, or somewhere in the middle. Instead of focusing on superficial identities, how about working toward being a better parent, or worker, or person in general. The concern is irrelevant to the progression of society. You are who you are. There are dicks out there who will make fun of who you are. There are good people out there who will praise you for who you are. The only box that you are in is the one in which you’ve put yourself.

  4. I’m not sure what the future of American manhood is, and not being American, I really don’t care all that much. But I’m sure Mr Milquetoast McBourgeois-Munt, here, has no better idea.

  5. There is no future in that madness! The y chromosome will slowly die away as we begin using artificial breeding techniques.

  6. I believe that the role of a man in the house or family is. To teach the their children about respect, to protect the family, and be one of the two leaders of the family. And a lot of other stuff that’s kind of too specific. Im only giving my opinion because I was kind of thrown off when those men answered nothing specifically to the question like it doesn’t matter to have a “father figure” or a role model for young boys and girls.

  7. Technology really has you people losing your minds. I will forever be alpha, and it will prove to all these self-deceivers that they have simply become professionals at it. Constantly lying to themselves and sharing that false-identity with the world. Of course manhood matters, a man is who upholds the standard of righteousness and justice. When men are not men, everyone is confused. You people confuse yourselves trying to make sense of your own foolishness. We as a generation also tend to give ourselves to much credit for being experts at little to nothing. Self-proclaimed everything. Before it was about survival, and the proof was in the pudding that you should respect a mans role. The proof is still here now that survival seems less important, just look at what happens to society when you don’t respect men. It’s a major problem. People want to redefine everything else to conform tot heir foolishness instead of facing their weaknesses. Using the internet as affirmation, but it’s all virtual. It doesn’t change reality. You can run from the truth only but for so long. There are always consequences, and we have already witnessed many.

  8. And women aren’t “pioneers” in this “new age,” they are the beneficiary victim in the situation. Deceived by social interactions. Influenced and used by powerful men with money. So it’s not that they see themselves “independent” and have this sudden strength to focus on their supposed “dreams” they all seem to be so ambitious about. They are being affirmed by networking and relying on the hope that some random dude with money is going to bless them if they expose themselves on social media enough. So the “average man” is meaningless. And even if they are used in the end, they are “better off,” but only financially. Women are simply devaluing themselves, and it’s hard for all of us to cope because it is tough for normal people to endure the rest of the population selling out. It’s people relying on the internet as an “escape” from reality. Internet activity is more real to you guys than actual social interactions in person. It’s utterly pathetic. Just like people act different in person, but on the internet have this persona of “leverage.” Yeah, some alphas have a great understanding that we are being emasculated out of selfish ambition. I see it as a war on my masculinity that we will not lose. Sorry if I take life more seriously than some of you who think every topic is just all peaches and cream and just about exchanging words.

  9. When I think of a genuine “man”, I think George Clooney from Up In The Air, and William Dafoe in The Hunter come to my mind.

  10. Perhaps we overthink what it means to be a man. And perhaps the claim that masculinity is about domination is a simplistic stereotype that overgeneralizes and omits much.

    Self-determination is key. If traditional masculinity is a man box then redefining masculinity is a different man box. In both cases a man is trying to be what someone else wants him to be.

    The question is, who does he want to be? The answer will differ for every man.

  11. He says masculinity is a choice. Well, that’s pretty much saying that masculinity and femininity are social constructs, which do not have objective biological reference points. That is the very idea that is plaguing Western civilization and ridding it of a basic human identity.

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