The Shriver Report MSnapshotodern American Man

We at A Woman’s Nation™ believe that no gender succeeds at the expense of others. We believe in a gender-respectful society, and that requires the engagement and empowerment of all individuals.

The Shriver Report Snapshot: An Insight Into the 21st Century Man, a groundbreaking new survey produced with the support of The California Endowment and conducted by Hart Research Associates, launched an overdue analysis of the American man today revealing stereotype-cracking discoveries.


Today’s Man Values Personal Success With Family Over Financial Achievement

The 21st Century Man characterizes the achievement of the American Dream as personal success with family and being a good father, husband, son or friend over financial independence, professional success or leaving a legacy. 3 in 5 of today’s men named personal achievement at home as the marker of success, with financial success coming in second at only 24%.

85% of today’s men feel that they have a clear sense of their role in society. When asked whether it is more important to be a provider or present partner for their spouse and partner, men are split. Younger American men, those 18-49, are more likely to prize being present while older American men, those over age 50, cite the importance of being a provider, representing an evolving shift in male priorities.

Character, Integrity and the Shift from Mad Man to the Emotionally Intelligent Family Man

68% of today’s men say having a strong personal character and sense of integrity are the most important ways to exhibit strength in today’s world. The next most important markers of strength for men today are the ability to provide financially (44%), the confidence to follow their own path (40%), emotional strength to deal with stressful situations (37%) and physical strength (11%). Men over age 65 are less likely to note emotional strength as a definer of strength than younger men, and older men are more likely to mention the importance of physical power. In general, only 22% of American men said showing emotion is a sign of weakness. The Mad Man has been replaced by the Emotionally Intelligent Family Man.

Struggling to Evolve in an Economy That Now Includes the 21st Century Woman, Yet Very Comfortable With Women in the Workplace

4 in 9 of today’s men say that it is harder to be a man today than it was for his father. The most common reason given for this sentiment is women attaining a stronger position in the workplace, a stronger position financially and greater gender equity. In fact, 30% of American men agree that women taking on greater responsibility outside the home has had a negative effect on the confidence of American men. Men also mention negative social assumptions about men, a more competitive job market, greater household responsibilities for men and greater expectations for men in society today as reasons why it is harder to be a man today.

Meanwhile, almost two-thirds of American men are very comfortable having a partner or spouse who works outside the home. Roughly half of American men are also very comfortable either being out-earned by their partner or spouse or reporting to a female boss. However, less than half of American men are “very comfortable” having a female President of the United States.

Today’s Man Prioritizes Family, Yet Not Comfortable in Role of Stay-At-Home Dad

However important personal success and being present for family is for the 21st Century Man, only 44% of men would be very comfortable taking twelve weeks of paid paternity leave if offered to them by their employer, and just 24% would feel very comfortable being a stay-at-home father.

Headlines and Contemporary Plotlines Don’t Depict the 21st Century Man and Only 2% of Men With Role Models Look to Sports Icons or Celebrities

The Shriver Report Snapshot also found that modern media’s obsession with celebrating sports and entertainment figures has little impact on molding the role model for today’s man. Only 2% of respondents with a male role model said they see sports or celebrity figures as role models. 67% of men said they have or have had a strong male role model, the overwhelming majority citing their father or another male relative. Just 3% cited an elected official. In fact, only 36% of American men credited popular American film and television for having strongly influenced their concept of American manhood.

Mothers have a huge influence in shaping today’s man into who he wants to be with 83% of men reporting their mothers had a positive impact. 74% of men reported their fathers having a positive influence.

The 21st Century Man Has Conflicting Views on Women and Masculinity

The Shriver Report Snapshot: An Insight Into the 21st Century Man reveals an eye-opening disparity between the qualities contemporary men feel are paramount in a wife and/or partner and what they value for their daughters when they grow up. Intelligence was cited as an important quality in both a partner and a daughter. Amazingly, 66% describe wanting an independent daughter, yet only 34% mention independence in their partner. Men highlight “principled” and “strong” as desirable qualities for a daughter but are much less likely to want a daughter to be “sweet” and “attractive” – qualities they do value more in a female partner.

More than half of American men admitted that in general, their gender is more concerned with making a good impression and earning the respect of men than the respect of women. 36% of American men report feeling uncomfortable around homosexual men. 22% of men also admitted to having felt the urge to act violently when their manhood was challenged. And 73% of men said that their sexual confidence is directly aligned with their masculinity.

“The results of The Shriver Report Snapshot were truly groundbreaking,” said Jeff Horwitt, Vice President, Hart Research Associates. “This survey covered complex and sensitive issues that are not frequently explored in survey research. The survey tells a story of evolving gender roles and how men feel about them that covers new ground in documenting the changing landscape. The American man today is playing more than just one role, and their definition of success and what they are looking for reflects this reality.”








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