by Jack Kammer

MenTeach: There is much discussion about men teachers being male role models. It’s important to keep in mind that the idea of what “maleness” is – is constantly changing. Here is an excerpt from “Asking the Right Questions about Baltimore’s African-American Underclass Men and Boys” by Jack Kammer


In American football, the forward pass was invented precisely because the original running game of football, with its infamous flying wedge, was getting too rough and dangerous. The forward pass was intended to make the game safer but some “purists” derided it as “unmanly.”

Though some American football fans thought the forward pass would ruin the game, “public interest in football soared. A game that had been predicated to a great extent on brute strength became a game of position, balance, speed, mobility and leverage. It still paid to be strong, but now you had to be more than strong.”

  • “131 Years of Princeton Football,” Princeton University
  • Telleen, Maurice. “75 Years Ago: Late Autumn/Early Winter 1926.” The Draft Horse Journal (Winter 2000-2001)

When the helmet first showed up on football fields, Pudge Heffelfinger, Yale’s three-time All American from 1889-1891 said, “None of that sissy stuff for me.”

  • Stewart, Bruce K. (Nov/Dec 1995). “American Football.” American History, Vol. 30 Issue 5, p. 24.

In 1611 Thomas Coryat, an Englishman, saw forks being used in Italy. When he brought them back to England, he was widely ridiculed for feminine airs.

  • California Academy of Sciences
  • Ludwig von Mises Institute

Frederick William, an 18th-century Prussian king and father of Frederick the Great, beat his son for wearing gloves in cold weather because it was “an effeminate behavior, worthy only of a Frenchman.”

Wristwatches at first were considered effeminate because “real men” carried pocket watches. When World War I fighter pilots adopted them for tactical reasons, they became acceptably masculine.

  • Brink, Bob (May 2000). “The Art and History of Collectible Watches,” Palm Beach Illustrated Magazine, May 2000.

In ancient Greece, using hot water was considered effeminate; a man’s bath typically was a quick bucket of cold water dumped on his head.

Up through the Civil War, cigarettes were considered unmanly because men smoked only pipes and cigars.

Soap and clean underwear


Drinking cups

Long sleeves

Open collars revealing the chest