Friday, 26 June 2009

The Rebuilding of the German Man

It's an oft-discussed topic at the Elternbeirat - the lack of male staff as role models for boys in Germany's schools and Kindergartens. And this, in turn, leads to a debate much in the media in Germany generally these days - the crisis of German men. Of course, the Germans love having a crisis and beating themselves up about something and, since this one covers 50% of the population, it can run and run.
In the latest newsletter from Sturm und Drang, there's another article about the crisis. And it's pointed out that 98% of Kindergarten personnel are female, along with 87% of primary school teachers. This is one factor, it is believed, in the lack of orientation experienced by many men in Germany. The old role models have been toppled, but nothing positive has filled their place. This dilemma was summed up in Die Welt: "Machos are out. Softies aren't in."
While the feminisation of German culture and commerce has been long overdue, one does wonder where the male role models are. While internationally top-of-their class females are everywhere, from Angela Merkel to Heidi Klum, where are the men? Of course, there are good German sportsmen and there always will be, but otherwise, who is there? The Pope, of course. But these days, Boris Becker is more famous for his serial marriages than his tennis skills.
Where are the great artists, musicians, statesmen and captains of industry? In the world of advertising, it's also not much better. Most of the characters in TV ads here fall either into the category of hapless fools or Superstar-winner clones. Or maybe they are the real thing. Who could tell the difference, anyway?

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