If Tom Hanks Isn’t A Strong Male Role Model, Let’s Just Ditch The Idea
No heroes, no idols, just a bunch of screwed up niggas
Chet Hanks, son of “everybody” actor and national treasure Tom Hanks, says a lot of bullshit. There was this time last year when he unilaterally declared a “White Boy Summer,” a concept he later turned into a song and merchandising that rendered the phrase in Nazi-adjacent font. He also spoke out against masking and vaccines, even though his parents were among the first high-profile Western celebrities to be diagnosed with COVID-19. More recently, however, he has opened up about his upbringing in a world of fame and wealth, saying he “didn’t have a strong male role model”.
The immediate reaction to this was disbelief. How could Tom Hanks, America’s warm and funny father, be an inadequate example of healthy masculinity for young Chet? It blows the mind. But, then, the actors aren’t the ones they play in the movies, and besides, Tom was probably doing those movies for a lot of Chet’s childhood. So we’ll take him at his word this time. And, in fact, we’re going to go one step further: let’s completely abandon the idea of the “strong male role model”.
If Tom couldn’t cut it, what’s the point? Could the real irony be that the archetypal wise male mentor figure is a product of Hollywood screenplays? When I listen to Chet describe the kind of person he wishes he had been there growing up, I literally imagine Uncle Phil from The prince of Bel-Air. And I have a great dad! Who raised me well! Still, I can’t mentally categorize him as a “strong male role model” without laughing at the premise of that sentence. It’s so special after school, so coach-in-a-kids-sports-movie, that using it seriously feels like a joke.
Pack it, guys. We had our chance to uplift the young men by our example, and we couldn’t. Now, we must show solidarity with Tom Hanks in revealing his failure, because it can’t be easy to know that you are partly responsible for Chet Hanks. Reject the pressure to mold someone else in your image – it was never a good idea. The very existence of a strong male model implies that he had a strong male model, and so on, up to a strong original, prehistoric, spontaneous male model, and it’s just too absurd to believe it.
No heroes. No idols. Just do your best, okay? We will manage one way or another. And if you happen to model toxic behavior, well, you can’t be blamed, can you? No one has ever taught you better! Ah, this freedom is wonderful. See you there, boys – I’m going to be a terrible influence.