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Guardian/17 March 99


By Angela Phillips in London

FORGET the sensitive New Man and his lager-fuelled opposite, the New Lad. A newer and more positive masculine role model has emerged - the Highly Involved Man (HIM). He is a key factor in building the self-esteem and success of boys, according to a report published on Tuesday. It is the quality of his relationship with the man in his life which marks out the supremely confident boy from his peers. The man doesn't have to live with him, he doesn't even have to be Dad, but he does have to take an interest. Nine out of 10 British boys with a Highly Involved Man in their life were in the top 25 per cent of achievers in the survey, while boys at the bottom tend to have semi-detached fathers who tell them that "boys don't cry".

The most socially successful boys are now the ones who confide in their parents, think that "equality is a good thing", don't think "boys have to be hard to survive", and expect to take equal responsibility for their children. These are the "leading lads" - young men with plenty of what the researchers call "can do" which allows them to tackle life with enthusiasm.

The report, "Tomorrow's Men", by Adrienne Katz, Ann Buchanan and Jo-Ann Brinke, follows on from their 1997 study of girls, entitled "Can Do Girls - A Barometer of Change".

The remainder of this fairly long article in the Guardian is uninspired and totally ignores the finding in the report of most obvious interest to us, namely that the valuable HIM in a boy's life need not be the father. Hence I've clipped it. Extensive web searching failed to reveal an easy source for the full report but an article in the Times did reveal that the research was supported by Oxford University and sponsored by the menswear company Topman. The latter's website said the full report is available from the following snail-mail address, for anyone intrepid enough to follow it up:

Young Voice 12 Bridge Gardens East Molesey Surrey KT8 9HU


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