At All Things Considered we spent the summer taking a long look at the modern day American man. The series, called Men in America and #menpr on social media, was expansive and included 57 stories spread out over three months. Most of those were radio pieces but I was able to write a few fun web companions as well.
The Modern American Man, Charted — By some measures, not much has changed for American men over the past few decades — girls still do better than boys in school, and men still make more money than women. In other areas, the shifts are profound. In this story that helped open the series, I worked with our Visuals team to chart some of the more surprising changes when it comes to education, young adulthood, work, marriage, parenting and life expectancy.
The Average American Man Is Too Big For His Britches — When my colleague Viet Le started writing about his struggle to find clothing that fits him as an “extra-small” man in a world that idolizes “big and tall,” I was intrigued — and a bit confused. Viet has never struck me as an especially small guy. At 5 feet 6 inches tall and 128 pounds, is he really that far out of the mainstream? (Spoiler alert: yes and American men are in denial about their true size)
Break Out The Hanky: Tom’s Got It Out For Your Tearducts — We asked the guys out there: What are the movies that make you cry? While reading through the 5,000+ responses, we started to notice a recurring theme — or should we say, a recurring man: Tom Hanks. He was mentioned far more than any other actor and for a wider array of performances — from Captain Phillips to Philadelphia, among many others. What makes him the master emotional manipulator in Hollywood? We try to figure it out by examining a few of the most mentioned scenes.
In my next post, I’ll share some stories and lessons about the the series’ related social media projects.