Bear Grylls: Men 'really struggle' with how to be men nowadays
Bear Grylls, the TV adventurer, says men are confused about what masculinity means as technology strips away traditional hunter-gatherer skills
Published 29/04/2014 | 11:21
THE modern generation struggle to know what it means to be a man, Bear Grylls has said, as he launches a new television show.
Grylls, the broadcaster and adventurer, said modern men now suffer from confusion about how to define themselves, with traditional hunter-gatherer skills no longer needed.
Arguing the use of technology means men now only use a “fraction” of their human abilities, he has now launched a new television series aimed at rediscovering manliness.
The Channel 4 programme, entitled The Island with Bear Grylls, will see 13 men from all walks of life dropped on a Pacific island and left to survive for 28 days.
Speaking at its launch, Grylls said he wanted to work out how best to define manhood in the 21st century, as he signalled his support for the principles of National Service.
“Men really struggle nowadays with what it means to be a man,” he said. “In the olden days, it was clear – you use your spear, your brains, your resourcefulness, your courage. All that sort of stuff made a man.”
Now, he added, the use of technology means people are “only using a fraction of what nature or God or whatever has given us to be human”.
“Therefore there’s always going to be a disconnect of actually, what does it mean?” he said. “In the modern world, what does masculinity mean?
“If you strip man of everything – no microwave, no bed, none of the stuff we take for granted – are the skills that man has gained over thousands of years or mistakes and errors and development still here?
“Have they just gone in a generation? Or when pushed are they still somewhere in there?”
The programme, broadcast from May 5, will see participants battle to find fresh water, build shelter and catch food including scorpions, stingray and a live crocodile.
Those taking part include a 23-year-old farmer, a hairdresser from Essex, a neurologist and 71-year-old retired policeman.
Saying he had been inspired to make the programme after hearing “everyone talking about ‘what is a man’ nowadays”, Grylls added he hoped to encourage men to learn what to aspire to.
When asked whether he would support National Service, to teach young men about the teamwork and practical skills, he said: “I like the principles of what that sort of thing does.
“If people come out of it learning that there’s life beyond their social circles and groups and develop a respect, learn values about hard work, teamwork, leadership, I think that would be an amazing thing.”