In my review of the articles concerning caregiving it was mentioned that there are insufficient examples in the media of men fulfilling a caregiving role. The problem might be in the narrow definition of male caregiving rather than a lack of examples. While broadcasting the end of Super Bowl celebrations the camera turned to the behavior shown in the following image of Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ lineman, Ryan Jensen and his son.
As a football player the 6’4″, 320 lb. center is known as a fierce competitor and is the highest paid center in the league. He plays the game utilizing his physical skills in a game that epitomizes controlled violence. For those of you who do not like football because of the violent nature of the game, at least accept the fact that the violence is governed by rules and all of the participants are there by choice.
What has Ryan modeled for his son? On one hand his son saw his father, the warrior, throughout the course of the game physically attempt to overpower his opponents according to the rules. On the other hand, at the end of the game Ryan allowed his young son to push him over and to engage in a loving physical interaction. Ryan’s uniquely male fathering behavior demonstrates his compassion for his son while empowering his son’s confidence and sense of physical intimacy. In addition the interaction was on display for millions of the TV audience to see. Imagery that exemplifies masculine caregiving affirming the best of masculinity.