October 5, 2011
At that point, I threw my hands up in exasperation.
To help you understand why I was so befuddled by this statement, I will present an alternative scenario.
A woman is on a TV show and she appears to be very ladylike in her behavior. The host of the show says as much, and she responds, I learned how to be a lady from my five brothers and my father.
No one would ever say that because it would be silly at best.
So then why is it acceptable for a man to say he learned how to be a gentleman from his sisters and mother? Even more, Kardashian has a stepfather, Bruce Jenner, and a biological father (Robert, who was divorced from his mom and passed away when Rob was 16).
Now, I can understand the notion that women can demand or expect gentlemanly behavior from a man. But they cant possibly model that behavior for them; only another man can do that.
Besides, dont you think that if a young man is being instructed by his sisters and mother to treat them nicely that, in the absence of a responsible father, it could actually backfire? He may resent being told what to do, especially when he becomes a teenager and is looking for male guidance and answers from men about what it means to be a man.
I am not debating whether or not Rob Kardashian is a gentleman; I have no idea if he is or not. However, I do not believe that any young man can learn gentlemanly behavior from just watching womens behavior.
For Rob Kardashian, if he is in fact a gentleman, my guess is that it was not from his mother and sisters, but his stepfather and his biological father (for whom Rob just did a tribute on Dancing With the Stars) from whom he learned how to be a gentleman. Why he did not credit those men in his statement is a topic for another blog post
Why am I writing any of this at all? While, in the grand scheme of things it does not matter where Rob Kardashian learned how to be a gentleman (if in fact he did), it is important for our culture to recognize the unique and irreplaceable role that fathers play in their childrens lives. And one of those roles is to model gentlemanly behavior for his sons, and to show his daughters the gentlemanly behavior they should expect from men. I guess thinking those lessons will come out of Dancing With the Stars is a bit too much for me to expect. Oh, well.