In honor of International Men’s Day, we’ll be taking a look at a few of the best role models around today. The criteria for this are loose: they’re people who have a voice in the public ear and choose to use it well, for important causes.
Sir Patrick Stewart, when not captaining the Starship Enterprise or clowning around with fellow Knight of the Order, Admiral Lord Sir Ian McKellen, is a vocal supporter of various amazing causes. He is perhaps best known for his involvement with Refuge and the Ring the Bell campaign, which urges “1 million men to make 1 million promises” to stand up against domestic violence. He has shared his own experiences witnessing violence in the home at events and when interacting with fans. He is also a supporter of the Dignity in Dying campaign and Combat Stress, among other charities. He is a member of the British Humanist Society and a lifelong supporter of his local football club’s efforts to find and develop young talent.
Because you really can’t have one without the other (check out their selfies here) we’d be remiss to exclude Ian McKellen from this list. The Lord of the Rings actor has received more awards than we can count in his 55 year career, and was knighted in 1991 for services to the performing arts. His decision to come out publicly in 1988 was sparked by his activism against controversial anti-gay legislation and McKellen has founded several organizations to support equal rights since. He has also lent himself (and his Lord of the Rings underwear) to the cause Only Make Believe, which brings interactive plays to children’s hospitals.
George RR Martin
What’s not to love about GRRM? Well, maybe the frequency with which he kills off our favorite characters. The author, who has been called “America’s Tolkien,” is a man of principles. He sees these seemingly heartless off-ings (and the violence of the HBO TV Show) as important to show the true cost of conflict. While his mainstream success has been fairly recent (his last two books from A Song of Fire and Ice debuted at #1 on the NY Times Bestseller List,) Martin has been writing since the 1970s, and is unapologetic about the time he takes between installments in this series to work on other things. Finally, when asked why he is so good at writing female characters that are nuanced and complicated, he famously responded, “Y’know…I’ve always thought of women as people.”
Apple’s Tim Cook has been featured recently across news platforms as the first publicly out CEO of a Fortune 500 company, but there’s much more to him than that. Under his leadership (which he says focuses on ” people, strategy, and execution”), Apple has increased its charitable contributions and added the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency to its staff to further development of renewable resources.
Not many men can pull of a bow-tie, but Bill Nye has been doing it for over 20 years. He has been dedicated to educating since his start on Back to the Future: The Animated Series through his career as ‘The Science Guy.’ Since his children’s series ended in 1998, he has been hosting and creating content for a variety of audiences, and spoken on several talk shows as an expert on climate change, evolution, and nuclear fallout. Nye is a published author, holds several U.S. patents, and is a fellow at the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, which promotes promote scientific inquiry, critical investigation, and the use of reason in examining controversial claims.
We love him as Wolverine, and all around bad-ass, but did you know that this 46-year old Aussie dedicates himself to some serious causes? He is a proponent of using ‘microcredit’ to support entrepreneurs in developing countries and acts as global advisor for the Global Poverty Project. Jackman has lent his voice to several environmental documentaries, and has used his Broadway performances to raise money for Broadway Cares/ Equity Fights Aids.