Colbert's heartfelt advice for teen girls

01:27, Aug 04 2014
THE COLBERT REPORT: The star gives advice to teen girls on everything from love to dads to misogyny.

Let's begin with a quick word of warning. For anyone who already has a father or father figure in their lives, this video will make you want to swap them for Stephen Colbert. But don't feel bad. This is a biologically normal reaction to watching a grown man in a checked shirt giving heartfelt advice to young women on how to deal with misogyny.

Colbert recently appeared on Rookie Mag's 'Ask a Grown Man' online series, joining a series of Tavi-approved male humans to advise readers on how to deal with various conundrums in their lives. Past guests include your longtime crushes Jon Hamm and Ira Glass.

The clip, published on Wedesday, is one of the rare occasions when the 50-year-old breaks character and appears as Stephen Colbert The Guy, rather than "Stephen Colbert", his right wing alter ego on The Colbert Report.

Watching the father-of-three giving thoughtful dad advice is like observing a majestic wild animal in its natural habitat. You KNEW it was going to be moving, but watching the moment unfold somehow still brings a tear to your eye.

The segement basically answers four questions from teenage girls, and it's 10 minutes long but well worth pressing on.


Colbert kicks off the Q&A thusly: "I'm honored to be considered a grown man, thank you." He then dives straight into A 14-year-old's question on how to deal with misogyny.

Reader Loretta asks: "I know that most men aren't jerks. But when guys, especially teenage guys, do stuff like cat call and make jokes about rape, do they know their behaviour is harmful? Is that why they do stuff like that or is it because the society has taught them to be misogynistic?"

To which Colbert gives the kind of anwer every high school teacher should be encouraged to memorise: 

"I think the reason that boys do this kind of stuff is to get your attention. And I don't think they know that it's harmful...I just think they desperately want you to pay attention to them.

"My advice would be if you don't know the person who's doing it, I would ignore it. But if you do know the person, they really care what you think... And I would say, 'Please don't do that because I really don't like it.' They might blow you off at the time, but I promise you that they'll remember you said that."

But the wisdom doesn't end there: "For this sort of thing to stop, boys have to be educated. Does our society educate boys to be misogynistic? It probably doesn't value women as much as it should and boys probably see that as a signal that they can get away with ... what they think of as 'playfully' or 'comically' threatening -- but they do need to need to be told it's wrong. Or even more importantly that you just don't like it. Because they want you to like them."

Equally enjoyable is his advice to Maria from Mexico City, who asks, "I would really like to know all the ways in which you can tell when a person likes you - girls, boys, grownups, everyone."

His answer is that that someone who likes you is a person who "wants to hear your stories, cares how you feel, and wants make your day better".

"One nice definition of love, I think, is one person's happiness is more important than your own."

The whole clip is proof that a grown man can be wise, helpful and empathic without being condescending.

I think we can all imagine similar advice coming straight out of Coach Taylor's mouth, no?

- Daily Life