Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Still Warring Against Boys

Sixteen years ago Christina Hoff Sommers exposed the war against boys. In the school system, in the academy, in psychological theorizing and in the media, boys are systematically demeaned, denigrated and maligned… for not being girls.

The goal: to raise the self-esteem and the academic performance of girls. If, as the propaganda has it, girls have traditionally been oppressed in favor of boys, the culture must rectify the situation by oppressing boys in favor of girls.

The results have been less than positive for the newly beaten-down sex. As one knows well, in matriarchal cultures, boys tend to become caricatures of masculinity. They become macho; they join gangs; they express constant hostility toward women; they rebel against the authority of women, especially women teachers; they excel at video games.

Having no access to a more constructive and positive male role model—like the gentleman or the pater familias—they become thugs, bullies and outlaws, underachievers who deflect their competitive urge on to video games and criminal enterprise.

A boy cannot look forward to being a breadwinner; the role is a relic and women do not need men to take care of them. A boy cannot practice traditional courtship behaviors; feminists have declared it all to be a conspiracy to weaken women and to keep them chained to their kitchens. A boy cannot look forward to becoming a fierce competitor in the marketplace; he learns that he should flourish, thus, should flower, like a potted plant.  A boy cannot be a proud warrior; the culture has often treated soldiers as mindless killing machines, if not war criminals.

Down with manhood; up with sensitivity.

Now, a thoroughly feminized man named Andrew Reiner, a professor at Towson State University has seen the problem and offers up a solution. To his mind boys are still crippled by male stereotypes. They need to get in touch with their emotions; they need to learn how to cry. Instead of trying to fix the problem, he has made the problem into the solution.

If Reiner had anything like a functioning mind he would have known that this lesson has been forced on male students for several decades now and that current male behavior is simply a rebellion against people like Reiner who believe that boys should be increasingly feminized.

Pretty soon, America will be like Sweden, where boys learn in school that they must pee sitting down, lest they be sexist. Naturally, this turns some boys into weak and timid whiners while it incites others to become thugs. The testosterone does not just disappear.

Let us understand, as Reiner does not, that the war on boys has been going on for decades now and that the current state of affairs represents the outcome of this grand social experiment.

To Reiner’s mind, it has not been enough. He refuses to recognize that his own beliefs have produced this state of affairs. So he doubles down on stupid:

Despite the emergence of the metrosexual and an increase in stay-at-home dads, tough-guy stereotypes die hard. As men continue to fall behind women in college, while outpacing them four to one in the suicide rate, some colleges are waking up to the fact that men may need to be taught to think beyond their own stereotypes.

Based on their grades and writing assignments, it’s clear that they spend less time on homework than female students do; and while every bit as intelligent, they earn lower grades with studied indifference. When I asked one of my male students why he didn’t openly fret about grades the way so many women do, he said: “Nothing’s worse for a guy than looking like a Try Hard.”

We need are more metrosexuals, more stay-at-home dads, more delicate sensitive men who feel deeply. And where, pray tell, will today’s boys find role models of a positive and constructive sense of masculinity?

Reiner does not notice that the school system has become so girl oriented that boys are completely turned off by it. He does not see that the only way for boys to be boys is to be tough guys.

It ought to be clear that the war on boys has succeeded. It has elevated girls at the expense of boys.

Reiner writes:

In 1994, according to a Pew Research Center analysis, 63 percent of females and 61 percent of males enrolled in college right after high school; by 2012, the percentage of young women had increased to 71, but the percentage of men remained unchanged.

Obviously, the standard for academic success, in elementary school, in high school and in college is female. Thus, no self-respecting male can want to do well in such an atmosphere. Besides, the female dominant culture caricatures boys and creates its own stereotype, one that is harshly judgmental and negative:

By the time many young men do reach college, a deep-seated gender stereotype has taken root that feeds into the stories they have heard about themselves as learners. Better to earn your Man Card than to succeed like a girl, all in the name of constantly having to prove an identity to yourself and others.

Reiner invited Prof. Michael Kimmel to lecture his class in order to tear down the remnants of manliness that these boys had been forced to adopt:

Dr. Kimmel came to my campus, Towson University, in 2011 to discuss the “Bro Code” of collegiate male etiquette. In his talk, he deconstructed the survival kit of many middle-class, white male students: online pornography, binge drinking, a brotherhood in which respect is proportional to the disrespect heaped onto young women during hookups, and finally, the most ubiquitous affirmation of their tenuous power, video games.

Reiner is in the business of denouncing and deconstructing anything that resembles manly behavior. He is not smart enough to understand that this message, communicated over decades by feminist educators and the media elite has produced the situation he bemoans.

He writes:

I wanted the course to explore this hallmark of the masculine psyche — the shame over feeling any sadness, despair or strong emotion other than anger, let alone expressing it and the resulting alienation. Many young men, just like this student, compose artful, convincing masks, but deep down they aren’t who they pretend to be….

But wouldn’t encouraging men to embrace the full range of their humanity benefit women? Why do we continue to limit the emotional lives of males when it serves no one? This question is the rhetorical blueprint I pose to students before they begin what I call the “Real Man” experiment.

His students would do better to read some Christina Hoff Sommers.


Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

What is remarkable about all this social engineering in childhood and adolescence is that women want no part of it when looking for a husband. They don't want their husband to be this way. They don't want a woman for a husband.

Certainly there are some women who have lap dogs for men, men who wait on them and attend to their every need. But there have always been men in those kinds of controlling/domineering relationships, just as there are women who cling to abusive men because of some erotic mapping of dominance on their psyche. But these things have been going on through human history without the need to use institutionalized education as a delivery system for these ideological dalliances. This is getting out of hand, and it's not just the boys who suffer... at least not immediately.

The market for eligible men -- responsible, protective, honor-bound and ambitious -- is drying up, and it's because of these silly ideas activists are peddling. Call me traditional, but I've talked with a number of young, attractive, intelligent women who are disgusted by all this. I look at young men today, and they spend more money on grooming products in a day than I spent in a year at that age. They're pretty. Who wants a pretty guy?

Androgyny seems to be the objective. Will we be happy then?

Sam L. said...

Is this what "women" want? It seems not, but it's certainly what feminists and the Left want.

Ignatius Acton Chesterton OCD said...

Indeed. I often wonder whether these feminists hate men, or whether they hate being women themselves... that it's just all so unfair. And if 50% of the population doesn't have to go through what women do, they have to be turned into women. "Empathize with me, dammit!" And then young women everywhere... can't find good men. Like every Lefty cause, it ultimately sows misery. No one is happy. No one can be happy. No one is allowed to be happy.

Anonymous said...

There's a whole red pill manosphere out there for boys and young men to discover!

Toung men: IMprove yourselves first and don't worry about women. In a few years the sexbots will be perfected and they'll all come with what real women will never have: A "Go Away/STFU" button!

Sam L. said...

Why has Ares refused to share his thoughts on this?

Ares Olympus said...

The "war on boys" is obviously an exaggeration, as if boys are limited by two choices - act like cooperative girls to be acceptable, or act like antisocial competitive bullies, although you could imagine this is the world Trump grew up in.

But part of the problem perhaps is that we're grouping all boys into one homogeneous category, while biological reality says otherwise.

That is, there is MORE variability in boys than girls, specifically there are more boys than girls with very low IQs and more boys than girls with very high IQs. And whatever else you make of that fact, it means those two groups are not going to have similar need. The significantly above average IQ boys will probably thrive in almost any environment, while the significantly below average IQ boys are going to struggle in almost any environment.

And that's all about the individual level, while then socialization plays a part in how boys learn how to work in groups, and be a part of something larger than themselves.

I can also consider the claimed "African Proverb": “If we do not initiate our boys, they will burn down the village to feel the heat."

Whatever the origin of the quote, it suggests boys are not safe to be left alone to their own devices, and something like Lord of the Flies is always 3 months away, if you take away all socializing influences and let the biggest bullies dictate collective actions.

Really it does seem like Trump is calling for a return to "Lord of the Flies" politically incorrect behavior, where beating on people who provoke you is a legitimate form of political expression.

And I admit some sympathy for the ideal, that society needs a place where physical confrontation is acceptable, as long as there are still rules, but those rules are not about calling "battery" as equivalent to tapping someone on the arm, or even grabbing an arm and pulling someone away. But we still needs referees to hep keep limits on the violence, and referees who can do their own pounding when someone deserves it.

I read somewhere that suggested Trump's rise comes in part from the world of Professional wrestling, that pseudo-violent play-acting sport of good guys and bad guys.

And politics has never been completely safe from threat of physical violence. But overall, violence would seems a stupid form of power, since it so easily pains you as the bully, and your target as as victim, no matter how much suffering your target caused you in the past.

The "war against boys" from feminists whatever it is, might seem an act of jealousy, since girls and women may have as much aggression as boys and men, but are only allowed to express it covertly.

Dennis said...

Sam L.

Nice job of poking Ares. Standard leftist drivel on every issue that might concern others is it is an exaggeration. Then the quick segue to some other issue or the standard Trump is responsible or the benefactor of all the evils that is this country. This Trump guy must really reflect all the dangers of life wrapped up in one man. In Ares' world Trump has become the theory of everything.