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.
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.
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.