Friday, March 11, 2011

Tilting at Windmills and Saving Our Sons

It is the Quixotesque quest of mankind to search for “the answer.”  The question, in all its contexts and permutations, is “Why?”  It speaks to the vanity and hubris of collective humanity that there or those who believe that they possess said answer. 

In 1992, Francis Fukuyama wrote a book, “The End of History and the Last Man,” with the naïve thesis that western liberal democracy is the final state in man’s socio-cultural evolution.  “What we may be witnessing is…the end point of mankind’s ideological evolution and the universalization of Western liberal democracy as the final form of human government.” 

It is an exercise in comfort intellectualism.  Its narcissistic message:  we are special; we have arrived; we are fully evolved.  It must be comforting to believe that all that you know, is all that will ever be.  What makes Fukuyama’s piece ultimately unimportant is that it is unimaginative.  It fails to learn from the past, and fails to dream of the future.

Eighteen years later, we are presented with the silly literary trope, “The End of Men,” by Hanna Rosin, written with a metaphorical smirk and alleging:  “…the modern economy is become a place where women hold the cards.”  The lead in to the article asks, “…what if equality isn’t the end point?”  In Rosin’s world, “…some percentage of boys are just temperamentally unsuited for college.” “American pop culture keeps producing endless variations of the omega male, who ranks even below the beta…”  “At the same time, a new kind of alpha female has appeared.”  “The more women dominate, the more they behave, fittingly, like the dominate sex.”  “[T]he U.S. economy is in some ways becoming a kind of traveling sisterhood: upper-class women leave home and enter the workforce, creating domestic jobs for other women to fill.” 

Throughout the article Rosin alludes to, but is too cowardly to come out and state, her obvious conclusion.  She hints at her conclusion, ironically, in the form of a question, “What if the modern, postindustrial economy is simply more congenial to women than to men...More to the point, what if the economics of the new era are better suited to women?”

What makes Rosin’s piece so absurd is that she assumes, like Fukuyama before her, that life has a punch-line.  Her argument is predicated on the notion that our moment in history, all that we know, is all that will ever be.  Women on top.  The implication being that it’s just a natural evolution of humankind, and now we have arrived at the conclusion.

If that is the case, we can turn our backs on our boys.  We can ignore and let stand our TOTAL abdication of responsibility for our sons.  We can celebrate as unavoidable our total failure to tackle the crisis in which we’ve allowed our sons to endure.  And ignore our sons we do; “"Boys' issues are being neglected, whereas girls' issues have been addressed for over 20 years, with great success," said Judith Kleinfeld, a professor at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks.

So, here we are.  Can we not address boys problems with great success?  We know that young men are having a hard time.  Boys are four times more likely to commit suicide.  Boys are less likely to attend college.  If they do attend, they are less likely to graduate.  We know that women in their twenties living in urban environments significantly out earn their male peers.  The question is “Why?”  What are the circumstances that we've allowed to occur that make possible the crisis in which our sons find themselves?  What do we do to help these kids?  Do we start throwing resources at them like we do for women?  Do we conjure up false advocacy research that presents faux narratives of their victimization is schools, like the American Association of University Women did for girls?  Do we set up a White House Council on Men and Boys, to parity the White House Council on Women and Girls?  Do we start using Title IX to enforce academic equality for boys?  None of this is going to happen, unless we take a stand.  When women were behind, we blamed society and passed Title IX.  When boys are behind, we blame the boys and pretty much do nothing. 

What do feminists, those representatives of a movement purportedly working for equality, add to this conversation?  At first, they deny that our sons need any help at all.  In “The Myth of the ‘Boy Crisis,” Caryl Rivers and Rosalind Chait Barnett actually argued that there is no boy crisis, and addressing it is a waste of time.  But when that argument becomes untenable, feminists change course.  They invoke their ideology.  To the ideologue, their ideology is the answer to all questions.  To the priest, God is the answer.  To the corporatist, free markets solve all problems.  To the communist, Marxism is truth.  To the feminist, feminism is the answer.  And pro-feminist males say as much. 

Michael Kimmel has the answer.  He tells us that the same “ism” that actively ignored our sons and has worked against their best interests, is actually the solution.  “It’s feminists who are really ‘pro-boy’ and ‘pro-father’— who want young boys and their fathers to expand the definition of masculinity and to become fully human.”  The same ideology that accuses our young men of being wife-beating, child-molesting, rape culture apologists, is actually their salvation?  Really?  Well, it must be.  Pro-feminist Hugo Schwyzer, tells us so.  The three time divorcee, addict and community college “professor” informs us, “….feminism – with its remarkable claim that biological sex has nothing to [do] with our human potential – is the best avenue for our personal and collective liberation.” (sic).  Bill Patick, another pro-feminist states, “[I]t is not feminism’s attention to girls that is leaving the boys behind. Rather, it is our society’s resistance to educating our boys about women’s liberation that is leaving them so poorly equipped to face the world they will soon encounter.”

These shitbags, who are so willing to throw away our young men, want to solve their problems?  Don’t you believe it.  Needless to say, feminism is NOT the answer.

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