What is a Real Man? Pt. 2 of 3
By Travis Arnold
Let us look at equality as a needle on a meter. Without question, for most of history the needle was buried deeply on the male side of the meter. Women were either property or without a voice. In the mid to late 20th century the meter moved towards the center. As a society we approached gender equality. Then, as the needle was directly in the center, it was violently slammed into the female side of the scale. Affirmative action went from being a guarantee of a fair shot at a job, to a sword of Damocles hanging over employers. Schools went from ensuring equal opportunities for education, to pandering to the female students. I’ve heard it said that men have no room to complain, because they were in charge for so long. Somehow that logic is supposed to justify this reverse discrimination. I’m going to focus on the school portion in this part. Boys have been steadily falling behind in education for the last decade or so. The mistake being made by educators is treating girls and boys the same. While they hold equal value as people, they are biologically different. They grow and mature at different rates, develop different coping mechanisms for conflict and stress. They simply are not the same. Malia Jacobson covers the subject in an article for parentmap.com. She illuminates that the disciplinary actions against boys are always harsher even if the violation is the same. My own sons have faced this systemic menace. My middle son had such a hard time in public school we eventually pulled him out and sent him to a private school. The boy is absolutely brilliant, his grades at school were phenomenal. But, his rambunctious nature had him sitting frequently during recess. In the quarter before we removed him he was allowed recess twice in a month. For an already energetic six year old to be denied the ability to burn excess energy, a cycle of disruption was created. Yet, girls who acted similarly would be given a warning, while they had a zero-tolerance attitude towards him.
So, with these factors going against the younger generations of men, what is the result? In my opinion what you are seeing is young men incapable of bearing any sort responsibility. They have been lulled into complacency by the soft tyranny of low expectations. The trend over the last couple decades in popular culture of what men and boys are is abysmal. Young men are portrayed as ‘bros” a mindless sensation driven troglodyte. Men also get the raw end of the deal in popular media. The husband is characterized as a careless bumbling moron whose only saving grace is his intelligent and graceful wife. The bar is not set very high. The end result is young men entering the world with no standard or expectation to meet. Look at higher education, according to the US Dept of Education, currently there are 56% more attending universities than males. There are more scholarships available for women to attend college, approximately four times as many. The fact is, most parents have no idea their son has been marginalized in school. They assume he has ADHD. People wonder why their son isn’t as directed or focused as they or their father was. That behavior has to be taught. But, parents are busier than they ever have been. Both parents work in today’s economy. Children are often left to their own devices, or placed in front of an electronic nanny. With this limited interaction time the burden of raising the kid falls on educators, and as I’ve already pointed out, boys are left behind.
Find Part 1 of 3 here.
Part 3 of 3 coming tomorrow.