Camille Paglia, wrote,"If civilization had been left in female hands, we would still be living in grass huts." Here's a video that makes that point
Yet over the past 50 years, as a horrible side effect of the appropriate increase in women's opportunities, there has been an accelerating effort to diminish men. Indeed, the oppressed have become the oppressor. Previous posts have cited many examples but a few recent manifestations of that acceleration include President Clinton's Press Secretary Dede Myers', "Why Women Should Rule the World." and "New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd's bestseller, "Are Men Necessary?"
But a recent and most troubling example is the The Atlantic Monthly's 2010 annual ideas issue. Picador-timed to anger the bull, it was released just before Father's Day. (Can you imagine a mom-bashing cover story preceding Mother's Day?) One of its stories: Are Fathers Necessary? by Pamela Paul. Despite a rich research literature demonstrating the importance of fathers, for example, this report from the federal government's Children's Bureau, based on merely one journal article, the author concludes that kids may well be better off raised by a single mother and even better by a lesbian couple than by a father. To make such an assertion is a head-shaker but to have such an assertion based on such flimsy evidence published in one of the nation's most prestigious magazines speaks to the pervasiveness of the accelerating chic of unjustified male bashing.
Remarkably, the Atlantic cover story (see picture above) goes even further. And perhaps not surprising, it is The Washington Post's "Story Pick." Its title: "The End of Men." Its core contention: men are better suited for the Neanderthal Era or at least the Industrial Revolution age--brawn and individual testosterone-poisoned competition. The article argues that today's success requires the woman's touch: collaborative, intelligent, reflective. And to think, all of the aforementioned modern discoveries were created by butt-scratching, hyperactive, cognitively crippled troglodytes without benefit of women's wonders.
The problem is that the male-bashing not only dispirits the intellectual men who read publications such as The Atlantic. Average men and boys receive an ever accelerating diet of male as boorish, sleazy idiot shown the way by wise women. We're in our seventh decade of man-as-oaf media: from Ralph Kramden to Homer Simpson. Even in the majority-male Superbowl audience, commercials present man as cretin: hopelessly impotent men who are literally in the doghouse, cowed by their woman master. Or they're mumbling supplicants begging for a woman judge's charity. Lest you think I'm cherry-picking, watch commercials: How often is the man superior to the woman?
Twenty-five years ago, when I began helping people choose their career, both sexes were equally optimistic about their future. Today, most of my female clients correctly believe the world is their oyster (except at the C-level, at which few women are willing to work the 70-hour weeks and move their families across the country to get the necessary promotions.) And my male clients are disproportionately despondent and/or angry--and not going to college. In 1960: the male:female ratio of college degree holders was 61:39. Today, in an era in which a college degree has become a virtual necessity, a mere hunting license for most decent employment, the ratio is 41:59 and projected to be 39:61 by 2020. (Source, U.S. Dept of Education, IES, 2009.) The male unemployment rate is now 20% higher than for women. (Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.) For the same work (in quantity and quality) women, on average earn the same as men. Indeed, even the article, "The End of Men" points out that among Fortune 500 CEOs, women earn 40% more than do their male counterparts. And in the ultimate example of the pendulum having swung too far, despite men living 5.2 years shorter, most gender-specific medical research and outreach, for the last 50 years(!) has been spent on women. Since 1920, the average lifespan advantage of women has grown 400%! While, of course, one can point to examples of unfairness to women, it's simply dishonest to assert that today, men, on balance, have an unfair advantage.
The world is better when both sexes are valued. For every wife-beating, customer-cheating, sexual harassing guy, there's at least one ethical man, working hard to be productive and to support himself and his family. For every manipulative, hormonally crazed, girls-just-want-to-have-fun woman, there's at least one woman diligently striving to have it all: career, family, and a personal life. Good people all. People with real potential to make a better society for all.
Perhaps it might surprise the author of "The End of Men," Hanna Rosin, who overreachingly wrote that men's rights groups have an "angry, anti-woman edge," this head of a men's rights group, The National Organization for Men and my co-president, Dr. Warren Farrell, per our mission statement of advocating for fair treatment of men and women, believe it's time for a truce, one that's fair to both sexes:
1. We should end the gender-bashing, male or female, in the schools, colleges, and media, for example, statements that Rosin makes in her Atlantic cover story such as that men are "women's new ball and chain." and "Maybe...(male) DNA is shifting. Maybe they’re like those frogs—they’re more vulnerable or something, so they’ve gotten deformed.”
2. It's time to end intentional discrimination against both women and men: If we are to be honest with ourselves, isn't it time to stop:
- giving women preferences in Small Business Administration female-set-aside loans,
- requiring only males to register for the draft and to serve in direct combat (99% of US. deaths in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars have been men)
- women but not men allowed to have caucuses in corporations and government to facilitate women's advancement
- having many social-service programs just for women, almost none for men
- having "targets," virtual quotas for women hired but not for men
- having female-set-aside scholarships but not for men
- Women's networking and other organizations encouraged while such men's organizations called sexist with calls for the being disbanded.
- and perhaps most important to the next generation, a school system that has replaced boy-friendly competition with girl-centric collaboration, boy-friendly adventure stories, with soporific-to-boys tales of girl relationships, and history textbooks disproportionately extolling women from Sacajawea and Pocahontas to Simone DeBouvier and Sally Ride while sparing no pages to pound home the evils of white men from Hannibal to Hitler, Joe McCarthy to Timothy McVeigh, and perhaps worst of all, an insistence on ever more seatwork, which when active boys can't endure, are put on a Ritalin leash at a ratio of eight boys for every one girl.
4. We appropriately celebrate women having options other than being a stay-at-home mom. Women absolutely should have the right to, on the merits, compete for jobs from carpenter to CEO. But we must now legitimate the full range of options for men: from at least short-term stay-at-home father to 80-hour-a-week scientist. The latter should not be pathologized as a "workaholic" but revered as a hard-working contributor to society. This should be the era of the multi-option man as well as of the multi-option woman.
5. It's time for serious Men's Studies programs at universities that aren't merely a male-bashing accompaninent to female-extolling women's studies program.
6. Is it not appropriate to pay due homage to men?: who do so many of the yucky jobs women won't do (from rodent remover to roofer) invent the things that women would likely not have invented. Should we not honor the contributions fathers make to parenting. for example, they often balance many mothers' tendency to not enforce limits. They often leaven mothers' protective instinct by encouraging reasonable (okay, occasionally not so reasonable) risk-taking. Here's to fathers and to, not the end of men but to the new Beginning of Men: the fairly treated, multi-option man.