Category Archives: Boys

Boys Under Siege

 

Siege: “”a military operation in which enemy forces surround a town or building, cutting off essential supplies, with the aim of compelling the surrender of those inside.”


We saw from the last video that boys are under attack in schools.

How are they under attack? Well, they learn that

  1. Their sex has caused the world’s problems,
  2. That Men are privileged.
  3. That men are toxic and have oppressed women.
  4. That Men just need to step aside and let women run things, then things would be better.
  5. They learn that Boys are inherently inferior and simply need to try to be more like the girls.

These messages get expressed repeatedly both actively and passively. Often subtle but sometimes blatant. They are unmistakable and are forced upon the boys without any counterpoint or any option for them to challenge or argue. These are the default. To argue would be unheard of.  A third grader rarely argues with his teacher. She is queen and only speaks the truth. So boys are forced to shut up and accept the narrative that something is wrong with their sex.

Such hateful and persistent messages are hurtful and abusive to our boys. And yet no one complains.

What does it do to anyone who hears a constant drone of negative about their identity? Day in and day out you hear there is something inherently wrong with you. You are helpless since you have no way to respond. What does years of that do to a person?

There are several research driven ideas that help us understand the intensity these messages may have on boys. One is the concept of learned helplessness. In studies, animals have been given negative stimuli repeatedly without any opportunity to escape. After many repetitions the animals simply give up. They stop trying. Many are thinking this could be related to the origin of anxiety or depression. Could a similar principle be at play with boys and their involuntary exposure to hateful messages? It’s not a stretch to see how boys being bombarded with negative messages about their sex are put in a helpless position not unlike the learned helplessness situations. Might there be a cumulative effect?

Another research driven concept is that of the Stereotype Threat. An example of stereotype threat is the idea that girls are exposed to stereotypes when young that claim that girls are not so great at science and math. Some are thinking this early exposure may impact their later disinterest in sciences. Okay. Maybe so. But now think if that is true what sort of huge factor all of the anti-male messages that are being sent to boys might have on him? If the girls are negatively impacted by a minority message that they aren’t as good at math and science just imagine the impact of the multiude of misandrist messages boys receive. What might that do to them? Does anyone care? I don’t think so.

Then there is the element of self fulfilling prophecy.   When people hear negative ideas about them it increases the chances that those negatives will come to fruition. Think about all of the negatives boys hear about their sex and just stand back and imagine what impact that might have?

Keep in mind that we know that the brain has great plasticity, that is it can alter itself with the advent of new information. When children are young they are particularly susceptible to negative messages having an impact on their young brains. The research shows us that children who were abused suffer from a lack of myelonization of their axons. Many think that this is one of the causes of depression and anxiety. What they have also found is that physical abuse AND emotional abuse both have the same impact on the brain. Wouldn’t it be easy to characterize the many negative anti male messages that boys receive as being somewhat similar to emotional abuse? One definition of emotional child abuse is “The caregiver refuses to acknowledge the child’s worth.” Seems to me that this is similar to what boys hear every day. The brains of our young are sensitive to stressors.   It’s not a big leap to see that having one’s sex be disparaged on a regular basis is indeed a significant stressor.

The messages boys receive are a part of a huge double standard where boys are seen as the problem and girls are seen as the answer.  Another frame for double standards towards boys has to do with  the issue of  violence.

 

VIOLENCE

Yet another place you see this radical double standard is around the issues of violence. It has been a long standing requirement in our culture to demand boys not hit girls. Yeah, so be it. But in our increasingly feminist drenched schools something started happening more frequently. Girls started hitting boys. And what was the administrative response to this. Nothing. No one lifted a finger. Even when boys had the courage to complain to teachers that a girl had pinched, hit, pushed, slapped, or kicked him he was told to go to his seat and not complain. I have heard many boys say the same thing. When they hit there is immediate punishment, and when the girls hit there is nothing. No one cares.

It didn’t take long for some devious girls to realize they could attack whenever they wished. And they did. While most girls would never do such a thing, those who chose to attack under the protection of the gynocentric double standard made the boys lives very difficult. What did the boys learn from this interaction? They learned that You, as a boy, do not deserve protection. Your pain is not important. It’s not as important as the girls. Shut up and quit complaining. Sound like emotional abuse to you? It does to me.

It’s important to note here that though it was a minority of girls doing this, the majority of girls did not call out the perps and would generally say nothing. They were willing to sell the boys down the river and allow the aggressive girls to do their evil.

So how do you think that feels for boys? They likely have superior strength but when attacked they are required to stand down. Pretty tough lesson for a little guy don’t ya think? I wonder sometimes if the situation was reversed how would girls respond? Boys could hit them when they wanted and they could neither complain or defend themselves. If they went to the teacher they would be ignored. Hmmmm I’m guessing they would not handle it so well. I marvel at how the majority of boys have learned to deal with this blatant and hateful double standard.

So the boys are getting an early gynocentric message. You better protect girls and you, little sir, are not worth protection. Just shut up and go to war.

I think it is time to allow boys to defend themselves.

If this double standard only happened in schools it might not seem so sinister but this pattern of allowing women’s violence towards men while disallowing men’s violence towards women is a common occurrence in our culture. Just look at the undercover youtube videos showing public reaction to a man being violent towards a female partner. Everyone looks up, many challenge the violence, both men and women, some men come and physically stop the man, some go farther and are violent against the offending man, while others just call the police. But what happens when it goes the other way and it’s the women hitting the men? We see something different, much like the girls reaction to the girl hitting the boy in school, No one gets upset. In fact many people laugh and point. They make fun of HIM. You know, the victim. Can you see how this is the same dynamic we saw in the schools? It’s just played out on a different level.

Possibly the worst example of this double standard is the judicial lenience towards women who have murdered their husbands. You know, she says he abused her so the judge says, well, it’s okay that you killed him. And she gets probation. Try that one the other way around and see how far you get with this horrible double standard. You know the drill.

And to top it off there is yet another level for this hateful double standard of tolerating female violence. Our congress nearly 25 years ago passed the Violence Against Women Act. Notice it doesn’t say violence against people, it ignores men who are victims of female violence and focuses only on the women who are hit by men. Same thing right? Just note that due to this gynocentric pattern we now have over 2000 shelters for women who have been victimized by men but only a handful of shelters for the men. And yes the actual violence of women towards men is nearly equal to that of men. Gynocentrism runs silent and it runs deep.

I have talked with legislators about these double standards and I’ve talked with feminists about this. Both have the same attitudes. We are concerned about men and boys, but… and then fill in the blank. I think the same bullshit responses would come from the people in public places who laughed at the men being victimized. They would not see their own bias and duplicity in such a double standard. They would think they were doing the right thing. And that is just how teachers and administrators respond when questioned about this. But, but, but? We care about boys! You may think that but the evidence says something else.

I’d like to bring up one more item related to the double standard before we close. Actually in the next part of this series we will be examining the research that backs up our earlier discussions. One of those studies is particularly vexing. It shows that boys, by the age of seven believe that they are not as smart as girls. It also shows that girls feel they are smarter than boys and come to that conclusion even earlier than the boys(4 years old). Here’s a quote from an article about the study:

“Researchers also found that the children believed adults shared the same opinion as them, meaning that boys felt they were not expected by their parents and teachers to do as well as girls and lost their motivation or confidence as a result.”

Somehow, our boys, by the age of 7, get the idea they are not as smart as girls. Why are we not panicking over this? But people, educators and our legislators simply snooze on.

Of course this is not simply a result of our schools but they obviously play a part. How did our children get to the point that they both think boys are not as smart? What messages are they getting and why? I remember when I was in elementary school in the 1950’s. The boys would tell the girls they were smarter and the girls would tell the boys, no, they were smarter. It was all in fun and we all knew that there were some really smart girls and also some really smart boys. We tossed these ideas at each other in the same way we would accuse the opposite sex of having cooties. But somehow now this game has changed remarkably. We now condone crap like “boys are stupid throw rocks at them” we laugh at the “girls rule and boys drool” taunts. Somehow our culture is convincing our children that girls are smarter. This is a problem

Just imagine that the research had found the opposite, that girls and boys both believed that boys were smarter. There would be a national campaign in no time. You likely remember that this was actually the rally cry of feminists to gain millions in funding in the 1990’s, her self esteem is low. Girls didn’t think they were smart. Get her help! Now!  But since it is boys, no one cares.

Our schools have become lopsided institutions that favor girls. Girls preferences rule the roost, schools are about everyone getting a trophy, sitting still and about feelings. This is girlville. It has even been found that boys grades are dependent upon how much they act like girls! Act like girls and you get better grades! We will see that and many other research studies in the final video of this series.

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And keep in mind that men are good, as are you.

 

 

 

 

 

A letter to the boys & young men of America.

A response to mass shooting in Florida.

The bodies aren’t even cold yet and already you are being blamed.

Yes you.

All of you.

The boys and young men who will grow up to become one half of America’s future.
Once again, due to society’s failure to raise you, to teach you, to properly guide you on your path to manhood, your mere existence is being held responsible for seventeen more deaths—this time in Florida, and once again, at a school. The headlines of the last few days say it all:

  “Guns don’t kill people; men and boys kill people, experts say”
  -USA TODAY

  “Michael Ian Black reacts to Florida shooting: Boys are broken”
  -New York Daily News

  “How Gun Violence And Toxic Masculinity Are Linked, In 8 Tweets”
  -The Huffington Post

  “Toxic white masculinity: The killer that haunts American life”
  -Salon

  “Toxic Masculinity Is Killing Us”
  -The Boston Globe

  “Toxic Masculinity Is Killing Us”
  -Harpers Bazaar

  “Don’t Blame Mental Illness for Mass Shootings; Blame Men”
  -Politico

In the handful of decades I’ve been alive, I’ve seen America shift from a culture of responsibility to one of blame. We don’t solve problems anymore. We cry, we pray for, we seek to find closure, and then finally, slaughter a sacrificial lamb for our sins. When I was young and Columbine happened, that lamb was Marilyn Manson and video games. Before that, it was D&D and Twisted Sister. These days, though, as body counts continue to rise and excuses continue to vanish, the lamb America has chosen to sacrifice is you. Rather than take responsibility for the seeds we’ve sown, the culture we built, and the disaster you’ve been left to inherit, we as a nation have chosen to lie to ourselves. To listen and believe those who claim that the answer is simple: “Boys are simply born bad.”

As an aging Gen Xer watching this tragedy unfold, I can’t help but look back at my youth and realize we were the dry run for this “crisis of masculinity” as the media likes to call it. In my time I’ve watched as fathers were pushed out of the home, separated from their children, and their role in society debased and devalued. Like you, I was taught male behavior was bad behavior. That I was broken and needed to be fixed. Drugs, therapy, mass socialization were required to save me from my most innate instincts—

—the need compete.

—the drive to create.

—the urge to protect.

—the desire for female affection.

Like you, I was told these instincts were not only wrong, but dangerous. That due to my Original Sin of being born a boy, I was destined to mature into a lustful monster and an oppressor of women. All this was burned into me before I even reached college, where campus policy actually assumed all men to be rapists waiting to happen.

It isn’t hard to see how we got here, to an age when America is more than willing to sacrifice its boys. To quote Fight Club, “We’re a generation of men raised by women.” And the women who raised my generation had a saying: All men are pigs. But there’s another saying those same women were enamored with and that is: The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.

So here we are, coming close to fifty years of single mothers raising their boys as if they were animals. Two generations of young men raised to believe they’re broken, immoral, and dangerous. That their natural state, if left unchecked and unmedicated, is a sexual ticking time bomb of rape and abuse. Half a century of academia peddling a grim version of history that holds your gender personally responsible for all the wrongs ever to have happened in the world. And a press, that at this very moment, is blaming YOU for every school shooting to have ever occurred.

After all this, how could there not be a crisis of masculinity?

So to the boys and young men of America, believe me when I say it isn’t you who should be apologizing for the state of our world today. This mess was set in motion long before you were born.

You are not bad.

You are not broken.

You are not inherently evil or a sexual abuser in waiting.

You are boys who were robbed of your right to be men.

All your life you’ve been told to act, think, and behave like women. To suppress your passions, your pride, your need to compete and drive to achieve.

Now society is crumbling around us.

Feminizing boys didn’t make better men. It’s resulted in broken homes and shattered families and record suicide rates. It’s destroying any notion of a healthy partnership between men and women, and is pushing us ever closer to total collapse of gender relations.

Boys, we don’t need you to be like women, the world has plenty of women, already.

What the world needs now more than ever is for you to be men.

For you to grow-up, to grow strong, and do what men do.

For it is men’s strength and determination that tamed the wilderness, built civilization, and has kept the world fed despite all predictions we’d all die starving before the year 2000. It’s men’s curiosity that lead us to explore the oceans, to conquer space, and peer into the tiniest of microcosms of the human body. It was men who built the cities we inhabit, the luxuries we enjoy, the medicines that keep us alive. Men built the road, the plumbing, the electrical grid, the phone in your hand, the internet it’s connected to.

Men have always been innovators, explores, defenders, and leaders.

But most importantly, men have always been fathers.

So to the boys and young men of America, please read this and take every word to heart.

The world needs you.


-J. Ishiro Finney, Feb 2018

Josh Ishiro Finney is a working author, occasional artist, and creator of the graphic novels Casefile: Arkham, World War Kaiju, and Utopiates. He blogs at  jishirofinney.com

The Manmade Plague of Fatherlessness

 

One of the most damaging things that has ever impacted our culture is fatherlessness.

Back in 1965 Departent of Labor Secretary Moynihan did a report on the inner city and his report showed that it was not race or poverty that had deteriorated the inner city African American community, it was the absence of dads.   We knew at that point, in 1965, that not having dads in the home was seriously injuring our families and our children.

But what did we do? Our politicians both from the left and the right marched ahead and did more and more to remove dads from homes. We went from Father knows best to father is a pest. Government slowly took on the role of substitute father. Welfare demanded no dad at home in order to get that welfare check. No fault divorce was instituted and then we created bogus expensive echo chambers called family courts that routinely removed men from their homes after they had depleted whatever income and savings the men might have had. We glorified single motherhood which was actually the root of our problem while we demonized males as being the source of all of our difficulties. It is hard to imagine a more sinister plot to ruin our country. Now we spend billions upon billions of dollars failing to fix the symptoms of fatherlessness while simultaneously turning a blind eye to the real problem, the chronic absence of dads in the home.

We are at the point now where nearly 40% of all school age children in the United States are not living with their father.

The research tells us plenty about this mess. Here’s a list of problems that are related to fatherlessness:

  • Suicide
  • Rape
  • Job Failure
  • Delinqueincy
  • Low empathy
  • Anxiety
  • Bullying
  • Drug abuse
  • Prison
  • Smoking
  • High school failyure
  • Depression
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Being bullied

The research could not be more clear about the connection of these things to fatherlessness. In fact the research goes a step farther. The work of Sara McClanahan literally shows that some of these results of fatherlessness are causative. That is huge. Never have I heard social science research claim something is causative, they always frame it in terms of correlation not causation. But the results of fatherlessness are now being understood to be causative.

Damn.

McClanahan points out that the evidence is strongest for outcomes such a s High School graduation, Children’s social emotional adjustment, and later adult mental health but there is plenty of data supporting all of the others.

Let’s take just one. Low empathy.

A longitudinal study found that the strongest indicator of empathy was father presence in the home. So often we assume that mom is the empathic one and would be the one to teach the children about empathy but the research shows something very different. In fact it showed that the importance of father presence was so critical it was three times as important to the child’s later empathy than the top three factors from mom combined.

Why would dads be connected to empathy? I am sure you are wondering this as did the researchers. Most are thinking now that it is the dad who sets the limits and does not back down or waver. Think about it, the child says I want my ice cream and dad says, nope, not till you eat your broccoli. The child says, no, I want ice cream now, dad says nope, broccoli first or no ice cream. This goes on for a while until the child realizes that dad will not back down and so they eat the broccoli and then get the ice cream. What happened? One element in this is that the child had to see the world through the father’s eyes. They couldn’t simply see their world through their own desires, they had to see them through dad. It turns out this act is practice at seeing the world through the eyes of another and this is actually the critical rudiment of empathy. The capacity to see the world through another’s eyes. If we can’t see the world through another’s eyes we will likely stay  in our narcissistic and self centered world. Dad’s limit setting is essential for the maturity of the child.

This is a stunning finding and if true you would expect to see a diminishing of empathy among our young people that would correspond to the increasing lack of dads in the home. Guess what? That is just what we see. A study showed that empathy was down 40% in 2010 college students compared to those in the 1970’s.  This 40% drop was from negative responses to questions like this one  “I sometimes try to understand my friends better by imagining how things look from their perspective.”  Wow.

Could  this drop in empathy be related to fewer dads at home? My guess would be yes.

So dads set limits, what else do they do? They roughhouse!

Guess what is being found about rough housing with kids? Research shows that roughhousing helps the kids be more socially adept and fosters their resilience. It teaches them the difference between play and actual aggression. When dad roughhouses they learn that being rough can be fun. They also learn the limits in this fun as dads tell them when they’ve gone too far.

And what about dads throwing their kids up in the air? Ever seen that? The dad throws them up and the kids scream with delight while mom frets and complains! The kids love it and dad knows exactly what he is doing. Guess what, they have found? Children who are tossed in the air are better able to take risks as adults. Again, this is a behavior that dads do automatically, both they and the kids love it and it has huge positive impact on their later development.

It’s hard to imagine how many other things dads do with kids that have been shamed that are actually helpful to their children? I am sure there is more to learn about this.

It seems very clear that dads are a crucial part of a child’s life. It’s also clear that certain groups have been trying to minimize this for decades. Politicians, feminists and lawyers come to mind. I think these groups owe dads and men an apology. It’s time we all worked together to be sure that dads and moms both have time with their children. .     Also know that there are some excellent organizations that are fighting hard to make this happen. Leading Women for Shared Parenting and the National Parents Organizations are two doing this important work. Check them out and support them!

My thanks to Warren Farrell who has been sharing chapters of his yet to be published book on boys. Some of this was used for this video.   It’s due out in March. We are all in for a treat!

Let’s not forget, men are good, as are you.

 

New Men’s Issues Video

I have opened a Patreon page and would love to have you join in.  Plenty of free content and for as little as $2 a month you get access to a 14 video series on men and healing that was a part of an international class five years ago.  Learn about how Eric Clapton, Michael Jordan and many other men healed from very difficult losses.  You can find it here:  http://patreon.com/menaregood

This video was created 10 years ago and originally was in 4:3 format and fairly low resolution.  I have now brought it up to 16:9 and increased the resolution as much as possible while still keeping the original footage and audio.  I have also added an Epilogue on the end that takes a brief look at the carnage left since this video was created.

If you are interested in donating to the cause of more content on men’s issues here is a way to do it!  Thanks!


 

 

 

Gynocentrism 2.0, Compassion, and Choice: The Underlying and Hidden Root of Men’s Issues

 

I have long held that compassion and choice are two issues that play a part in nearly every men’s issue. But why? What do compassion and choice have to do with male suicide or male victims of domestic violence or just about any other men’s issue? Quite a bit actually. Let’s take a look at why compassion and choice are limited for men and then see how compassion and choice are essential ingredients to the issues.

fireman-100722_640The origins of the lack of compassion and
choice for men is gynocentrism. When you start to understand gynocentrism you will start to better understand the plight of men and boys. Gynocentrism at its most basic, is the mandate that women and children be kept safe and provided for at the expense of men. In other words, men are designated to insure the safety and provisions for women and children on an individual level, the family level, community level and on a macro level. This is not a totally bad thing. It has been what has created and maintained many cultures for millennia. As Stefan Molyneux says, “Eggs are scarce and sperm is plentiful.” This means we have needed to sacrifice our sperm in order to insure the safety of our eggs. Without women the culture dies a quick death. Women must be protected. Gynocentrism protects those who carry the eggs and does this at the expense of its men. This has been a very important element to our cultural success but it does come at a price.

One consequence of protecting the women is that the men will need to at times face danger. The women need to be kept safe and the men will protect the boundary and sometimes die in that process. Our human history of gynocentrism is longer and deeper than most assume. We think of the hunter gatherers as serene and bucolic but that was sometimes far from the truth and gynocentrism predominated.  Research shows that some South American hunter gatherer groups faced huge numbers of deaths of their men protecting the women and children1. One group averaged the death of nearly 60% of its males in protecting the women from inter tribal attacks that were among other things, designed to steal the other group’s women! (the average for the groups studied was near 30% male deaths as a result of raids, ambush or larger scale conflicts) He who had the most women wins and these groups made a huge sacrifice of their males to insure they kept their women and children safe.

In its most obvious we can see how gynocentrism plays out when we note that men automatically and without question are the ones facing danger in our culture. Our war dead are nearly 100% male. Our deaths in dangerous occupations are 93% men. Our trashmen and sewage workers are nearly all male. The dirtiest and most dangerous jobs are jobs for men. No one questions this. It just seems right. This is the hidden power of gynocentrism. No one questions and no one notices. Hell, if women actually got equality to the above it would be a huge step down for them.

wheel-1017023_1280

But gynocentrism runs much deeper than simply being about protecting the borders and doing the dangerous work. It has its tendrils into just about everything, silently and without fanfare. What happens when a woman has a flat tire? How many people have seen the help she will usually garner from men? Now think about what happens if a man has a flat tire. Does he get a similar treatment? Probably not. This is gynocentrism. When there are problems we jump to help women but expect the men to handle it themselves even in today’s atmosphere of “equality”.

What happens when a woman is upset and falls into a sea of tears? Pretty much the same thing as the flat tire. People hover to offer support and see what might be wrong and what they can do. But what happens when men fall into a similar sea? People ignore him and avoid him. It is almost as if a woman’s pain is a call to action while a man’s pain is taboo. Compassion offered to men is a fraction of the compassion offered to women.

There are a number of youtube videos that employ actors to portray men beating women in public. The women are shown to get immediate support and help from male onlookers who see the violence. They quickly jump to her aid not knowing it is an arranged scene. These same videos then reverse the roles and show the women beating men in a similar manner and no one lifts a finger, in fact, they laugh. This is gynocentrism. We expect to help the women and expect the men to help themselves. Note also that we allow women to be dependent but do not allow the same for men.

On an even simpler level think of a man and a woman at work who need to move some boxes from one location to another. Some are heavy, some are light. Who will be moving the heavy ones? It is a foregone conclusion that the man will most often move the largest boxes and will protect her from having to do hard labor. This is gynocentrism.

And then there is the question of attractiveness. When a woman is attractive she gets special perks simply due to her appearance. No man can come close to having a similar response. This is gynocentrism. The eggs are protected and the attractive eggs get very special treatment.

model-1056545_1280
Think of that attractive woman being tied to the railroad tracks. What does that do to the hearts and minds of most people? Most of us have an inborn reaction that says DO SOMETHING to help her. But what about a man tied to the tracks? Is your reaction the same or different? Yes, you likely want to see him helped but is it the same gut wrenching sensation? The plots of many movies and novels are fueled by this gynocentric scenario. We all want the woman tied to the tracks safely released even if it means the death of numerous men in the process. A woman’s needs are a call to action while a man’s needs are often just ignored. He needs to save her!

Just think for a minute what would happen to a man in the military who started complaining that we needed to have more female war deaths in order to make things equal for everyone. How would he be received?   All hell would break loose at this questioning of the gynocentric norm and disregard for the safety of women. We see something similar when the opposite happens and men voice their desires for equal opportunities for services for men in things like domestic violence. Those who stand up for the needs of men in our gynocentric culture are seen as misogynistic, that is, they are routinely accused of hating women simply for pointing out the needs of men. Can you see how the fuel for this is gynocentrism?

 

military-662872_1280Another example of extreme gynocentrism is boot camp in the army. What is done? The recruit is taught that he is nothing. He is now not an individual, he is a part of a fighting group. His personal identity is deleted and he is taught to fight for the group, for a cause. He no longer exists. There is no compassion for his personal feelings and needs. Those are a distant second. He also has zero choice. He does what he is told. That is the extreme gynocentric model that plays out to one degree or another in our everyday life.

Do we care about the feelings of the woman tied to the tracks? Oh yes. Do we care about the feelings of the hero who rescues her? No. We care about his actions. His emotions are not important unless his feelings are about HER. Do we care about the emotions of the boot camp recruit? Nope. We care about his actions and what he does. His feelings need to be kept to himself.   In the same way, under the gynocentric default we tend to care about the emotions of women but will be averse to the emotions of men. Our interest moves more towards his actions. Think about the last time you saw a woman cry in public. What was your reaction? Most of us want to help, want to offer support. We are drawn to her neediness. Now think about a man crying under the same circumstances you saw the woman. Are you as open to his tears as the woman? Most of us say no, we are not. We are repulsed by his neediness. The man is not expected to be needy, he is expected to have agency. If he is seen as needy he is judged harshly.  This is gynocentrism.

family-anno-1317978_1280These sorts of advantages for women have been going on for many years. In the 19th century men would strive to do the best job of keeping women safe and provided for. Just read their diaries and the diaries of their wives. These men put women on a pedestal. They thought of them as angelic and would try their best to not have them sully themselves with the grime of daily life outside the home. They worked hard to have them stay away from “dirty”things like the workplace or money. They did this because they saw women as worthy of protection (gynocentrism) and were happy to take on the extra burden in order to keep her safe. Then along comes feminism which makes the incredibly noxious and inaccurate claim that women were not held in high esteem at all, they were being oppressed. They took the protections that women had benefited from for centuries and spun them into being oppression. In my opinion this is the biggest lie of the 20th century and it has left a wake of chaos and vitriol. Women now actually believe themselves to be victims and that they have been shortchanged and oppressed.   These are the same women who didn’t have to go to war, didn’t have to do the dirty work of building or maintaining the culture, were  held in high esteem and basically worshiped (as American as Mom and Apple Pie) now see this as oppression. Houdini could not have done a more impressive magic trick.

So what do you think happened? It could be easily predicted that gynocentrsim would insure that when women appear to be in danger or need that men will jump and meet those needs as best they can. That’s the way both men and women are  programmed. And that is just what happened. The feminists claimed to be tied to the tracks and rode, and continue to ride the gynocentric wave of men keeping women safe. Their unfounded claims that women were oppressed and held back have been taken seriously by well meaning highly gynocentric males, including male legislators. These claims of women being tied to the tracks and needing government intervention were welcomed by our gynocentric legislators who wanted to bend over backwards to help women. Over the years women have been given more and more while simultaneously continuing to enjoy the same gynocentric advantages they have been getting for hundreds of years. Our legislators have backed themselves into a corner and are now afraid to say no. They know that they have been hijacked but don’t have the courage to say no to saving a damsel in distress. Saying no would insure a loss in the next election.

This was the beginning of what I like to call Gynocentrism 2.0.  The cultural imperative of caring for women continues and is now amplified by false claims of women having been oppressed.  Simultaneously Gynocentrism 2.0 showed not only increased focus on the needs and desires of women, it also made a dramatic switch.  Men in gynocentrism 1.0 were held in high esteem when they followed through with their role.  They were both respected and admired and this was fuel for the masculine. Both sexes were held in high esteem.  Now that fuel for men has run out as the admiration and respect has been gaudily replaced with disdain and blame. Incredibly, now men are seen as the problem and held accountable for social problems as if they were the cause.  It is all the men’s fault.  Much is said about men not doing very well these days but very few people note this important shift.  When you don’t put fuel in the engine it ain’t goin too far.

In Gynocentrism 2.0 entire bureaucracies are built to serve women and cater to their difficulties but there are rarely any such bureaucracies built for men. The women are left with a choice of whether to seek help at a government funded facility (payed for with mostly male tax dollars) built for them while the men are left with no choices.

 

stopviolenceagainstwomen2One of the best examples of this is the issue of domestic violence where we have known for decades that men are a sizable portion (likely nearing 50%) of the victims of domestic violence but all of the laws and services are built for women. We spend nearly a billion dollars a year for the Violence Against WOMEN Act (VAWA) that marginalizes the 50% of male victims. Recent research exposed the sad fact that when men who are the victims of domestic violence go to these government funded services for help they are treated very poorly. Often when the men are victims of domestic violence and they turn to the government funded services they are told that they are not victims of domestic violence, they are accused of being the perpetrators! They then send him to treatment for perpetrators! Researchers are calling this “third party abuse”, when the government bureaucracy as a third party, participates in the continued abuse of a victim. This is gynocentrism 2.0 which leaves no compassion for men and far fewer choices in seeking help.

I was involved in lobbying for male victims of domestic violence during the reauthorization of the VAWA in both 2005 and 2012. Our group was well received by then Senator Biden. He and his staff listened to our data and stories about male victims in several meetings at his Senate office. He assured us we would be a part of the hearings. When the hearing came not one of our group was allowed to speak. I couldn’t believe it. Biden was totally aware of the problem of male victims and intentionally sabotaged our efforts to find support for men. It was then that I realized how deeply our system is biased and non-functional. Gynocentrism 2.0.

It’s important to point out that our government has been pushing a gynocentric agenda for some time.  In the 1960’s President Johnson set in motion the “War on Poverty” which proceeded to demand the removal of black fathers from their families in order for mom to get welfare.  Now our family courts are doing something similar as they remove fathers from the home through no fault on the fathers part.  The woman’s needs come first, father’s a distant second.

My state of Maryland created a Commission for Men’s Health a number of years ago. I was fortunate to serve as the vice chair of that commission and wrote three of the four reports that were to be sent to the governor. The reports I wrote were what I call “male friendly.” That is, they voiced and considered the needs of men without bowing to the prevailing political correctness. The chairman of the commission wrote the other report which was a bit more what the Health Department, our host agency, was anticipating. All four reports were unanimously approved by the full commission. When the commission’s work was done and it came time to file the reports to the governor and a host of other Maryland politicians and get them into the Maryland State Library the Health Department only filed the report that was written by the Chairman. They were confronted with this and said, “ooops, we will file it now.” But they didn’t. It took a year to track down the files and finally get them into the Maryland system. The full story of this event will be told in a chapter in Janice Fiamengo’s upcoming book. It couldn’t be more clear that when the needs of men were given voice, the status quo balked.  It seems that our mid level bureaucrcrats are filled with gynocentrism 2.0.

I think you can see now how women’s complaints and our legislators zealous rush to help them have turned things topsy turvy. Rape shield laws have been written to protect the rape victims and this is a good thing. But those same laws failed to protect the accused man. His name can be released to the media prior to any conviction. Her name is permanently protected while his name is plastered all over the media and he has his life ruined simply due to an accusation which may or may not be proven false .   Gynocentrism 2.0.

 

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Another example is the issue of suicide where males are 80% of all completed suicides. (Chart above: rates are per 100,000 population from CDC WISQARS system.) Incredibly this 80% fact is rarely mentioned in the media leaving most people unaware that the biggest risk factor in suicide is being male.  It is not surprising that females get the majority of attention around suicide both clinically and in research. This even though men are the vast majority of those needing help. In 2009 the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) did some research on suicide. I was shocked to see it was a study on girls! I wrote to then NASW Director Elizabeth Clark and asked why the research focused on girls when it was men and boys who were the vast majority of suicides. She wrote me back and said that the funder for the research had specified to only study girls.   Just imagine for a moment someone who funded research for Sickle Cell Disease but stipulated the research had to be on whites. Can you imagine the outrage? Blacks are 60-80% of those with Sickle Cell disease and to study only whites would be seen as totally racist but somehow studying only girls and suicide is okay. That is gynocentrism.

Our gynocentric legislators have outlawed any form of genital mutilation of females but have failed to do the same for our baby boys. Boys routinely undergo a surgical removal of part of their penis without anesthesia. Of course the baby boys scream during and after this mutilation. Some nurses say they have seen baby boys scream for days after. Many are thinking today that this trauma creates PTSD for those males who have been circumcised and presently about four out of every 5 males in the United States has suffered this mutilation. Research is showing that psychological impact of circumcision on boys is similar to the psychological impact for girls who have undergone genital mutilation. This procedure is damaging our boys while most people think it is a simple little snip. Wrong. We care about our little girls but fail in mustering enough compassion for boys to shelter them from such barbaric treatment and we give them no choice. Gynocentrism.

In healthcare we have seen our legislators create seven national commissions for women’s health but none for men. We have official government web sites for womenshealth.gov and girlshealth.gov but just look at what happens when you go to menshealth.gov or boyshealth.gov. Nothing.   You find a 404 page not found error. It does not exist. Get the picture? focusWhen anyone starts looking critically at our world it becomes clear that gynocentrism is at its core. We constantly hear criticism of men not going to the doctor, etc, but look at the lack of concern for men’s health.  Yes, we have seven commissions for women’s health, but none for men.  The one bill to create a national men’s health commission has been languishing in congress for over 20 years, with too few sponsors and a general lack of interest.  You see this same lack of interest in not even creating a web site for men or boys.  Women in need get the help, and men just need to take care of themselves while simultaneously being blamed for their plight.   And no one is even aware this is going on.  Gynocentrism.

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Warren Farrell put together a group of clinicians, academics, researchers, authors and other experts on men and boys who wrote a proposal for a White House Council on Boys and Men. I was happy to be included as  one of those who put the proposal together. President Obama had created a council for women and girls as soon as he got into office. Now he was being asked to do the same for boys and men. One of our group members, a man named Willie Isles was an executive with the Boy Scouts and had a meeting scheduled with the President. The plan was for Willie to have two Boy Scouts introduce the idea of the White House Council on Boys and Men to the President. Just before that meeting was to take place the discussion of a council for boys and men was struck from the agenda. It was forbidden to even be discussed. Gynocentrism anyone?

There is an anti-male bias in mental health research. One study on teen relationship violence found that boys and girls are suffering from this problem at similar rate. But once the research is translated into news articles it only focuses on the hardships the girls face. Worse yet, once the study is translated by legislators into an action plan to help the teen violence problem the only ones offered assistance are the girls while the boys are blamed. Yes, boys are abused but they simply don’t get compassion. Gynocentrism

 

research-tableIn one study about childhood rape the researchers found that boys were more often the victims of actual childhood rapes than the girls. Then in writing up their research failed to specifically include this information about boys as victims of rape. Furthermore, when they went to the media they also failed to mention the fact that they have found that boys were raped more often than girls. Gynocentrism.

Title IX — Has been a great help to girls and athletics but has dismantled over 1000 men’s college teams. We focus on helping women but ignore the pain of men.

We have all heard of the racial sentencing bias where blacks tend to get stiffer sentences than whites for the same crime. But the research is telling us that there is a bias that is six times as large as the racial bias that sentences men to longer sentences than women. Yet, we hear nothing of this in the media and no one seems to care. Clearly the judges have less compassion for men and offer them far less choice.

I have seen a number of men in therapy who came to me when their wives wanted an abortion and they (the men) wanted to keep the child. The men were powerless to do anything. Can you see how these men had no choice in the matter? His wife said, “My body, my choice” and he said “My child, your choice, I have none.” He had no choice and if he had said something I feel sure he would have heard some variation of big boys don’t cry. Know what I mean? Can you see how no one really cares or offers them compassion for their plight? Compassion and Choice.

 

women-onlyLook at men’s clubs and men’s spaces that have been traditional places for men to gather. Gone. They have been opened to women and not replaced with anything that would give men a safe place to simply gather with other men. Men gathering became the enemy with the accusation of secret deals that would keep women out of business dealings. At the same time all women’s clubs have soared. Women only gyms, women only parking places, women only subway cars, women only everything….but no comparable opportunities for men. There are even groups that keep track of all of the groups for women. One is The National Association of Commissions for Women  which keeps track of the literally hundreds of commissions for women. That is gynocentrism 2.0 on steroids.

Instead of thinking of choice for men, the majority of our gynocentric culture are thinking instead the word “should.” Men should do this, men should do that and if they don’t, they are not really men. Most men are caught in this drama that researchers are calling “precarious manhood” where men are forced to prove their worth repeatedly in order to be called men. Women do not face a similar situation.

Professions are not immune to Gynocentrism. The profession of social work is a prime example. This group is focused on women and ignores the needs and the hardships of men. Their educational system offers classes on just about every possible client to work with including women, gays, handicapped, children but fails to teach their charges even the first thing about men and boys. This even though men and boys make up a good portion of the clientele they will be working with.

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Our focus thus far has been on gynocentrism on the macro level.  It is very easy to see the gynocentric imbalance in so many spheres. The point here is not that the services that have been created were not a good thing, or were undeserved. Many of the services offered have been very helpful to women and girls. The point here is that it has been a very one sided ride with nearly all the services going to women and girls, and the men and boys basically ignored. Men and boys have simply not gotten compassion and choice. Gynocentrism 2.0.

But let’s take a quick look at the impact of gynocentrism on a micro level. We have seen so far that the public has very little interest in men’s emotions. While that is surely true on a macro level it is also the case on the micro. What is the tired and hackneyed message that the some women offer her man? Oh, they say “You are not dealing with your feelings.”   I hope you can see now that this sort of shaming is really an excuse to NOT deal with his emotions.   Much has been written by gynocentric types about men’s not emoting in public, or men not emoting like women, while maintaining the underlying assumption that there must be something wrong with them. But almost nothing has been written about the brick wall men face when they do emote. When men have emotions people disappear. No one wants to hear it.

What I have seen repeatedly is that men have very different ways to process emotions. Ways that are invisible to most. They have likely developed these different ways due to the prevalence of gynocentrism and are happy with their paths to work with their own emotions and gladly take care of things on their own without fanfare and “help.” The saddest part of this is that most women simply do not see his different ways and assume he is “doing it wrong” since it isn’t like what she does.

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Conclusion

Gynocentrism creates a cultural default both on a micro and macro level where women’s distress is a call to action and a man’s distress is seen at best as a distraction and at worst a taboo. This leaves men being offered considerably less compassion and fewer choices.  In the past 50 years the original gynocentric defaults have morphed into gynocentrism 2.0 which has seen a huge increase in both the lop-sided services favoring women and the disdain and blame focused on men.

Very few people are conscious of this habitual default, they simply assume it is just the way the world works.

Becoming more and more aware of gynocentrism makes it easier to see why men are 80% of the completed suicides but are basically ignored.  It makes sense now that men are nearly 50% of the victims of domestic violence but are routinely disregarded. It makes sense now why boys genital mutilation is the fourth most popular surgical procedure in the U.S. even though it is unnecessary and highly damaging.  The world is geared to have compassion for women’s needs but not as much for the needs of men. We could go on and on about each of the many men’s issues and see  how the lack of compassion and choice plays a part in their dilemma.

The unconscious nature of gynocentrism may be its most ruinous aspect.  People are simply unaware of the great differences in the way men and women are treated.  It is in some ways reminiscent of the racism I remember in the mid 20th century.  People were simply unaware of their treatment of blacks.  There were surely outright bigots at the time but the majority of people were basically asleep to the impact of their attitudes and behaviors and went along with the status quo that treated blacks and whites in significantly different ways.  The general public was duped by a media that portrayed blacks as inferior and an educational system and even academic research that did the same. With gynocentrism 2.0 we are seeing something very similar but instead of the blacks it is now our men.  Today’s gynocentrism is made up primarily of people who are basically unaware of the impact of their behaviors and are simply going along with the gynocentric status quo.

It’s time to wake up.

Knowing these things and taking the red pill* makes it important for us to start offering men and boys greater compassion and choice.

 

And let’s not forget.  Men Are Good!

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*Having taken the “Red Pill” is the popular phrase used to denote someone who can see the gynocentrism clearly.