Education and the Disposable Male

Posted: February 4, 2013 by ShortTimer in Culture, Education, Unintended Consequences

Mary Katherine Ham at HotAir begins to ask why men are falling behind in education, while women’s education is improving vastly:

Even addressing the issue of male academic underachievement can result in backlash from people incensed that society would bother caring about the disadvantages of men after spending decades and centuries ignoring the disadvantages of women. I understand that impulse, but as a person who cares deeply about her brothers, father, husband, and the possibility of raising decent men, should the opportunity arise, I have to care. Many others would no doubt feel the same if the problem were addressed with any frequency.

Boys score as well as or better than girls on most standardized tests, yet they are far less likely to get good grades, take advanced classes or attend college. Why? A study coming out this week in The Journal of Human Resources gives an important answer. Teachers of classes as early as kindergarten factor good behavior into grades — and girls, as a rule, comport themselves far better than boys.

She could begin to find the answer to the question here:

In fact, the greatest danger I see to us right now is that in our desperation to bend over and give women everything they want and everything that they say they need, we’ve unbalanced society to the point where we’re just in danger of seriously toppling over.

And really, the only difference I see between the traditional role and the new one for men with respect to disposability is that maleness, manhood – it used to be celebrated, it used to be admired, and it used to be rewarded – because it was really fucking necessary and because the personal cost of it to individual men was so incredibly high.

But now, we still expect men to put women first, we still expect society to put women first, and we still expect men to not complain about coming in dead last every damn time.  But men don’t even get our admiration anymore.  All they get in return is to hear about what assholes they are.

GirlWritesWhat has a rather large video series where she breaks down what’s going on in the gender politics realm, and how the feminist movement often ignores the fact that women have held a lot more power than they often claim.  These two videos wreak utter havoc on many feminist arguments.

When taken in that context, it’s easy to see why boys are falling behind.  Traditionally strong male roles are demonized, while the idea of male privilege (which was there to balance for male disposability) is still believed to hold some kind of influence.  Girls still get the advantages of traditional chivalrous protection, and now they get institutions that seek to “balance the scale”.  Girls are favored, boys are not.  Girls are given advantages while boys are told they’re the oppressor and that they’re needed as much as a fish needs a bicycle – because that’s how the educators view them as well.

It’s a cultural shift, much of it pushed by feminists of both genders and chivalrous men who wanted to put women higher on a pedestal with regards to the rest of life – who didn’t understand, didn’t know, or didn’t care what the effects of neglecting one gender at the expense of the other would mean.  We can see throughout the Middle East what nations that denigrate women amount to; and now we’re beginning to see what a nation that denigrates men amounts to.

Not so long ago, the average American man in his 20s had achieved most of the milestones of adulthood: a high-school diploma, financial independence, marriage and children. Today, most men in their 20s hang out in a novel sort of limbo, a hybrid state of semi-hormonal adolescence and responsible self-reliance. This “pre-adulthood” has much to recommend it, especially for the college-educated. But it’s time to state what has become obvious to legions of frustrated young women: It doesn’t bring out the best in men.

It’s been an almost universal rule of civilization that girls became women simply by reaching physical maturity, but boys had to pass a test. They needed to demonstrate courage, physical prowess or mastery of the necessary skills. The goal was to prove their competence as protectors and providers. Today, however, with women moving ahead in our advanced economy, husbands and fathers are now optional, and the qualities of character men once needed to play their roles—fortitude, stoicism, courage, fidelity—are obsolete, even a little embarrassing.

Relatively affluent, free of family responsibilities, and entertained by an array of media devoted to his every pleasure, the single young man can live in pig heaven—and often does. Women put up with him for a while, but then in fear and disgust either give up on any idea of a husband and kids or just go to a sperm bank and get the DNA without the troublesome man. But these rational choices on the part of women only serve to legitimize men’s attachment to the sand box. Why should they grow up? No one needs them anyway. There’s nothing they have to do.

They might as well just have another beer.

Thomas Sowell’s quote about traditions being the distilled experience of millions of lives holds here quite well.  While some traditional roles that involve male disposability may start to decline as society advances (and some have), and some that involve protection of females decline, throwing all those gender roles away has led to big problems as well.

Interesting the WSJ writer’s use of the term sand box.  She uses it euphemistically to discuss a play area for child-men, but there are plenty of men in another sandbox on the other side of the world out doing traditional male roles as well (and some women who are also there out of their own sense of civic virtue – which goes to their personal character and changes in culture that allow them to serve – without sidetracking this too far).  Traditional roles aren’t totally broken everywhere – but that speaks to a different part of American culture.

  1. […] Before the institution of marriage came about, strong or fortunate males got mates, weak or unfortunate males did not.  That’s not exactly a world that preserves liberty.  That’s a world where a few powerful men with multiple wives procreate and advance their own personal societies, and extra men truly are made disposable. […]

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