If Boys Would Be Men, Would Girls Be Ladies?
Currently, 135 women receive bachelor's degrees for every 100 men. That gender imbalance will widen in the coming years, according to a new report by the U.S. Department of Education...The piece cites employment rates, annual income, incarceration statistics, and even, adultescents, to support its argument that the male sex is facing great inequity in the world today. It concludes:
[T]he inequity has yet to provoke the kind of response that finally opened opportunities for women a generation ago. In fact, virtually no one is exploring the obvious questions: What has gone wrong?... Surely, a problem that creates crime, increases unemployment and leads to hopelessness deserves attention. Where are the boys? Too often, going nowhere.As would be expected, such a piece sparked protest among feminists. Nancy Gandy, the president of NOW (National Organization for Women), was quick to dismiss the editorial as nothing but a "panicky article" that misrepresented the true facts. She writes:
[D]ominant groups find ways to protect their members. Much as they might deny it, people get special privileges for belonging to dominant groups (whites, men, heterosexuals).In fact, in seemingly ironic deviation from the historical feminist view, Ms. Gandy is not even happy about women holding such a large edge in post-high school education. Rather she forecasts that women attaining greater education will only serve to decrease the emphasis that businesses place on education and capability, instead leading them to focus on the number of hours employees can work. This, she argues, will greatly discriminate against women, because of their housekeeping and child-raising responsibilities:
Women do more than 80% of unpaid family work, even though two-thirds of us work outside the home. Let's face it — women can't "have it all" if we're expected to do it all! Women's greater education will be a moot point until our society provides better policies for working parents.Ms. Gandy then points out that while men and women have had equal post-high school education for the past 30 years, little has changed. To prove this, she lists statistics of women as percentages of Congress, law firms, mayors, judges, and Fortune 500 CEOs, before finally concluding:
Bottom line? I don't see a few more degrees signaling the fall of patriarchy. We already know women are smart. But no matter how smart you are, it's tough to win when the rules keep changing and you have to choose between work and family... [O]ur movement for genuine equality is still needed, NOW more than ever.There are several obvious errors in Ms. Gandy's arguments, as well as a few alarming and revealing statements regarding NOW's true social objectives. Among them: Her call for better (read "more") government childcare policies to free parents from the home, and the statement that true equality cannot exist while women must continue to choose between work and family.
However, the primary fallacy in her argument was her failure to address the main focus of the article she was refuting. In a word, men. The heart of USA Today’s editorial was the failure of modern boys, not the success of modern girls. Its focus was, “Where are the boys?” And not, “Look at the girls!” To highlight equal education opportunity and current statistics of women in high positions of state and business, is to effectively miss the entire point. The disappearance of young men on our college campuses is a relatively recent phenomena. Consequently, the concern must not be for the NOW (pun intended) but for the future generations of our nation, generations full of boys, girls, and women, but entirely devoid of men.
I believe the editorial was right on target when it theorized that, "a smart-isn't-cool bias has seeped into boys of all racial and ethnic groups." What is this "bias" but yet another demonstration of the effects of social conditioning and the myth of adolescence? While our culture's media is full of feminist empowerment rhetoric, there is little social pressure or encouragment for young boys to aspire to anything greater than a future spot on a professional sports team; a statistical rarity of high degree. The problem is not that women have risen, that's not even an issue here. The problem is that men have fallen.
Historically low social expectations are only beginning to show their long-term fruit, and they affect both sexes. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that it is our young men who are suffering most dramatically. In fact, a recent New York Times article, mentioned by Dr. Al Mohler earlier this week, reports a surprising new trend of young women in elite colleges planning on motherhood over career, despite the social pressures for them to do the opposite.
While several feminists quoted by the article attempt to argue that such decisions are the result of nothing more than a society still steeped in the strictures of archaic gender roles, there is no correlating trend among our nation's young men to verify that argument. If such was the case, we should have expected a very different editorial in USA Today. The truth is that young men today possess little incentive, whether archaic or otherwise, to pursue excellence in career, marriage or family. True men are not only disapearing from our universities, they're disapearing from society's most fundamental institution, the family. Unless men, as the heads of their families, return to the historic call of biblical manhood, the family will continue to decay. This is a battle our generation must fight.
The USA Today editorial uncovers a disturbing, but not surprising trend. However, its focus remains too limited. A college degree is not absolutely necessary, but character, competence, and a true understanding of what it means to be a man are. The question presented to our generation is not: "Where are the boys?" But rather: "Where are the men?"