Marty Nemko Interviews Warren Farrell on Psychology Today

 

Men, Power, Money, and Sex

An interview with men’s advocate, Warren Farrell.

Warren Farrell is a leading expert on men’s issues. He is the author of seven books and chair of the Commission to Create a White House Council on Boys and Men. He served on the board of the National Organization for Women (NOW) in New York City and is an advocate for both sexes having the full range of options, professionally and personally. 

I interviewed him about gender roles, power, why men earn more, and campus rape.

Marty Nemko: You’re most well-known for your book The Myth of Male Power, just out in a new e-book edition. Many people think men have the power: Look at the Senate and CEO rosters. How would you respond?

Warren Farrell: A small percentage of men have major institutional power but across the full population, real power is about having choices. The women’s movement has made it socially acceptable for a mom to work full-time, stay home with the child full-time, or work part-time. That’s as it should be. Alas, it’s not as acceptable for a man to work part-time, let alone be a full-time parent. Mr. Mom is still a term of derision.

 

FULL ARTICLE HERE  

Davis Community Men’s Talk Circle

P. Gregory Guss, L.C.S.W.

Three years ago, a pilot project, titled the Davis Community Men’s Talk Circle was
started in Davis, California, as a free service to address the profound patterns of male
isolation that occur for men of all ages. As a Social Work clinician, I have seen first hand
the deleterious effects of isolation in men’s lives. Isolation contributes directly to
depression, job dissatisfaction and loss, increase in violence, numbing behaviors, and
alienation from loved ones. Moreover, isolation fuels male suicide, which is at an all
time high for boys, men and our elder males.

Our Community Men’s Talk Circle project draws from the wisdom of a 25 year on-going
annual men’s conference, held in Mendocino. The Elders at this conference structure
the talk so men can enter the deep and painful ills and the subsequent judgements of
themselves, which they have carried alone. The men attending come to feel a great
support, a deep trust, a brotherhood and a safety affording them a way to utilize the
communal experience. Their vulnerabilities, now shared by others, deepens the
possible that they don’t have to go it alone any more! Here the needed healing from
years of exiled pain begins.

This has been our model, in bringing the Talk Circle project to the men of our
community. Each month we intentionally create a Sacred space, where our Circle, our
container for our talking, welcomes men to talk aloud and discover. Men often surprise
themselves, as aspects unbeknownst, are revealed which they did not expect to share.
But this soon becomes a known and valued process, affording men a communal
unfolding, revealing new feelings, new insights, while clarity is advanced. This work
requires that Sacred space must be created, drawing a significant distinction from how
men typically relate to one another, as in the masked cautionary jokes, or the blind-eye
to dismissive behaviors toward others, or the impulse to-fix another man’s experience;
all which are recipes for an unsafe environment, prohibiting any deep and important talk
to root.

The Talk Circle is designed as a primer, for men who have never done men’s work
before. The Circle is larger in number (17 – 22 attendees), in contrast to a traditional
men’s group (smaller, 5 – 8, and with greater expectations to share). The Talk Circle
intentionally allows for men to ease their way into their held-back experiences; being
invited to talk, only as they feel ready. To further underscore emotional safety, this
project holds an open-door policy regarding attendance, furthering to lessen the rigors
and demands of the intimacy that usually arise from small and weekly men’s group
work. The Talk Circle also fosters the option for men to begin their own support group.
Contrary to belief, the inherent deep hunger for men to talk communally, once initiated
and structured, is almost unstoppable.

The Talk Circle utilizes a five man committee for planning and sharing the duties with
each monthly event. Responsibilities include establishing ground-rules, underscoring confidentiality, calling in the five directions including the inward direction (toward our
hearts and our truths), providing some music and some poetry, (the language of the
heart) and monitoring the group’s process ensuring that men’s voices of their internal
experiences will be both heard, seen and witnessed. As men gain both a new familiarity
and an emotional safety in this sharing-aloud, they cultivate skills toward new and
potentially meaningful friendships for themselves.

The Talk Circle meets monthly, in donated space (Davis International House), it is open
for all men, ages 18 years and older. Two licensed clinicians serve on the committee,
helping to monitor and assist in the group’s process.

This project is part of a new paradigm of community men’s work. One that is unique, in
its structure to create a culture that is relational and non-competitive; a departure from
our current known sense of masculinity. Ours is a community project whose intent is to
welcome men to know their interiors, thus promoting a maturing of our masculinity from
what is described as our current boy psychology, towards a man psychology. Our hope
is to afford men a reclamation in their lives of wholeness, of vitality, of tenderness, and
of stewardship. We strive to nurture creativity as integral to the aging process, and
embrace the honoring of our Elders, whose resources are currently under utilized and
often discarded. The Talk Circle fosters a culture of honoring our differences, as our
differences lead us into our humanness and our ability to connect.

Creating such Communities is not only very doable, it is teachable, affordable and
would be a significant developmental asset for both boys growing-up, and for men
throughout the course of their lives. It is a significant antidote to the stark aloneness,
(non-relational pattern), that our male culture has inflicted on itself for generations. Men
are too often unaccustomed to being in such groups, and do not know that emotional
safety is possible, and that deep sharing can be structured, leading men into support as
they find their own healing process. Talk Circles foster experiences that welcome men
into greater connection with themselves and then with others while factors contributing
to isolation are kept in check.

Our hope is to share this model with other social workers or mental health workers who
might choose to begin a Talk Circle in their own community.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

More information is available regarding this project by calling: (530) 758-2794.

Gregory Guss
P. Gregory Guss, L.C.S.W.

P. Gregory Guss, LCSW, (BA, Goddard College, Plainfield, Vermont; MSW, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, California), a psychotherapist for 33 years, specializing in family, adolescence and men’s work, practices in Davis, CA. As a community organizer, he developed and coordinates the Davis Community Men’s Talk  Circle project, and sits on the Redwood Men’s Conference Planning Committee. He and his wife have two adult children; he is an avid letter writer, poet and loves character driven movies.

Davis Community Men’s Talk Circle project
Redwood Men’s Center annual Conference

 

 

Are Boys Welcome in Schools? Christina Hoff Sommers

As school begins in the coming weeks, parents of boys should ask themselves a question: Is my son really welcome? A flurry of incidents last spring suggests that the answer is no. In May, Christopher Marshall, age 7, was suspended from his Virginia school for picking up a pencil and using it to “shoot” a “bad guy” — his friend, who was also suspended. A few months earlier, Josh Welch, also 7, was sent home from his Maryland school for nibbling off the corners of a strawberry Pop-Tart to shape it into a gun. At about the same time, Colorado’s Alex Evans, age 7, was suspended for throwing an imaginary hand grenade at “bad guys” in order to “save the world.”

Read more: http://ideas.time.com/2013/08/19/school-has-become-too-hostile-to-boys/#ixzz2cROb55Ye

 

A Community of Men

by David N Hafter, MFT

ApprenticeshipIt has only been a handful of generations since people were born, lived their lives and died in the same geographical region.  Unless a man was conscripted and hustled off to fight and die in faraway war, he was likely to live his life in the same place as did his father.  His sons had the mentoring benefits of access to other family members and known community members in order to address growing up/rite of passage issues.

One of the unintended consequences of the industrial revolution is the breakdown of those non-parental mentoring relationships. As men followed employment opportunities outside of where they grew up, they uprooted (literally) their nuclear families and relocated to places where immediate access to caring mentors was often cut off.  This pattern continues to this day.  Uprooted families experience everything from linguistic differences and accents which separate them from their neighbors to unfamiliar cultural norms and social expectations.  These differences can leave them isolated in their own communities.

In tribal cultures, where established rites of passage created the next generation of culturally consistent adults, it was not the parent who ushered a son or daughter through the process of transitioning from youth to adult. Rather, it was other trusted elders in the community who play that role. After all, for a child, it is often easier to hear guidance and constructive feedback from a trusted adult other than his or her parent. Indeed, life lessons successfully taught by a mentor have often been offered to the child many times before by a parent.

Today, there is a paucity of culturally competent mentoring opportunities for non-familial kids.  In fact, there are now fewer mentoring opportunities of any sort, especially in schools.  For example, when education funds get tight, arts, music and sports programs are the first to go, despite their value in terms of mentoring and skills development. Families may not be able to afford private lessons where their children could benefit from the tutelage of a coach.  Even the military can no longer be counted upon to help in this arena.  Military service used to play a significant social role in the grooming of youth into adulthood.  With professional soldiering now the norm, entering the service – unless aiming at a high level career like a pilot – is more likely to be an economic decision than one steeped in a desire for self-realization (i.e. becoming a man). It is now an opportunity for under-served economic classes and carries with it an unusually high safety risk.

Like all adolescents, fatherless and/or mentor-less young men experience an inner striving for opportunities to earn their stripes as men.  When society fails to recognize this need, we neglect to provide or support the structures where these needs can be met.  Ironically, gang culture has elements that address some of these unmet needs: The need to belong to a community; the need to be relied upon; the need to transition to manhood by taking on and surviving a dangerous task.  Unfortunately, gang activities – once organized around neighborhood protection – are now mostly organized around illegal activities focused on making money and anti-social attitudes and behaviors. The notion of doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do sounds antiquated compared to making money, which has proven to be the apparent over-arching value in our culture.

To counter these trends and their expensive consequences, it is not enough for enlightened men to have good intentions: We need an action plan with a commitment to following through.

What might that look like?  The fantasy is to miraculously overhaul public priorities in line with what we perceive to be the chronic unmet needs of our youth.  This White House proposal is a positive step in this direction yet these unmet needs dictate both a functional and practical grassroots approach which does not rely upon non-partisan political cooperation.

We can start by meeting some of the unmet needs of the fathers and ‘neighborhood elders’ who themselves may not have had the chance to be mentored in their youth.  It is hard for a man to guide youth in ways he was never himself taught. Instead, many of these men learned their life lessons ‘the hard way’, at the fully respectable but unreliable ‘school of hard knocks’. To prepare men to be positive mentors, we start by serving them.  In that vein, offer two models from my own experience:

Garage Groups:  I have been a part of a ‘Garage Group,’ for twelve years now. Named for where we meet, our group of 6 to 8 men meets once a month to talk about issues that we face as men.  We have no leader and few rules (no talking sports or politics).  A brief check-in is followed by discussions on issues relating to the stressors in our lives: Work and relationship issues, parenting challenges, caring for aging parents and our own health and aging issues.  We brainstorm solutions to vexing problems or just hear one another out, as needed.  As we feel supported, we have the energy, inclination and ideas to support our youth.

Men’s Circles: An idea from the oft-maligned or dismissed Men’s Movement, Men’s Circles serve much the same role as garage Groups, but they are drop-in affairs, usually much larger (15 to 20 men) and tend not to provide a participant with ‘answers’.  Instead, Men’s Circles are a place to hear and be heard with other men who may identify with whatever issue a man brings to the group. Just knowing that one is not alone with his issues is helpful and may lead to a man seeking more support. The Davis Men’s Circle operates free of charge.

So, first things first: We, as men, address our own unmet needs and re-connect with the power of community. Next, we calibrate our attitudes and behaviors according to both our own needs and those of our community. Fatherless boys need other men to step up as guides: uncles, older cousins, grandfathers, coaches, clergy and others.  A healthy culture filled with young men who proudly own their strong sense of self is not made overnight but instead, step by step, man by man. Finally, together we create challenging activities – opportunities for boys to earn their place at the table of the community of men.

 

________________________________________________________________

davehafterDavid N. Hafter, LMFT, (BA – Wesleyan University, Middletown CT; MA, JFK University, Orinda, CA) runs the Urban Children’s Resiliency Program at Victor Community Support Services, Davis CA. He has been a subject matter expert with the California Board of Behavioral Sciences since 1991.

Mr. Hafter is the author of Growing Balls: Personal Power for Young Men, a book of mentoring to, not about, young men. His group counseling curriculum Personal Power for Young Men, is available for downloading free of charge at www.growingballs.com.  Mr. Hafter is also a musician, song-writer/performer and a somewhat capable tennis player and golfer.

Like women, men are also objectified in gaming.

How many are playing roles that increase their disposability? How many seem focused on work-life balance?

 

*l to r: Top: Solid Snake (mercenary killer); Chris Redfield (of Resident Evil); Kratos (violent God of War series); Hawke (Dragon Age II);

l to r: Bottom: Ken Masters (Street Fighter); Leon Kennedy (Resident Evil 4); Geralt of Rivia (the Witcher); Brick (kills with bolts on fists)

So what do you think?

 

 

 

Boys and Reading – David Greene

boysreadIn a relatively recent New York Times article, Robert Lipsyte, a sports author, posed the following question: “Boys and Reading: Is There Any Hope?”

The U.S. Department of Education’s reading tests for the last thirty years show boys scoring worse than girls every year in every age group. Those of us who have been following the issues revolving around boys’ education are not surprised at all.

Mothers often ask why their sons can’t read. The truth is more often not that they can’t, but that most boys are simply reluctant to read for a variety of reasons.

Most elementary school and secondary school English teachers who teach reading in English Language Arts time or classes do it through works of fiction. Most also happen to be female and choose titles with which they are more likely to identify. Most studies show female students learn reading better through fiction, especially emotive works with female central characters. In fact, most of these stories, especially in the younger years are more emotive and far less action oriented.

Rather than expanding reading selections with material that will better engage boys to read, schools tend to work with books that will encounter less resistance from parents. Boys love to read about things with which many parents today might object.

For example a boy would rather read a “Hunger Games” or “Harry Potter” than a “My Cheeky Angel”. So if it is fiction, make it action oriented.

Unfortunately, studies show that boys tend to relate better to non-fiction. But what non-fiction do we offer them? Here are the top 10 sellers according to Goodread.com, a popular site used by teachers for book recommendations:

1. Redwoods by Jason Chin
2. Rosa by Nikki Giovanni
3. Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle by Claire A. Nivola
4. Here Come the Girl Scouts!: The Amazing All-True Story of Juliette ‘Daisy’ Gordon Low and Her Great Adventure by Shana Corey
5. Step Gently Out by Helen Frost
6. Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy’s Parade by Melissa Sweet
7. Queen of the Falls by Chris Van Allsburg
8. Pop!: The Invention of Bubble Gum by Meghan McCarthy
9. Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivors by Joyce Sidman
10. 14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy

How many of those titles would a 9-year-old boy pull off the shelves?

The other major reason boys reading scores have gone down, especially over the past 12 years, ironically, is the heavy emphasis on testing and test prepping. There is no time for playing or acting out roles. There is only time to sit very still, read, and fill in the practice bubble sheets to prepare for the ELA test.

The question remains then, “What do boys need to increase their reading skills?”
Simply, for higher reading success, boys need:

  • Reading lessons with clear, structured instructions with bursts of intense work.
  • Specific goals and praise for success for ACTUAL success and not false praise.
  • Hands-on learning that connects to their reading material
  • Humor. Joke books are fun to read.
  • Choice in reading material: Provide boy centered options even if they make you squeamish. These should also include periodicals, graphic novels (comics), and even technical manuals.
  • Male role models who read, regardless of the material. Any text is reading – including fathers reading the sport pages daily.

Male drop out rates, college admission rates, graduation rates, and level of employment rates all tell us a sad story. Many males are quickly becoming second-class economic citizens, and not only males of color.

As a result of new technology now used in all careers, members of both genders must be highly skilled in reading to flourish. For them to matter and have success, even at many of our new manufacturing jobs, they must be able to use the new technology.

But that technology demands the ability to read and follow the instructions on a computer or tablet. Reading is THE required skill regardless of career and gender. If only one gender is able to make use of it, woe is us.

_________________________

David Greene taught Social Studies and coached in NYC, Woodlands HS, Scarsdale HS, and Ardsley HS for 38 years. He mentored Teach For America Corps Members in the Bronx for Fordham University. He presently is a staff member of WISE Services, an organization that helps high schools create and run experiential learning programs for seniors. He is also the treasurer of Save Our Schools March Committee.
dcgmentor.com

Warren Farrell takes questions on men’s issues

Warren Farrell has joined the ranks of people like Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Stephen Colbert, and many others. He was invited and accepted to be a part of Reddit’s IAMA. The IAmA (“I am a”) is a text exchange where users prompt others to AMA (“Ask me anything”). They asked Warren anything and Warren responded. He mentioned the White House Council Proposal for Boys and Men and touched on a wide variety of topics. When asked: What’s the single most important thing the average person can do to advance an understanding of the challenges that men and boys are facing today? Warren responded by suggesting they read Michael Gurian’s The Wonder of Boys and Leonard Sax’s Boys Adrift. The interview included some very interesting answers from Warren from a thoughtful and concerned audience. You can see the questions and answers here:

Warren Farrell takes questions on men’s issues

Newtown Shootings: Warren Farrell Offers New Ideas of What May Help

“It is time that we go beyond fighting over guns and to raising our Sons”.

Newtown Shooting – Warren Farrell offers a core issue beyond the Gun Control issue about the absence of support for boys and young men and why we need a White House Council on Boys and Men. See Warren Farrell original article called: “Guns don’t kill people — our sons do” – “After Newtown, Conn., parents cried out, “What’s making our children kill?” But it is not our children who are killing. It is our sons. All but one of the 62 mass killings in the past 30 years was committed by boys or men.”

Connect to:
Warren Farrell on Google Plus
Martin Brossman on Google Plus at: Google Plus

 

Protesting Warren Farrell at University of Toronto

Dr. Farrell writes:

Despite about 100 protestors blocking the entrance to my presentation on Boys to Men at the University of Toronto this past Friday, Nov. 16, I was ultimately able to speak.

Why the physically and verbally violent protestors who tore down and defaced hundreds of posters? In part, because my Boys to Men presentation was sponsored by the Canadian Association for Equality (CAFÉ). CAFÉ is a non-profit, self-funded group affiliated with the U of Toronto. It’s only a year old. Some feminist-oriented groups, and especially the Socialist Workers Party, objected to their efforts to bring to the U of Toronto an understanding of the boy crisis and the importance of incorporating boys and men’s issues into the discussion of gender issues. From their perspective, boys and men’s issues equal men’s rights; men are the oppressors and the rapists; and a university shouldn’t be allowing “hate speech.”  From my perspective, boys and men are in the same family boat as women and girls, and boys are experiencing a boy crisis throughout the industrialized world that is hurting boys, families, the economy and those of our daughters who wish to parent their children with motivated and loving men.

Of course, the media is covering the heat, but if you’re interested in: the causes of the boy crisis; solutions; and how you can more effectively help boys avoid the “failure to launch,” go to whitehouseboysmen, CAFÉ, and The Myth of Male Power.

 

Warren Farrell

www.warrenfarrell.com

We will be presenting an on-air Google Hangout today at 3pm Pacific, 6pm Eastern with Dr. Farrell about this event.

*** video ***

 

Why have a White House Council on Boys and Men – Warren Farrell – Tom Golden – Martin Brossman

The video below is of Warren Farrell and Tom Golden with Martin Brossman having a Google Hangout on-air about why we should have a White House Council on Boys and Men. Discussing the how this helps us in raising sons, how it helps women and helps men be better men.

Learn more about the Proposed White House Council on Boys and Men at:
http://whitehouseboysmen.org

Also connect with us on Facebook at:
https://www.facebook.com/ProposedWhiteHouseCouncilonBoysandMen

Obama’s Missed Opportunity: A White House Council on Boys and Men

by Warren Farrell, Ph.D.

When Barack Obama became President, he immediately created a White House Council on Women and Girls. Shortly after, I got a call from the White House inquiring of my interest to be an adviser. I added to my enthusiasm the need for a White House Council on Boys and Men. To accomplish that, I created a multi-partisan coalition of 34 prominent thought leaders to discover whether the government had a valid role in transforming the boy crisis into our sons’ opportunities.

Our report met with interest at the White House—but three years of effort have resulted in nothing. This is a missed opportunity because as President Obama has been extremely sensitive to women’s issues, he’s acted as if boys and men who are not African American have no issues at all. Sensitivity to our sons and their dads is not only morally right; it is politically wise.

Notice more than the gravity of these issues for boys and men; notice how they would be addressed by different departments of the government, resulting in the likelihood that without a coordinating White House Council on Boys and Men that the left hand wouldn’t know what the right hand is doing…

Education—and Motivation

Most of us have heard the statistics regarding males going from 61% of college graduates to a projected 39%. But few of us know that our sons will be the first American generation to have less education than their dads. And the problem is not just education—it’s also motivation. We’ve heard about the impact of video games and video porn. But few know how plastics leaching into streams and lakes simulate estrogen and accelerate female maturity even as it retards male maturity. For a president interested in our environment, overlooking this impact on virtually every family is egregious.

Emotional Health

Item Boys’ suicide rate goes from equal to girls’ prior to adolescence to five times girls’ between 20 and 24.
Item Among the elderly, men over 85 have a suicide rate 1300% higher than their female peers.
Adolescent male emotional challenges range from ADHD to violence, crime and the 5 D’s: depression, drinking, drugs, disobedience and delinquency.

Physical Health

Why has the male-female life expectancy gap grown from one year in 1920 to more than five years today? And why do boys and men die earlier than girls and women from nine of the 10 leading causes of death? Fortunately, our daughters’ and mothers’ health challenges are addressed by seven federal offices of women’s health. Our sons’ and fathers’ are not addressed by a single federal office of men’s health.

Work

One of every five men 25 to 54 is not working. The areas of future job growth (e.g., health; education) are areas our daughters are preparing for; the areas for which uneducated boys have typically found jobs (e.g., manufacturing; agriculture; construction) are in decline. And the mostly-male jobs requiring more education are being outsourced overseas.

A White House Council on Boys and Men would examine the potential for restoring vocation to education, and for developing our sons’ (and daughters’) skills to match employers’ future needs. It can expand the concept of a “man’s work;” and study other countries’ successes. And when men do work, it can recommend ways to increase safety (92% of workplace deaths are men).

Solutions?

A White House Council on Boys and Men can coordinate potential solutions. For example…

Father Involvement

One out of three children in the U.S. live in father-absent homes, yet most of the above problems would be significantly addressed with one solution: father involvement. To say nothing of how the more fathers are involved, the more crime and poverty are defeated.
How do we get more father involvement? Take a look at how Sweden restructured its paternity leave so that 85% of its fathers would participate. And what about a male birth control pill? And educating boys in school as to their value as future dads? And…

In Conclusion

The latest articulation of the crisis facing boys and men is Hanna Rosin’s The End of Men. If our sons see the “end of men” as their future, they will have little inspiration for life’s journey. With some help, we can transform the end of men to the beginning of men—of men as human beings rather than as human doings. In the past, we taught our sons to consider themselves “real men” if they made themselves disposable—disposable in war and in work. Being a “real man” and dead is a bit of a paradox. Calling our sons heroes if they risked being disposable was often healthy for the society, but it is unhealthy for our sons.

The Council can provide leadership to sustain the respect for firefighters and soldiers that allows us to recruit protectors for our homes and country, even as we also encourage alternative paths to becoming a valued man. Leadership for the future must both question and honor traditional masculinity. As our history of male-as-sole-breadwinner fades as downsizing and outsourcing burgeon, both sexes will need to be prepared to raise money and raise children. Our daughters have learned to do both; our sons have not.

A White House Council on Boys and Men can end the era of boys and men as a national afterthought. It can provide leadership to raise young men that our daughters are proud to love.

President Obama, you have daughters. You respect the family. You love our country. What are you waiting for?

 

Warren Farrell
Warren Farrell

Dr. Warren Farrell has been chosen by the Financial Times as one of the world’s top 100 thought leaders. He is the only man ever elected three times to the Board of NOW in NYC. His books are published in over 50 countries, and in 16 languages. They include two award-winning international best-sellers, Why Men Are The Way They Are plus The Myth of Male Power. His forthcoming book, with John Gray, will be Boys to Men.

Dr. Farrell has taught in five disciplines, and been featured repeatedly in Forbes, The New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. He currently chairs a coalition to create a White House Council on Boys and Men.

Grading President Obama on his Treatment of Men’s Issues

This article is in response to an article that appeared on Huffington Post that graded President Obama on women’s issues. I thought it was only fair to also have one for men.  Many of the categories and even some of the wording come directly from that article.

Here we go.

 

1. White House Council on Women and Girls A
   White House Council on Boys and Men Fail

Women have good reason to be grateful to the Obama administration. President Obama created a White House Council on Women and Girls that made women’s issues an integral part of every level of the federal government.  Now each department must address their progress or lack of progress as it relates to women and their issues.  This is a powerful and glorious step for women and girls.  However, the Obama administration has failed miserably in creating a similar opportunity for boys and men.  A group of over 30 nationally known scholars, authors, researchers, and clinicians gathered to write a proposal urging the White House to offer the same sort of opportunity for our boys and men but after meetings with White House Staff and numerous officials it has been ignored at every level.  President Obama met with one of those thirty and refused to even have the issue on the agenda for their meeting. Fail

whitehouseboysmen.org

2. Equal Pay: Fail

Here’s the bottom line: the Obama administration failed men and women on equal pay. He is a president who entered office with the claimed intention of using science as a guide in his administration and his policy.  Even a brief look at the science surrounding the issue of equal pay would indicate that the discriminatory nature of what is being called the “wage gap” is truly a myth.  The government science and statistics drive this point home but this administration not only refuses to accept its own science, it makes public statements that defy its own facts. Fail

Warren Farrell’s Why Men Earn More

3. Sexual Violence Against Women and Girls: A
    Sexual Violence Against Men and Boys: Fail

The Obama administration gets major cred for taking on the escalating crisis of violence against teenage and college women. However it fails in an epic manner when it comes to teenage and college boys and men for whom it has done nothing.  The CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Summary Report states clearly that in the last 12 months 2,747,000 women have experienced sexual violence other than rape. Importantly the same report shows that there were even more men who experienced sexual violence (2,793,000) in the last 12 months other than rape.  http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pdf/NISVS_Report2010-a.pdf  (tables 4.5 and 4.6) The science shows that men and boys are a major part of the victims of sexual violence but the policy focuses only on helping women. Fail

 

4. Violence Against Women  A
    Violence Against Men  Fail 

Obama and Biden have also voiced support for the reauthorization of the VAWA. (Violence Against Women Act)  This bill has been shown repeatedly by credible research to ignore a large portion of victims and perpetrators. It serves female victims but ignores and even shames males who are victimized (see table 3) and also ignores female perpetrators.  The bill is by name, only interested in helping women and it functions in a similar manner. Men in need are ignored.  Both President Obama and VP Biden took part in a television commercial asking men to curb violence against women. This would be fine if they also were part of a commercial asking women to curb violence against men.  They did no such thing. Fail

 

5. Reproductive Rights for Men: Fail

President Obama mentions the issues of women’s reproductive rights on a regular basis.  This is good, however, he continues to ignore the fact that men have no reproductive rights whatsoever. How many men have had to stand powerless as their child is aborted against their will?  Women are allowed to obtain an abortion, give up the child for adoption, have the child, or even drop the infant off at a police station.They have the right to do all of the above while men must go along with whatever the woman decides and have no rights of their own other than having to pay child support. Fail

 

6. Jobs: D+

When it came time to offer funds and support for those seeking employment during the crisis of our economic downturn the president had a “shovel ready” plan in place.  The feminine sections complained greatly and even though this has been known to be a “mancession” the president altered his shovel ready plans and spent a good deal of the money on jobs for women, 42% of the money went to female jobs even though women were only 20% of those impacted.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/016/659dkrod.asp

 

7. Fatherhood: Fail

There are millions of men in the United States who have suffered under the weight of a biased family court system. One would expect our president to have some words of support for these men. However, President Obama on Father’s Day calls out fathers and says, “Too many fathers are awol. “ “They have abandoned their responsibilities and are acting like boys instead of men.”  His Fathers Day speeches have been littered with this sort of verbiage about how fathers need to step up to the plate.  His main idea is not to celebrate the fathers and their many contributions in our lives but to point towards those who need to improve. Happy Father’s Day.  Imagine he did something similar on Mothers Day and told mothers they need to step up to the plate and stop abusing their children. All hell would break loose. Fail

 

8. Health Care Fail

This administration has web pages for girls health girlshealth.gov and women’s health womenshealth.gov but none for boys or men.  When you go to boyshealth.gov or menshealth.gov you get a “404” file not found error. (try them and see for yourself) There is no government sponsored page for boys or for men.  This is an insult to boys and men and shows how this administration is simply not interested in helping men and boys but is very active in doing everything it can to be of help to women and girls. Have a look at this government page that lists the preventive care that is included in Obama’s national health package. Plenty of preventive care for women and children but not a thing about prostate cancer, testicular cancer, or other male specific diseases.

http://www.healthcare.gov/news/factsheets/2010/07/preventive-services-list.html

Is there any sort of national program to help suicidal males? No. Men and boys are nearly 80% of completed suicides and yet there is no interest in working on this crisis. Fail

 

Final Grade

The above shows a clearly womanitarian stance that considers women and children first and ignores the needs of men. Clearly it is a failed report card for this administration.   It is worth pointing out that they are not alone or unique.  The fact is that for decades our government has ignored the pain and needs of its men and boys.  This is not a new phenomenon.  What we need is a president who is truly humanitarian and able to see both sides and offer love and support for all people, not just for select groups.  I don’t see Obama’s opponent as being a solution.  He too, if elected, will likely carry on the same misandry.  It is going to take a very strong shift in our cultural thinking in order to even make a dent in the unfairness and bigotry that is now accepted by nearly everyone.



Tom Golden

Thomas Golden, LCSW is well known in the field of healing from loss. His book, Swallowed by a Snake: The Gift of the Masculine Side of Healing has been acclaimed by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and others. Tom enjoys giving workshops in the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia, having been named the “1999 International Grief Educator” by the Australian Centre for Grief Education. Drawing on thirty years of practical, hands-on clinical experience, Tom brings a gentle sense of humor and a gift for storytelling to both his workshops and his writing. His work and his web site webhealing.com have been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and U.S. News and World Report, as well as on CNN, CBS Evening News, ESPN and the NFL Channel. Tom served as the vice-chair for the Maryland Commission for Men’s Health and has also enjoyed helping write a proposal for a White House Council on Boys and Men. He is in private practice in Gaithersburg, MD and also enjoys doing Skype consults. Google+