Honor Our Fathers: A Totally True Story of Sons and Gangs

by Jack Kammer

This could be dangerous, I thought. This is Los Angeles, early June 1992. The Rodney King riots had occurred just five weeks before.

Stranded and alone, hauling a heavy suitcase, I was running late for my plane at LAX. I decided that this was a chance I needed, no, wanted to take. I approached three young Hispanic men standing outside their car in a fast food parking lot.

Warily, I approached them. “How ya doing?” I said calmly and evenly. “I’m trying to get to LAX and I’m running late. The cabs aren’t cooperating. How much money would you need to take me?”

They looked at each other. One of them in a white T-shirt said to the one who must have been the driver, “Go for it, man.”

The driver hesitated. I said, “Name a price that makes it worth your while.”

He looked straight at me. “Ten bucks,” he said.

“I’ll give you twenty.”

“Let’s do it, man,” said the T-shirted youth. The driver nodded and popped the trunk. “You wanna put your suitcase here?”

“No, thanks,” I answered straight back. The image of being forced empty-handed out of the car was clear in my mind. “I’d rather keep it with me.”

“That’s cool,” Mr. T-shirt said.

I knew it could have been stupid, but I took out my wallet, removed a twenty and said to the driver, “Here, I want to pay you now.”

The driver took it with a simple “thanks.”

“So here I am, guys,” I said. “I sure hope you’re going to take care of me.”

T-shirt, sitting in the back seat with me, my suitcase between us, smiled knowingly and said, “It’s okay, man. We’re good guys.”

I nodded and shrugged, “I sure hope so, because if you’re not, I’m in big trouble, aren’t I?”

They all laughed and then T-shirt spoke up. “So where you from?”

“Baltimore,” I answered.

“Oh, man, it’s nice back east. That’s what they say. Green and everything.”

I smiled and nodded, “Yeah. And back east, L.A. is our idea of heaven.”

“Naah, it’s rough here, man. It’s hard.” T-shirt was clearly going to be the spokesman.

“How old are you fellows?” I asked.

They were sixteen and seventeen. They were all in school and had part-time jobs. T-shirt and the driver worked in a restaurant. The quiet young man riding shotgun didn’t say.

“Tell me about the gangs. Are there gangs at your school?”

“There’s gangs everywhere, man. Everywhere. It’s crazy.”

“Are you fellows in a gang?” I asked.

“No way, man.”

“Why not?” I wondered.

“Because there’s no hope in it. You just get a bullet in your head.”

“Yeah, but what hope is there for you outside the gang?”

“I don’t know. I just want to get a future. Do something.”

“What’s the difference between you and the young men in the gangs?”

“I don’t know, man. We just don’t want to do it.”

“Yeah, but why not? What’s the difference?” I gently pressed.

“I don’t know, man. I don’t know. We’re just lucky I guess.”

I let the question sit for a moment, then started up. “What about fathers? Do you have a father at home?” I asked the youth in the back seat with me.

“Yeah. I do.”

“How about you?” I asked the driver.

“Yeah, I got a dad.”

“Living with you?”

“Yeah.”

And the shotgun rider volunteered, “I got a dad, too.”

“How about the young men in the gangs? Do they have fathers living with them?”

“No way, man. None of them do.”

“So maybe fathers make a difference?” I suggested.

“Absolutely, man. Absolutely.”

“Why?” I probed. “What difference does a father make?”

“He’s always behind you, man, pushing you. Keeping you in line.”

“Yeah. Telling you what’s what,” driver and shotgun agreed.

And with that I was taken safely right where I needed to go. The driver even asked what terminal I wanted. On time. Without a hitch.

I will never forget their names: Pablo, Juan and Richard. I admired them because in spite of everything they were trying to be good.

But the men to whom I am most grateful are the men I never met. The men to whom I am most grateful are their fathers. It was their fathers who got me to the airport. It was their fathers who kept me safe.

Jack Kammer
Jack Kammer

Jack Kammer, MSW, MBA returned to school at the age of fifty-four to earn Masters degrees in Social Work and Business Administration. He did so to document, highlight and take action on male gender issues and the social problems that arise when those issues are ignored and mishandled. He specializes in the Race + Gender effect on marginalized African-American men and boys in urban settings. http://believeinmen.org

Lighting A Fire: Motivating Boys To Succeed, by Kathy Stevens

Editors note –  We are saddened to announce that Kathy Stevens, a member of our group and a co-Founder and Executive Director of the Gurian Institute, died in her sleep on Sunday morning, April 1, 2012. 

We wanted to offer this short article by Kathy to both honor her and also to share a small sample of the gift that she brought in working with the issues of boys and men.  Kathy will be missed.

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You’ve got a bright child on your hands! As a preschooler he loved books, drawing, and creating with blocks. He was excited by the things around him and was a bundle of energy, wanting to explore, handle, and figure out his world.

The Disconnect

When he started school he was enthusiastic and looked forward to the wonderful adventures you told him were in store. In elementary school you started getting notes from his teacher indicating that he was “having some problems.” The list included comments like: doesn’t stay on task, fails to turn in homework, doesn’t complete projects on time, can’t seem to stop fidgeting and sit still. In middle school your bright, gifted son is getting by with mediocre grades and an attitude that you find disheartening. He just doesn’t seem motivated to succeed in school the way you and his teachers know he could.

What happened when he entered the classroom? Too often, boys find they are asked to behave in ways that they are not prepared developmentally to do: sit still, be quiet, and use fine motor skills to learn to write. They find that their natural learning behaviors are less acceptable in the school environment. This disconnect can cause difficulties early on. While your son may never become a behavior problem, he might lose his excitement about learning and motivation in school.

This story repeats over and over in the hundreds of e-mail messages we receive from parents of boys all over the country. The names and specifics change, but the underlying concerns are the same. Why isn’t my bright child motivated to succeed in school? Why can’t he seem to finish his homework? Why doesn’t he turn it in when he has finished it? Why doesn’t he seem to care when he gets poor grades on tests and report cards? What can we do to help him perform up to his potential?

Being un-motivated can keep a child from being successful in school and can make home life a constant battleground. What can we do to keep our sons from going through this painful experience? Help them develop a love of learning long before they step into a classroom and educate schools about how boys learn best.

How Boys Learn

The physical connection between the male body and brain causes boys to learn best when they are on the move! In their cribs boys are already interested in the spatial world around them—the revolving mobile overhead, the sights and sounds outside the home. Physical activity, such as running and jumping, keeps male brains developing in healthy ways that promote learning.

To encourage a boy’s natural learning style provide opportunities for him to use his energy to learn. Letting him explore, touch, and manipulate will help him develop the skills he will need to be successful in school. Puzzles, Legos, play dough, and other small toys develop fine motor skills that will prepare young boys for holding a pencil and learning to write.

Read to a preschool boy—a lot. Let him squirm or fiddle with his toys while he listens. If you think he isn’t attending to the story while he’s playing, check in periodically and ask him, “What just happened in the story?” Probably, you’ll find he knows exactly what’s going on. The fidgeting may well be helping his comprehension. Have your librarian help him choose boy-friendly stories, which are becoming more available as authors realize that boys enjoy reading stories that are centered on boys and the activities they like.

Connect Home and School

Check out the school your son will attend before he starts. Talk to the administrators and teachers to find out if they are aware of the current research on how boys learn best. If they aren’t, provide them with resources like those listed in the sidebar. If you are a member of a parent-teacher organization, suggest that your group help fund resources and professional development opportunities for your school to help teachers and administrators translate theory about gender behavior and learning into the classroom. This helps both boys and girls.

At home, continue to involve your son in activities that are consistent with his interests and make learning fun. Pay attention to what motivates him and provide incentives (not rewards) to encourage ongoing learning. If he’s interested in animals, help him get into a youth program at your local zoo. If he’s fascinated by how things work, connect him with a local engineering organization. If your son likes sports, show him how math and science are involved. Help him connect the dots from what he is expected to learn in school and how it will help him succeed in his chosen interest or activity.

Make Time Trades

Your son needs to recognize that he will have to spend time doing things that he doesn’t necessarily want to do. Create time trades with him to help him become accustomed to doing those undesirable activities. For every minute he dedicates to doing those things he needs to do (homework, chores, his own laundry) let him trade an equal amount of time doing something he wants to do from a list you develop together. You can limit some trades, such as television watching or video-game playing to certain blocks of time (no more than 30 minutes at one sitting) or bank time for a big trade like an overnight campout or trip to a theme park. Establish the rules of the trades together.

Make sure the list is made up of things he wants to do, as long as they are appropriate (even if they don’t necessarily appeal to you). Remember motivating your son is about him and his interests. Both of you can be responsible for maintaining the time record, working on the details for the trade, and planning the activities. Besides encouraging self-confidence and self-regulation, more learning opportunities will open up to your son—math, geography, and more (but you don’t have to tell him that).

Create a Personalized Work Space

To help your son feel good about spending time doing schoolwork and reading, work with him to design his own work space. Encourage him to make it personal and functional. If that involves some paint or furnishings, find ways to let him earn those items. Be flexible and be willing to accept that it might not match your taste. Agree on a time frame before any modifications can be made; this will help your son learn to think about his choices and yet lets him know he can make modifications later. Personalizing his workspace can make sitting down to work more appealing even if the work itself isn’t!

Have a Surprise List Ready

Let your son drop notes in a jar dedicated for surprises—out of the ordinary things he would love to do sometime. Then, when you observe behavior that you want to reward (does his homework for a week or cleans his room without having to be reminded) pull a surprise from the jar and reward him. Don’t use the surprise as a bribe; for example, don’t say “If you do such-and-such, I’ll choose a surprise.” Make it truly a surprise. Don’t do it every time either. Make it random enough that while he might think a surprise is coming, he’s not quite sure—encouraging him to exhibit desired behaviors regularly.

Introduce Him to Male Role Models

Listen as your son learns what interests and excites him. Then find ways to let him meet men who are interesting and willing to share their stories, perhaps even provide some mentoring or an apprenticeship. If your son thinks cars are cool, find someone in your community who builds stock cars or restores vintage automobiles and arrange a visit. If your son loves rock music, find a local musician that will let him attend a rehearsal or even a concert. These activities could become time trades.

Motivation is something we want our children to internalize. Helping your son learn to harness his physical energy to set and achieve his own goals is one of the best gifts you can provide. It will help him become a life-long learner, someone who is always looking just past the horizon to see what adventures might be waiting down the line.

Kathy Stevens, MPA

Kathy Stevens
Kathy Stevens

Kathy Stevens is the director of the Gurian Institute training division. Her work has been featured in Newsweek, Reader’s Digest, Educational Leadership, Education Week, and Library Journal.

A Tale of One Island

A Tale of One Island

By Jack Kammer

Once, in the ocean near the equator, there was an island with a mountain range running down the middle and rocky cliffs almost all the way around. The eastern half was wet and green. The western side was hard and dry, and it sloped down to a beach, the one spot on the island that allowed easy access to the sea. Two tribes lived here. The Land People farmed the rainy side. The Sea People fished in the ocean.

Each tribe secretly thought it was better than the other. “We grow things that are sweet and delicious,” the Land People boasted. “We produce flowers just because they’re beautiful. We create life. The Sea People only kill things Continue reading “A Tale of One Island”

Expanding What We Mean by “Nurturing” – Excerpt from Michael Gurian’s new book “How Do I Help Him”

             In observing males and studying anthropological and neuro-biological information regarding male behavior, I developed the term “aggression nurturance” in 1995 in order to try to help professionals and parents look at males more closely.  My specific interest lay in hoping to accurately describe differences between the ways males and females nurture others and themselves toward self-confidence.

In both rural and urban environments in the United States, then in comparative research during two years in both rural and urban environments in Turkey, I observed that males (such as fathers) tended to nurture themselves and others through more direct aggression than females, with less emphasis on distended verbal nurturance, i.e. when they used words, they used them in quick bursts not long paragraphs.  Females, in general, tended to nurture themselves and others through less direct aggression than males, substituting more direct empathic responses to particular situations, and utilizing more distended word groupings.  Though my research goal was somewhat different than theirs, my ultimate outcome mirrors the work of Pepper Schwartz at the University of Washington and Deborah Tannen, in You Just Don’t Understand.

By now, in 2011, everyone has perhaps observed this kind of difference anecdotally, in their own lives.  But still, let’s illustrate it.  Here is a piece of dialogue I heard recently at a local park as two teenage boys walked off a basketball court.  When they parted company to go to their separate cars, they said:

“Right, then.  Later.”

“Yeah.  Love you, dude.”

“Stop it, fucker!”

“Yeah.  Peace, man.”

“Peace.”

Grinning, they both got into their cars.

Perhaps some part of why they grinned was from sheepishness at this intimate ritual being seen and heard by a gray-haired stranger, me, walking by.  But no matter the reasons for nuance, this kind of basic male ritual occurs all over the world.  It involves one-upping, masking-of-vulnerability, aggression, a mock show of anger, deep nurturance, and clear mutual love.

This kind of ritual is an example of what I call aggression nurturance.  This nurturance style, one based in male brain functioning, male biochemistry, and male socialization differs from direct empathy nurturance, which favors female biology, chemistry, and socialization.  Thus, while aggression nurturance can happen between two girls, it is more likely to go on between boys and men, for some very natural reasons.

___________________________________

Excerpted from HOW DO I HELP HIM?:  A Practitioner’s Guide To Working With Boys And Men In Therapeutic Settings by Michael Gurian.  For more information, visit http://www.michaelgurian.com/how-do-I-help-him.html.

Michael Gurian
Michael Gurian

Michael Gurian is a family therapist, child advocate, and the New York Times bestselling author of more than twenty-five books, including The Minds of Boys, Boys and Girls Learn Differently! and The Wonder of Girls. Over the last twenty years, he has advocated relentlessly for boy-friendly research in the public dialogue. The Gurian Institute has provided teacher effectiveness training to over fifty thousand teachers in two thousands schools and districts. gurianinstitute.com

Boys in school: Why Don’t We Pay Attention to the Facts?

David Greene

My son was born in 1990. By the time he was approaching kindergarten, we had to decide if he was to be one of those male kindergarten redshirts, held back a year to “mature”. We decided against it. He was a very bright and very tall boy. We felt holding him back would indeed, hold him back. What happened was eye opening. In pre-school and kindergarten teachers thought he was “hyperactive.” My wife is a clinical psychologist. She and I knew better. He was a boy. He acted differently than our daughter from his earliest human moments. Eventually we were proven right. He did fine in school. He was constantly described as very mature. A top student and athlete, he is now a pre-med senior in college.

During the 1990’s a great deal of emphasis had been placed on improving the education of girls. Books like Reviving Ophelia, the work of Carol Gilligan, and the political pressure placed on policy makers by organizations such as the National Organization of Women (NOW) made girls’ education a top reform of the early and mid ‘90s. Much of this was very important and good policy. We worked hard on that reform, had workshops, read the research, and changed classroom behaviors to allow girls to be more assertive and improve their work. It was all good.

One afternoon in 1995 we had one of our monthly faculty conferences. It was on the subject of female experiences in the school, under the guise of “gender issues”. At the long table sat several female students, and, at the far end, one male, Andrew. Andrew was last to speak. He was not one of the many superstar students. Andrew was an average kid who felt he had to speak up and tell the story from the male perspective. What Andrew had to say was a far cry from what most of us had heard, but some of his experiences rang true to me. What he said was that most boys don’t have it as good in school here as “you all” think. He gave several examples. They sounded like what my son had experienced. Questions and comments came forth from a few interested people. One person, Ron Bouchier, the school’s Athletic director, came prepared. One of the issues discussed was male dominance in several areas, including sports. Ron not only disputed that, he presented evidence of 16 years worth of team, league, sectional, and state championships and finalist results, and even national individual honors. The facts diametrically opposed the impression most of us had and clearly refuted what had been presented.

I was hooked. I knew Andrew and Ron to be straight shooters. They were on to something real and important. The trouble was that they were ignored at best, cynically assaulted at worse. I also knew the issues and stereotyping my son had gone through so far in school. I was determined to find out more. I started small. First I looked closely at the grades of my senior students. I had no idea what I would find. Little did I know it would launch me on a 16-year investigation on the issues plaguing boys in schools.

A couple of years later I was one of 3 Scarsdale staff members to go a conference on boys held at Wellesley College. I was the only teacher. The other 2 (women) were an assistant superintendent and a guidance counselor, both members of the district’s “Gender Equity Committee”. It had already become obvious to me that gender was a euphemism for “Female Equity”. While in a workshop on boys, I heard volumes about the problems of female students being harassed and bullied and intimidated by aggressive boys who needed to be fixed. A bit nervous about presenting a different view, I stood up and recited a summary of what I had learned over the past few years of investigation in my school and from reading the local papers about valedictorians and salutatorians in Westchester County. After much criticism and claims I must be fabricating evidence, I was summarily dismissed. However a woman sitting near me asked me to tell her more and asked if I wouldn’t mind being interviewed for a book she was writing. I said sure, and found the following in her book and article that appeared in the May 2000 edition of the Atlantic Monthly. That was Christina Hoff Sommers.

What had I found? In my classes, the boys’ final grades were anywhere from 3 to 5 points lower than the girls. Overall that meant the difference between a B- and B or B+. When I checked other social studies classes, the pattern held. In AP classes there was no significant differences. I colleague of mine, John Harrison, and I researched grades from all subjects in the school. The patterns held except in 2 or 3 of the highest-level science and math classes. I redid the work of Ron Bouchier and verified the information he had given those few years earlier. In fact the pattern stayed the same. Together, John and I looked at all kinds of information. We followed the class of 2002 and found that in each year approximately 2/3 of the bottom third of the class was boys and 2/3 of the top third was girls. This corresponded to the almost 3:1 ratio of girls to boys as valedictorians and salutatorians in the county of Westchester.

John and I presented our findings to the staff, and again, seven years later, they were hard pressed to acknowledge what we had found. Not much had changed. Then, as part of an ongoing series of talks and forums for parents the Scarsdale PT Council sponsored a forum on boys called “Are We Failing Our Boys?”. I had invited two other speakers with lots of letters following their names to give what I thought would give the talk more “cred”. The expected audience was about 30-50. Two hundred and fifty people (almost entirely moms) showed up and they were most interested in what I had to say about boys in Scarsdale. Mothers knew what was going on. So did I. But few are willing to acknowledge it in an academic world dominated by NOW and women studies at the University level.

I joined others in this work. I read a great deal on the subject. I gathered much information and from that work, teamed with Dr. Ed Stephens of the On Step Institute and Foundation for Male Studies, helped write a grant for the Leadership Learning Lab of the Central Park Historical Society, and spoke at two local colleges.

One of the most consistent findings in the research is that over the past 30 years how schools have moved to teaching methods that favor how girls learn. Add this to the increasing data about how boys are faring less and less well and you have an understanding about how much of a crisis this is within education, especially among minority males, our most failing demographic. What follows is a summary of what I have found over the years.

In 2002:

12th Graders below Basic Literacy in reading tests

MALES: 33%            FEMALES: 20%.

12th graders with a parent who graduated from college who scored below basic writing proficiency levels:

MALES: 27%           FEMALES: 9%

In 2003: 70 percent of public high school students graduated

Of those,

  • 72 percent of all female students
  • 65 percent of all male students (-7%)
  • 59 percent of African-American female students
  • 48 percent of African-American male students (-11%)
  • 58 percent for Hispanic female students
  • 49 percent of Hispanic male students (-9%)

(Jay P. Greene and Marcus A. Winters, Manhattan Institute for Policy research civic report?No. 48 April 2006)

IN 2005:

BS Degrees by Age and Gender

Age: 65 or higher:               Male          Female

  •                                            24.3%        14%

Age: 45-64:                         Male          Female

  •                                          30.7%         26.6%

Age: 35-44:                        Male           Female

  •                                         29%            26.6%

Age: 25-34:                     Male            Female

  •                                       27.2%         32.5%

(US Census: American Fact finder)

IN 2008

  • 137 women have graduated college for every 100 men
  • 130+ Women earned master’s degrees for every 100 men
    (National Center for Education Statistics)

IN 2010

  • 185 women have graduated from college for every 100 men.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics:

(David Brooks, NYT)

Aside from those comparative annual statistics, in general from K-12:

  • Boys are greatly outnumbered in every extracurricular activity outside of sports, from student government to student newspapers and academic clubs.
  • By 12 years of age, boys are almost twice as likely to have repeated at least one grade.
  • Boys comprise the majority of permanent high-school dropouts.
  • Boys are approximately 3 times as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD or ADD
  • Boys are 10 times as likely to be referred for possible ADHD/ADD as girls
  • Boys (ages 15-19) are 5 times as likely as girls to commit suicide.
  • Boys are more than twice as likely to be suspended from school.
  • Boys are more than three times as likely to be expelled from school.
  • Preschool boys (ages 3-4) are expelled at a rate about 4 ½ times that of girls.

The U.S. Department of Education concedes that no serious research is available comparing different instructional methods that might help boys. Many education researchers have been found to be reluctant regarding research aimed at exploring gender differences in learning. In short, the researchers have found that because of changes in the educational system, the average boy of 50-75 years ago is very likely to be diagnosed with ADHD today, especially if they are bored and gifted boys (Armstrong, 1996, Hartnett et al. 2004, Howard and James, 2003).

There is also a great deal of agreement on the major reasons why these horrors are occurring:

  1. Gender roles in education, especially in elementary school, where 85% of teachers are women.
  2. Popular books (Reviving Ophelia 1994) and groups such as the American Association of University Women alerted the public to an educational failing that helped convince educators that schools were ignoring important girls’ problems, such as the loss of self-esteem among middle school girls who had been successful in elementary school
  3. Resistance from educators who also point to male success in the workforce as proof that advocacy for boys is unnecessary. (Even as statistics point out how men have been and will remain hardest hit by the “Great Recession” and the economic shifts in our nation.)

Over the past 20 years a great deal of knowledge has been accrued regarding biological and brain differences between boys and girls. Some of it shows the following. The language area of an average 5 year old boy’s brain is the same as a 3 ½ year old girl’s thus less able to learn to read K-2 (NIMH, 2006). Girls have more brain area in the frontal lobes devoted to language and expression of emotion as well as superior connectors between language areas to the amygdala, the brain’s emotional center (Neu,8).

Girls’ advanced prefrontal cortex also provides an advantage in decision-making and impulse control (Baron-Cohen, 2003). Girl brains are earlier to process emotional (tend/befriend tendencies) while boys rely more on brain stem and cerebellum resulting in more fight/flight tendencies under stress (Taylor et al., 2000). Boy behavior is far more likely to be determined by Nietzsche’s “will to power” (wanting to be in control of one’s environment) thus more likely to turn to video games and exhibit more confrontational and contradictory behaviors (Gleitman, 1980). As a result of differentiated development of boy and girl brains boys are worse listeners, and thus have greater difficulties in classrooms.

Other researchers point more directly at early academics in K-2. Boys are not as reading/writing ready as girls. This has led to higher stress and failures producing diminishing boy’s motivation. Oddly, or not, the nation that scores highest in the most widely used international reading and writing tests is Finland. They start formal school at the age of 7 (Gurian, p 20, Finnish National Bd. Of Education). Verbally structured classrooms tend to decrease motivation and performance of boys. The results show an increase in the use of boys’ resting brain states, poor note taking, poor attention to directions, and less homework done. These results were especially found in middle and high schools with boys who had higher IQ scores and had earlier successes in elementary school (Gurian, p 246). Hey..that was me grades 9-11. Often too, the boredom of bright boys is misdiagnosed as ADHD. (Howard and James, 2003)

Other educational mismatches between methods and gender differences abound. Overall changes in educational format and curricula over the past 30 years have been detrimental to boys’ learning. Among these are more reading and writing at earlier ages, less physical and non-linear learning, and the disappearance of gym and recess. The evidence shows that more schools have become less and less oriented to these boy strengths. Boys simply learn better when interested and motivated. The research has also shown that boys are primarily visual, logical, musical, kinesthetic, and naturalistic learners (James, p228).

All the research points to the fact that boys simply learn better through experiential doing (“Kenntnis”) than learning about something through reading whether print or computer screen based (“Wissenschaft”). HIstorically, boys learning has gone from physical apprenticeships, action, and practice to sitting in verbal/ written learning environments (Grossman and Grossman, 1994). The result is that normal fidgeting and physical movement, once necessary and normal, are now liabilities (Gurian, p53). There are ways of reforming schools to take these issues into account but they are not past of the No Child Left Behind syndrome.

Let’s take MATH and ELA. Over the years, even math problems have become more word oriented, for which girls’ brains are believed to have an advantage. ELA is theme based and often revolves around character feelings. Boys are more analytical and think more in terms of plot and action. Girls see more global outcomes and themes (Jonassen and Grabowski, 1993). Sax and Judith Kleinfeld (White House conference on Helping American Youth, 2006) contend that although the basic drilling for elementary reading skills works through 4th grade, the ELA curricula and practices in grades 4-12 have contributed to poorer boys’ results during those grades. In fact, although the tests results of 4th grade boys had improved, the 12th grade results show that 1 in 4 boys does not read at a basic level of proficiency as opposed to 1 in 16 girls. (USDE 2007)

Another area to rediscover is the issue of stereotyping. It is what got me interested in this issue in the first place. My son was stereotyped from an early age. Boys get the message that “typical boy behavior—loud, competitive, and physical–is bad, and that they need to become more like girls—quiet, cooperative, and gentle” (James, p115). “Typical boy behavior” is often misdiagnosed as ADHD. According to both Michael Gurian and Leonard Sax this occurs especially when the teacher first suggests ADHD testing. Sax postulates that occurs because most classroom settings are not boy friendly enough, most teachers (predominantly female in the early grades) are not fluent in the needs of boys, and too many K-1 classrooms are inappropriately academically advanced. (Ironically, since the early 1990’s girls have been getting the message to become more assertive, competitive, and more physical.)

In another example of stereotyping, a 1992 study showed that “60% of teachers believed that their male African American students would not go on to college.” In that particular study 65% of the teachers surveyed were African American (Garibaldi, 1992). One reason was the sub-cultural “call and response” (Schwartz, 2001; Townsend, 2000) style of many inner city males, actually physically active, loud, engaged and enthusiastic learning is often perceived as angry and hostile (Grossman and Grossman, 1994). Most upper middle class secondary schools (where many teachers come from) stress higher critical thinking skills, conceptual thinking, and applications while most lower socioeconomic secondary schools, stress safety, class management, and rote learning to achieve success on basic skills as shown on national standardized tests.

That is the reform that needs to be made most. The reform movement as it now stands simply makes this worse. The result is a lack of practice in deeper understanding of material and the underlying skills for advancement both to and in college. Today’s “reforms” have led to more competent mediocrity in inner city schools.

Whatever the causes, boys are found with:

  • Poorer motivation (Gurian, 244)
  • Poorer learning while sedentary as a result of their need to move around (Gurian, Sax, James, Tyre, Neu and others)
  • Poorer ability to hear softer higher sounds such as female voices (McFadden, 1998 and others)
  • Poorer episodic memory, less oriented to detail, thus poorer at test taking (Davis, 1999 and others)
  • Poorer at planning and paying attention (Naglieri and Rojahn, 2001)
  • Poorer at delaying gratification (Canada, 1999, 2000)
  • Poorer emotional communication skills.
  • A greater need for lists, clear directions, depth of learning vs. breadth (Gurian, 48)
  • Greater frustration, with less control and more discipline problems
  • Greater use of the brain’s “rest state” (zoning out or looking distracted)
  • A preference to shut down or say they didn’t do the work instead of admitting they don’t know (Gurian, p165).

What We Can Change In Districts? How can we learn from all the research and institute real reform beyond the Gates, Bloomberg, Duncan, and Rhee style we are currently engulfed by?

  • Use more Kenntnis (experiential learning) and less Wissenschaft (the linear pursuit of knowledge:
  • Install appropriate experiential learning programs K-12.
  • Restore old-fashioned Kindergarten.
  • Start formal school a year later. Both genders will benefit.
  • Start MS and HS at 9:00 AM. Use adolescent sleep studies.
  • Evaluate and improve the screening for ADHD.
  • Use more effective modes of discipline. Boys, again unlike girls, usually react better to “power assertion” (clearly stating the rules and explaining how they were broken) and “attention withdrawal” techniques as opposed to induction (How would you feel if you were Johnny?) Induction, because it is not direct, often creates anger and defensiveness and thus makes some boys suspicious over time thus escalating their reactions (Heyman and Legare, 2004).
  • Provide access to good male mentors, heroes, and role models.
  • Get parents and the community involved.
  • Restore recess and add more physical education classes…Jim needs GYM!
  • Consider single sex classrooms, subjects or schools. The research is still out.

What We Can Change In Classrooms?

  • Use differentiated instruction and assessments based on boys’ preferred learning styles and intelligences. As math has included more word problems and essay questions (female strengths) ELA and Social Studies should incorporate questions allowing for visual answers (ex: cartooning), and grade for logic and being concise.
  • Design units and lessons using Grant Wiggins’ Understanding by Design (1998)…Start at the outcomes and plan backwards, including appropriate authentic assessments.
  • Provide reading choice. Boys comprehend more when they read about their interests.
  • Questions should ask what would you “do” as opposed to what would you “feel?”
  • Use analogies where possible. It is a boy strength…either as teaching tool or in tests. So why did the College Board remove these from SAT tests?
  • Give problem-solving assignments.
  • Use direct language in giving directions. Be matter of fact. Do not coddle. Give them what they need in order to solve the problem.
  • Be vigilant about monitoring work and returning results swiftly and constructively.
  • Train students to take verbatim notes and then to summarize them.
  • Use voice modulation so boys can hear well.
  • Add touch and eye contact, depending on sub-cultural issues.
  • Use visuals, graphics, art, drama, music, and physical activities.
  • Build in strategic “Brain breaks.”
  • Use humor.
  • Use competition, with winners and losers, especially as part of a team.
  • Put boys in groups larger than three.
  • Do not over-compliment boys or sweeten comments without merit. Self esteem for boys must be addressed differently than for girls. Boys, unlike girls, will not do better if they think they are good in a subject. (Baumeister et al., 2003)

The Gates, Bloomberg, Duncan, and Rhee, TFA, and Teachers College Workshop model reform movement have thrown many of these methods out. It’s time we looked back at the research and matched up with the findings.

  • “If you think about how many boys are getting bad grades, failing tests, not performing in class, becoming discipline problems—and if you look beyond the reading and writing gap, you might notice other key elements of male nature that are now a mismatch with conventional schooling.” (Gurian, 52)
  • “Despite the research, schools that allow boys to function in accordance with their natural development are a dying breed.” (Tyre, 75)
  • Many school districts, from Atlanta to Wilmette, have finally realized they must react to these issues. In Wilmette, after a huge in district probe, a “final committee report provided irrefutable evidence that [even] upper middle class boys were not thriving in school.” The Board of Education’s response “was clear: Do whatever it takes to improve the performance of all children—including boys” (Tyre, 121,122).

Thus it is our task to create a more equitable education system for boys, without sacrificing the success of its girls. To accomplish this all involved must open their minds beyond the current trends and understand the research based socio/neurobiological foundations of cognitive gender differences as they relate to education. We must recognize the levels to which curricula and teaching respond to these research based foundations. And we must develop educational approaches based on solid research to provide a more boy-friendly instructional climate yet still be responsive to both genders. (James, 8 )

 

_________________________________________

 

David Greene is a guest contributor who is a former High School Social Studies teacher and coach in The Bronx, Greenburgh NY, and Scarsdale NY. He presently is an adjunct for Fordham University, mentoring Teach For Americans in the Bronx. He is a staff member of WISE Services, an advisor to the Foundation For Male Studies, a HS football coach, and was a member of the Save Our Schools March and Call to Action Program Committee.

 

What the Penn State Scandal Tells Us: We Don’t Care About the Sexual Abuse of Boys

Printed with permission from The Father Factor

Roland Warren

Most of the commentary about the sex abuse scandal at Penn State University is what one would expect. Penn State football fans debate the fairness of the abrupt firing of their beloved coach; the Penn State board of directors talks about its need to hastily handle this public relations nightmare and restore the university’s storied reputation. The pundits on TV and radio pontificate while pointing their fingers and shaking their fists, questioning how Jerry Sandusky could get away with so much abuse of so many boys for so long.

Certainly, this makes good fodder for the 24-hour news cycle. And it may even assuage our collective need to understand what happened. However, this sexual abuse scandal confirms a much broader problem that has become increasingly evident to me. One that says less about Penn State than it does about our culture.

We don’t care about the sexual abuse of boys.

Consider just a few of the allegations in the Sandusky situation:

A janitor observed Sandusky the showers at the Penn State football building with a young boy pinned up against the wall, preforming oral sex on the boy. The janitor immediately tells others on the janitorial staff, including his supervisor. In fact, another janitor also sees Sandusky with the boy. Despite all of this, no one makes a report of the incident.

A 28-year-old Penn State graduate assistant enters the locker room at the football building. In the shower, he sees a naked boy, who he estimates to be about 10 years old, being sodomized by a naked Sandusky. Although he tells Paterno the next day, at the time, he does nothing to stop Sandusky.

Now, replace the word “boy” in the above instances with “girl.” Do you think that two janitors would fail to stop Sandusky from sexually assaulting a little girl? I think not. What about the graduate assistant? He was a former Penn State football player. No doubt, he would have used his best form tackling technique on Sandusky to stop him from raping a little girl.

And, consider how differently the Penn State administrators, who were told by Paterno about Sandusky’s behavior, would have responded if the victims were girls. Would they have stood idly by for years? No. They would have taken immediate action rather than risk being on the receiving end of the wrath of celebrity attorney Gloria Allred, NOW, and numerous women’s groups on campus. They would have reasoned that Penn State getting a reputation as a university that did not protect girls and women would have deeply negative consequences for years to come.

Not only that, they would probably take proactive steps to show the public that Penn State is dedicated to becoming a place that is safe for girls and women. They would start a new research center, and host forums, events, and marches to show their solidarity with the community of women. What will Penn State do to show it is a safe place for boys?

Boys have no advocacy groups to fight for them. Baby seals, pit bulls, and trees do, it seems. No matter how young and vulnerable, boys are expected to fend for themselves.

According to Prevent Child Abuse America, the sexual abuse of boys is under-reported and under-treated. Although the sexual abuse of girls has been widely studied, little research has been done on the abuse of boys. Accordingly, we don’t know nearly as much about it as we should. But, what we do know is quite troubling.

First, boys at the highest risk are younger than thirteen years of age, nonwhite, of lower socioeconomic status, and live in father-absent homes. (Alas, it is no surprise that Sandusky founded an agency that would provide him easy access to troubled boys from broken homes.) Second, sexually abused boys seem to experience more severe and complex consequences than girls in respect to emotional and behavioral problems. Yet, as a culture, much like the Penn State janitors and the graduate assistant, we see what is happening, have the ability to help, but we do nothing.

As is typical with all sex scandals, in time they move from the front page to the back page; from being the lead story to a minor mention; we move on and we forget. But our boys need our help to protect them from the Jerry Sandusky’s of the world and, when they become prey, to help them heal.

But first of all, they need us to care.

___________________________________________________________________________________

Roland Warren
Roland Warren
Roland C. Warren leads NFI in its mission to improve the well-being of children by increasing the proportion of children growing up with involved, responsible, and committed fathers. Roland leads NFI’s activities, such as its award-winning public education campaign and its cutting-edge programming for fathers. Roland played football for Princeton University, and received his M.B.A. from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Roland and his wife, Yvette, have two sons.

Maryland Report – Male Victims of Domestic Violence

Perhaps the most confusing, perplexing, and controversial area in which men’s health needs are overlooked is the issue of male victims of domestic violence. One immediately noticeable trend is the strong tendency to focus solely on female victims and ignore male victims. This tendency is seen repeatedly.  Most media, whether print or electronic, focuses on female victims of domestic violence and all too often fails to mention male victims. Almost every article in the newspaper and every program on TV about domestic violence focuses on female victims.  We see the same focus in academia: courses in sociology and women’s studies repeat the message that women are the primary victims of domestic violence and rarely mention male victims. If you look on the internet at web sites of domestic violence agencies you will likely see a similar bias.1 One oft-quoted statistic is that according to a Department of Justice report, there are 1.5 million women each year in the United States who are victims of domestic violence.  What you don’t see is that the same report also found that there are 834,000 male victims of domestic violence each year in the United States.2  Rather than adding the two and saying 2.3 million Americans suffer from domestic violence each year, all too often the only statistic highlighted is the one about women. One side of the story is told and the other side is ignored, as 834,000 men are omitted. Nationally, we have the “Violence Against Women Act” which boldly excludes men from its name. The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (a national group that teaches judges on the issue of domestic violence) offers a typical description which includes women but seems to minimize men: “Domestic violence puts millions of women and their families at risk each year and is one of the single greatest social ills impacting the nation.”3 There is no mention of men who might be at risk.  Most organizations promote the idea that females are the overwhelming majority of victims of domestic violence.  The general public has heard that message for decades and believes it to be the sole truth.  But is it?

The National Council Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) offers a similar message that women are the vast majority of the victims of domestic violence. According to their definition of domestic violence: ”There is not a typical woman who will be battered – the risk factor is being born female.”4 If “the” risk factor is being born female, that seems to exclude men from sharing the risk. But a look at their own statistics compiled from state governments tells a very different story. In the state of Maryland, according to NCADV statistics, men comprise 23% of the victims of domestic violence, and women are 23% of the perpetrators.5 Maryland State Police statistics reveal similar estimates, listing men as 25% of all victims of domestic violence.6 These numbers are confirmed and even exceeded when compared with peer-reviewed research. What you find is that men are a sizable portion of the victims of domestic violence, a much larger portion than is usually mentioned through a variety of sources. In fact, peer-reviewed research reveals that most domestic violence is characterized not by one person abusing the other, but by what is termed as “reciprocal” violence: a brawl between two partners.7 The bulk of the research also suggests that women are more often the initiators of the violence.8  This sharp contrast between the commonly-held public view of women as the vast majority of domestic violence victims with men as the sole perpetrators, versus the research and statistics compiled by authoritative sources, paint pictures that are hard to reconcile.

The domestic violence agencies in Maryland are obviously comprised of a compassionate group of people dedicated to fighting a horrible problem.  The Maryland Commission for Men’s Health wholeheartedly agrees with them that domestic violence needs our attention and our resources. The issue that the commission finds worrisome is that it appears that only a part of the problem of domestic violence is being addressed in earnest: the female victims. The other parts are taking a back seat: male victims and female perpetrators. Due to this imbalance, some Marylanders go unserved and left in great pain.

There is a saying among NASA engineers that “an ounce of thrust at takeoff can mean thousands of miles down course.”  The ounce of thrust that has thrown the domestic violence industry off course is the idea of holding men and masculinity solely responsible for the incidence of domestic violence. In its early years as a cause, many of those working in domestic violence assumed that men were the sole cause of domestic violence and, of course, women were seen as the only victims.  It was this contention that has limited their vision to see the complexity of domestic violence and its many victims both male and female, heterosexual and homosexual. Over the years, various organizations and individuals have tried to offer feedback that males are in need of treatment as victims and females are in need of attention as perpetrators, but all too often their voices go noticably unheard.

How did things get to this point?

When domestic violence activism first started in the 1970?s, the leaders were mostly feminists who were rightly concerned about the lives and safety of women. What they saw was shocking: situations where muscular men were beating innocent women. Very quickly these stories started making their way to the media. People were shocked and outraged. The activists kept the stories flowing to the media and the media continued to alert the public to the truly awful horror stories. The feminist activists applied their ideological template to the issues of domestic violence. In the 1970’s, the feminist template presumed men were a major cause of women’s problems and were a large inhibiting factor holding women back from a variety of opportunities.  Phrases like “all men are rapists” and “men are pigs” were commonplace.  Men were routinely disdained and blamed.  The horror of males committing domestic violence gave some reason to believe that these early misandrist stereotypes of men might hold some truth.  Uncaring men, using their power to control and beat women, were observed repeatedly in these domestic violence situations, and this led to the assumption that it was men who were the underlying cause of a grievous social problem.  Sadly, we now know that this idea of men being the underlying cause of the problem represents a truth but simply not the whole truth.  What we now know is that although the stories of women being beaten by bullying men were certainly true, they told only part of the story.  Researchers today characterize domestic violence as being 25% men beating women, 25% women beating men and 50% being more of a brawl between the two people.9  The brawling and the violent women had been overshadowed by the more shocking and outrageous examples of helpless women being beaten by bullying men.

This statistical breakdown of 25%-25%-50% is a shock to many and very difficult to believe.   However, we have already seen how the premier national domestic violence organization, the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), verifies that in Maryland, for example, men comprise 23% of the victims and females 23% of the perpetrators of domestic violence.  Why would people not believe this to be the case?  Could it be that an ideology that holds men as the primary culprits in incidences of domestic violence continues to inhibit them from seeing situations in which men are victimized by abusive women?

The feminist idea that men are wholly responsible for domestic violence found immediate traction.  The horrible situations that were being reported were all of abusive men terrorizing defenseless women.  This sort of scenario struck a chord in both men and women who heard these reports.  The women were moved due to their own compassion for other women and children who might be vulnerable and in need.  The men were moved since an important part of the man’s biological and social sex role is to provide and protect for women and children.  Seeing women abused by out-of-control men was a very strong call to action for most men.  It is little wonder then that most states quickly developed laws and the beginnings of support for these female victims.  By the 1980s, only a few short years from the early activism of the 1970s, many states had already put domestic violence laws on their books. That’s moving pretty fast, for legislative bodies, who are known for their tendency to be circumspect when introducing whole new classes of penal laws.

What prevented evidence of other forms of domestic violence from coming to the surface? One answer to this question comes from one of the original domestic violence activists, Ellen Pence. Pence was the author of an important book about domestic violence and the influential Duluth Model (discussed below). She was also the founder of the Duluth Domestic Abuse Intervention Project.  Pence admits that there was an effort to avoid issues related to women’s violence and highlights the neglect of female abusers:

In many ways, we turned a blind eye to many women’s use of violence, their drug use and alcoholism, and their often harsh and violent treatment of their own children.10

Why would the original activists “turn a blind eye?”  Did they not see that turning a blind eye put many innocent people in jeopardy?  One of the reasons was surely that the theoretical framework of men being the “only abusers” left no room to see women as anything but victims.  The norm for viewing female abusers came to be that a female abuser was considered to have been “abused in the past” and was acting this way out of hurt and self-defense, not evil or anything else. Their view of domestic violence simply did not allow room for the possibility of the woman as the abuser, plain and simple.  As in all things, if your theoretical framework doesn’t account for a phenomenon to exist, it is much less likely to be recognized.  It is also probably true that the media showed more interest in the stories where women were abused by men.  These stories touched a cultural nerve and therefore sold more papers and air time.  People wanted to read about female victims, but were not so interested in hearing about males who were abused by women. The early activists must have found that they could get the word out much more quickly and more powerfully by focusing on stories about men beating women.

The focus on male batterers and female victims has left us knowing a good deal less about female batterers. How could the less-physically powerful women ever batter or intimidate men?   What we have since found out through research is that violent women make up for their lack of physical strength by using weapons and the tactic of surprise.11  In domestic violence situations, women will often use weapons when men are vulnerable.  Think of Lorena Bobbitt who severed her husband’s penis while he slept or Mary Winkler who shot her husband in the back with a shotgun while he was sleeping, or Clara Harris who ran over her husband with her car as her daughter sat next to her.  All are examples of women committing domestic violence by using the element of surprise paired with lethal weapons. Interestingly, none of these murders or incidents was ever portrayed by the media as domestic violence.  The words “domestic violence” seem to be reserved exclusively for male-on-female violence only.  When women do choose to be violent as in the above examples, muscles simply don’t matter.  A shotgun will beat muscles every time.  The national figures for the United States show that 30% of spousal murders, the most lethal form of domestic violence, are committed by women against their husbands or partners.12

It wasn’t just the domestic violence activists who intentionally ignored women’s violence.  Our culture also tends to look the other way.  For whatever reasons, a woman’s violence is simply not as upsetting to see.  Just watch television shows or movies to see the frequency of women hitting or kicking men. In today’s world it is a given for women to hit men on TV but not the other way around.  Everyone sees this but few seem to get upset or to protest.  We are living with a huge double-standard where a woman’s violence against a man is something we see in cartoons, movies, commercials, or TV as innocuous or even comical. We see plenty of violence from men towards other men but when we see violence from men towards women it is seen as anything but comical or innocuous; it is seen as deadly.  This double-standard likely increases the chances for women’s violence in relationships to be overlooked by the media, the general public and by domestic violence workers.

It is also likely true that once these activists were looking for funding for their endeavors from the government or private institutions, the stories about “vulnerable women in great need of safety” brought much more attention and promises of funding than did a similar story of a man being abused by his wife.  Every politician wanted to be seen as the one helping solve this problem by “making women safe in their own homes”.  Those stories about men as victims simply didn’t have the same traction.  No politician wanted to touch those.  For them, rather than help male victims in their lobbying for funds, the stories of abused men would likely muddy the waters and detract from the powerful images of women-in-need.  The stories about men-in-need were also completely counter to the growing ideology that men were the source of all domestic violence.  An abused man simply didn’t fit into that framework and would likely have decreased the success of any unisex funding efforts.

It is easy to see how the ideology of men as the source of the domestic violence problem likely developed over the initial years of domestic violence activism.  It fit with the image that the media was helping to portray. It fit with the feminist idea that men were “the problem” and it surely helped in advocating for domestic violence funding.  There were good reasons simply to not bring up men-as-victims.

The Duluth Model

In the early 1980s an important event transpired in the history of domestic violence prevention.  A group of domestic violence activists met in Duluth, Minnesota after a particularly gruesome murder of a wife by a husband.  The group started to put together what would eventually become the “Duluth Model”, which has since become a staple ideological protocol for most domestic violence agencies in the US.  In some states, its use is mandated.  In many ways it has become the handbook for those working with domestic violence victims and situations.  It is important to understand the initial questions asked by the Duluth gathering at the inception of the Duluth Model theory.  Here are questions asked by those at the initial gathering: “Why is she the target of his violence”  “Why does he think he is entitled to have power?”  “How does the community support his violence?”13  As you can see from the questions, the Duluth Model at its very beginnings was only about male violence towards women.  It was never about mutual violence or a woman’s violence towards a man. It was only about men beating women.  It had no remarks or suggestions for abused men or about female perpetrators.  The flagship theory of the industry only focused on women as victims and men as perpetrators.  Australian author Tom Graves has evaluated the Duluth Model and lists its major problems.  Here are the first three:

1.  It believes that violence is masculine and that men are responsible for violence
2.  It refuses to remark or address the fact that men can be the recipients of violence
3.  It holds only men responsible as change agents.14

These three errors play a huge part in the failure of the Duluth Model to address the needs of male victims and the needs of female perpetrators.  Let’s hypothesize a possible example of the damage that can occur from stereotyping victims of domestic violence:  Imagine both wife and husband have been drinking.  The wife, in a burst of anger, throws a wine bottle at her husband who was hit on the arm as he blocked the bottle.  The wife next comes after him with a wine glass and tries to throw wine in his face.  He blocked that also and in the process, the wine glass breaks and cuts his wife.  The police arrive.  They find a bleeding and crying wife and a husband who claimed that he had been attacked.  Their Duluth Model training has taught them that the vast majority of victims of domestic violence are female and so, what do they do? Arrest the man and put him in jail!  No matter how much the man might try to explain his actions, the police would likely refuse to listen.  In fact, once the wife realizes her husband was going to jail, she would probably start to tell the truth, that she was the attacker.  The police would of course hear none of it and off to jail the man would go.

This man would be placed into a mandatory Duluth Model domestic violence “educational” group.  He would not be allowed to speak the truth of what had happened. When he would try to explain that it was his wife who had attacked him, he would be told to be quiet and focus on his violence. The truth of his being abused would be seen by the group leaders as an “excuse” that keeps him from taking responsibility for his violence.  He would be forced never to mention his wife’s violence.  He would have two choices.  One would be to tell the truth and not “graduate” from the educational sessions, which would leave him legally vulnerable.  The other would be to lie and say he was the abuser.  We could guess that this man would choose to lie simply in order to ”graduate” from the “training”.

This sort of example shows how the system can take on the role of what is being called a “third party” abuser.  The spouse no longer has a need to batter.  The police and community agencies are now taking over that role by treating the falsely-accused man in a manner that lacks respect for him as a human being who has been abused or as a citizen with the right to be presumed innocent or to have his side of a given unwitnessed incident fairly considererd.  This is what can happen when pre-judgments arising from stereotypes are used instead of impartial mindsets coupled with factual analysis.

Since its inception, the Duluth Model has been reworked and made more “gender neutral”, but it continues to fail miserably in its capacity to address the needs of men who are victimized and of women who are violent.

If you visit the Duluth Model web site, you can see that their primary focus on female victims continues to this day.  The Duluth site claims that women account for as many as 97% of the victims of domestic violence.15  We know from both police reports and from peer-reviewed research that this is far from the truth.  It does however show that the Duluth Model continues to be focused on female victims and has failed in taking current thinking and research into account, thus placing male victims at risk and allowing female perpetrators to go unchecked or psychiatrically untreated for their abusiveness.

The Duluth Model spreads to the community

As the domestic violence industry grew, the Duluth Model took a greater and greater hold on the theoretical practices of domestic violence agencies.  As it took this greater hold, the ideas of domestic violence being only about men beating women spread farther.  As funding grew for domestic violence agencies, the funding for trainings grew correspondingly.  The 1994 federal Violence Against Women Act started pouring about one billion dollars per year into domestic violence endeavors.  A part of that money was spent on trainings given to the court systems, judges, police, lawyers and domestic violence workers.  The message the workshops broadcast was founded on the Duluth Model ideology that women were the vast majority of domestic violence victims and men were only a tiny minority.  More and more, the ideas of the Duluth Model became the standard.  It was presented as fact that domestic violence is pretty much only about women being abused by men.  That ideology is now set firmly in place.  The early work of the activists has focused exclusively on abused women and now the theoretical framework that guided their work is firmly planted in an ideology that focuses on female victims but ignores the needs of male victims and the actions of female perpetrators.  Now these ideas have been spread successfully into our community agencies and public institutions.

Opposing Voices to the Duluth Model — Researchers

Murray Straus, Richard Gelles, and Susan Steinmetz are early researchers on issues of domestic violence.  This group published a book in 1982 that ran counter to the feminist ideology.  The book, Behind Closed Doors,16 said clearly that domestic violence was a two-way street with both men and women responsible as perpetrators and victims.  The response was swift and powerful.  Upon publication, Straus, Gelles and Steinmetz were immediately seen as enemies. Prior to their findings that there is gender symmetry in domestic violence, they had been praised and held in high esteem as instrumental in the early research on domestic violence.  But once they found data that contradicted the feminist belief that men were the only perpetrators and women the only victims, things changed drastically.  At that point, they lost their glow and became villains to those who supported the ideas of women as the only victims of domestic violence.  Death threats and other avenues of intimidation were used to try to silence them.  Murray Straus, Ph.D., describes his struggle with intimidation and explains his own reluctance to publish his results that went counter to the feminist domestic violence ideology:

Researchers who have an ideological commitment to the idea that men are almost always the sole perpetrator often conceal evidence that contradicts this belief. Among researchers not committed to that ideology, many (including me and some of my colleagues) have withheld results showing gender symmetry to avoid becoming victims of the vitriolic denunciations and ostracism. Thus, many researchers have published only the data on male perpetrators or female victims, deliberately omitting the data on female perpetrators and male victims.17

In essence, these researchers were being bullied. In fact, Straus published a paper in 2006 that describes not only the intimidation they suffered but also chronicles the specific ways that the feminist researchers made certain that their own data only produced the desired results that reflected the ideology that women were the primary victims of domestic violence.18

The research by Straus, Gelles, Steinmetz, and many others which clearly shows that men are victims has been available through journal articles for years.19   Some activists have drawn from the statistics and findings and tried to use this information to change the system to encourage existing services to include focus on male victims of domestic violence.  When activists make such attempts, they are usually met with the same results most every time:  the domestic violence industry claims that the peer-reviewed research is inaccurate and cites numbers from their own clinical settings, hospital settings, and emergency rooms.  The numbers they cite are very different from the research numbers and clearly show that domestic violence is indeed primarily a “men beat women” problem.  So who is correct?  The quick answer is BOTH.  The research numbers from scientists such as Strauss, Gelles, and Steinmetz are correct from their perspective and from the populations they studied.  These numbers were usually drawn from the general population and reflect the “average” person or family.

But how about the domestic violence agencies numbers?  Well, they are correct also, but one must note that the sample they draw from is very biased.  They draw from a population that has been utilizing services specifically built for women who were abused.  It is little wonder that they would therefore be more likely to show greater numbers of female victims.  Imagine a hospital that was built specifically for the treatment of caucasian diabetics.  When they look at their own numbers and stats they would assuredly say that the majority of victims of diabetes are white!  Since their services are built to serve whites, that is exactly what their stats will show.  One would also assume that they would be teaching in the community about whites and diabetes and also do Public Service Announcements for whites who might have diabetes.  The same thing happens within the domestic violence industry.  The entire system was originally built for women.  The name of the law the Violence Against Women Act makes that very clear.  It is little wonder that the statistics they compile and the research done within the domestic violence industry on their own populations would reflect that women were the primary victims.  You see this idea filter down to the clinical level where almost every group for domestic violence victims in Maryland is for women only.  The treatment groups are almost always built for male perpetrators and female victims. The overwhelming majority of public service announcements on domestic violence are focused on female victims.  When you solicit for a certain type of victim, it is no surprise that your statistics, trainings and treatment will center around that particular type of client.

Opposing Voices to the Duluth Model — Clinicians

While the peer-reviewed research has been noting male victims for years, the clinical side of the equation has now started getting noticed.   In 2007, the American Psychiatric Association published an article in the August issue of Psychiatric News titled: “Men Shouldn’t be Overlooked as Victims of Partner Violence.”20  The article cited some of the research findings about women being more likely then men in relationship to initiate domestic violence and focused on issues of reciprocal interpersonal violence versus nonreciprocal violence. Here is a quote from the article:

Regarding perpetration of violence, more women than men (25 percent versus 11 percent) were responsible. In fact, 71 percent of the instigators in nonreciprocal partner violence were women.

And another:

As for physical injury due to intimate partner violence, it was more likely to occur when the violence was reciprocal than nonreciprocal. And while injury was more likely when violence was perpetrated by men, in relationships with reciprocal violence it was the men who were injured more often (25 percent of the time) than were women (20 percent of the time). “This is important as violence perpetrated by women is often seen as not serious,” Whitaker and his group stressed.

The word is getting out that both men and women are perpetrators and victims of domestic violence.

Opposing Voices to the Duluth Model — The Courts

The courts are also starting to take notice of the discrimination that men face in the domestic violence industry.  In the Woods et. al. vs California case in 2008, a Superior Court in Sacramento, ruled that male domestic violence victims had been unconstitutionally denied services.  The court held that state laws violated men’s equal protection rights by excluding male victims from state-funded domestic violence services.  The court found: ”domestic violence is a serious problem for both women and men” and that “men experience significant levels of domestic violence as victims.”21  The court also found a percentage of state-funded programs deny men services they are entitled to receive.

Then, in October 2009, a West Virginia judge struck down state rules for regulating domestic violence shelters because they operate “on the premise that only men can be batterers and only women can be victims” and “exclude adult and adolescent males from their statutory right to safety and security free from domestic violence based only on their gender.”22

Are there men who fall through the cracks?

We have seen how the domestic violence industry has had a history of blaming men and masculinity for domestic violence. This sort of theoretical assumption has a negative impact on the willingness of men to seek help. The men, not unlike the early female victims of domestic violence in the 1970?s who were very reluctant to seek treatment, are certain that no one cares about their situation and are highly unlikely to seek out services when not invited. What compounds this problem for men is that their gender is blamed for the original problem.

We have learned from Maryland State Police statistics that men comprise about 25% of the victims of domestic violence in Maryland.23 What we don’t know is the percentage of males seeking treatment as victims of domestic violence.  In checking with a number of Maryland Domestic Violence agencies, they often say that the number of male victims is very small.  Some of the treatment centers claim that men are only 4% of their clients.  If the State Police count men as 25% of the 20,000 victims of domestic violence recorded annually in Maryland and the agencies that offer treatment for domestic violence say that men are only 4% of the victims that request treatment, that seems to leave a huge number of men who are untreated victims.  It seems likely that a large percentage of the 5000+ men who are reported by State Police as victims of domestic violence in Maryland are falling through the cracks and not getting the help they need and are entitled to as citizens and residents.

Summary

What once started as a righteous cause to help battered women has evolved over the years to be something that seems to help battered women but also seems to neglect the needs of violent women and battered men and ignores the imperatives that the fundamental demands our tradition of justice holds dear.  Both the media and academia seem to focus solely on female victims of domestic violence, with a much smaller focus or none at all on male victims.  Researchers doing peer-reviewed research have consistently found evidence that men and women are both victims of domestic violence, but this finding has not been translated to changing the treatment that men receive in domestic violence agencies. Clinical groups such as the American Psychiatric Association are beginning to alert the public and clinicians that men are indeed a sizable percentage of domestic violence victims.  The courts have also started pointing out the discrimination that is present in many domestic violence agencies that treat men and women differently.
This report is not claiming that men are never served through domestic violence agencies in the state of Maryland.  It is however claiming that Maryland’s domestic violence services have traditionally been created for women only and this has a chilling effect on men’s usage of these facilities.

 

A Proposal For Practical Change

There is a domestic violence group named “Safe For All” that offers trainings nationwide and is particularly aware of the many issues around domestic violence, including those of male victims and of people in homosexual relationships, also an under-recognized and under-served group.   Their web address is http://safe4all.org/24 The National Family Law Legislative Resource Center, www.nfvlrc.org25 represents the nation’s leading authorties, clinicians, and researchers on domestic violence and could also offer trainings and consultations.26

Although calls to Maryland shelters and crisis lines to test for discriminatory handling of reports have at the present time not been conducted, there is no question such testing can be conducted and most likely will be conducted in order to support lawsuits similar to the successful ones used in the legal cases in California and West Virginia cited above. The results of such testing in Maryland would likely mirror these results: In a national poll by Clark University, female researchers studied 302 abused men who sought help. Their key findings were that 63.9% of men who called hotlines were told they only helped women, and 68.7% said the hotlines were not at all helpful. Of those that contacted a local domestic violence (shelter) program, 95.3% said the program gave the impression that they were biased against men, 78.3% said they don’t help male victims, and 63.9% suggested the male caller was the batterer. (See; http://clarku.edu/faculty/dhines/results.htm.27 )

Therefore, in order to avoid costly and time-consuming lawsuits, it behooves the State of Maryland to require all domestic violence service organizations that receive pass-through federal funding or state funding of any type to receive training in non-discriminatory but practical approaches and techniques for handling domestic violence cases and suspected or reported cases. Such training is available via the two organizations referenced above, and also from others.

Whether or not gay and heterosexual men represent a small minority, a large minority, or an equal number of such victims as compared to women in the population is immaterial. The State of Maryland  by its policies and procedures is obligated to encourage and support only those organizations that practice inclusion, diversity and non-discrimination. However, not even very large urban areas can financially support “separate but equal” domestic violence facilities and services for men and women. Not only is it not practical, but such a policy does little to combat discrimination and only encourages conflict over funding resources.  1. The purpose of this training is to provide guidance and directives in how to implement a non-discrimination policy in all service areas.  2. As part of this training program, a compliance coordination methodology shall be developed to assure that the non-discrimination policy is being carried out by agencies who participated in the training. 3. The training will provide cost-effective, implementable, and practical steps that each agency or organization can take to eliminate discrimination and incorporate gender and sexual orientation inclusive policies.

We respectfully request the Office of The Governor to immediately begin the implementation of such a training program.

REFERENCES


1 One example is the Allstate page <http://www.clicktoempower.org/> linked from the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence (MNADV) web page that rightly claims that 3 women each day (actually it is closer to 4) die of domestic violence in the United States. They fail to mention that nearly 2 men die each day due to being murdered by their female partner. This is a glaring omission. In 2007 1640 women were murdered by their male intimates and 700 men were murdered by their female partners. http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm?ty=tp&tid=971 Why are the male victims omitted?

2 “Prevalence, Incidence, and Consequences of Violence Against Women: Findings From the National Violence Against Women Survey | National Institute of Justice.” Office of Justice Programs. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Dec. 2009. <http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/nij/pubs-sum/172837.htm>.

3 “Family Violence.” National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges . N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Dec. 2009. <www.ncjfcj.org/content/view/20/94/>.

4 “National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.” National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Dec. 2009. <http://www.ncadv.org/learn/TheProblem.php>.

5 “Domestic Violence Facts: Maryland.” National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Dec. 2009. <www.ncadv.org/files/Maryland.pdf>.

6 “Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence (MNADV).” Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence (MNADV). N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Dec. 2009. <http://mnadv.org/DV_Stats/ucr_stats.html>.

7  Whitaker, Daniel. “Differences in Frequency of Violence and Reported Injury Between Relationships With Reciprocal and Nonreciprocal Intimate Partner Violence.” Journal of Public Health 97.May (2007): 941-947. Print.

8  Ibid.

9  Ibid.

10 Pence E. Some thoughts on philosophy. In Shepard M and Pence E (eds.): Coordinating Community Responses to Domestic Violence: Lessons from Duluth and Beyond. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publishers, 1999, p. 30.

11  McNeely, R. L., Cook,  P. W. & Torres, J. B.  (2001).  Is domestic violence a gender issue or a human issue?  Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment, 4 (4), 227-251.

12  ”Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) – Intimate partner violence.” Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) . N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Jan. 2010. <http://bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/index.cfm?ty=tp&tid=971>.

13 Paymar, Michael, and Ellen Pence. Education Groups for Men Who Batter: The Duluth Model. 1 ed. New York: Springer Publishing Company, 1993. Print.

14 Graves, Tom. Power and Response-ability: the human side of systems. London: Tetradian, 2008. Print.

15 Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs, Home of the Duluth Model.” Domestic Abuse Intervention Programs, Home of the Duluth Model. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Dec. 2009. <http://www.theduluthmodel.org/wheelgallery.php>.

16 Gelles, Richard J., and Murray Straus. Behind Closed Doors: Violence in the American Family. New Ed ed. New Brunswick: Transaction Publishers, 2006. Print.

17 “Processes Explaining the Concealment and Distortion of Evidence on Gender Symetry in Partner Violence.” University of New Hampshire. N.p., n.d. Web.18 Dec. 2009. <pubpages.unh.edu/~mas2/V74-gender-symmetry-with-gramham-Kevan-Method%208-.pdf>.

18 Ibid.

19 “REFERENCES EXAMINING ASSAULTS BY WOMEN ON THEIR SPOUSES OR MALE PARTNERS: AN ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY.” California State University, Long Beach. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Dec. 2009. <http://www.csulb.edu/~mfiebert/assault.htm>.

20 Arehart-Treichel, Joan. “Men Shouldn’t Be Overlooked as Victims of Partner Violence.” APA Psychiatric News 42.15 (2007): 31-33. Print.

21  ”Appeals court decision supports battered men.” San Francisco Bay Area — News, Sports, Business, Entertainment, Classifieds: SFGate. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Dec. 2009. <http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2008/10/15/BA3S13HOLS.DTL>.

22 Press, The Associated. “W.Va. domestic-violence program regulations voided  – News – The Charleston Gazette – West Virginia News and Sports.” – – The Charleston Gazette – West Virginia News and Sports. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Dec. 2009. <http://www.wvgazette.com/News/200910080509>.

23 “Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence (MNADV).” Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence (MNADV). N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Dec. 2009. <http://www.mnadv.org/DV_Stats/ucr_stats.html>.

24 “Welcome!.” Stop Abuse for Everyone. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Dec. 2009. <safe4all.org>.

25 Robinson, Michael. “National Family Violence Legislative Resource Center.” National Family Violence Legislative Resource Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2010. <http://www.nfvlrc.org/>.

26 Please consult with the Chairman or Vice-Chairman of the Maryland Commission for Men’s Health for more information on these organizations.

27 “Results from Study on Men’s Experiences of Partner Aggression.” Clark University | One of 40 “Colleges that Change Lives”. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Jan. 2010. <http://clarku.edu/faculty/dhines/results.htm>.

Our Sons, Their Future, Our Five Dilemmas

By Warren Farrell, Ph.D. warrenfarrell.com

For more depth, see The Myth of Male Power

Before we are able to look seriously at nurturing the passions of our sons; before we are able to consider the need to balance the seven federal offices of women’s health with even one office of men’s health; before President Obama creates a White House Council on Boys to Men to balance his creation of a White House Council on Women and Girls, we need to understand why what it took to raise our sons successfully in the past is in tension with what it will take to raise our sons successfully for their future.

In the past, virtually every society that has survived has done so by training its sons to be disposable. Disposable in war; and disposable at work (from coal mines to construction sites; from oil rigs to “deadliest catches”). And if a man who is a dad dies in war, he is also, in effect, disposable as a dad.

So if we think about it, honoring our soldiers on Veterans Day, our workers on Labor Day or on the upcoming 10th Anniversary of September 11, presents a dilemma for every family who loves their country and loves their children. We are grateful beyond words for the firefighters and policemen who sacrifice their lives for the possibility that others might live. When someone does this for a stranger, and in defense of his or her country, that is the quintessential example of heroism.

The word “hero” derives etymologically in part from the Greek word “serow,” from which we get our words “servant” and “slave.” We think of a hero as someone who has power. In fact, a servant and slave possess the psychology of disposability, not the psychology of power.

What, then, are the dilemmas? The first dilemma: To give a man promotions to risk death, to tell him he’s powerful, he’s a hero, he’s loved, he’s a “real man”—is to teach a man to value himself by dying; it is to “bribe” a man to value himself more by valuing himself less.

How well have men responded to these bribes? For money (usually to support families), very well: think mercenaries, indentured servants, coal miners. But men also respond even when the bribe is the “social bribe” of respect; the emotional bribe of love; the physical bribe of sex: thus virtually 100% of volunteer firefighters are males.

Our second dilemma is that what it has taken to create a healthy society is also what it takes to create an unhealthy son. In the past, this was true of both sexes: so that the society would be “fruitful and multiply,” women were encouraged to risk disposability in childbirth. With feminism’s leadership, women have learned to make this a choice, not a definition of womanhood. That is, during the past half century, we have encouraged our daughters to associate femininity with “control over their lives” rather than reflexive disposability.

The third dilemma involves taking care of country vs. taking care of family. A father who dies carrying the weight of the country on his shoulder can no longer carry his children on his shoulder. If our son or daughter has children at home, is it right to have him or her put the children’s life in jeopardy? For our sons, the dilemma Is intensified by the association of masculinity with both heroism and a willingness to fight and die. These associations recruit our sons to protect our country and homes, but they also create what might be called a “social bribe” for a son who is a dad to jeopardize the well-being of his own family.

A fourth dilemma involves teaching our sons the real meaning of empowerment. Many dads have learned to define power as “feeling obligated to earn money that someone else spends while he dies sooner.” Real power is best defined as “control over our one’s life.” Our daughters are “getting it”? Will our sons “get it” if their dads don’t?

The fifth dilemma is that what it takes to become a hero at work is often the opposite of what it takes to become a loved one at home. For example, to be successful as a hero, it helps to repress feelings, not express feelings. (“When the going gets tough, the tough get going,” not “when the going gets tough the tough see a psychologist.”) Repressing feelings helps in war, but to be successful in love, it helps to express feelings, not repress them.

Why have we learned to praise men as heroes when they compete to be disposable? Exactly because virtually all societies that have survived have done so by socializing men to be disposable. This investment in survival embeds in our psyches an unconscious investment in the disposability of our sons.

By questioning their genetic heritage a half-century ahead of men, our daughters are trying to fall in love with a sex that is less-well socialized to love; they are trying to fall in love with a sex that is, psychologically, about a half century behind our daughters.

On the other hand, if we don’t socialize sons to consider themselves heroes by risking disposability, will women take on 50% of the risk by obligation, not by choice: should we require them to share the legal obligation to register for the draft, or expect them to be equally likely to volunteer to save our homes from fires, build bridges and be the truckers, miners, lumberjacks, welders and sheet metal workers who build the Freedom Towers? And if so, will they become the women we want our daughters to be?

There are no perfect answers. But our heroes have left those of us who live the challenge of deciding how much to encourage our sons to risk death so that others may live to praise those who have died. Until we cherish sons who “follow their passion” as much as daughters who follow theirs, we won’t want an office of men’s health or a White House Council on Boys to Men.

Comment on this article here.

____________________________________________________________

Warren Farrell
Warren Farrell
Warren Farrell, Ph.D. is chair of the Commission to create a White House Council on Boys to Men. He is the author of the international bestsellers, The Myth of Male Power and Why Men Are The Way They Are, as well as Women Can’t Hear What Men Don’t Say and Father and Child Reunion. He has appeared on more than 1,000 TV and radio shows, and is the only man ever elected three times to the Board of Directors of the National Organization for Women (NOW) in New York City. Dr. Farrell has taught in five universities, including the School of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego. Warren has two daughters; he and his wife live in Mill Valley, CA. and virtually at http://warrenfarrell.com

Boys, Men, and Suicide

a report written for the Maryland Men’s Health Commission by Tom Golden, LCSW

Men and boys comprise nearly 80% of all completed suicides in the United States.1 With this sort of number one would assume that there would be services that focus specifically on suicidal males. Surprisingly, there are almost no programs that focus on helping men and boys who might be suicidal. Sadly, Maryland is no exception to this rule. Maryland traditionally has very active programs to address the issues of suicide but does not seem to have any programs specifically addressing men or boys.

Even more surprising is how difficult it is to secure funding

Boys, Men, and Suicide

a report written for the Maryland Men’s Health Commission by Tom Golden, LCSW

Men and boys comprise nearly 80% of all completed suicides in the United States.1 With this sort of number one would assume that there would be services that focus specifically on suicidal males. Surprisingly, there are almost no programs that focus on helping men and boys who might be Continue reading “Boys, Men, and Suicide”

Learning and Gender

Learning and Gender

Presented by The American School Board Journal; (National School Boards Association.) This article was co-written by Michael Gurian and Kathy Stevens, authors of The Minds of Boys. Stevens is also head of the Gurian Institute.

On the day your district administrators look at test scores, grades, and discipline referrals with gender in mind, some stunning patterns quickly will emerge.

Learning and Gender

Presented by The American School Board Journal; (National School Boards Association.) This article was co-written by Michael Gurian and Kathy Stevens, authors of The Minds of Boys. Stevens is also head of the Gurian Institute.

On the day your district administrators look at test scores, grades, and discipline referrals with gender in mind, some stunning patterns quickly will emerge.

Girls, they might find, are behind boys in elementary school math or science scores. They’ll find high school girls statistically behind boys in SAT scores. They might find, upon deeper review, that some girls have learning disabilities that are going undiagnosed.
Continue reading “Learning and Gender”

Gender-Friendly Schools

Kelley King, Michael Gurian and Kathy Stevens

Boys are in crisis in many academic areas. But to turn things around, schools must implement instruction that is both boy- and girl-friendly.

Diane Cotner had been teaching “forever,” so she was confident in her teaching abilities. In 2007, however, confronted with an extraordinarily wiggly group of 2nd grade boys in a chronically low-performing school, Diane told her principal, “I can’t even get the boys to sit still for a short phonics lesson. I have to do something.”

Desha Bierbaum, her principal, responded with a new possibility. “I’ve been learning about the differences in how boys and girls learn. Why don’t you try letting the fidgety boys

Gender-Friendly Schools

Kelley King, Michael Gurian and Kathy Stevens

Boys are in crisis in many academic areas. But to turn things around, schools must implement instruction that is both boy- and girl-friendly.

Diane Cotner had been teaching “forever,” so she was confident in her teaching abilities. In 2007, however, confronted with an extraordinarily wiggly group of 2nd grade boys in a chronically low-performing school, Diane told her principal, “I can’t even get the boys to sit still for a short phonics lesson. I have to do something.”
Continue reading “Gender-Friendly Schools”

Disappearing Act – Where Have the Men Gone? No Place Good

By Michael Gurian Appeared in The Washington Post Sunday, December 4, 2005

In the 1990s, I taught for six years at a small liberal arts college in Spokane, Wash. In my third year, I started noticing something that was happening right in front of me. There were more young women in my classes than young men, and on average, they were getting better grades than the guys. Many of the young men stared blankly at me as I lectured. They didn’t take notes as well as the young women. They didn’t seem to care as much about what I taught — literature, writing and psychology. They were bright kids, but many of their faces said, “Sitting here, listening, staring at these words — this is not really who I am.”

That was a decade ago, but just last month,

Disappearing Act

Where Have the Men Gone? No Place Good

By Michael Gurian Appeared in The Washington Post Sunday, December 4, 2005

In the 1990s, I taught for six years at a small liberal arts college in Spokane, Wash. In my third year, I started noticing something that was happening right in front of me. There were more young women in my classes than young men, and on average, they were getting better grades than the guys. Many of the young men stared blankly at me as Continue reading “Disappearing Act – Where Have the Men Gone? No Place Good”

Wilson Quarterly Comment

Lionel Tiger

It’s of course wholly understandable that in a culture wild with materialism and verging on comedy in the search for educational credentials, these three responsible articles about women today would focus on production, not reproduction. The most salient theme is the quality and equality of participation in the public sphere. There is a corresponding inattention to the nature and value of intimate experience. Family life and especially mothering are appreciated, yes, but also characterized as

Wilson Quarterly Comment

 

Lionel Tiger

It’s of course wholly understandable that in a culture wild with materialism and verging on comedy in the search for educational credentials, these three responsible articles about women today would focus on production, not reproduction. The most salient theme is the quality and equality of participation in the public sphere. There is a corresponding inattention to the nature and value of intimate experience. Family life and especially mothering are appreciated, yes, Continue reading “Wilson Quarterly Comment”

Baby Cupid and the Fatherless Child

Lionel Tiger

When we set aside all the mushy high-school love-friending, Valentine’s Day is about reproduction and Cupid with his arrow is a pregnancy tester. The event flourished during a sexual period very different than our own. Despite all that traditional formal morality business, it’s estimated on the basis of parish and similar records that at the turn of the last century from a third to a half of all marriages were shared with a pregnancy. The infant Cupid

Baby Cupid and the Fatherless Child

Lionel Tiger

When we set aside all the mushy high-school love-friending, Valentine’s Day is about reproduction and Cupid with his arrow is a pregnancy tester. The event flourished during a sexual period very different than our own. Despite all that traditional formal morality business, it’s estimated on the basis of parish and similar records that at the turn of the last century from a third to a half of all marriages Continue reading “Baby Cupid and the Fatherless Child”

Men’s Health – Maryland Report

a report written for the Maryland Commission for Men’s Health by Tom Golden, LCSW

    “‘Being male is now the single largest demographic factor for early death,’ says Randolph Nesse of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.’ If you could make male mortality rates the same as female rates, you would do more good than curing cancer,’ he says. Nesse’s colleague Daniel Kruger estimates that over 375,000 lives would be saved in a single year in the US if men’s risk

Men’s Health – Maryland Report

a report written for the Maryland Commission for Men’s Health by Tom Golden, LCSW

    “‘Being male is now the single largest demographic factor for early death,’ says Randolph Nesse of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.’ If you could make male mortality rates the same as female rates, you would do more good than curing cancer,’ he says. Nesse’s colleague Daniel Kruger estimates that over 375,000 lives would be saved in a single year in the US if men’s risk of dying was as low as women’s.”

Continue reading “Men’s Health – Maryland Report”

Male Market Share and the Failure of Women’s Studies

By Lionel Tiger

Has something finally changed in the sexual politics of academia? For more than a generation the verities of feminist theory and female interests have dominated administration policy, including who gets accepted to college and who graduates.

Anyone who has taken part in academic life for the last thirty years is well aware of the organizational power of women’s studies departments. That power has yielded

Male Market Share and the Failure of Women’s Studies

By Lionel Tiger

Has something finally changed in the sexual politics of academia? For more than a generation the verities of feminist theory and female interests have dominated administration policy, including who gets accepted to college and who graduates.

Anyone who has taken part in academic life for the last thirty years is well aware of the organizational power of Continue reading “Male Market Share and the Failure of Women’s Studies”