Over 90 years ago, Lewis Terman attempted to identify the brightest kids in California. There were two young boys who took Terman’s test but who did not make the cutoff to be included in this study for geniuses. These boys were William Shockley and Luis Alvarez, who both went on to study physics, earn PhDs, and win the Nobel Prize. Why did they miss the cut? One explanation is that the Stanford-Binet, the test Terman used, simply did not include a spatial test.
With absolutely no statutory help available for dads in this position, those who find themselves outside of the family unit are, without the help of family and friends, destined for a life of sofa surfing, hostels or other even less suitable places to live. I have heard of dads in this position living in garages and the garden shed. From here it is incredibly difficult for them to continue to maintain relationships with their children, for who would want their children to know that they are in that position? Housing for dads after separation is a critical issue and one which leads to despair for too many.
I was excited therefore, when I received news of a project in London which is specialising in helping dads in these circumstances. DadsHouse is a charity founded by Billy McGranaghan, himself once a lone parent who found it hard when he was alone and wanted to help other dads in his shoes. DadsHouse runs many projects but the most recent is particularly special because it helps dads who are homeless with temporary accommodation, which in turn gives them a chance to build relationships with their children.
What human trafficking looks like for young men by Ian Urbina in the New York Times.
Mr. Andrade, who died in February 2011, and nearly a dozen other men in his village had been recruited by an illegal “manning agency,” tricked with false promises of double the actual wages and then sent to an apartment in Singapore, where they were locked up for weeks, according to interviews and affidavits taken by local prosecutors. While they waited to be deployed to Taiwanese tuna ships, several said, a gatekeeper demanded sex from them for assignments at sea.
Once aboard, the men endured 20-hour workdays and brutal beatings, only to return home unpaid and deeply in debt from thousands of dollars in upfront costs, prosecutors say….
“It’s lies and cheating on land, then beatings and death at sea, then shame and debt when these men get home,” said Shelley Thio, a board member of Transient Workers Count Too, a migrant workers’ advocacy group in Singapore. “And the manning agencies are what make it all possible.”
“You go with pride, you come back with shame.” Read the whole thing here.
The decline of manliness is not a new observation. We have discouraged men from acting like men for decades now….now that the little danger, and the three-quarters of a century without a world war is questionable, or should be, did we defame manliness when we did not think we needed it, only to find it rare, now that we obviously do?…We have discouraged boys from becoming men. And now we will likely berate them for not defending us from terrorism today.
Roughly 40 percent of the victims of severe physical violence were men. The CDC repeated the survey in 2011, the results of which were published in 2014, and found almost identical numbers — with the percentage of male severe physical violence victims slightly rising.
“Reports are also showing a decline of the number of women and an increase in the number of men reporting” abuse, says counselor and psychologist Karla Ivankovich, PhD, an adjunct professor of psychology at the University of Illinois, Springfield.
Ivankovich says there isn’t much buzz about these numbers or their implications, because we don’t know how to handle intimate partner violence against men. “Society supports that men should not hit women, by virtue — but the same is not true for the reverse,” she explains. “The fact is, it’s simply not acceptable to hit anyone.”
From The Art of Manliness blog comes “Why Are We So Conflicted About Manhood in the Modern Age?”
Here in the West we live in the most resource-rich period in all human history. Even the poverty of today is far less harsh than the poverty of a century ago. The strength of the government’s safety net is debated, but its very existence is a distinctly modern phenomena. Food is so plentiful we have an obesity problem. There hasn’t been a world war in three-quarters of a century. There is very little danger; a man can go his entire life without ever getting into a fistfight. The job of defending the perimeter has been outsourced to a tiny fraction of the population. Not only does most labor not require any physical strength, we have to remind ourselves to even stand up sometimes — to take a break from sitting in front a screen around the clock. Given this positively luxurious environment, it should come as no surprise that an emphasis on manhood is currently very weak. Society doesn’t need most men to perform dirty, strenuous, dangerous jobs for which their propensity for risk-taking and their physical strength make them uniquely suited. Men are so seemingly unnecessary that we even have the luxury of denigrating them – of speculating whether we might have reached “the end of men.”
In the U.S., at least a third of the 30 million people suffering from eating disorders are boys or men, according to the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA). That’s 10 million people, most of whom won’t ever get the help they desperately need because they have a Y chromosome. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is a real–and sometimes quite deadly–tragedy.
In the 1980’s and 1990’s, when I worked as a psychotherapist with many traumatized men and women, it was clear that society’s focus was to help women suffering from emotional trauma. Matters became a lot more fuzzy where it concerned men’s pain. I found out very quickly that a man’s emotional pain was taboo. No one wants to hear it, people want to run away.
Honestly and compassionately addressing men’s pain usually triggers an instinctive fear that in doing so those men will no longer be available to provide and protect. They become, at least in our unconscious minds, a liability that we cannot afford.
It took me some time to understand that this fear created an empathy gap that is still rampant in the field. Even in what is supposed to be an enlightened field of work, we are operating on some level as though compassion for men will bring us to ruin. This detachment, indifference to and even hostility toward men’s pain and hardship will be made quite visible to you in the remainder of this article.
Our war dead are nearly all males. If that were any other group it would not be tolerated but since it is males, many in their teens, the response is silence. They are disposable. Our workplace deaths are 93% males. Child custody after divorce almost always means the virtual removal of one parent, more often the father. Rather than our courts seeking to restructure families through sensible plans of shared parenting, they opt for profitably ugly battles and persecution.
No one suffers more from this than the children of divorce. Fatherless children are clearly and negatively impacted by every psychosocial measure we can make of their lives. Truancy, delinquency, teen pregnancy, drug use, academic failure, violence and mental illness all skyrocket in homes where the father is largely absent.
Rather than point to the discrimination in courts and how it is ultimately damaging children, many, some social workers included, are generally more likely to sloganize the problem in terms of “deadbeat dads” and other shallow and misleading buzzwords.
Photo from Golden’s article, a playground mural illustrating the whimsy of violence against men.
The gender gap doesn’t bring out the best in journalists. With important exceptions, articles on the subject are padded with overly broad statistics, cherry picked research, a myopic view of men and women as lone economic actors, over-credulous references to Sweden, and most insidious of all, an implicit, never-argued assumption that in a just world (i.e. Sweden) women and men would reveal almost exactly the same preferences. A piece that appeared in Sunday’s New York Times Upshot section “The Motherhood Penalty and the Fatherhood Bonus” by Claire Cain Miller, is a fine example of the genre.
Q. Friend in Trouble: I’m very worried about my friend “Ted.” He works two full-time jobs at literally all hours—sometimes all day, sometimes all night, but always 12 to 16 hours per day. His wife does not work and stays home with their young son. She is a warm and friendly person when I am with her, but I have been shocked to hear her scream at Ted on the other end of his cellphone. When I saw Ted recently, he was a shadow of the gentle and funny person I have known since we were kids—exhausted, emaciated, and almost silent when his wife is around, which is all the time. He and his wife have fallen out with his family and the other friends he had before his marriage, and I don’t think he has anyone in his life right now other than his wife. Is there anything I can do for him?
Men are more at risk of committing suicide, states professor and chair of the National Suicide Prevention Advisory Group in England, Louis Appleby, because they are “reluctant to seek help”, in addition to being more prone to heavy drinking and self-harm. The problem isn’t going away, even internationally—every country in the world has seen male suicides outstrip female ones, and it’s because men are silent. Or, rather, they are trained to be.
With more women going to college than ever before, there are only so many baccalaureate bachelors for them to meet and marry.
That seems reasonable at first glance. Hey, if a woman is looking for someone with her level of education, and this is a deal-breaker for her, then sure, there’s a serious shortage of suitable men.
Birger points out that a woman who was 34 in 2007 began college in 1991 when women outnumbered men on college campuses by 10 percent. He notes that “in 2012, 34 percent more women than men graduated 4-year colleges.”
The numbers are indeed daunting. But they obscure a question all of these unmarried college-graduate women should be asking themselves: Why does a degree matter so much, anyway?
A few days ago I was at a party in liberal north-east London, when I was asked the inevitable question, “So, what do you do then?”
It’s a question I have come to dread. This isn’t because I’m ashamed of my work, or because I think it’s dull and uninteresting, but because I know that if I tell the truth, the warm and open conversation I’d been having with the person in front of me will often suddenly be replaced by a chilled and awkward silence.
You see, telling people I write about men’s issues often feels a bit like telling them I work for Exxon.
On this occasion, I weighed up the conversational fork in the road ahead of me, and decided to take the plunge and be honest, so I told her I’d just finished editing a book of 40 writers exploring what it means to be a man in the UK today. Her response was simply: “That’s brave.”
Of course, it’s not really brave; not brave like writing about government corruption in China, or human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia, but I knew exactly what she meant.
Speaking out as a man about the issues men face really can trigger a furious reaction.
The most recent example was in response to the author Matt Haig, after he said he wanted to write a book about masculinity. His statement brought down a Twitter storm of contempt in his head before he’d even written a word.
This remarkable video shows Warren Farrell explaining what moved us into our present cultural state of seeing males as disposable and offers a number of ideas about how we can move forward to a place where both men and women are valued as human beings.
“It is time that we go beyond fighting over guns and to raising our Sons”.
Newtown Shooting – Warren Farrell offers a core issue beyond the Gun Control issue about the absence of support for boys and young men and why we need a White House Council on Boys and Men. See Warren Farrell original article called: “Guns don’t kill people — our sons do” – “After Newtown, Conn., parents cried out, “What’s making our children kill?” But it is not our children who are killing. It is our sons. All but one of the 62 mass killings in the past 30 years was committed by boys or men.”
This article is in response to an article that appeared on Huffington Post that graded President Obama on women’s issues. I thought it was only fair to also have one for men. Many of the categories and even some of the wording come directly from that article.
Here we go.
1. White House Council on Women and Girls A White House Council on Boys and Men Fail
Women have good reason to be grateful to the Obama administration. President Obama created a White House Council on Women and Girls that made women’s issues an integral part of every level of the federal government. Now each department must address their progress or lack of progress as it relates to women and their issues. This is a powerful and glorious step for women and girls. However, the Obama administration has failed miserably in creating a similar opportunity for boys and men. A group of over 30 nationally known scholars, authors, researchers, and clinicians gathered to write a proposal urging the White House to offer the same sort of opportunity for our boys and men but after meetings with White House Staff and numerous officials it has been ignored at every level. President Obama met with one of those thirty and refused to even have the issue on the agenda for their meeting. Fail
Here’s the bottom line: the Obama administration failed men and women on equal pay. He is a president who entered office with the claimed intention of using science as a guide in his administration and his policy. Even a brief look at the science surrounding the issue of equal pay would indicate that the discriminatory nature of what is being called the “wage gap” is truly a myth. The government science and statistics drive this point home but this administration not only refuses to accept its own science, it makes public statements that defy its own facts. Fail
3. Sexual Violence Against Women and Girls: A Sexual Violence Against Men and Boys: Fail
The Obama administration gets major cred for taking on the escalating crisis of violence against teenage and college women. However it fails in an epic manner when it comes to teenage and college boys and men for whom it has done nothing. The CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Summary Report states clearly that in the last 12 months 2,747,000 women have experienced sexual violence other than rape. Importantly the same report shows that there were even more men who experienced sexual violence (2,793,000) in the last 12 months other than rape. http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/pdf/NISVS_Report2010-a.pdf (tables 4.5 and 4.6) The science shows that men and boys are a major part of the victims of sexual violence but the policy focuses only on helping women. Fail
4. Violence Against Women A Violence Against Men Fail
Obama and Biden have also voiced support for the reauthorization of the VAWA. (Violence Against Women Act) This bill has been shown repeatedly by credible research to ignore a large portion of victims and perpetrators. It serves female victims but ignores and even shames males who are victimized (see table 3) and also ignores female perpetrators. The bill is by name, only interested in helping women and it functions in a similar manner. Men in need are ignored. Both President Obama and VP Biden took part in a television commercial asking men to curb violence against women. This would be fine if they also were part of a commercial asking women to curb violence against men. They did no such thing. Fail
5.Reproductive Rights for Men: Fail
President Obama mentions the issues of women’s reproductive rights on a regular basis. This is good, however, he continues to ignore the fact that men have no reproductive rights whatsoever. How many men have had to stand powerless as their child is aborted against their will? Women are allowed to obtain an abortion, give up the child for adoption, have the child, or even drop the infant off at a police station.They have the right to do all of the above while men must go along with whatever the woman decides and have no rights of their own other than having to pay child support. Fail
6. Jobs: D+
When it came time to offer funds and support for those seeking employment during the crisis of our economic downturn the president had a “shovel ready” plan in place. The feminine sections complained greatly and even though this has been known to be a “mancession” the president altered his shovel ready plans and spent a good deal of the money on jobs for women, 42% of the money went to female jobs even though women were only 20% of those impacted.
There are millions of men in the United States who have suffered under the weight of a biased family court system. One would expect our president to have some words of support for these men. However, President Obama on Father’s Day calls out fathers and says, “Too many fathers are awol. “ “They have abandoned their responsibilities and are acting like boys instead of men.” His Fathers Day speeches have been littered with this sort of verbiage about how fathers need to step up to the plate. His main idea is not to celebrate the fathers and their many contributions in our lives but to point towards those who need to improve. Happy Father’s Day. Imagine he did something similar on Mothers Day and told mothers they need to step up to the plate and stop abusing their children. All hell would break loose. Fail
8. Health Care Fail
This administration has web pages for girls health girlshealth.gov and women’s health womenshealth.gov but none for boys or men. When you go to boyshealth.gov or menshealth.gov you get a “404” file not found error. (try them and see for yourself) There is no government sponsored page for boys or for men. This is an insult to boys and men and shows how this administration is simply not interested in helping men and boys but is very active in doing everything it can to be of help to women and girls. Have a look at this government page that lists the preventive care that is included in Obama’s national health package. Plenty of preventive care for women and children but not a thing about prostate cancer, testicular cancer, or other male specific diseases.
Is there any sort of national program to help suicidal males? No. Men and boys are nearly 80% of completed suicides and yet there is no interest in working on this crisis. Fail
The above shows a clearly womanitarian stance that considers women and children first and ignores the needs of men. Clearly it is a failed report card for this administration. It is worth pointing out that they are not alone or unique. The fact is that for decades our government has ignored the pain and needs of its men and boys. This is not a new phenomenon. What we need is a president who is truly humanitarian and able to see both sides and offer love and support for all people, not just for select groups. I don’t see Obama’s opponent as being a solution. He too, if elected, will likely carry on the same misandry. It is going to take a very strong shift in our cultural thinking in order to even make a dent in the unfairness and bigotry that is now accepted by nearly everyone.
Thomas Golden, LCSW is well known in the field of healing from loss. His book, Swallowed by a Snake: The Gift of the Masculine Side of Healing has been acclaimed by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and others. Tom enjoys giving workshops in the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia, having been named the “1999 International Grief Educator” by the Australian Centre for Grief Education. Drawing on thirty years of practical, hands-on clinical experience, Tom brings a gentle sense of humor and a gift for storytelling to both his workshops and his writing. His work and his web site webhealing.com have been featured in the New York Times, the Washington Post, and U.S. News and World Report, as well as on CNN, CBS Evening News, ESPN and the NFL Channel. Tom served as the vice-chair for the Maryland Commission for Men’s Health and has also enjoyed helping write a proposal for a White House Council on Boys and Men. He is in private practice in Gaithersburg, MD and also enjoys doing Skype consults. Google+
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?”
“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?”
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, 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
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.”
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.
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