After reading the previously discussed article, ‘Trolls For Trump’ in The New Yorker, I couldn’t stop thinking about how evocative a barometer these book best-seller lists were, so I did some research on my own, and looked up the latest updates of the Amazon kindle list (if The New Yorker considers it a reasonable standard of measuring public opinion, then it’s good enough for me).
Fittingly, I was confronted with an example of #everydaysexism before I even glanced at the first title… The sub-sections on Amazon’s gender studies page are : 1. General 2. Men, and, can you guess who has last place? Probably not entirely.. Because 3? Is Women in History. Because apparently women can’t just stand alone, and the word ‘women’ is not enough in itself, it has to be attached to some verified subject of ‘study’ to warrant a genre of its own. Welcome to the western world.
But moving on, for those interested- Number one on Amazon at the moment is:
1. Boys Adrift: Factors Driving the Epidemic of Unmotivated Boys and Underachieving Young Men. by Leonard Sax.
Without knowing or reading anything about this text, let me give my own initial thoughts on the factors ‘driving’ (influencing) this ‘epidemic’ (#firstworldboredboyproblems). Boys and young men are unmotivated because THEY ARE RAISED TO THINK THEY DON’T HAVE TO TRY AS HARD AS THEIR GENDER COUNTERPARTS TO GET THE SAME RESULTS- and nothing exemplifies this quite so well as college admissions in the U.S.A.
I wanted some statistics to back up what my common sense has told me since first being aware of the US college admission process a decade ago- that unofficial affirmative action now quietly favors the white male because their mean of academic achievements/preparation is below that of women’s, and would thus skew the gender balance at universities too far for comfort if they were to admit prospective students on credentials alone– but it was surprisingly difficult to get my hands on many articles, let alone data. Almost everything legitimate that I did manage to find backed up my original suppositions though.
Rob Mank, a pretty cool dude, summed it up aptly in this pretty nifty article which you can read here: (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/men-far-more-likely-to-benefit-from-affirmative-action-in-college-admissions/), when he wrote:
“Male applicants of all races are far more likely to benefit from affirmative action-like policies than female applicants” and, “At public 4-year colleges.. almost one-in-five, 18 percent, are so hungry for male students, admissions directors report admitting men with lower academic credentials.”
And this is just what admissions directors choose to disclose…
Mank’s conclusions are based on the findings of a survey of admissions directors conducted by Inside Higher Ed in 2015, one of the few publications that has made studies on this topic. Scott Jaschick, the editor of Inside Higher Ed, commented on the taboo nature of the subject that I’d already noticed, stating:
“While a lot of people don’t like to talk about it, a lot of colleges are basically doing affirmative action for men… Men are being admitted with lower grades and test scores.”
All of this always seemed obvious to me, but, as another pretty cool guy called Chris Seck pointed out in this article: http://hlrecord.org/2012/10/affirmative-action-benefits-white-people/, there has always existed an “unchallenged assumption that boys must be “proportionately” represented” and not talking about or analysing this phenomena has surely done a lot to keep the unfair ‘balancing’ uncontested. Seck went on to note that,
“Although girls frequently outperform boys in high school, affirmative action and “diversity” goals in college, admission often favor boys [to suit the patriarchy’s unwritten law] that boys [should] represent approximately half the student body. As a result, girls are limited to a slight majority of seats that hovers around 60-plus percent at best, even if the girls’ higher grades, higher SAT scores, and extracurricular achievements would warrant greater female representation. For instance, Washington Post journalist Valerie Strauss points out that female applicants to the College of William and Mary outnumber male applicants by almost 2-to-1. Moreover, female applicants are admitted at a much lower rate than males.”
I’m sorry but if institutions can’t accept students based purely on merit and qualification (at least, in regards those who are the opposite of under-privileged, yet are still given this extra privilege/leeway) simply because a 20/80 or 30/70 gender distribution would make too many people too uncomfortable- why are people always telling me sexism is beat? Why is their still such a stigma attached to feminism?
Why are titles like- The Art of Manliness: Classic Skills and Manners for the Modern Man (by Brett McKay) and Men on Strike: Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream – and Why It Matters (by Helen Smith) -still dominating the top 5 of ‘gender studies’ best sellers lists? Ranked number four, and three respectively, Brett McKay’s book is fairly standard, sadly. But Helen Smith’s work is more troubling, because it speaks to that common reoccurring thread that’s reminiscent of another recently discussed bona-fide chauvinist. Do we remember the “theory of white-male identity politics: men [are] oppressed by feminism” that Arantz (the author of ‘Trolls for Trump’) perhaps mistakenly credits Mike Cernovich (our Attention Manwhore) for ‘develop[ing]’?
So Helen Smith’s book baffled me- how could a woman be jumping on this ludicrous bandwagon? So I read the description of the book Amazon provided, hoping there might be a #heforshe kind of feminist slant to the text. Alas, this was not to be. The summarizing caption was as follows:
American society has become anti-male. Men are sensing the backlash and are consciously and unconsciously going “on strike.” They are dropping out of college, leaving the workforce and avoiding marriage and fatherhood at alarming rates. The trend is so pronounced that a number of books have been written about this “man-child” phenomenon, concluding that men have taken a vacation from responsibility simply because they can. But why should men participate in a system that seems to be increasingly stacked against them?
Ex-cuse-me? What world do these people live in? How on earth was this written by a female (I suspect the answer is similar to that of another question that’s been plaguing my nerves recently- how on earth did Trump win the white women vote?!) What the hell is the patriarchy drugging our water supply with?! THE MEN THAT ARE DROPPING OUT OF COLLEGE CONSIST MAINLY OF THOSE WHO WEREN’T QUALIFIED ENOUGH TO DESERVE THE PLACE THEY WERE GIVEN IN THE FIRST PLACE, BECAUSE THEY CAN’T KEEP UP WITH MOST OF THEIR FEMALE PEERS AND THUS FEEL CONFUSED AND INFERIOR AND THUS GET PETULANT- NO IT’S NOT THEIR FAULT AND YES IT IS SOCIETY’S, BUT HELL NO IS IT SOCIETY’S RESPONSIBILITY TO PLACATE THEIR EGOS AND DO MORE TO EXCUSE THEIR DEFICIENCIES AND FACILITATE THEIR FLAWS AND MAKE THIS AN EVEN MORE PRO-MAN WORLD. For christ’s sake. Yes I concur men are sensing the backlash and yes I concur they are acting like children because of it, but no I disagree that we’re supposed to REWARD this behavior…
But initial disbelieving fury aside, let’s break this down, and go back to our pretty cool dudes (and another new one) to supply Smith with the explanations I highly doubt she included in her text.
Rob Mank: “Women have comprised a majority of students in higher education since 1979…. And that trend is accelerating. The National Center for Education Statistics projects that women’s enrollment will increase 16 percent by 2020, compared to 8 percent for men.”
Scott Jaschick: “Many people think that is not good for the educational needs of the country – that you don’t want men left behind” (LOLZ these ‘people’ should get together with those #whitelivesmatter folks)
David Hawkins (director of public policy and research at National Association for College Admissions Counseling): “A major reason for the gender gap is higher academic achievement by girls. …It’s not surprising…Women are on average are performing better than young men coming out of high school.”
Okay, so the experts are all in agreement; this is just another example of sexism that the patriarchy pushes under the carpet…. But do people really expect me to feel sympathy for the plight of the white male? Oh, I’m sorry, do you feel oppressed? Join the fucking club- full of members you’ve oppressed since virtually the dawn of civilisation. Taste some of your own delightful medicine. Or not, because society appears to still be unequivocally on your side–
Rob Mank: “What’s behind the aggressive push for male students is the decades-long trend of more women on campus…. Many colleges have sought to remedy that imbalance by admitting more men, especially among undergraduates, forcing schools to reach deeper into the applicant pool. . At public 4-year colleges.. almost one-in-five, 18 percent, are so hungry for male students admissions directors report admitting men with lower academic credentials.”
David Hawkins: “There’s no one formula for institutions to deal with the gender gap. Some schools tailor their marketing to men, while others have invested in sports programs or majors that might appeal to men. And some are admitting less-qualified males.”
So let’s get this straight, we’re already doing a lot to help men feel better about themselves and going out of our way to try and entice them to become more contributing and valuable members of society…. Right. So answer me this Helen, why are you writing literature on what more we can do? Why are there hundreds more books being written (or maybe just read/bought) and saturating the ‘gender studies’ category of the book market right now, and case studies/surveys being made on the plight of the white male, instead of that of the women and the countless other minorities that have a thousand more obstacles between them and success?
As Mank corroborates, “various studies have documented how the recent recession – the so-called “Mancession” – has disproportionally hurt men. And while men have regained some ground during the recovery, the unemployment rate remains higher for men than for women (8.9 percent versus 8 percent).”
Why not let each incoming year at colleges and universities be mostly women if the women are the ones who’ve earned it? And then let the women get all of the jobs and RULE the majority of this god forsaken world IF THEY’RE THE ONLY ONES SHOWING THE GUMPTION, WORK ETHIC, INTELLIGENCE, AND TALENT TO DO SO. Maybe the world might become a better place. The men sure have done civilisation nonstop good these last few millennia that they’e been in charge.. (this is sarcasm by the way, for those who find not-so-subtle subtext beyond them)…. But also, though this suggestion’s extreme, it’s also not the only possible outcome of taking extreme measures to stop this ridiculous trend of giving allowances, excuses, and benefits to sore white men. Couldn’t competition with the opposite sex motivate men to be better, work harder, and develop faster, too? I believe it could, if only the treatment and perspective of the two genders was re-adjusted to reality. For as long as we keep re-appropriating every symptom of misogyny as a reason to restore men’s confidence and motivation, so we ensure sexism will always be the status quo, to the detriment of not only women, but also men, and also society at large.
Granted this is rhetoric, and thus a bit harsh, but I’m pretty sure hyperbole and extremism was a colossal factor in the travesty that was our recent election, so it’s worth a shot, because apparently what we’ve been doing hasn’t been working out so well. As the fabulous 2015 film ‘Suffragette’ put it, “We break things. We burn windows. Because war’s the only language men listen to” (writer cred goes out to Abi Morgan).
But I will just say, that I don’t really want to devalue the struggles white men experience (suffering is suffering after all) just for the sake of getting my point across the unfathomably colossal trench separating us (the feminists and/or liberals and/or lovers and/or Dumbledore’s Army) and them (the sexists and/or conservatives and/or haters and/or Death Eaters).. What I really want is for them, the boys, to take ACCOUNTABILITY for their current situation, and to ACKNOWLEDGE the objectively severer plights of those who are not white males. And if the rest of society does this too that’d also be grand. Because I genuinely believe that recognising the entitlement and ideologies that have led to men’s current not-as-privileged-as-before-so-let’s-throw-a-tantrum state of affairs, would assist in rectifying their ‘endemic’.