Schoolboys should be taught to grow into real men, not women

Let’s face it, we women love James Bond. We love real men, manly men who do manly things. But it’s complicated. We’ve told the “new man” that he is supposed to be sensitive, caring and nurturing — all feminine traits. When we ask males to deny their testosterone-driven attributes we are denying nature. And then we complain to each other about all the wimps out there.

We want a confident, respectful man who isn’t going to turn into your girlfriend, exercises authority (not control), is strong, is a provider, who protects us, makes decisions, is assertive (not aggressive), intelligent, chivalrous, courteous, has good manners, is noble, decent, charming, self-controlled, trustworthy, responsible, loyal, committed, has a sense of duty as well as a sense of humor and is kind to animals and small children.

But more than that, our very existence depends upon our men being, well, real men.

Self-styled “dissident feminist” Camille Paglia was spot on with her WSJ interview, stating that the feminization of men risks undermining Western civilization. She argues that the softening of modern American society begins as early as kindergarten.

“Primary-school education is a crock, basically. It’s oppressive to anyone with physical energy, especially guys,” she says, pointing to the most obvious example: the way many schools have cut recess. Instead of teaching the 3 R’s, Paglia notes that priority is given to “female values,” such as sensitivity, socialization and cooperation.

Over in Charlotte, NC, a 5-year-old boy playing army was suspended from school after making a gun gesture with his hand on the playground. Anyone raising young boys knows that branches, hockey sticks, spoons and other objects quickly become guns, swords or light sabers (and blowing up stuff is a huge thrill).

Add to the mix adults trying to take the competition out of youth sports with trophies handed out for merely breathing, scoreless games so as not to hurt anyone’s feelings and overly praising children for a “good game” when they really weren’t good. Kids see through that, trashing meaningless trophies because they haven’t been earned, cheering great shots, calling out scores on the fields and being brutally honest about what sort of game they had.

The writer George Orwell said that sport is war without bullets — we even talk about it in the same terms, with battles, warriors and some very fierce-sounding team names. Boys have been busy with meritocratic competitive action play since time began. Suppressing those characteristics is to take away that which comes naturally to them, which is hardwired, part of their DNA — and is done at huge cost.

Christina Hoff Sommers has been sounding the alarm on the “war against boys” for years, and her once-scoffed-at position is now backed up with hard data: Boys get worse grades than girls, are less likely to go to college and an astounding one in five high-school-age boys has been diagnosed with ADHD. So now we are shamefully diagnosing normal boy behavior as psychiatric “personality disorders” which must be chemically treated, something Dr. Leonard Sax calls the “medicalization of boyhood.”

The situation isn’t only dire in the U.S.: Great Britain, Australia and Canada have all woken up and are desperately trying to help boys improve. As Sommers notes, “They view widespread male underachievement as a national threat: A country with too many languishing males risks losing its economic edge.”

Marketers know that you cannot sell a product to boys the same way you would to girls. It goes beyond bold fonts, innovative packaging and hiring voiceover artists with commandingly low voices. Boys and girls, men and women are different biologically, psychologically and socially. So why are we denying them those very things that come naturally — and starting at such a young age?

The feminization of boys is such an ironic double standard. Depicting girls as nurturing or feminine, the gender feminists screech, is offensive to women of all ages, disempowering them. But they are only too happy to turn the tables and make boys the weaker sex, to subordinate them. Bullies do this as a way of control — pulling others down in an effort to build themselves up. And so do gender feminists.

There are some things women are better at, some things only men can do, and many overlapping areas where we can both excel. By that very definition, men and women aren’t equal — but we are equivalent, and need to use those complementary differences to survive together. Vive la difference.

Susan Dench

About Susan Dench

Susan Dench is the founder and president of the fast-growing non-profit, non-partisan Informed Women's Network. Recognizing that many women are tired of "politics as usual," Susan decided to take action and develop strategies that are innovating the way women and politics intersect, nurturing and encouraging women in fun, energetic gatherings where views can be expressed in a supportive environment and then translated into practical solutions that produce results.