Are Men the New Second-Class Citizens? (My Appearance on HuffPostLive July 19, 2013)
Yesterday I appeared with two other guests on the internet program HuffPostLive at 3:30 PM EDT. The subject of our web interview and discussion was the following column published by Fox News: www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/07/12/men-the-new-second-class-citizens/ . The column, which you should at least glance at before reading this, is by a woman and argues that society has changed such that now, unlike in the past, men suffer oppression and discrimination more than women.
I’ve written about this subject here several times before and that’s apparently how I was selected to appear on the HuffPostLive podcast. There I tried to clarify and shed some some light on the issue which, in my opinion, is vastly overstated by the author of the Fox News column.
Let me now set forth some theses about this claim, made in varying ways and to varying degrees by different people, that males are now the subjects of discrimination and oppression.
1) It is never too early to point out and warn about an injustice on the horizon.
2) It is always wrong to sound the alarm so loudly that it does harm to the cause.
3) Two wrongs never make a right.
4) American society has a habit of going overboard with issues of victimhood.
5) American society tends to believe social victimhood does not apply to males.
6) Many Americans believe that to point out injustices to males somehow detracts from justice for females.
7) Whenever this discussion arises many people, especially advocates for females, react as if those raising the issue for discussion are blaming females (when they are not).
8) Justice for all kinds of people is not a zero-sum game.
9) It is manifestly ridiculous to claim that men as a whole are second-class citizens.
10) It is manifestly ignorant (lacking or ignoring information) to claim that some social trends and changes in areas of society do not harm especially young males.
11) Double standards in public policy and public treatment that harm whole groups of people are wrong.
12) Clearly there are double standards in American society that work to the detriment of males (which is not to deny there are also double standards that work to the detriment of females).
13) American education methods are geared mainly toward females with the result that young males especially are being “left behind” in terms of equality with females in educational achievement.
14) Many sectors of the economy are catering mainly to females with the result that choices and opportunities for males are dwindling.
15) The health and medical communities, both public and non-profit private, cater to females with the result that less research is being conducted into male health and well-being and less information and help is being offered to males.
16) The public perception of males, driven largely by the media (advertising, entertainment, news, etc.), is detrimental to the well-being (self-esteem, opportunities for success, etc.) of especially young males. (There are virtually no genuinely good male role models in the media; virtually all males are portrayed as profoundly flawed—as either stupid or sinister or both. Females are routinely portrayed as competent and virtuous.)
17) The “decline of men (and boys)” is a growing trend that needs more calm, thoughtful public attention. There are factors in American society working against that. Mentioning it as a potential problem for the peace, prosperity and common good of society always results in accusations of sexism (against females who still need justice).
18) The “decline of men (and boys)” is a women’s concern. The future cannot be as good for women if large numbers of young boys and men are unemployed or under employed, resentful, alienated, etc. (And men’s health is a women’s concern because when men die they often leave a wife and family less prosperous than before.)
19) The needed changes include: more men teaching at lower levels of education, special help offered to boys and young men in reading and communicating (areas where they tend to lag behind girls and young women in terms of achievement), fair enforcement of Title IX so that organizations receiving federal support, directly or indirectly, must treat both genders equally, fair treatment of men and fathers in divorce and child custody cases, federal offices for support for research aimed at helping males live longer, healthier and more fulfilled lives (e.g., an office for men’s health equivalent to the federal office for women’s health), good male role models in the media and cessation of violence against men by women in comedic entertainment programming, etc.
20) If the trend sometimes (perhaps infelicitously) called “the decline of men” continues, old social problems will be exacerbated (e.g., gangs) and new ones will appear (e.g., masses of alienated, angry, resentful men acting out passively-aggressively or violently).