The Tyranny of Boy-Blindess: The Fog of Gender Wars

The Fog of War:

The unavoidable aspect of war wherein the intelligence gathered is always incomplete to a degree, thereby making any decisions concerning said war a bit… foggy. (Urban Dictionary)

Our boys are in crisis:

  • 70% of all D’s and F’s are given to boys
  • 85% of stimulant addressing meds prescribed in the world are prescribed to US boys
  • The reading skills of the average 17 year old boy have declined over the last 20 years
  • Boys are falling behind girls in almost every area of education from preschool to college and beyond
  • 70-90% of all boys leave the Christian church in their teens and early 20’s and most don’t come back
  • For every 100 girls expelled from elementary and secondary schools, 355 boys are expelled


Our boys are in crisis.  They have been since the early 1980’s.  And yet for all of the books on the subject and cries for action, little has been or is being done…because our society is blind to the boy crisis.  The cause of that blindness: The fog of gender wars.

Here is the latest example:  On March 11, 2009, the White House issued a press release announcing the formation of the President’s Council on Women and Children. “The purpose of this council is to ensure that American women and girls are treated fairly in all matters of public policy,” President Obama was quoted as saying.  Although he invited a group of men to help form a similar Council on Men and Children, to this point, no such council has been formed.

However, the President recently did launch an initiative geared to boys of color, who, like all boys, are in crisis, but for whom the crisis is much deeper.  The initiative, My Brother’s Keeper, was created to improve the lives of at risk young men.  Finally!  Cue the applauds.

But rather than applauds, this:  A Washington Post Headline: 1,000 Women of Color Want Women and Girls included in “My Brother’s Keeper.”  All in the name of gender equality.


In the 1960’s and 1970’s the US Government invested $100 million into getting girls caught up to boys in education. As a result, girls passed boys in the early 1980’s.  So far, the US Government has invested $0 in helping our boys catch up to our girls.  As mentioned, early in his presidency President Obama created the Council on Women and Children.  There is as of yet no similar commission for men or boys.  And the My Brother’s Keeper is primarily funded through private donations.

What’s going on here?  The fog of gender wars.  Boy-blindness.  We have fought so long and hard for our girls (and rightfully so) that we can’t see the new storyline for our boys through all the fog.  There is an unwillingness by far too many to laser focus on boys as we did with girls.  Yes, we still have work to do for our girls.  But our boys are in crisis.  And without sounding alarmist, if we don’t act soon for our boys, we will increasingly produce generations of under-educated, under-skilled, under-motivated men who will drain our society in ways that should send shivers down our spines.  The fog of gender wars paralyzes us from doing anything to help boys because every time the boy crisis is raised, it’s muddled by raising the issue of girls.

But just as girls needed and need a laser focus, so do our boys.  And our boys need it now!

So peer through the fog.  Look at our boys.  Really look at them.  And then fight for them!


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About Tim Wright

I've been a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America since 1984, currently serving as the founding pastor of Community of Grace in Peoria, AZ. My wife, Jan and I, were married in 1979. We raised two kids and currently have 3 grandkids. I love to ride my bike, travel, read British Mysteries, and Disneyland. I have written 6 books, including my newest--Searching for Tom Sawyer: How Parents and Congregations Can Stop the Exodus of Boys From Church. My website:

  • FireInSpace

    “70-90% of all boys leave the Christian church in their teens and early 20’s and most don’t come back”

    That’s great news! I wish the number was as high for girls.

    • RevTim

      Imagine if Mother Teresa had not been a Christian. Or Martin Luther King, jr. The world would be the sadder for it! :)

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  • RevTim

    Lorenzo, sorry I missed this response. Thanks for chiming in! Good stuff.