The Dark Side of Feminism
Don’t get all worked up about the title of this blog post, please! I have here and everywhere fully supported the main goals of the women’s movement/feminism such as total, absolute equality between the sexes. I have long taught against patriarchy in all its forms and lived that commitment in all my relations. One example: I am now a member of a third Baptist church in a row (for me) pastored by a woman.
With this blog essay I intend nothing against the main goals of feminism, but together with even some feminists I want to say that American feminism, perhaps misunderstood by people who support it, has a dark side. That dark side has been neglect of boys.
Recently I came across this article in Harper’s Bazaar (at Harpersbazaar.com, February 22, 2019): “How Feminism Is Stifling Our Sons” by feminist Christine Michel Carter. Please read it (by finding it using an internet search engine). This article expresses exactly what I have been saying even before Newseek’s famous “The Boy Crisis” cover story of 2006.
*Sidebar: The opinions expressed here are my own (or those of the guest writer); I do not speak for any other person, group or organization; nor do I imply that the opinions expressed here reflect those of any other person, group or organization unless I say so specifically. Before commenting read the entire post and the “Note to commenters” at its end.*
Christine Michel Carter is not the first feminist to point out this dark side of feminism. Feminist scholar Christina Hoff Sommers said much the same in “The Boys at the Back” in the New York Times in 2013.
Please read Christine Michel Carter’s excellent article mentioned above. You will have no trouble finding it using an internet search engine. The article is pro-women and pro-girls all the way but points out that contemporary emphasis on girls in education and the media is prompting a continuing ignoring of boys. Not all boys automatically enjoy “male privilege.” Boys are not defective girls.
I will give just one of hundreds of example of what Christine Michel Carter says—from my own experience. I am a customer of a local national-chain bookstore and visited local stores in several cities and saw this same thing: a large table of books for girls with the sign “For Unstoppable Girls.” Never have I seen a table of books for boys in any bookstore. The same stores carry many more magazines for girls (e.g., Girls Life) than for boys.
Don’t try to tell me its all just supply and demand. I have the larger picture—as does Christine Michel Carter. There are associations and organizations “above” the bookstore(s) that push them to promote books for girls and to not push books for boys. Who knows how many books for boys would sell if these bookstores placed tables “front and center aisle” for boys? I don’t believe it is ever been tried—at least in recent years/decades.
Anyway…please read (!) Christine Michel Carter’s article. Comments that are civil and promote dialogue (not argumentative) are welcome. But know that I get tired of saying here that this is not a zero sum game. More attention to boys does not necessarily require less attention to girls!
I could go on here talking about statistics. If you are interested in them, go to https://www.aei.org/carpe-diem/chart-of-the-day-for-every-100-girls-women/ . There you will find some troubling statistics about boys and young men in American society. The evidence is that they are falling far behind girls and young women in education and health and well-being.
Finally, again, I am not blaming feminism for “the boy crisis.” I am blaming the ways in which society at large has interpreted or misinterpreted feminism. True feminism never intended this boy crisis or neglect of boys; it is the educators, advertisers, health professionals, etc., who have interpreted feminism that way—perhaps unconsciously. But it is time now for them to pay more attention to boys without neglecting girls. (I don’t think there’s any danger of that happening.)
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