Schools’ war on boys

Two things come together in this article by Christina Hoff Sommers about the war that schools routinely wage against American boys.

First, it’s written by Christina Hoff Sommers, a writer I’ve deeply admired since I first read Who Stole Feminism?: How Women Have Betrayed Women. I give her a great deal of credit for helping strip the so-called “liberal” blinders from my eyes and allowing me to see human nature and the world we live in as they actually are, not as the Marxist propagandists claim they are.

Second, the article supports something I’ve been saying at this blog since the day I started it, back in (gasp!) October 2004:  Our culture is incredibly hostile to boys, and this hostility is reflected in our schools.  My pet peeve is the way education revolves around “feelings.”  I’ve said a zillion times that boys tune this out.  If you want to engage them in literature, have them read Ivanhoe, not Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.  I loved that second book (in a chastely salacious way) when I was 11, but Judy Blume-esque books are so not for boys.

If you give boys books about adventure, and heroics, and honor, and decency, they gobble them up.  If you foist on them relatively stagnant books about navel-gazing, they will zone out and become disengaged from education.  Wrap that up with games that deny boys the opportunity to play rough (in a fairly safe way), and compete, and learn how to win and lose, and you will have emasculated a generation.

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  • JKB

    “…and you will have emasculated a generation.” I doubt that. Lost perhaps. Lost control of for sure. But emasculated, not the majority. Masculinity doesn’t depend on cultivation. But society really doesn’t want it to go feral.
    Men and boys aren’t going on strike, they are going their own way.  It only looks like they are dropping out from the perspective of past society.  And even that is only a concern because those who’ve lived off the surplus of men are seeing that surplus decline.  Men can live alone, endure hardship, scrape by, and be happy.  What is lost when they do that is the surplus they produce from their evil competitive urges, and their need to build and solve.
    I may have cited this here before but it is still on point.  Many a man would live in this manner.  What stops him is woman and child which need to be provided for.   Take that away and ….
    Two people I have known who seemed to me to possess beyond all others I knew this deep, confident, unswerving intimacy with the world about them. One of them was a fellow, half gentleman and half vagabond, who had a strong aversion to work and a perpetual delight in hunting and fishing. He was called shiftless and lazy and all that ; but I think most folks had a touch of respect for him, because he loafed so openly and unabashed. As another man might go to his ofiice or take his team to the fields, he shouldered his rifle or took his fishing rod and went his way, unashamed, indifferent to the gibes of those who toiled. When he needed a little money, he might be persuaded to do a few days’ work ; and he worked faithfully, but with an evident lack of joy in his tasks. It was to him an unpleasant matter made necessary by circumstances, but a sheer loss of time that might have been devoted to better things. I have seen him sitting on a fallen log, his long-barreled squirrel rifle in his hand, waiting as still almost as a stump for the reappearance of a squirrel that had dodged into a hole ; and he seemed, from the placid patience with which he waited, to have no care of the lapsing hours. I have seen him, too, on mysterious trips afield or through the woods when there was nothing to kill. It was in the woods and fields that he belonged; and whenever he could, there he went. He might have been another Thoreau if he had had the ability of expression, but he was unlettered. I doubt, too, if in his calm detachment from what most people regard as the important things of life he would have thought it worth while to try to make these hurried, busy men understand the things that filled his heart. 
    So he lived and died, a shiftless, improvident fellow whose name was synonymous with indolence and worthlessness. Yet I have wondered if he was not worthy to be accounted a success, since his life evidently brought to himself no sense of failure; and he walked amid his fellows with unimpaired self-respect, for all his laziness, “a gentleman unafraid.” 

  • jj

    I’ll go a touch farther than JKB: I suspect there have always been – and remain – a good proportion of guys who would cheerfully live in trees, killing small things with their hands and eating them pretty close to raw.  98% of what we refer to as “civilization,” everything from finger bowls to Laura Ashley wallpaper to agriculture to the idea of law (instead of just breaking the face of those who offend) is a female construct.  We are living in a female construct.  The male half has no interest in most of it, and no need for any of it.  Somewhere in the dim and distant past the decision was made by some of our ancestors to stop just living any whichway, stop taking what they wanted when they wanted, get organized, invent agriculture (in other words, stop following the herd and get a job), stay in one place and begin to establish a nascent civilization.  I have no doubt this was sold to us on precisely the same basis so much of the crap with which we live is always sold to us: “for the children.”  Instead of saying, “#%&$! the children, if they can’t keep up we can eat ’em!” those ancestors at that time and in that place bought into it.  Ever since, males have been out of place.

  • Charles Martel

    Most men—I don’t include metrosexuals, “progressives,” or Arab Muslims in that description—have a built-in need to act as builders and protectors. More than one anthropologist has noted that the sum of men’s accomplishments can be briefly described as making life easier for women. Agriculture took away the need to roam while pregnant or to tend children on the move. Running water and trains delivering good food from great distances vastly extended children’s life expectancies. Vaccines stopped deadly plagues. Establishing and defending borders made it possible for large numbers of women to rear children without the threat of invasion and rapine.
    To be blunt, women simply cannot and could not duplicate what men have built. The capital that men have invested over the past 10,000 years is quickly being drawn down, and we’re seeing the results in the almost total breakdown of black ghetto single-mom society and the glorification of bastardy, and the rise of shamelessly hapless and unvirile “men” like Obama, Biden, Brian Williams, Krugman, and all the other sissies who now run things.
    If real men drop out, and live as jj and JKB describe, things will collapse pretty quickly. The feminists will at long last reach the moment they’ve been awaiting: Being able to stand atop the wreckage of the technological society they despise but now own, crowing in triumph. Unfortunately, it is a structure that they will lack the know-how and skills to maintain or improve upon. So, of course, they will, even in the complete absence of men, blame men for their predicament.

  • Jose

    “#%&$! the children, if they can’t keep up we can eat ‘em!”
    I just gotta say, I find that very entertaining. 

  • Ymarsakar

    Slaves never needed to be taught how to think for themselves or rebel against authority. The Left is not in the business of raising thinkers.

  • Spartacus

    How, jj, would high-quality IPA be mass-produced and distributed by a nomadic society?  Never mind the fermentation process under the careful supervision of an experienced brewer, and the temperature control, the bottling, the distribution, and all that: where would you even find a good and reliable source of barley and hops?  We’d be lucky if the guy in the tree next to us managed to find a few scrawny strands of barley every now and then, and labored mightily to produce some watery, lukewarm, barely consumable, Budweiser-ish gruel.  Forget “I, Pencil.”  Think, “I, Beer.”
    Very insightful points above about what we have lost, with which I will not argue, but our ancestors settled down in order to protect the barley crop, and I will passionately defend that decision.

  • Bob Agard

    Another excellent post, which I have linked here: