THERE is a crisis of boys and men in play, an epidemic of crushed souls crying out for some words of encouragement. It has consequences beyond comprehension. Murder, suicide and a litany of wicked thoughts are just some of the effects of our cultural destruction of men and boys. This has been well document by Warren Farrell and John Gray in The Boy Crisis, which shows that on most metrics men are struggling more than anyone is recognising on the front line of the culture war.
Some may assume that these struggles happen in private and are the ills that befall a very unfortunate minority of men; it is very clear to me that this is not the case. This crisis is the result of several aspects that any young man today will be closely familiar with. As a student at a campus university, to me ‘the boy crisis’ is all too clear. This article aims to detail some of them and to suggest, if you happen to be in this position, how you might forge a better way forward than becoming resentful toward women or (as is common) or resorting to violence.
In a recent university seminar on terrorism, before any discussion of the material, we were all told to watch for the interplay of our internal power dynamics and be ‘conscious of our unconscious biases’. This meant that from the very beginning, anyone who did not fit into a minority grouping was silenced, made to feel guilty for an immutable characteristic over which they have no control – but maybe that’s easy for me to say as a straight, white man. Dating on a university campus is much the same. Young women, filled with the fervour of new age feminism, chastise men who are ‘too masculine’ and pay lip service to those who have been emasculated. However, the latter remain undatable because they are unable to provide or protect, in stark contrast to the primordial, biological role that men have played in relationships.
This consciousness of being a man in the modern world (and of that being something to worry about) has been clear to me from a young age. My father, a photographer, would insist that when he was working with women another woman was also present in case a false allegation of misconduct was made against him. The message was clear: good men in the modern world need to be careful about their interactions even though they would never cause harm to women. Conversely, women seemingly have a near-monopoly on sexual victimhood. It is true that most sexual attacks take place against women. However, sexual abuse and violence against men is a fact. There is a massive disparity between the support offered to men as opposed to women. Even though we live in a world that celebrates equality, men are still stigmatised and underrepresented by the charities and organisations that have been established to support victims of sexual assault of both genders. I need to stress that this is not women’s fault, I am simply making the point that in a world where anybody can change their gender depending on their mood, why isn’t violence against men recognised as a serious problem that leads to many living lives of quiet desperation, questioning their selfhood and trying to forge a path in a world that sees them as the oppressors?
So that’s what society’s left with – oppressive and tyrannical men? Nothing more, nothing less? No. Men, like women, have intrinsic value and our society should not be so quick to put men down because there’s going to be a time where a man’s going to need to go to war, work tirelessly on an oil rig or go deep into the sludge of human waste to make sure we can mindlessly take care of our essential ablutions. Men do dangerous and often perilous jobs that benefit us all. I am not saying that men have it worse than women, not at all. I am echoing the well-documented reality that men are struggling, toiling with the notion that rather from doing good, they are a parasitic force eating away at humanity. The ramifications are not to be taken lightly, for this is a vicious circle. When boys grow up with beaten-down, emasculated men as fathers (essentially overgrown teenagers), what sources of vision and encouragement will they have to become proper men? The world needs competent men and women who can work together without a constant need to do the other down, denying gender roles, biology, history and most importantly familial structures such as the institution of marriage.
This cannot be where the story ends, and if we are to have a far better future for both sexes, we should be encouraging our boys to become the kind of men that women want by their side and be reliable pillars of strength in our communities. This vision is surely far more productive than the alternative.