Let’s talk seriously about men’s problems. Because they are real

Isn’t it too delicate, to write a book about a man’s troubles? Friends of Richard F. Reeves, who or boys and men wrote and advised against it. In the current American political climate, they said, they don’t want to burn themselves.

Progressives would put you in the conservative camp among Trump voters. Because women are still the ones who earn the least, are the victims of sexual abuse most often, and are inadequate on boards? On the other hand, conservatives shout that the “left” wants to label everything masculine poisonous, To erase the biological differences between men and women.

How do you navigate through this polarization Culture wars, which is particularly fierce in the United States? The British-American Reeves, a senior fellow at the leading think tank Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C., wrote that we can tackle men’s problems and be passionate about women’s rights.

The guys are struggling. Reeves illustrates this with plenty of American stats in particular. Today, for every 100 bachelor’s degrees for women, 74 are for men, for example. Men who drop out of school more often, more often feel lonely, and more often live with their children. Three out of four “desperate deaths” (by suicide or overdose) are men.

In 2021, 15 percent of men said they had no close friends, and in 1990 it was still 3 percent. “Suddenly,” Reeves writes somewhat boldly, “working for gender equality means focusing on boys rather than girls.”

Also read Martin Higgin’s opinion piece: Really helpful man

Male misery

But what about the wage gap? Yes, for every hundred dollars men earn in the US, women earn 82, Reeves writes right on the front page. But these are averages. Particularly male-dominated at the top: Only 41 of the 500 Fortune 500 companies have a female CEO, and only 3 percent of venture capital investments in the United States go to companies with foundations.

The extreme inequality at the top obscures further developments at the bottom of the economic ladder. Income for men with only a high school diploma has increased by 14 percent since 1979 decreased, adjustment for inflation. Among black Americans, who are still often in the lower socioeconomic class, women are now more breadwinners than men. White women earn more than black men.

Among young people, the gender pay gap is almost non-existent, especially if they do not have children. Reeves writes that the wage gap is actually a paternal gap. Women lose income for each child because they take care of the tasks. (For same-sex couples in which both women bear a child, the income remains the same.)

While women have increasingly become breadwinners in recent years, fathers have not taken on caring responsibilities at the same pace. Reeves: “The changing economic relationship between men and women happened so quickly that our culture could not keep up.”

The man’s role in the family has long been defined as the breadwinner. Men derive a large part of their identity from this, Reeves writes. Thus feminism made male weakness visible (uncaused). Women were economically dependent in the family, but men were emotionally dependent, as it seems now.

“The true nature of male misery,” Reeves writes, “is not a lack of participation in the labor market, but a cultural replication.” According to the Pew Research Center, women give meaning to their lives (work, family, and friends) in more ways than men do.

“women’s” professions

Men also do not benefit from automation, as it has a major impact on professions that are mainly populated by men, such as logistics and construction. While the demand for employees in traditionally “female” professions, such as care and teaching, has only increased.

Not surprisingly, many men in the lower classes are outraged by left-wing, progressive resistance to “toxic manhood” and “patriarchy.” They often do not see any “male dominance” in their environment at all.

Reeves shrewdly criticizes both the progressive left, which he says is insufficiently aware that men can lose, too, and conservative groups, who would like to turn back the clock to restore traditional family relationships.

Reeves is not the first to put men first. The earliest example from his book comes from Arthur Schlesinger’s 1958 essay “The Crisis of American Manhood.” Reeves quotes profusely men’s end (2012) by Hanna Rosen. In the Netherlands, Martin Heijn did just that utility man a penny in the pocket. But Reeves says he was so shocked by the men’s problems that he decided to start writing himself. This provides a complete and concise overview at the same time.

Also read Hannah Rosens review men’s end: Mother system is the future

or boys and men He was at his most powerful when Reeves showed how policy makers (at least in the US) have a blind spot for men’s problems. Given the leadership of girls in education, it is actually incomprehensible that there is a National Coalition for Women and Girls in Education, but there is no male variant. He is right to be outraged that the National Gender Strategy makes no mention of boys being left behind.

Solution

Reeves is a political fetishist who also comes up with solutions, although they sometimes seem rather simple. For example, he proposes a national recruitment drive to make work in health care and education attractive to men. At present, efforts are still being made to solve the staff shortage problem with “half of the working population”. But Reeves never mentions lower wages in those sectors.

To improve the boys’ performance at school, Reeves came up with the radical idea of ​​having the boys start school a year later. He bases this mainly on biology: Boys’ brains and cognitive skills are said to develop more slowly than those of girls. The science isn’t completely clear on that yet, but Reeves cites research that shows boys benefit greatly from such a one-year delay.

The Netherlands is very different from the United States, however or boys and men Offers good starting points for talking a lot about Dutch men’s problems. Also in the Netherlands, boys drop out of school more often, repeat more times and move to lower levels of education more often, according to the Education Board. Also in the Netherlands, many young people (not all of them are teenagers) no longer leave their rooms. Here too, twice as many men as women die by suicide. In one age group, between the ages of 25 and 35, men are now most likely to be unemployed.

Are we aware enough of this in the Netherlands? Doing more for boys and men does not mean abandoning the ideal of gender equality. “It’s an extension of it.” Reeves concludes that this thought should not be burdensome at all.

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