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How Boys Speak When No One Listens

Filed under: Boys / Youth / Education,General,Men's Health — Julie @ 4:18 pm Fri 12th December 2008

by Warren Farrell, Ph.D.

Virginia Tech, the 2006 Amish and Vermont killings, and Columbine make us cry out, … What’s making our children kill? In fact, it is not our children doing the killing. It is our sons. Yes, violence in the media, the availability of handguns, and poor family values are part of the problem, but our daughters are of the same family’s values, are also exposed to violence in the media, and also able to find the same guns in the same homes. And our daughters are not killing.

What is it with our sons? Start with the common denominator. These homicides were also suicides. When boys and girls are nine, their suicide rates are equal. Between 10 and 14, boys rates are twice girls rates. Between 15 and 19, it is quadruple. And between 20 and 24, it soars to six times. But we only pay attention when guns allow the suicides to also become homicides.

Boys rates go up as boys and girls gender roles intensify. The women’s movement and our schools have offered girls “girl power” and girls suicide rates have gone down. Girls now have the option to ask boys out, but boys still have the expectation; once out, girls have the option to pay for boys, but boys still have the expectation to pay; once dinner is paid for, girls have the option to risk sexual rejection, but boys still have the expectation to risk sexual rejection. And boys suicide rates are going up.

In school, our girls are doing better; our boys are doing worse. Girls surpass boys in reading, writing, verbal skills, civics and the arts. Girls get better grades and more honors; they are elected to more offices, are more likely to graduate from high school and college. Boys, on the other hand, are more likely to be suspended or expelled, need special education, have ADD and ADHD, do drugs, repeat a grade, become incarcerated, be illiterate, drop out and be unemployed.

Is the problem our sons? No. The problem is us. It starts with our mixed messages to boys. We want to have sensitive boys willing to die and kill. Which is why we still require only our sons to register for the draft. Girls, parents and male peers are still cheering for football players who abuse others and abuse themselves for love and respect. We still worship men who kill in war and make a killing in Wall Street.

We can’t have it both ways. If boys get love, attention and respect by disconnecting from feelings, they will disconnect from feelings when they lose love, attention and respect.

When girls had problems in math or science, and were underrepresented in law and medicine, we asked parents, schools and political leaders to take responsibility. Now boys have problems. We need to take responsibility. The problem is even bigger with boys than it was with girls because boys learn to repress feelings, not express feelings. If we don’t discover what’s behind boy’s repression boys will use guns as a form of expression.

Boys and men are losing it. We need our sons and our dads. And we can do for them what we’ve been doing for our daughters and wives for the past thirty years. Then children will have dads and boys will have more mentors and counselors than guns and explosives.

Mens News Daily

‘Hush-hush’ suicide reporting doesn’t work

Dominion Post, 07 June 2006

Napier coroner Warwick Holmes wants restrictions lifted on the reporting of suicide, to help address New Zealand’s “world record rate of self-inflicted deaths”. He called for the change during a hearing in which four inquests out of the six he presided over were related to self-inflicted deaths.

The “hush-hush” approach to reporting suicide was not working, he said. “We hold a world record for the amount of self-inflicted harm done by males between the ages of 15 and 24.” he said. “We have a genuine problem in New Zealand and the more attention brought to it will help address this problem.”

Parliament’s justice and electoral select committee has rejected calls to lift restrictions on what news media can report. Fears have been raised from education and mental health officials that publicity about suicide causes copycat deaths.

But Holmes believes restrictions on reporting were not working. “We’ve got legislation saying `Don’t talk about it’ and, from my position, I have a problem believing the legislation is doing anything to solve the problem…There is no doubt the problem is chronic. Coroners around the countryside are dealing with this on an almost-daily basis. On the one hand we hush it all up but all we do is create a dilemma.”

What troubles Holmes is the lack of progress being made with the amount of self-inflicted deaths of young men.

read more


  1. The police SWAT teams during the Waco Texas siege killed more kids than have ever died in school shootings at the hands of other kids.

    Men are NOT losing it, it is all just social engineering using feminist laws to demonise men. We will always be the saner and constructive sex. We have built the world and all it’s institutions, after 30 years of feminism, women are leading mankind to terrible social consequences

    Comment by perseus — Sat 13th December 2008 @ 3:12 am

  2. Hey Julie,
    I know for a fact that there’s considerable research to show that people commit suicide because they are LACKING 2 essential things –
    1. A sense of community. A feeling they are outsiders, not claimed by their social community, a sense that they don’t belong.
    2. A sense of identity. A feeling that they hold no meaningful role which binds them to society.
    (sounds awefully close to a description of the most recent wave of legions of institutionally defathered and socially alienated young men in the western anglosphere doesn’t it?)

    Feminist promoted ‘No fault’ divorce laws leading to 50% divorce rate with women initiating divorce 70% of the time …..tick, tick, tick…….

    Increasing male failure in feminized academic settings …..tick, tick…tick…

    Lack of ANY reproductive rights…….tick… tick…..tick……

    Lack of support through fair enactment of family law………tick, tick…….tick…..

    Child support (tax) being paid by fathers to mothers (most usually) with NO accountability for what it actually then gets spent on ……..tick….tick

    Widespread anecdotal evidence of systematic abuse of males in the family courts………tick…tick….tick……

    All of the above is adding up to wonderful meaningful future for our young men isn’t it?
    They can bask in a deep sense of belonging can’t they? (both rhetorical Qs)

    So bearing these things in mind I ask the following –

    Do you think that on top of existing conditions for young males that also allowing on-the-spot protection orders to be issued by NZ police at the scenes of domestic disputes will increase social stress and suicidality rates of young men? Or do you think that living in constant threat of being falsely accused, then incarcerated without trial and sentenced to periodic detention (anger management) and the resultant social stigma closed doors will alleviate male stress and help to reduce young men’s rates of suicide?

    tick, tick, tick………

    Perhaps instead of going off half cocked with a knee-jerk opinion though, you’d like to take a more considered approach and actually do some valuable research and ask men in NZ, especially young men about this issue.

    tick, tick, tick………..

    Don’t wait too long though.
    The clock IS ticking.
    And how many of our young men are suiciding each year…….tick…tick…..
    You’ll only have a certain amount of time to make your submission to the select commmity charged with looking at the proposal for on-the-spot protection orders……….tick, tick, tick……….

    Please do enlighten those of us who visit this site on what you decide to do on the issue.
    I’m sure many of us would love to know your agenda in the face of a society where so many young men decide there’s no worthwhile future and they don’t fit in…..

    tick, tick tick……

    Comment by Skeptik — Sat 13th December 2008 @ 4:33 am

  3. Nice comment Skeptic,

    You’ll only have a certain amount of time to make your submission to the select commmity charged with looking at the proposal for on-the-spot protection orders……….tick, tick, tick……….

    I have e-mailed one MP to gain information on this. I will see what options I have and work with what I can. I just hope there is time.

    I wasn’t aware this is what you meant by action.

    Comment by julie — Sat 13th December 2008 @ 5:32 pm

  4. Brilliant Skeptic, could i add “No recognition whatsoever of female domestic violence , tick, tick tick”
    There will always be plenty of jobs for cops who will have to enforce all the unfairness against men themselves, cops and soldiers are government pawns who are FORCED to obey orders even though they are affected by the same laws
    Cops kill their spouses much more than the average man, they know how biassed the law is and what awaits, i guess
    One day BOOM

    Comment by perseus — Sun 14th December 2008 @ 5:41 am

  5. Yes, nice writing #2 (Skeptic). It’s regrettable that the tick tick ticking seems to lead only to individual tradegies rather than to social change.

    Comment by Hans Laven — Sun 14th December 2008 @ 12:31 pm

  6. It is off topic, i was reading about this American guy Makoff (aka Make-Off with cash) who swindled 50 Billion USD from American investors , using a “Ponzi” scheme, which is basically a pyramid sales technique, the interest is paid not from good investing , but from a presumed ever increasing amount of principal capital, the required initial investment of such a scheme is thus very small

    It just occurred to me that all these NZ investment companies that went bust this year, probably used the same technique but saw the writing on the wall, and so instead declared bankruptcy. Due to the light banking regulations, it probably wasn’t investigated, (and all the government workers were probably too busy spying on Greenpeace, Maoris and Fathers Groups).

    This technique works only while more and more money flows into the fund, but at the current “credit crunch”, LOADS of money is being withdrawn and so these scams are falling apart. Maybe more in NZ too !

    Pity about thousands of kiwi who put their life savings with these conmen though AND why did nobody check what they were doing ?

    Comment by perseus — Mon 15th December 2008 @ 7:50 am

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