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US examines its Boy Crisis

Filed under: General — Downunder @ 3:36 pm Wed 30th April 2014

This is an interesting article published in the New York times – story here

The article looks at varying aspects of boys fitting into (in this case American) society and at the negative economic flow-on effects for a society failing it boys. It comes at a time when the US economy is falling substantially behind its Commonwealth neighbour Canada and they have an urgent need for self reflection.

‘We know we’ve got a crisis, and the crisis is with boys,’ said Elaine Kamarck, a resident scholar at Third Way and a former Clinton administration official. ‘We’re not quite sure why it’s happening.’

The article examines possible causes such as changing family circumstances and elementary schooling failing boys.

Situations that we are well aware of and are obvious in New Zealand although I wouldn’t expect to see a commentary along these lines in the New Zealand media anytime soon – it would certainly be shouted down by New Zealand feminists who claim they are still disadvantaged in every possible way.

The observation being made:

The gap in behavioral skills between young girls and boys is even bigger than the gap between rich and poor.

and the suggestion:

If the United States is going to build a better-functioning economy than the one we’ve had over the last 15 years, we’re going to have to solve our boy problems.

There are a few pro and con arguments but the conclusion at the end is quite striking – that society is now so unaware of how its modern behaviour patterns are inadvertently disadvantaging the male gender before they even enter the education system.

It’s not news on this site, we’ve been writing about this for years now, but there will come a time when New Zealand is forced to recongnise the economic impacts of failing boys, and that any changes we do make will take many years to show any dividends.

I would also make the observation that when you have an overload of feminist rationale and governance along with feminist media bias this adds considerably to the lack clear thinking required to make decisions now, that impact long term outcomes.

As we are also aware, feminism is based on entitlement not on any sound economic rationale – it will likely take some considerable time to change the prevailing views in this country – so it is also likely that our long term outcomes will be much more severe than those countries who take steps toward resolving their boy crisis now.


  1. The articles are well worth reading.

    Two of the leading theories involve single-parent families and schools. The number of single-parent families has surged over the last generation, and the effect seems to be larger on boys in those families than girls. Girls who grow up with only one parent – typically a mother – fare almost as well on average as girls with two parents. Boys don’t.

    But the trends seem too broad for family structure to be the only cause. That’s where schools come in.

    Girls enter school with a lead on boys, and schools then fail to close the gaps. Instead, they increase. The behavioral advantage that girls have over boys in kindergarten, based on teachers’ assessments of their students, are even larger in fifth grade.

    Joseph Driessen? spoke of these issues at the Men’s Issues Conference in Henderson 2006. The size of the problem is slowly getting bigger and bigger.

    Comment by MurrayBacon — Wed 30th April 2014 @ 9:46 pm

  2. From 37 years of experience in the classroom the lack of males in preschool and primary schools is one basic cause of the lack of achievement in males. The secondary service is rapidly becoming female dominated to the disadvantage of males.
    Females respond equally well to male or female teachers but males need a strong male presence in their lives. Often the male is missing from the home and now the male is becoming rarer in schools, youth clubs etc.

    Comment by andrew — Wed 30th April 2014 @ 10:05 pm

  3. National Council of Women website.

    ‘”¦all women need to do is dumb men down, then we can take over,”
    Lilla Harre M.P. 2000.

    Schooling for equality.

    ‘Equity is the application of a particular notion of fairness, positive discrimination. In schools it involves the provision, not of equal resources, but of unequal resources and attention to groups of students so that fairer outcomes can be achieved.’
    Alison Jones (Politics, Policy, Pedagogy Education in Aotearoa / New Zealand 2000)

    Boys held back by macho stereotypes.

    ‘Boys need opportunities to challenge expectations and stereotypes, assistance in developing an expectation that they may not perform a breadwinner role in their relationship “¦’
    Ruth Chapman Deputy General Secretary PPTA. (NZ Herald 2000)

    [An education would have been nice]

    Girls can do ‘everything’.

    ‘The qualities that women bring to management are considerable: empathy and understanding, the ability to multi-task, perception and intuition, a collegial way of working – stressing co-operation and support of others.’
    Ali Nelson (King’s College Courier 2002).

    [Everything not anything].

    Men missed their chance in education.

    ‘”¦language skills, empathy, creativity, compassion, ability to multi-task and to attend to detail, as well as to have vision and a broad grasp of strategy. That is many of the skills traditionally regarded as feminine.’

    ‘Women in education took up the challenge, conducted the necessary research and provided the role models and resources to ensure that girls were better educated. We changed the way we taught to ensure that young women could be less passive, more assertive and achieving – that is more capably and fully human. Men in education, however, did not at the time take seriously enough their challenge “¦’
    Charmaine Pountney Secondary School Principal (NZ Herald 2003)

    [Silly me for thinking that you were trained and paid to educate all children.]

    This father hasn’t forgotten.

    Comment by Soothsayer — Thu 1st May 2014 @ 9:43 pm

  4. We need to understand how differential treatment is creating very different achievement in education for boys and girls. We need to see how the lower the socioeconomic environment, the much more dramatic the differential treatment and so the more pronounced the outcome.

    The belief boys should be strong from the nineteenth century is still used in the information age. The false belief in genetics, which does not recognize environmental areas such as this blinds the researchers as to the cause of the growing international Male Crisis. The belief boys should be strong creates more aggressive treatment as early as the first year. This increases as boys grow. The lower the socioeconomic bracket the more set in place aggressive treatment; more anxiety allowed upon those Males from the more unstable environments, and more set in place the need for physical strength.

    For all Males, the more aggressive treatment creates higher average stress (higher layers of mental work: preparation for defense, fear, distrust); higher muscle tension that hurts handwriting/motivation to write; and more activity for stress relief. The more aggressive treatment and much less kind, stable, mental, emotional, social, verbal, interaction, support, knowledge and skills create lags in many social/communication areas along with lower social vocabulary that along with higher average stress really hurts reading and independent reading motivation (requires lower average stress, reading is an abstract skill; poor communication with adults/teachers, and higher social vocabulary to reach into for discovering new words in print).

    This more aggressive, more distant treatment is given to all boys, even to boys in higher socioeconomic areas but is less damaging. Those boys however, are still falling behind their Female peers. Incidentally, also used to make Male children tough, they are given love/honor only on condition of some achievement, status, power, etc. If not achieving, those boys will be given more discipline/ridicule to make them try harder (not kind supportive treatment for fear of coddling. This leaves the average Male child continually seeking measures of love/honor, essentials of self-worth, from others and also much lower average esteem that is constantly needing to be filled. Boys not achieving in the classroom will then seek out tid bits of love/honor through video games, sports, risk taking. When the advertisers hold out signs to join the service, they emphasis honor for joining.

    The belief girls should be protected is working wonderfully for girls, later women in the information age. It creates wonderful mental, emotional, social, verbal support, knowledge, and skills along with much more kind, stable treatment from infancy through adulthood that creates lower average stress, lower muscle tension, more ease of learning, higher social vocabulary, much better communication, which is only supported and enhanced each day by family, peers, teachers, and society. Since girls are given basic love/honor simply for being girls, we are not as anxious in need of those supports. While this does present somewhat of a problem with more girls not seeking higher stem fields of study due to feeling of innersecurity at lower planes in society, the overall effect still provides a large measure of esteem and feelings of self-worth.

    This creates very large differences in achievement by gender over time. We must remove the false genetics models; look for many environmental tools as in my learning theory; provide much more public awareness of differential treatment; and hold teachers more responsible for providing more equatable treatment of boys and girls. I can go on and will answer any questions along with providing more application for my theory. lynn

    Comment by lynn oliver — Mon 17th November 2014 @ 8:48 am

  5. Good piece Lynn, great thinking and I believe your insights are accurate and important. I would like to hear more of your thinking on this. Keep that fine brain running!

    Comment by Man X Norton — Mon 17th November 2014 @ 8:44 pm

  6. I believe even without feminism, we are dealing with a very differential treatment of Male Children as early as one year of age. The more aggressive treatment we are giving Male children is creating higher average stress (defined as layers of mental work the take up real mental energy); more activity for stress relief; and more social/emotional distance from more fear and distrust of adults. also boys are not given kind, stable, verbal interaction and other mental/emotional supports for for fear of coddling (raising boys to be tough from he nineteenth century). This creates lags in mental emotional social growth and lower social vocabulary. In addition, boys, keeping with the desire to make boys tough, are given love and honor only on condition of some achievement, status, etc. Those boys not achieving are given more discipline and ridicule to make them try harder. This keeps boys in lower self-esteem, for they must continually generate love and honor from society. Boys not achieving in the classroom will then seek out tid bits of love and honor through video games, sports, or other areas.

    I feel there is something to be said about feminism in the classroom that although Female teachers have always been more aggressive and less tolerant of boys, it has now taken on more of a hateful tone that appears to be more acceptable in the schools who are now more made up of Female teachers and administrators.

    I feel the information age has also become a very good place for girls with more proper treatment to do very well educationally and now, also economically. The belief girls should be protected from the same nineteenth century creates wonderful kind, stable, mental, emotional, social, verbal interaction and other supports from infancy through adulthood. This is creating much ease of learning, lower average stress, lower muscle tension for better handwriting/motivation to write; higher social vocabulary; and much more trust and better communication with teachers that continue this support.

    Comment by lynn oliver — Thu 11th December 2014 @ 2:04 pm

  7. But the trends seem too broad for family structure to be the only cause. That’s where schools come in.

    Another way of expressing family structure as we are talking about here, is to describe it as the presence of a father.

    What this statement effectively says is that the presence of a father could not possibly have such a great impact on a boys education, there must be another reason.

    Yet the same article says that for girls who have the presence of a mother, they fare equally as well as children from two parent families.

    Once again we strike this prejudice against men, where it simply can’t be accepted that their presence and normal behaviour could have such a big impact on a son’s life.

    No, there simply has to be another reason and we have to find it.

    Comment by Downunder — Thu 11th December 2014 @ 6:53 pm

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