Monday, January 26, 2009

Who Stands Up for the Men? - We Do

Why Boys Fail takes a look at the efforts of some feminist groups to get a cabinet level post for women's issues. But he asks, who's looking out for men's issues?

Please, feminists, throw the boys a bone …

I counted the logos of 38 different feminist groups signing this letter asking President Obama to establish a cabinet-level Office on Women:

Dear President-Elect Obama and Vice President-Elect Biden:

As leaders of women’s organizations and advocates for women’s equality, collectively representing over 14 million women, we are writing to elaborate on the need for historic levels of women’s appointments and the need to restore and strengthen executive branch offices for women.

We applaud your initial appointments of talented women and we encourage you to further gender balance your White House, Cabinet, and executive appointments. The U.S., with women composing just 17% of the members of Congress, ranks 71st among the world’s parliaments in representation of women. With women so underrepresented in Congress, we believe it is crucial
for women’s representation to increase dramatically at the executive branch of decision-making.

Many of us will be submitting names of excellent and diverse women for your consideration. Like you, we believe that we are at a time of real change in our nation’s history. Through both words and actions, you have encouraged and challenged the nation to think transformationally.

In this spirit, we urge you to create a Cabinet-level Office on Women that will deal not only with the status of women, but with the many inequities women face in our society, our nation, and our world. Such an office is even more necessary today, because of the increased disparities and backward movement of the past eight years.

As the father of two daughters and a liberal in good standing (OK, I voted for a Republican once, but didn’t John Warner deserve it for taking on Ollie North?) I wish them the best, really I do.

Privately, I suspect feminists such as Kim Gandy from NOW would acknowledge that males could use a special assist as well — falling well behind girls in K-12 classrooms, graduating from college at embarrassingly low rates and entering a workforce where a recession is eliminating far more jobs held by men than women.

Of course men lack 38 groups to represent their needs. Actually, I can’t think of even one, which means we must throw ourselves on the mercy of the feminists. You don’t have to be a sociologist to understand what happens when one gender pulls far ahead of another (Ask Oprah; she’ll tell you about the dilemma of black women). It’s in the interest of feminists to watch out for men as well. So please, throw the boys a bone.

Seriously, I don't think either gender needs a national level person watching out for them - government has a lot more serious problems to deal with these days.

However, in an effort to redress the gender imbalances of history, I think the pendulum has swung too far in the other direction. Boys ARE falling behind. Men ARE lost about how to relate to each other and to women. But those things cannot be fixed by government - they are our issues, and we are the ones who need to take responsibility for redressing the wrongs.


Anonymous said...

Some of the problems of men are systemic ones, like the reduction in public space. The absence of public transport and DUI laws have made pubs dangerous. Church is not an option for many.

I think I know how to relate to men. (I'm 51) I just can't find any. And people move so much.

Anonymous said...

There is a strong men's movement in Australia that is forging ahead with strengthening male spirituality, eldership, youth mentoring and promoting the health and wellbeing of men.
One such organisation is Mens Wellbeing Inc, a voluntary (no government funding) group that runs four big men's festivals a year, a schedule of structured, facilitated men's groups, our own magazine - and a dance with a sister women's organisation.
And yes, as strong men we do hug and support each other and discuss our issues.