Sign Me Up for Male Studies

Two days ago a group of academics gathered to plan a new research discipline: Male Studies. I wholeheartedly endorse this effort. Naturally, it’s being met with derision and cries of FOUL! from the feminist community. Personally, I don’t understand how studying anything can be a bad thing. The purpose of academic research is to ask good questions and then attempt to answer them. Here are some good questions:

  • Why are 60% of college students women?
  • Who do men commit suicide at six times the rate of women?
  • Why are men 3 times more likely to have learning difficulties?
  • Why are men more than 8 times more likely to be incarcerated?

For more interesting statistics and questions, check out For Every 100 Girls (link here).

Why shouldn’t all women, including feminists, be interested in the decline of American men?

  • They’re half the population.
  • They’re not getting married as much as they used to.
  • They’re on the receiving end of 2/3 of divorces.
  • They’re not spending enough time with their children, who need them.
  • They’re not getting educated.
  • They’ve lost 80% of the jobs that disappeared in the recession.

What is Male Studies?

After Women’s Studies gained a foothold in academia, a few researchers began to focus on Men’s Studies, which emerged as a complementary discipline. Together the two areas make up Gender Studies at most universities. Both fields of study focus on gender as a social construct, and minimize biological differences between the sexes. Male Studies will specifically focus on the ways in which men and women are fundamentallly different at a genetic level, in an effort to understand and support boys and men.

The gathering was co-chaired by Lionel Tiger, Professor of Anthropology at Rutgers, and author of the book The Decline of Males. The other chair was Christina Hoff Sommers, a one-time prominent feminist turned critic, and author of the book The War Against Boys: How Misguided Feminism Is Harming Our Young Men.

I Have a Dog In This Fight

I care deeply about this issue because I am concerned for the welfare of both men and women in aggregate, particularly as it relates to relationships. However, I have also witnessed alarming “feminization” of the male population in public schools, and have long suspected it is extremely harmful to males. Sommers book is well worth reading for a full exploration of the issue, but I’ll share my own story:

When my son entered Kindergarten, he was assigned a teacher who was young and extremely popular with parents. We were delighted. During the course of that year, he was sent to the principal’s office, and I was called, for all of the following offenses:

  • “Showing off” his ability to read early (having taught himself via Sesame Street).
  • Saying the word penis on the playground.
  • Having “ants in his pants” (which led to a staff meeting about whether he might have ADD).
  • Hitting another boy over the head with an empty plastic lunchbox during an argument (Discipline for this offense is appropriate, but it was implied that this act revealed real pathology).

Two years later, our daughter was assigned to the same teacher, despite our request to the contrary. During the course of her kindergarten experience, I was informed of the following:

  • During a particularly hard day with a lot of peer conflict, my daughter asked whether the class might take a break from the lesson and spend the afternoon working together on a harmony mural. Her teacher got choked up on the telephone sharing this.
  • During gym class, she asked whether she might stay out of the dodgeball game to play catch with a boy who was confined to a wheelchair. More claims of saintly behavior.
  • She initiated a project in the class called Ornaments for the Homeless. Kids made simple ornaments, and then we got a bunch of the families to sell these in front of a supermarket one Saturday, raising $125 for a local shelter. The teacher arranged for the Boston Globe to write a story about my daughter, and the shelter threw a party in her honor. That project continues at the school to this day, fifteen years later.

I don’t mean to suggest that my daughter did not deserve credit for these kind and nurturing gestures. But do you see how the deck is stacked against boys? They are penalized for normal boy behavior, and pressured to conform to a standard that is far more natural for girls at that age. My son was a nice kid, too, and I’m sure he did plenty of things to support other kids. On the occasion when he was accused of showing off, he had been found reading aloud to three other kids in a corner, and was stunned to be called out for it. He became ashamed of his ability after that.

The system needs to be changed, and I support any research that gives voice to very real concerns that many have about boys in the current politically correct climate.

The Feminist Response

Hostility to the idea of Male Studies is not surprising among women’s groups or the media. Today in Salon, Tracy Clark Flory writes:

…The difference between male studies and men’s studies becomes clear: Men’s studies, like women’s studies, is an offshoot of gender studies. It’s influenced by feminism but is grounded in a critical exploration of the social and biological differences between men and women. Male studies claims to do the same thing, only its proponents have a stated vendetta against feminism.

Inevitably, men’s studies will be confused with its more confrontational and divisive counterpart, which is awfully sad. I remember wishing my college women’s studies courses would talk more about men, which is to say that I wished for the broader perspective that men’s studies embraces. Now male studies has arrived on the scene to turn this into yet another battle between the sexes. Grab your armor, because this one’s gonna be bloody.

Jessica Bennet and Jesse Ellison attended the conference for Newsweek, and wrote highlights of their experience on their blog The Equality Myth:

  • They passed up many cabs driven by men until they found one driven by a woman.
  • Said woman, upon learning their reason for traveling, “threw back her head and cackled.”
  • Lionel Tiger is “awesomely named,” but had the nerve to say that the academic lives of men are discriminated against. Yes, boys lag behind in school, but whose fault is that?
  • Christina Hoff Sommers said that feminists “constantly try to knock down doors that are already open and it’s young men who pay the price.” (They find this ridiculous, but even feminists agree that the goals of feminism have been met, i.e. the doors are open. See this article from the Center for American Progress).

Christina Hoff Sommers addressed what she perceives as the “structural asymmetry” between men and women:

There are approximately 112 important centers for the study of women. It is an elaborate empire of . . . activism that produces volumes and volumes of research, some good, but much of it ideological. But since they are the groups addressing issues, Congress listens to them, and journalists call them when they want to write stories. If there’s any social policy practice that has a disparate impact on women, they’re right there to make it known and to correct it.

If there is an asymmetry, and I think there is, then it needs to be corrected, or we’ll all pay. We can’t have healthy relationships if men are not thriving. Stifling creativity and inquiry while adhering to a preferred political ideology is what got us here in the first place. It’s time to level the playing field.

  • http://themodernsavage.com Matt Savage

    The downfall of the American male is a very scary thing. Comparing the men of today to several generations ago and it's quite clear that there are some major differences. Whatever happened to the concept of gender equality? I feel like our society where the roles are reversed, women become more like men; men become more like women. It's crazy. I'd definitely support a male studies course and would even consider taking one if not to help find answers to the troubling questions you pose.
    My recent post The Problem with Resenting Women

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      It's interesting, several people have pointed out that even standards of beauty are changing. Women are preferring more feminine looking men, perhaps because the Pill changes their preferences. And supermodels and other famous beauties are far more manly than movie stars were just a few decades ago. Gisele B, Sandra Bullock and many models have extremely masculine features.

      I think there definitely will be Male Studies research going forward, but whether universities will welcome the discipline to campus is another question entirely.

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      I LOVE your new blog post! So, so true. Anyone reading this, click on Matt's most recent post at the bottom of his comment.

  • ExNewYorker

    An interesting little tell from Clarke-Flory's comments:

    "…The difference between male studies and men’s studies becomes clear: Men’s studies, like women’s studies, is an offshoot of gender studies. It’s influenced by feminism but is grounded in a critical exploration of the social and biological differences between men and women. Male studies claims to do the same thing, only its proponents have a stated vendetta against feminism."

    Shorter Clarke Flory: I'm ok with Men's studies as long as they don't stray too far from the mother ship. I'm not ok with Male studies because they "won't" be clearing their marching orders with the mother ship.

    As long as Male Studies keep a scientific rigor about them, and require critical debate and evidence, I don't see any reason why they wouldn't be a good thing…

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      Exactly! How can women claim that men SHOULD be checking in with the mother ship? The group that met to discuss this is not a bunch of crazies – Lionel Tiger is highly respected. Interesting that he comes out of Rutgers Anthropology Dept. – home to my favorite researcher Helen Fisher. CHS is much more controversial – men's groups liked her book, but wish she had focused more on boys and less on the feminists who harmed them. The initial effort will consist of a conference in October 2010, and a regularly published journal. We'll see what comes out of the effort.

  • http://jadekeller.com Jade @ Tasting Grace

    I love this post…and interestingly it coincides right up with some of my recent posts too. I think Male Studies is a fabulous idea with the caveat that they do look at the issues with scientific rigor. I've just finished reading a book called The Male Mind that I think has some answers to a lot of the questions posed above. There are deep biological and neurochemical differences between the sexes. They are so deep it makes me even more skeptical of treating gender as a social construct. Don't get me wrong: it is critical to look at how society approaches gender and/but a lot of gender differences are biological first and then reinforced repeatedly by parenting and society. But the saddest and probably potentially most damaging part of how the feminist movement has left men behind is the identity crisis they now suffer.
    My recent post i thought it was just me

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      Jade – I have The Male MInd on my night table but haven't gotten to it yet. When I do, you can be sure I'll write a post or two, haha. I'm interested to see your own posts on the topic – will head over and check them out.

      Today feminists are STILL denying biological differences between the sexes. It boggles the mind! It's like they won't even acknowledge the difference between estrogen and testosterone. Why is anyone listening to that? Honestly, it's like hearing from someone who insists that the sun revolves the earth.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/anceldelambert Aaron

    Bennet and Ellison are rather sad. They passed by a string of cabs driven by men until they came to one with a woman? First off, what's with this insane level of discrimination? And are they so blind they can't make the connection that men are a massive majority in every crappy lame job? Can't they clue in to how fucked up that is? Pathetic little women with less functioning brain mass than a concussed chihuahua.

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      anceldelambert, welcome! Agreed. I am disgusted that they would not take the first cab in line. That is sexism plain and simple, yet they boast about it. It really says it all. There's an attitude among many young feminists that is very snide and derisive. Even when you agree with something they say, you want to dig in your heels because they're just so damned unpleasant. They're bullies, is what they are. And they're not going to win this time, because they are in the wrong.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/GudEnuf GudEnuf

    "Now male studies has arrived on the scene to turn this into yet another battle between the sexes. Grab your armor, because this one’s gonna be bloody"

    I hate it when people to fighting sexism as a "battle between the sexes." It's as if they think one sex will win at the expense of the other.

    In reality, sexism against one gender hurts the other. If you call promiscious women "dirty", you call men's sexuality "dirt." If your company refuses to hire women, you cut yourself off from the talents women have to offer. If you don't let women vote, your government will suffer because it loses the female perspective on politics. Look at the countries that don't protect women's rights, and you'll find the men are not exactly prospering.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/GudEnuf GudEnuf

    Likewise, discrimination against men does nothing to help women. The sexist belief that men ought to have lots of sex has caused many a female heartbreak. And societies mockery of stay-at-home dad's means that a woman wil find it difficult to keep a full time career after having a child.

    We don't need a "battle of the sexes". Sexism is everyone's problem.

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      Very well said, GudEnuf. It's not a zero sum game. It could be win/win. Feminists need not fear a return to the 1950s – it's never going to happen. It's time to ease up, and correct some of the unintended consequences of the Women's Movement. I don't believe that Betty Friedan and her compadres were out to diminish men, but that has been the result. We need to acknowledge that women won the battle of the sexes in many ways. Basically, we need a Marshall Plan.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/novaseeker novaseeker

    Of course the feminists, being currently the group that is "in power", is threatened by any serious explanation of inter-sex issues from a perspective that differs from party line feminism. For good reason. They're right to feel uneasy, because people like Tiger, Sommers and Nathanson & Young are quite trenchant in their critiques of the reigning feminist intellectual and media mafia.

    I find it quite telling that the Newsweek feminist blames boys themselves for their own lagging behind in schools. That's just … so typical it's priceless. When women have problems, it's the fault of men. When men and boys have problems, it's the fault of men. Women are never to blame for anything, and men are, in turn, to blame for *everything* that happens to *everyone*, whether it involves themselves or anyone else. After all, that teacher who treated Susan's son and daughter differently in school was being controlled by men and the patriarchy. This is why feminism, as a "belief system", is similar to Marxism — it provides a global explanation for all of the world's ills — not the "monopolization of the means of production by the bourgeoisie", but rather the "monopolization of structural power by males". It is used to explain all the ills of the world and place them on male shoulders, while women, akin to the socialist notion of the noble proletariat, are pure, snow-white, blameless, perfect and so on.

    This will develop slowly, and it will be fought tooth and nail by the feminist academic establishment without question. But I think it eventually will come to fruition. Enough people are beginning to realize that when it comes to the hardline academic feminist theory, the emperor really doesn't have any clothes.

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      Nova, I agree. I have a good feeling about this. And yes, it really is the Emperor having no clothes. It will come to fruition, provided that there are some women involved (for political purposes), and that the research is unassailable, which I expect.

      By the way, I told that particular story because the comparison was so stark, but in truth, that was typical of our experience in the public schools. Perhaps it's worse in Boston – the Harvard Graduate School of Education has a lot to answer for, and has had a lot of local influence. Peggy MacIntosh, Carol Gilligan et al wreaked havoc, and the Teacher's Union is also complicit.

  • http://intensedebate.com/people/Snowdrop111 Snowdrop111

    I think men will be too smart to major in "men's" or "male" studies though, given what's happened to the academic job market in the last 15, 20, 30 years. Humanities departments are imploding right and left and they are saying the specialization that helped secure jobs in the last big fad is going out the window now. Look at a ton of recent articles in the Chronicle of Higher Education about what's happening to the jobs in the humanities. I think the best thing men could do is work to make the jobs come back, be they manufacturing, construction, HVAC, etc. — and/or start their own businesses. Even if they take some courses in male studies. I think one thing that's wrong with the whole "60 percent of college students are women" is…. college doesn't secure a job like it used to. I think the best thing men could do for themselves and their families is either make the jobs come back, build the trades back up and combat this "has to be upper middle class" thing, try to find some way to attract the women they want while holding a good paying trade job, demonstrate they can be educated, professional, and refined while holding a good-paying skilled-trade job (example, running their own plumbing company) …. not major in "men's" or "male" studies and get caught in the academic limbo trap that is only getting worse.

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      Snowdrop, I guess at some point, Male Studies could be a major, but I really think the politics of that will be difficult. I think their agenda is more about getting a different POV into the press, which in turn could lead to better representation before congress when it comes to legislation. In any case, I agree with you, that won't lead to marketable skills. I think it's really a discipline for academics right now – like a think tank.

      Re making the trades come back, I'm afraid that isn't going to happen. I believe the American economy will soon be almost entirely dependent on information as a product, although as you say, we will always need the services of small businesses. This is a viable alternative.

  • VJ1

    We can read & weep, probably at our leisure too. But Lionel Tiger indeed. I knew him way back when, the old salty dog!

    But first a word about women's studies. Coming from an excellent undergrad education sometime before Homo Erectus migrated to Europe, (with Sir Freddie Laker, if you have to know), I migrated down South for graduate education. So yes, this is a bit before many here were born, or went to school, but roughly contemporary to Susan's grad school too .

    I wanted to finally see what all this Womyn's Studies was all about. So being the curious sort, (and this being the days before the Net…I Know!), I audited one of the basic level courses in it at my new Uni. I was one of I guess a handful of guys there, the others being mostly standard issue jocks who were curiously but seriously misinformed that this would be an otherwise 'easy' or 'gut' course to fill out their schedule. Mostly they just slept though the lectures. Me? I was constantly & forever asking questions of the youngish female grad student instructor. Filled with all the fervor only recent converts can manage, she was however an errant evangelist to the cause. And I was not helping her any evidently. For strangely enough, even though older, she often knew less about her topics than I did. And I found this distinctly odd & slightly disappointing. If it had to do with the ins & outs of theory, and how they articulated in her mind or world view, she was a bit more sure. But when it came down to the facts? She was again often curiously ill & misinformed. Again. And again. And naturally, I quickly became her least favorite but still demonstrably most knowledgeable 'student'.

    Well I recall one of my last weeks auditing the class. It was supposed to be a vital almost week long discussion of FGM, and it's oppressive occurrence worldwide & the desperate need for it's immediate abolition. (Still an ongoing concern here & elsewhere around the globe, but going in & out of fashion as a cause, again). Fine, we're all agreed there, right? But…she (Ms. Instructor) did not know the history, extent, demography or even recent & common occurrence of this huge problem. Just that it was like Bad, and that it was commonly done to young girls & women by…well Culture (and other women mainly, who stood in for the demands of their patriarchal Culture). At some point after mentioning an early WHO report on the topic she was clueless about, I somehow took over the class and w/o any notes at all proceeded to deliver a half hour lecture on the topic, with sources & footnotes she was evidently wholly unawares of. Yes, now something that might wonderfully happen every damn day on the internets. But way back then? Just demonstrative of the sad fact of a curious lack of scholarly rigor in much of the perhaps well meaning cant & advocacy that posed as 'women's studies'. After finishing the talk that anyone who had listened to Lionel Tiger (or any other serious Anthropologist) might have been able to produce as a grad student, I told teach that I was probably dropping the class. She smiled wanly and agreed. She was still forever asking me for my references, which happened to be basic readings in some of the same departmental courses she might & should have been taking as an undergrad, instead of all the 'theory' stuff. Or whatever they were filling their minds with way back then. Sad stuff indeed.

    And yes, boys & girls in the days before the nets all you had to 'illustrate' your point in a classroom was a chalk board & an overhead projector, (I did mention Homo Erectus already, right?). So all I had to work on & with was my florid & gruesome descriptions and yes, a wide appeal to 'see these references for more info.' We had something called libraries with books & publications back then too. Acheulean handaxes as well. But that's another longer story.

    So Men's studies? Maybe someone might audit them too hoping against hope & type to find a studious, smart, shy Beta girl. But I'm betting they'll be disappointed in that too. But yeah, "Hold that Tiger… don't let 'em get away!" Cheers & Good Luck! 'VJ'

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      What a story! I would have liked to have seen that, haha. Sadly, I suspect her lack of preparation and knowledge of her own subject material was common. Beware any academic discipline that can't be bothered with facts.

      The Rutgers Anthro Dept. fascinates me – they really are pumping out some incredible work. I don't know who had the vision to build it, but they're at the forefront of the bio differences question, and about time they got plenty of press coverage!

  • http://www.decoybetty.com Deidre

    As a women's college graduate, I'd LOVE to see more male studies subjects. I always felt it was a bit ridiculous that mount holyoke "gender studies" major seemed to only focus on women. Now to be fair, I didn't TAKE any of them (because wow…I already had feminism coming out my ears), but it seemed like in every class women's studies came up and male bashing began, and I hated it. HATED IT. Ahem.
    My recent post There is something strange…in the neighbourhood…

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      Male bashing really has been a serious problem – it's no wonder guys feel picked on! Men have never retaliated for the most part, and that's kind of like Kerry and the Swiftboaters – if you stay quiet they get the floor.

      • Chili

        Actually I think they have retaliated. There's one area of life where men know they have the unquestionable advantage over women, and that's hook-up culture. It's the only place where men can, and are encouraged to, act like "men," fitting into culturally upheld standards of male promiscuity and toughness. In fact, it's the one sphere of life where men actually actively encourage more, ahem, liberation, in women. They understand the impacts feminism has on their sex lives, and use it to their advantage. To the severe detriment of women who are starting to question its advantages.

        • LesserBeta

          We live in an age where female narcissism has never been higher. The fact is that women need to be brought down a notch. They've grown up their whole lives being told that they're right and deserve only the best, when clearly, 99.9% of them don't.

          Millions of men are being shat on and no one turns a deaf ear. Reformed nice guys can take the meanest turn towards the dark side. Women better learn what's happening before their eyes because it's going to get real ugly. Guys that have either been ignored or used up their whole lives are learning game, figuring out what women REALLY want, and giving it harder to them than any natural-born alpha can. We've learned that being there is nothing but pain for being a gentleman these days and it is more satisfying to seek vengeance on a gender who has lost all its former graciousness. Taking back your dignity after years of torture is mean, it's cold, and it's a thrill!

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

          Chili and LesserBeta, your comments both illustrate how men and women experience hookup culture differently.

          Chili, you see an environment where the pool of men appears to be entirely averse to commitment. But are you looking at the whole population of men? Recall how in the UNC article a female student stated that she wouldn't even consider half the guys at the school. That's a problem. Too many women gunning for the most dominant males, who basically gorge on the sex and dump them.

          LesserBeta, you are in the vast majority of men who are not enjoying the luxury of turning away girlfriends. You see hot girls falling for super dominant guys, and they appear to be more that willing to be treated poorly in exchange for one night of attention. You are angry and fantasize about vengeance against the entire gender. Are you looking at the whole population of women? Because I can assure that many are not participating in casual sex.

          Both of you are right, both of you make valid points. But you're both speaking about people that you really don't want to be with anyway (I don't think). There is another way, think about it.

        • Chili

          Hey LesserBeta, I think Susan's trying to hook us up! ;)

        • LesserBeta

          Haha, I got that vibe from her last paragraph too. Hey, I have more faith in the women who post on this blog than I do for women in general. Because you "get it". If you're in the area of Kitchener, Ontario, Canada…. ;)

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

          Haha! That was unintentional, but no doubt a real subconscious desire!

        • LesserBeta

          So where are these mature women with good values who aren't following the trend? I'm dying to know. I see the same thing everywhere, not just in nightclubs (although nightclubs are by far the saddest sight to behold). I see the same dynamic at school, in the workplace, on the streets. Girls are so predictable it's sad.

          I was in a club last night with my friend. We took a seat and observed the social dynamics unraveling around us. We watched other guys opening sets, observed their body posture, and consequently, the level of interest from the girls they were opening. It's funny, because everything Roissy and Mystery say is soooo true.
          Some of the stuff we saw was just really bad and made us realize there's plenty of us in the same boat or much worse.

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

          LB, I think Vera makes some very good points here. I would like to add something. First off, Mystery was never bitter or sought revenge on women. Never. I saw him on Jimmy Kimmel, and he said, "Hey, I'm just trying to help guys get in the door." He understood female psychology, and that lots of men didn't. His goal was to give guys good information so that they could compete with the naturals. He never blamed women, he loved women. And for years he gave away all of his knowledge for free, by the way.

          It is illogical to study PUA stuff and blame women. Game speaks to the nature of women. It doesn't make sense to blame women for being attracted to high-status, dominant males – it's the result of 100,000 years of evo programming. You're much better off accepting that as a given, and then applying Mystery's insight to become a high-status dominant male.

          Finally, in case you didn't see it above, Matt Savage's new blog post is well worth a read. He's a PUA with good sense.

          The Problem with Resenting Women

        • LesserBeta

          I understand women wanting high status and dominant males. What annoys me is the basis on which they measure that status.

          In the 1950s, high status males were the clean cut professional men who were educated, chivalrous, and strong (physically, mentally, and emotionally). A lot of these guys still had a moral code and the woman's father weighed in on who she should and shouldn't date. And it makes sense, since, as a man, he knows exactly what men can be like. He'll know him better than she does.

          Something's changed. Now that women have their own earning power, the traditional "provider" traits are largely thrown out the window, unless his income is through the roof. The underachiever is now the new alpha as long as he has attitude, an image, and can prove he's a bad boy. Chivalry and honour are actually considered weaknesses now.

          I like the line Susan used, "choose dads, not cads". Because a man who is beta (or omega) is not necessarily a good father figure/husband or even a nice guy for that matter. But they will fall into the dad category more often than those who are considered alpha nowadays.

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

          You make a good point here. It is important to select a partner first and foremost on character traits. Where a guy falls on the social ladder is not always apparent outside of the usual setting. And if it is, women should be prepared to discount it. The traits that make good dads are the same traits that make good boyfriends, and friends, for that matter. Shun selfish people.

        • Aldonza

          Today, women in college are not expected to be looking to settle down right after college. In the 50s, women in college were there for mostly one purpose: find a good husband, get engaged, and probably even drop out to begin married life when he graduated. Today, women in college are mostly pursuing short-term mating strategies, which use a different set of criteria than long-term mating strategies.

        • Passer_By

          "It is illogical to study PUA stuff and blame women. Game speaks to the nature of women. It doesn't make sense to blame women for being attracted to high-status, dominant males – it's the result of 100,000 years of evo programming."

          I think what leads to the resentment is that these young men were so misled all their lives about how they should behave to be attractive – mostly by women themselves.

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

          Hmmm, I'm afraid you're right about this. In fact, I raised my son to be chivalrous and respect women, so I plead guilty. My generation of mothers took what we learned growing up and tossed in the validation of the Women's Movement, with disastrous results.

          Where were the fathers? Why didn't they tell their sons how it really is?

        • Passer_By

          "Where were the fathers? Why didn't they tell their sons how it really is? "

          Basically, I don't think anybody really knew. Everybody bought the feminist dogma (and/or social conservative pedestalization, which seems to lead to the same place) hook, line and sinker. Even the feminists themselves. That's probably why they keep going through these "stages" of feminism – the feminists have never figured out what they really want from men (other than "more" stuff), because they aren't sufficiently introspective. They only know what they think they want (i.e., what their more logical frontal lobe tells them they "should" want). Every time they get what they think they want, they seem even more dissatisfied (which must, somehow, be the fault of men). The expression "the heart wants what the heart wants" should be replaced with "the hindbrain wants what the hindbrain wants".

        • LesserBeta

          Some of the worst advice I ever got about women was from women themselves. The problem is that what most women say they want and what they actually respond to are 100% incongruent. If you want to learn anything, you need to learn from the guys who are successful with them (in this generation). It's a little like swallowing the red pill, but it's best to learn it early on.

          Speaking of which, I really have to wonder about the people who produced the movie "Hitch". Anyone remember that movie? Talk to her like your guy friends, shower her with compliments, let her know soon how committed you are. Awful…just awful. And when you're a teenager, you don't know any better.

        • LesserBeta

          Negativity creates negativity. Society is entrenched in a vicious cycle of it, due in part to a breakdown of the family structure and a "me me me" culture. No one knows how to relate to each other anymore. For those of us who want no part in mind games and power struggles, it feels like we need to ride the wave or just opt out completely.

          It's unfortunate he felt he had to treat you like that. It left you hurt and it left him feeling like he couldn't be himself, creating his own feeling of emptyness. No one wants to become a monster. In an ideal world, I'm sure he wishes he didn't have to be like that. Did you ever read through his actions and tell him that?

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

          Via sdaedalus' bloghttp://sdaedalus.wordpress.com/2010/04/11/the-won… a comment from Athol Kay:

          As to treating women poorly as a LTR Game tactic this is exactly where PUAs shoot themselves squarely in the foot. There is a fundamental misunderstanding that the Beta comfort building skills are the opposite to the Alpha attraction building skills. They believe by purposely ruining the Beta stuff that they magically improve the Alpha stuff – it doesn’t. They might gain a small amount of Alpha credit for the balls to screw her over, but they damage a large amount of the comfort she has in the relationship. If they keep it up, she leaves in frustration.
          Alpha and Beta traits are two completely different skill sets. You can get away with Alpha only in a pick up, but you clearly need both skill sets in a LTR.
          I will lead (Alpha) a relationship in which I will be very nice to you (Beta), but if you start taking advantage of me I will bump back on that (Alpha) until you learn you must be nice to me, so that I will be nice to you (Beta). We will be nice to each other (Beta), because I insist that you comply or I will find a woman that will (Alpha).
          See how that works?

          Also see Athol's post on being both Alpha and Beta – I am totally on board with his approach:

          The beauty of it is that it respects beta qualities and you can be true to your own nature. No need to turn into a raging narcissist psychopath like Roissy.

        • Passer_By

          "You know, I just finished dating a guy just like you — a beta who learned to be an alpha (and a really good one too)"

          No, offense, but if you dated him for any period of time and claim to still be a virgin, he wasn't "a really good" alpha. :)

        • VJ1

          Wow Vera, I'm frankly impressed. You're nearly bullet proof here, right? (I missed this thread the other day). Cheers & Good Luck! 'VJ'

        • Passer_By

          Ok, but I was just kidding (mostly).

        • LesserBeta

          Some of the stuff we saw was just really bad and made us realize there's plenty of us in the same boat or much worse.

          I started opening sets later into the night and noticed every girl I tried talking to/dancing with had her bitch shield in full gear. Some of them wouldn't even let me take a picture of her and her friends together (they were alternating the camera between them). I got a lot of impatient "WHAT"s and hands to the face before I could even get a word in. I wonder if it had anything to do with how many times they've been approached by guys that night with no game.

          You know it's sad when, in a SLOW SONG, you literally see more girls dancing with girls on the dance floor than dancing with guys. It really illustrates a societal issue when women have turned their backs on men to such a degree. And this place had a 50/50 ratio. Is everyone a lesbian now?

        • LesserBeta

          As far as 'who I want to be with', I'm bloody confused now. I can't relate to girls (I refuse to call them women) my own age on any level. The only women I can relate to are a fair bit older than I am. A good friend of mine has the same issue. He's only had sex with older women and they're the only kind he can stand hanging around for any more than 5 minutes. So for now, I'm not even looking for a meaningful relationship. That's pie in the sky idealism. If I find someone I actually like and it happens, then it happens. I just want to fulfill my baser desires right now and I don't really care about it 'being special' anymore. They're just not worth it, in my opinion. If you need companionship, that's what your bros are for. There's a line by Snoop Dogg that describes exactly how I feel. The man has wisdom I tell you.

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

          Fair enough, sounds like a reasonable approach for now. Seriously, there are plenty of cougars who would love to jump your 23 yo bones!

  • Paul Elam


  • http://www.marriedmansexlife.com Athol Kay

    Just looking over the sexual balance of college men and women, I can't help but feel that it drives much of the hook up culture on college.
    My recent post The Baby Sniper Answers Lots Of Questions

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      There's no question! The bottom line is that the women in college today are selecting from a smaller pool. The troubling biases against males affect every aspect of American life, including dating and relationships. Young women need to know that they have a vested interest in making sure that men can thrive. I wrote about education, because it's the one piece I have direct experience with, but of course, these insidious messages are being delivered to boys in every aspect of the culture.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

    Just saw this by Carmen Siering at Ms. Magazine:

    Male studies is just one more attempt to mourn the fate of the American Male, Endangered Species. With each economic downturn or advance women make, the outcry gets louder. And while some academics may play to the current right wing zeitgeist and win a few supporters, they shouldn’t start tolling the bell for feminism quite yet. Its death has been pronounced one too many times for anyone to take such a proclamation seriously any time soon.

    My question is, does Ms. Siering look forward to an America where there are no males? Why is there no concern or empathy from feminists on this?

    • Reinholt

      To paraphrase William Felt: "Follow the money".

      The harshest critics of Male Studies come from groups that currently receive money from either donors or government sources that are a result of feminist ideas. Any threat to that gravy train is going to produce a backlash, and if you get that kind of backlash from an intellectually bankrupt group, it's usually a sign that you are doing something right.

      I would expect multiple publications where writers are entrenched defenders of the current regime, think tanks, university departments, and even government organizations to come out against this movement.

      Nothing is more dangerous to warped ideologies than the truth, after all. And if Male Studies actually intends to be a disciplined inquiry into the subject, rather than a similarly warped movement, it's far more dangerous than anything they have seen before to their gravy train.

      • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

        Agreed. Current Gender Studies departments focus heavily on Patriarchy and zero on biology. This is the big opening for the Male Studies crew. There's a good base of research at this point on bio differences, and much of it is amazing straightforward. It's not hard to demonstrate that men like the smell of women's sweaty t-shirts more at certain times of the month. And that women prefer to sniff guys whose DNA is quite dissimilar from their own. Biology is where all the interesting work lies at this point, and it's readily understandable to the lay reader, which is important.

  • 3DShooter

    Good post Susan. Isn't it interesting how perspectives change when viewed from the perspective of how it affects our children.

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      3D, you said it. That experience was a year-long punch to the gut, and it changed my way of thinking about the schools in this country, as I saw the same dynamic play out again and again. We have been sending very destructive messages to boys in school for at least a generation now.

  • VJ1

    Found: The 1st 'Male Studies' artistic genius award; in 'Bama too: via the NYT: Butch Anthony owns Possum Trot too:

    "Mr. Anthony, a lanky and laconic 46-year-old who dresses exclusively in Liberty denim overalls (he owns 25 pairs) and a battered straw hat (he has 10), is a self-taught artist, builder and local hero, whom the state of Alabama once chose to make a Christmas tree ornament for the White House — the Bush 43 version. He is also the host of the Doo Nanny, the annual alt/folk art “micro” festival, as he calls it, that started as an “art party” he and two friends gave on the side of the road 15 years ago in nearby Pittsview, and moved to Mr. Anthony’s property here three years ago.

    “There’s a 100-foot vagina we’re fixing to burn,” Mr. Anthony remarked recently while filling a garbage can in the back of his battered truck with water, a precautionary measure, one gathered, in case things got out of hand.

    But why a vagina? “They’ve got a burning man, why not have a burning woman?”

    Like Burning Man, the extreme art fair held each summer in the Nevada desert, the Doo Nanny offers both a burning effigy and an exercise in creative camping. Mr. Anthony has thoughtfully provided a tepee, an outdoor kitchen, a solar-powered shower, outhouses and a wood-fueled hot tub, all built from and decorated with the sort of handmade trash-into-art pieces — ethereal chandeliers pieced together with cow bones and twigs gnawed by beavers — that are his specialty." [More @ story link with Pics too]:

    Yep. Evolution looks a whole lot less strange in a distinctly Southern context too. Cheers, 'VJ'

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      Without taking any credit away from the creative and decidedly odd Butch Anthony, let's NOT make him the poster boy for Male Studies. I imagine that he's unique – decoding his DNA probably wouldn't tell you much about the species.

  • Reinholt

    A few comments…

    1 – Game does not say that you should treat women poorly, but nor does it say that you should not treat women poorly. There are some women who respond to that; it is potentially a viable strategy. So, Vera, if you are shooting down a guy who previously could not get laid at all for starting to treat women poorly and getting laid (perhaps not with you), then your anger at the situation will change precisely nothing. He’s still better off than he was. Granted, this is (usually) not a viable LTR tactic, but that assumes his ultimate goal is an LTR. Most likely, his current goal is just to get laid where he wasn’t doing so previously, and if he is achieving that, he is better off.

    That’s not to say you should have a relationship with him or sleep with him yourself, but you’d be a fool to think there are not benefits to treating women poorly if he was previously a placating wimp.

    2 – Vera is right that he’s probably trying to get back together with her for reasons that would not turn out well.

    3 – I have to call BS on the notion that game doesn’t lead to blaming women; not in the sense that I have a problem with women being women, but rather, in that there are a few things going on in our society that are simply not just. We have significant legal issues with things like false accusations, domestic violence handling, and divorce; those were largely put into place by women’s groups purporting to support women, and I don’t exactly see a lot of women speaking out against them or doing anything about it. Silence, in this case, really does tend to indicate at least tacit approval.

    This produces a lot of social chaos and resentment that filters down throughout the ranks of society. It ends up hurting a lot of people, usually in the form of all but the top 10% or so of men, and most marriage minded women (as a lot of the highest value husbands are either opting out entirely or refusing to get married without being given a free pass to continue sleeping around). So I think, unfortunately, it is totally justifiable to blame women to some extent for the problem; they probably have more leverage to change it currently. Granted, I likewise blame the men who let them get away with it, but there are a lot more men speaking out about the problems than women currently.

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      Re your last point, I think it's fair to say that the Men's Rights folks have done a pretty poor job getting the word out until now. I've read various explanations for this, which focus mostly on male nature, but the truth is that many women are completely ignorant of these unfair laws. So are many young men, for that matter. I believe that efforts to foster discussion that circumvent the feminist establishment completely are the only way forward, which is why I'm really pleased to see the launch of this new effort.

      If the message can be delivered without a lot of hyperbole and finger pointing, I think there is a real opportunity to educate the generation aged 20-35. They are the ones who have yet to experience much of the legal discrimination. In the meantime, young guys should be careful about spending too much time drinking at the well of bitterness and resentment hosted by their elders.

      It may be justifiable to blame women to some extent, and there's no question that Game can be used to exact some revenge, but not everyone is willing to compromise their own morals in that way (hopefully).

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

    I agree, no one really could look ahead and see the unintended results of feminism. Fifty years later, we have some major problems that we need to address. If Male Studies can succeed in identifying what men need – under what conditions they thrive, then perhaps we can systematically go about delivering those things.

    • Passer_By

      Also, I guess to be complete, even if a small minority had the foresight to see the consequences, had they spoken up they would have branded as backwards misogynists. That label is losing some of its effectiveness as a shaming/discrediting tactic, but it was extremely potent for a while, and still seems to be fairly potent in some areas (academia being the biggest holdout).

  • VJ1

    Presented for approval: In the division of 'Male Studies' : Lit: 'On the Origins of Guy Jokes: The Poles': Norman Davies does it best via this definitive 2 Volume set on Polish history, which of course starts out with a 1000 YO Polish joke, told by a wandering Jew… (P3)
    [1984] http://www.amazon.com/Gods-Playground-History-Pol

    [Discovered again after the recent tragedy]: Cheers, 'VJ'

  • randomthought

    Vera44, most men view game as synonymous with a short-term mating strategy. For a lot of guys who come into game from the whole "nice guy beta place", they view feminism, and hence women in general, as responsible for making the "nice guy/provider" strategy, otherwise known as a long-term mating strategy, unworkable or extremely risky/disadvanageous from the males perspective in todays socio-sexual marketplace. Granted its not all women who are responsible for the socio-sexual marketplace we live in today, however, most women are more than happy to reap its benefits.

    • Reinholt

      Beat me to the punch, but good explanation.

      Similarly, game is useful to mitigate the risks in an LTR, though you can't really do that with asshole game (as eventually this can cause blow-ups with some people). The point is that when legal power has been stripped away from men due to the nature of the system, they will find other ways to assert that, and develop strategies to avoid the most negative situations.

      As to Susan's point, I do agree that the history of men's rights has been pretty comical. Largely because it started out as a lunatic fringe that was, to be totally blunt, unworthy of either respect or being listened to. However, academics have started to notice the rampant lying coming out of the other camp, and at the same time, enough has been made clear about the impact of certain legal structures that you are starting to see a backlash.

      Likewise, I think you are going to find that younger men are better informed than many believe; ask most of them about marriage and see what the views are. If nothing else, look at the marriage rate. Someone is bailing out on it…

      • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

        True, the marriage rate is declining among all segments of society. One reason for this is that a generation of kids raised in a 50% divorce rate environment are more wary of LTRs in general, and when they do marry, it's later. I'm not really clear on how many young men are aware of custody and child support law – unless of course, they saw their own fathers experience it, which makes sense.

    • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

      they view feminism, and hence women in general, as responsible

      randomthought, that generalization is a big problem. I've written about this before, but the fact is that a very small percentage of young women (10-20%) identify as feminist. Most consider feminists strident, humorless, dogged and politically deranged. For many women, feminism = no fun. My generation identified more with feminism, but even among my peers, the cause seems irrelevant to our daily lives, and most women my age have a very negative view of the current sexual marketplace, especially if they have kids.

      • Vjatcheslav

        Indeed. One of my female friends has had some contact with fanatic feminists (over the internet). Conclusion: a bunch of fanatic, lying and metaphorically blind women of a very irritating kind… (And it's not as if she is a rabid conservative bent on bringing back the Ancien Régime.)

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

          Yes, that is my perception. The goals of feminism as originally expressed have been met. What's the point? This has led to a gathering of women obsessed with patriarchy as an evil, but most young women feel more than satisfied with their opportunities and role in the world. They wonder what all the fuss is about.

    • vera44

      Why are two strategies so hard to comprehend? Alpha for attraction, then turn that down a bit and beta for LTR. Not that complicated. Women have been doing it for centuries — we attract based on our looks, but everyone knows that only goes so far. You don't wear the party dress & false eyelashes all the time. After the initial attraction phase, you have to display other characteristics that men look for: agreeableness, femininity, lack of bitchiness, being interesting, smart, good at cooking, whatever. You of course keep your looks up (just like you keep some of the alpha traits up) but you mostly rely on your personality after that (ie, beta LTR traits).

      I realize that not everyone knows this or was taught growing up what women want, but now that you know, why are you so resistant to incorporating the ideas? I mean, I wasn't taught growing up that women have to be attractive — my mom never spent a second on her appearance, I grew up in a town that didn't value cute dresses or makeup, and I went to an ivy school where again, I was studying too much to know the difference between prada and gucci. When I entered into the real world, I found out that the hot waitresses were doing much better than me on the guy front. The things guys were supposed to care about: intelligence and personality, they didn't seem to. So I changed my strategy and made myself hotter by working out a lot, dieting, dressing well, getting a great haircut, and learning to use makeup. Do what works once you realize what that is, and stop whining about how you didn't know before. I wish I had known before too, but that doesn't change anything.

      • vera44

        So my point is that there is not necessarily a disadvantage to having beta characteristics, you just have to attract with alpha characteristics. Just like it's not a disadvantage that I'm smart, but I have to attract by being hot.

        • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

          This is a good summation of the bottom line. It's rational and strategic. And you, vera, are smart and hot!

        • Il Capo

          "So my point is that there is not necessarily a disadvantage to having beta characteristics, you just have to attract with alpha characteristics."

          Wrong! It is a disadvantage because adding a little beta to the alpha is much easier than adding alpha to the beta. Think about it.

        • vera44

          So is your point that life isn't fair? We all knew that already.

        • vera44

          To your point that being beta and adding alpha is harder than being alpha and adding beta, I'm not sure about this — I haven't done either thing and I don't know anyone who has done both & could compare it. My theory would be that alpha males don't have it any easier to learn beta traits, since being both alpha & beta is inborn. Changing behavior in either direction would be equally difficult, I would think…

          Maybe you're right though, since society kind of naturally limits alpha behavior and most alpha males probably have to learn to censure their behavior in areas other than relationships (like aggressiveness) in order to survive in American society. Maybe that ability would more easily transfer to relationships since they've had practice doing it? By the same token though, beta males are taught to be alpha in achievement & work as a man by society, so I'm not sure.

        • Tvulture

          Watch this Vera:

          "I don't attract women. I must be beta."
          "Women like alpha stuff. So if I can do alpha stuff, I can attract women."
          "Wow! It worked! Now I have a girlfriend, so I can turn off the alpha stuff and just be me again."
          "Funny, it's not turning off. The switch must be stuck. Oh well, it'll run out of batteries. it's not who I really am."
          "Did I just yell at her? No, I wouldn't do that."
          "Called her ungrateful? Come on. I'm a nice guy! She has been in a lot of bad moods lately, you know…"
          "Why is she walking out the door? She'll phone later, right?"

          Life is too short to be anyone but ourselves. Let's get better at being ourselves, like you said you did. But let's leave the mindless conditioning out of it.

          You know, in greek, the letter beta makes the "v" sound. What does that mean for you? Nothing!

        • vera44

          That's a good point. And that might be exactly what happened to me with the last guy I dated.

          But if it's just "acting" alpha, you should be able to turn it off, shouldn't you? Maybe not, I don't know personally because I'm not a guy & haven't tried it.

        • Tvulture

          If it takes months of drilling to change behaviour, it just might take as many months to go back to normal. Would make for some strange and awkward moments.

          Literally, if you stick a drill in someone's brain, it will leave a mark. That was the point after all of the drilling (point, what a pun). The deeper and longer the drilling, the bigger the mark.

          I figure it's best left untouched. The mind knows its job, and it doesn't need extra meddling. Good advice for everyone I say.

          It struck me that your pen name would start with a beta, and end with an alpha. Pretty clever.

        • vera44

          Huh. I never thought of that re: my name! Cool, because it's pretty true.

  • randomthought

    I'm often reminded of the reasoning one of my lecturers at uni gave of the need for the legal system to enforce people's contracts in business and how this relates to the economy. The theory goes, if you don't force people to uphold their ends of the bargain in contracts then what will happen in business, indeed in the entire economy, is it would devolve to a point where everyone tries to rip each other off in every transaction they enter into and no economic growth would occur in the society as a result.

    Funnily enough, if you swap business with mating and economy for society in the paragraph above, you get a pretty good explaination of what is occuring today.

    • Aldonza

      I'm not following your logic with this one. Are you suggesting that the legal system has no place in socio-sexual relations? Or that we need more controls in place to enforce bargains?

      • randomthought

        What I'm trying to suggest is that if you want to discourage deleterious behavior, there needs to be some mechanism in place to disincentivize such behaviour. It doesn't have to be legal, it could be cultural, social, environmental… anything really, as long as it manages to discourage the taking advantage or "using" of others.

        For instance a person's particular group of friends could be enough to discourage such behavior amongst a person. i.e. a guy's group of freinds castigating said guy, for him telling a girl he loves her, sleeping with her and then never calling her back, could be enough for him to change his behaviour.

  • http://intensedebate.com/profiles/susanawalsh susanawalsh

    Excellent metaphor. There are too few incentives for cooperation and compromise. It's every man for himself. The old trade of commitment for sex is out the window, and nothing has replaced it. A "market correction" is needed, but how and when this will occur is anybody's guess.