Rehabilitating the ‘Disposable Sex’

Bruce Bawer is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center and the author of “While Europe Slept” and “Surrender.” His book "The Victims' Revolution: The Rise of Identity Studies and the Closing of the Liberal Mind" is just out from Broadside / Harper Collins.


You may not be aware of it, but March 8 is International Women’s Day (IWD). Though it’s a bigger deal in much of the rest of the world than in the United States, it’s actually an American invention, concocted in 1909 by the Socialist Party of America and, during its early years, commemorated on the last Sunday in February. In 1910, the Second International Socialist Women’s Conference, held in Copenhagen, gave its thumbs-up to IWD, which the next year was celebrated in several European countries on March 19. After the Russian Revolution, Lenin made IWD (the date of which had been shifted, by then, to March 8) an official Soviet holiday; other Communist countries followed suit. The UN began sponsoring IWD in 1977, and in 2011, President Obama, in an apparent attempt to raise its profile in the U.S., called on Americans to mark IWD.

Miles Groth, a psychology professor at Wagner College on Staten Island, recalls that when, at age five or six, he asked his mother, “Why is there a special day for mothers and not one for children?” she replied: “Every day is Children’s Day.” (As it happens, I had the exact same exchange with my own mother; I guess millions have.) And now, Groth notes, “we have a vocal minority that claims that every day has been Man’s Day for thousands of years, an idea that would have surprised most women, who were being supported and otherwise looked after by men from birth (their fathers and husbands and the troops of farmers, soldiers and the rest who made the society function) in return for bearing children. Every day was Woman’s Day (and Children’s Day). The disposable sex have never had a day off. ”

Who is Groth? In an academy rife with lockstep ideologues who pride themselves on their alleged radicalism, he’s a true radical. For what he’s doing – and encouraging – is scholarship and education about a phenomenon that, in the modern academy, has been the object of utter neglect in some quarters and an occasion for reflexive hostility in others: namely, the experience of being male. No, he’s not aligned with the already well-established field of Men’s Studies – which obediently and mindlessly echoes every last bit of the shrill Women’s Studies rhetoric about the evils of the patriarchy. Nor is he out to institutionalize, in reaction to these discipline-free disciplines, a male-boosting course of “identity studies” that’s every bit as strident and intellectually insubstantial as they are. No political activist he, what Groth is engaged in is precisely the kind of serious, solid, interdisciplinary humanistic study that Women’s Studies, Black Studies, Queer Studies, and their ilk supplanted.

Groth is pursuing his project on many fronts. He edits the journal New Male Studies. He’s just started writing a thoughtful blog, “Boys to Men: The Science of Masculinity and Manhood,” at Psychology Today. He’s been instrumental in setting up study groups at colleges in the U.S., Canada, Britain, Australia, and New Zealand in which students can read and discuss books that examine male identity from a perspective free of male-hatred. He’s involved in curriculum development for an online, degree-granting postgraduate program that will start up next year, focusing on analysis of “the many common and culturally embedded assumptions that negatively influence male experience and well-being.” And for the last decade he’s been teaching a course at Wagner on male psychology from infancy to old age, covering such subjects as “the myths of male violence and power,” marriage, male friendship, “the place of the father in males’ experience,” male spirituality and sociology, and – not least – the reflexive hostility toward everything having to do with maleness that, over the last generation or so, has become an all but obligatory element of “enlightened” Western sensibilities.

It’s no secret that, thanks to the ideological feminism that is the beating heart of Women’s Studies and that has had an immeasurable impact on society at large, more and more young men are being fed the lie – if not by their parents, then by their teachers and the media – that simply by virtue of their gender identity they enjoy unfair privileges and advantages that women do not; that they are the heirs to a system of brutal and violent sexual oppression for which they are expected to do penance and make reparations; that pretty much all bad things about homo sapiens are the fault of the male of the species, while virtually everything positive about human civilization is attributable to women; and that if humankind wishes to undergo any kind of meaningful progress toward true equality, peace, and social justice, then men need to become more like women, women have to be given more power, and men must voluntarily take a back seat to their sisters.

Groth is rightly concerned about the effect that this indoctrination has had on the shaping of men’s characters, their views of themselves, and their relationships with others. Young men, he notes, are attending college in smaller and smaller numbers, and young women now represent a majority of undergraduates. This is generally spun as a victory for women’s rights – but to what extent is it the consequence of an awareness by young men of the sometimes subtle, sometimes not-so-subtle anti-male atmosphere that pervades educational institutions nowadays? Also, why is the male suicide rate three times higher than that among women, and why has the suicide rate among boys soared in the last fifteen years, so that it’s now four to six times greater than among girls? Groth’s own thoughts: “Males have always been the disposable sex but now they are told told they are not only disposable but superfluous, unnecessary and unwelcome. This begins in the schools, where boys are identified as defective girls….In secondary school, they are exposed to an environment that continues to favor girls, unless a boy is an athlete….In college or in the post-high school world of work, apart from the really tough jobs that only males can do, they are discriminated against” by quotas. Result: a powerful sense of “being rejected and not feeling welcome” that, in the severest cases, can eventuate in self-slaughter.

Groth isn’t out to bash women. “Most women do like men, you know,” he points out. Yet he also observes that – owing to the preoccupations our feminism-drenched society have forced upon us – conversations about “the well-being of boys and men” almost invariably, and immediately, turn into conversations about women, and that if you try to discuss with many women “what is good about boys and men,” you will often hear “only of ‘problems’ when talking about boys and only of ‘shortcomings’ when the talk turns to men.”

Still, there are hopeful signs. A college recently invited Groth for advice on how to “make classrooms and campus life more male-positive.” He’ll be giving a talk on this subject at Tufts University on March 22. “There is nothing obvious about the psychology of being male,” Groth emphasizes. “This is unexplored territory.” His work represents a small but important step into that terra incognita.

Freedom Center pamphlets now available on Kindle: Click here.

  • patron

    "if not by their parents, then by their teachers and the media"

    I am grateful my parents taught me the worthlessness of other's personal opinions, let alone the troglodytes involved public education, and taking me golfing and fishing instead of watching the drivel known as broadcast sitcoms.

  • http://www.adinakutnicki.com AdinaK

    The effects of leftist academia can be felt in every sphere of life. Most intrinsically, it was necessary to deconstruct traditional male roles in order to destroy the family unit. Why? It becomes that much easier to break down society once there is no longer a family unit, and every "family" becomes whatever one wants it to be. Hence, Judeo-Christian values are no longer valued.

    It is certainly heartening that some are attempting to reverse the damage, but it will take decades to alter the course. This is the true face of western academia and its blow back – http://adinakutnicki.com/2012/11/26/the-death-of-

    It is a real challenge, but it it mandatory.

    Adina Kutnicki, Israel http://adinakutnicki.com/about/

    • Mary Sue

      Government becomes the "family" (in more of a Godfather sense really) instead of an actual family, and instead of kicking the kids out when they turn 18, this 'family' will let the kids stay "living in the basement" until they're old and ready for the death panels.

  • UCSPanther

    "a powerful sense of “being rejected and not feeling welcome” that, in the severest cases, can eventuate in self-slaughter."

    Or worse yet, engaging in violent behavior towards others. Just look at your average ghetto…

    • LibertarianToo

      Ooh, that must be it: African-American males commit a wildly disproportionate amount of violent crime because they have "a powerful sense of “being rejected and not feeling welcome”" because of those darn feminists.

      Please.

      • John

        Did you see the piece on Dennis Rodman? Did you see how Dennis felt being in a virtually all female household. Did that in anyway penetrate your consciousness?

        I guess not.

      • UCSPanther

        Read "The Garbage Generation" By Daniel Amneus and maybe you WILL understand what I am saying.

        But then again, the shaming language you use indicates that you are a rabid feminist, so I do not hold out any hope for you.

        • LibertarianToo

          Zounds! Not the dread "shaming language"!

          I hope you can find the inner strength to withstand this feminist onslaught.

      • poetcomic1

        Young black males rank high on the female end of the spectrum in psychological testing. That includes murderous thugs. Vain, sensitive, short-sighted, touchy young men do not make steady reliable citizens. They make for criminals with hatred and fear of the women who have raised them and dominated them – eloquently expressed in the lyrics of gangasta rap.

        • LibertarianToo

          Now gangsta rap is the fault of Feminists??

          You pusillanimous whiners will feel right at home comes the Caliphate.

          • Mary Sue

            Feminists told women of all types that they didn't need a man.

            Black women were encouraged to not have a man in the house by idiotic welfare rules brought in by LBJ. To get her and her offspring and her babydaddy voting Democrat until the end of time.

  • cxt

    I'm surprised that the academic Left have not figure out that when you clearly and obviously don't care about someone it is very hard for them to care about YOU.
    .

    • Liberty 4×4

      Why should they care? They're winning the culturew war because noone else cares.

  • louisbknockel

    Well stated, worth thinking about.

  • LibertarianToo

    Why do we have to rehearse this over and over again?

    " . . . most women, who were being supported and otherwise looked after by men from birth (their fathers and husbands and the troops of farmers, soldiers and the rest who made the society function) in return for bearing children . . ."
    Of course it is necessary to support someone who could be legally denied employment based solely on their sex, and who, if hired, could be legally paid 1/2 to 1/3 the pay of men doing the same work. I bet the women discussed would be surprised to think that thei, husbands(let alone fathers) were paying them to "bear children". And never mind that rearing children at home for 18 years frees the man to work outside the home, and she is doing all the work of maintaining the household, which he could not pay for with the amount of money he "looks after" her with, etc., etc., blah, blah.

    But lets not get bogged down with these old, old arguments. If Miles Groth missed the history of this planet, and is also unable to think things through logically, why should the rest of us care?

    • UCSPanther

      In case you haven't noticed, patriarchy was what created the environment for modern society, where men became much more than tomcats and could direct their energy towards positive pursuits such as building, innovation and helping to raise civilized children.

      Societies that are still matriarchies are primitive cultures. That should tell you something…

      • LibertarianToo

        The gentleman's contention is that women did nothing but bear children (they didn't even raise them, according to him) until those feminists messed it all up. He is slandering billions of people, including my mother. Read the article.

        And Patriarchy "created an environment"? I thought it didn't exist.

    • HoR_Emperor

      So you're a historical illiterate. No surprise there, since you're a Libertarian, and their faith entails an explicit rejection of human reality.

      • LibertarianToo

        Well, you've really marshalled your facts on that one –who can counter all that evidence? Oh . . .wait . . .

    • mark

      I don't think that Miles has any problems with thinking things through, logically. Anyone with a clue has caught onto the fact that males, particularly white males, are now politically unpopular and are to be shunned. This is official doctrine of the feminists and fellow proggies.

      • Jim_C

        "…the fact that males, particularly white males, are now politically unpopular and are to be shunned."

        This is a "fact?" To whom…the 34 militant feminists out there?

    • http://www.hired-mind.com/ HiredMind

      1. Men could be legally denied employment solely on the basis of their sex too. Always could be, still can be. Women are the sole gender to enjoy protection from that under the law.

      2. Men were LEGALLY REQUIRED to support their wives. When a man can be jailed for failing to support his spouse (and a woman CAN'T), why the hell shouldn't he have a better chance at being employed?

      3. Look at the evidence: men work – on average – more hours per day, per week, and per lifetime than women. But if you control for hours worked, experience, education, and compare the same jobs, women actually make just as much if not slightly more than men.

      4. This business about about women making x% of what men make, is just a red herring. It doesn't control for any of the above. It simply adds the total income for both sexes and divides by the number of people in each group. Men and women CHOOSE different jobs. Don't believe me? 92% of workplace deaths are men and only 8% women – how does that happen unless they choose different jobs?

      Where are the women sewer workers? Sanitation workers? I'm sure they exist but they are few and far between. Men end up doing all the dirty and dangerous work in society while the women lead relatively comfortable lives, and never stop bitching about it.

  • guest

    wow, a pseudo-discipline dedicated to white male grievances and petulance. Fascinating…FPM and the Republican Party have found a kindred spirit. You can all enjoy your growing irrelevance together!

    • nightspore

      Irrelevant to whom? To those slouching toward the dustheap of history?

    • John

      I did not see anything pro white or anti-black in the "Males Studies"

      My /12 Asian son thinks you are wrong. He is not white. He is not Christian. Yet he despises what you stand for. Maybe it is your hypocrisy. Maybe it is the fact that you are unlearned. The more you tell us of yourself, the more we could point out your myriad faults and show you for the bigot you are.

    • UCSPanther

      I hope you enjoy rough and violent trailer parks, ghettos and barrios, because those are what you will get with a high proportion of single mother-headed households and welfare dependency.

      • LibertarianToo

        I thought everyone was going to "murder their unborn child?"

        • Mary Sue

          not if they think they'll get more welfare moneys.

    • UCSPanther

      "wow, a pseudo-discipline dedicated to white male grievances and petulance."

      Change that to:

      "wow, a pseudo-discipline dedicated to female grievances and petulance."

      That describes Women's studies…

    • HoR_Emperor

      Wow, a troll spouting nonsense. Unsurprising…

    • Mary Sue

      Get out of here with your useless identity politics that was spawned by absolute frauds of Academia.

    • mark

      Wow! You really are all knowing! Wow! Pseudo-intelligence big time! Wow, just WOW!

    • epochehusserl

      White males are the only ones without their hands out. If you admit that you dislike white males so much perhaps we should bring back segregation. Men are being shoved out of the workplace, the family and society in general and we will not go gently into the night.

  • tagalog

    Feminism overturned the old values, so now women have the following advantages (among many others);

    1. The right to engage in promiscuous sex;

    2. The right to bear children out-of-wedlock when women get pregnant;

    3. The right to raise those children in a one-parent household;

    4. The right to pursue a career for one's self, then to go home and raise the children;

    5. The right to support a peter-boy with one's income and to ask nothing of him;

    6. The increasing weakness of the marriage bond;

    7. The breakdown of that horrible two-parent household for the greatly improved makeshift arrangements we have today;

    8. The raising of boys into emasculated men and girls into falsely manly women.

    Yes, things are much better since the culture started paying attention to the cultural and social desires of women and got away from the dominance of men.

    • LibertarianToo

      9. The right to equal pay for equal work

      10. The right to pursue the life of their choice without so much as a by-your-leave to anyone else.

      11. The right to earn their own living, so they can divorce the gay man that married them because he was afraid of his father, but has since decided he really is gay after all.

      12. The right to find their own American Dream without reference to the political or psychological grievances of strangers.

      13. The right to be considered for a job based on their qualifications.

      14. The right to consider herself and her own happiness, instead of taking everyone else's wants into consideration first.

      15. The right to be a human being, not just someone who "bears children."

      16. and voting rights, right to serve on a jury, credit rights, property rights, and all the other formal freedoms that you don't think about unless you haven't got them.

      • tagalog

        Right, and the means they've chosen to illustrate the value of those thing are so foolish and shortsighted that it nearly demands a society that is male-dominated because it makes so much better sense.

        • Jim_C

          Men do "foolish and shortsighted" pretty darn well, themselves.

          • tagalog

            Touche. "A hit, a palpable hit!"

    • Jim_C

      Yes, these advances–and make no mistake, they are advances from being second-class citizens–that women made have had social consequences, some good and some bad. But would you trade freedom for security? Then why should they?

      Rather, look at it thusly: society has had too much "expression" and could use a bit more "repression."

      • tagalog

        I'm good with that.

  • http://twitter.com/historyscoper @historyscoper

    The human race fills up all available space, so it's no surprise that there is an irresistible movement in the West to turn traditional gender roles upside down and inside out. I may not want to join, but I sure enjoy watching from the sidelines :) I would enjoy it even more if they could penetrate the Muslim World and cause traditional Islam to disintegrate from within :)

    Catch up on the women's lib movement with the Historyscoper's free online course at historyscoper.com

  • Western Spirit

    This is the age of the Yin as evidenced by the feminine side of life being the driving force behind society in a cradle to grave nanny state.

    But nature provides a father and a mother to offspring that is basic and immutable to a child's well being. So much so being deprived on one or the other makes for unbalance in the child. Lack of discipline spoils the child and all kids need cuddled and loved.

    So kids need a good cop bad cop upbringing and it doesn't matter which parent performs which. In my family growing up my parents had their roles switched. My father was the gentle loving parent and my mother the disciplinarian. My mother had a soft lap but I preferred my father's bony lap to snuggle. Even my father's grandchildren ran past every woman in the house to grandpa with their boo boo's because he made such a fuss over them.

    Hitler and Stalin represented the extremes of both realities the feminine and the masculine, and both extremes without the mitigating influence of the other, end up in totalitarian dictatorships showing the folly of not promoting both for balance in life.

  • Jim_C

    You will find very few actual parents who think there is any such thing as "gender neutral," though any decent parent knows not to assign negative value to things they consider "feminine" (e.g. "What are you, a girl?"). Boys and girls are inherently different and kids figure it out well before they even know what they've figured out!

  • Bob

    What worries me is the record amount of women taking anti-anxiety and anti-stress pills. How well are women coping with work n raising families?

  • davidmortimermiltonkeynes

    Domestic Violence is a social issue, not a gender problem. It will never be reduced until both sides of the problem are acknowledged and addressed by those who claim to be concerned about it.

    The persistent claim that the overwhelming majority of victims of domestic violence are women is not supported by any impartial research, either in the UK or elsewhere. The results of all gender-neutral studies of domestic violence in couple relationships, published to date, indicate that there is an almost equal numerical culpability between men and women.

    In spite of mounting evidence the issue of women's violence has been discounted or ignored by the media, law enforcement agencies and the social services. Furthermore, there is reason to be alarmed when our understanding of family violence, policy making and allocation of scarce resources has been significantly shaped without regard to an abundance of evidence showing that family violence as a social phenomenon is not gender-specific. This clearly has important implications for research, education funding and social policy.

    The technique of collecting data from Women's Aid type groups is misleading the public about domestic violence because they use surveys that show higher rates of men as aggressors based on National Crime Survey data or official law-enforcement records, but these studies are flawed methodologically because the samples are not representative and because men are less likely to lodge official victimisation reports.

    Another problem with much of the domestic violence literature is that it is based on clinical populations, specifically battered women receiving shelter services or therapy. Data collected and conclusions drawn from those who seek shelter or therapy cannot be generalised to the broader population. Victims who seek services may differ significantly from the broader population, so the value of these studies lies primarily in spawning clinical prescriptions for treatment, not in describing or explaining domestic violence in general. Studies of residents in shelters for battered women are sometimes cited to show that it is only their male partners who are violent. However, these studies rarely obtain or report information on assaults by women, and, when they do, they ask only about self-defence, precluding information on female initiated assaults.
    http://www.ukfamilylawreform.co.uk/domesticviolen