ifeminists.com: A central gathering place and information center for individualist feminists.   -- explore the new feminism --
introduction | interaction | information

ifeminists.com > introduction > editorials

"The Trouble With Boys"
February 8, 2006
by George Rolph

It was a fascinating experience reading through the responses to the article entitled, "The Trouble With Boys." Though the responses covered many areas I have separated three different views that seem to be to reflect the most prevalent views in our society, bar one.

The Enlightened Parents View

"It is fitting that I read your cover story on my son's 16th birthday. 'The Boy Crisis' describes his educational journey to a T. I have spent the last 10 years searching for answers to his many behavioral issues, all of which are outlined in this story. I've pursued experts who have helped with whatever label of the moment was assigned to him--he had ADD, poor sensory development, a misfire from brain to hand (which makes written expression difficult) and undeveloped social skills; he was a brilliant underachiever and organizationally dysfunctional. What a relief to read what I have known deep down for all these frustrating years: he is not so abnormal."

As I read this, I wondered why this parent had sought out an "expert" view for what she already knew instinctively. Then I realised it is because we are taught to listen to "experts" and ignore our own parental instincts in today's society. Thus we have a situation where we rather listen to Oprah than to Gran or Grandad. No wonder we are losing our parenting skills! All Oprah is doing is regurgitating what "experts" have told her.

The extended family is the real vault of wisdom we need to get back to. It is time to once more place our faith, our resources and our trust in the family as our source of expertise and lay down all those paperback books we buy that give us so many confusing and disparate "strategies" for raising our kids. Joe/Jane Bloggs PhD may have a hell of a brain for studying trends and statistics and putting their ideas together in a paperback as a "fix all" solution for parents branded as "dysfunctional" by another "expert" but the truth is that Gran and Grandad have been there, done it all and know all about bringing up kids. They are a deep fountain of wisdom and experience that we devalue and lock them away in a retirement home as soon as they become "difficult to manage" (Often a euphemism for, getting in the way of our selfish ambitions.) I am certain that it is because Asian cultures value their elderly so much more than we do in the western world and pay more attention to their accumulated wisdom, that their children are so much more stable and grounded and able to focus. Generally speaking, in the west we tolerate the despising of our older people. In the east, they revere them.

It was listening to "experts" that got us into the place where in America, Ritalin is now prescribed to, "10 to 12 percent of all boys between the ages 6 and 14 in the United States "

Source: http://www.breggin.com/congress.html

The side effects of this schedule 2 drug are as follows:

"Short-term effects can include nervousness and insomnia, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, palpitations, headaches, changes in heart rate and blood pressure (usually elevation of both, but occasionally depression), skin rashes and itching, abdominal pain, weight loss, and digestive problems, toxic psychosis, psychotic episodes, drug dependence syndrome, and severe depression upon withdrawal."

What are its long-term effects?

"High doses of stimulants produce a predictable set of symptoms that include loss of appetite (may cause serious malnutrition), tremors and muscle twitching, fevers, convulsions, and headaches (may be severe), irregular heartbeat and respiration (may be profound and life threatening), anxiety, restlessness, paranoia, hallucinations, and delusions, excessive repetition of movements and meaningless tasks, and formication (sensation of bugs or worms crawling under the skin)."

Source: http://www.drugfree.org/Portal/drug_guide/Ritalin

This, has become our substitute for parenting and it happened because we relied upon "experts" instead of family wisdom.

Professional Denial

It was interesting to me also that a typical "professional opinion" surfaced in the responses and betrayed a worrying, yet all too familiar theme in professional thinking.

"Yes, boys are in crisis, and American parents are justifiably worried about the men their sons will become. But I wonder what mothers like Lance Armstrong's make of such statements as 'An adolescent boy without a father figure is like an explorer without a map.' The assumption that 'masculine' qualities can be imparted only by men undermines the success of millions of mothers who are fully capable of raising thriving, emotionally healthy, masculine sons without a man around. Linda Armstrong raised Lance on her own and did quite well, as did the women who singlehandedly raised such successful men as Alan Greenspan, Bill Clinton, Rickey Henderson, Ed Bradley and Jamie Foxx. Armstrong calls his mother his main role model, saying she gave him determination, strength to overcome adversity and the capacity to succeed. These qualities are not exclusively masculine. They are human qualities that mothers can and do engender in their sons.
Peggy Drexler, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Psychology in Psychiatry
Weill Medical College of Cornell University
New York, N.Y."

This view encapsulates much of the denial that plagues "official" and "professional" thinking. It is a view that comes by taking a selective view of the world and cherry picking examples of unusual success in the world view held by the professional concerned. What is disturbing is that this behaviour is exactly the opposite way that a "scientist" should behave. It is an emotional response and not a response based on the wealth of data on offer.

The rest of society can see that single parenthood and the destruction of family values are the root of our problems. The crime and welfare statistics scream this fact at us every day. Yet, this kind of "professional" thinking is a measure of a profound denial of the truth and eventually finds it's way into yet another paperback book, written by an "expert," to further muddy the waters and confuse parents and children alike.

The "Enlightened" Feminist View

"Boys in a 'crisis'? in my grandmother's day, only men could vote. When I was a girl, only boys could play sports. In the Roman Catholic Church, only men can be priests. In certain societies today and throughout history, girls can't attend school, and women can't work or show their faces in public. In China, girl babies are discarded because boys are favored. In America, glass ceilings block females from access to power, money and leadership. On playgrounds, a common taunt among boys falls along these lines: 'You cry/ act/talk/throw like a girl.' So for the fraction of a nanosecond in human history that boys are perceived to be on the short end of the stick compared with girls, you call this a 'crisis'? C'mon, guys. You take a turn at second-class status for once.
Sandra J. Anderson
Columbus, Ohio "

This view is the one that caused most of our current problems in the first place. It is the infantile, bitter and false historical view that has become a plague on all of our houses. It is the view of the vengeful and angry heart of feminism that has nothing to do with "equality" and everything to do with a perceived, and all too tragically, taught, view of gender roles that is distorted and based upon an illusion. Again, this view is the result of cherry picking history and social realities to reinforce a learned injustice. It works by searching memories and history for illustrations of bad men and bad things done by men and then painting the whole male race with the results. It is a philosophy that puts St Francis of Assisi in the same box as Adolph Hitler and then places both under the microscope of hate. It is not surprising that faults are found. These faults are then magnified and projected onto all males. In time, the hate grows to the point where revenge is sought by punishing all male children for the sins of few of their fathers At the same time, ignoring the positive male role models that abound everywhere, as a form of self justification. These views are then rationalised and taught to the rest of us. The result is that astounding statements are made that are not seen as the psychologically dysfunctional remarks they really are. Therefore, the statement, "C'mon, guys. You take a turn at second-class status for once." is not seen by society for the sick view it really is, instead it has become "accepted" feminist thinking. By accepting these weird and damaging views as normal we all become infected by them. The truth is, by subjecting male children to a taste of a perceived discrimination not carried out, or common to all, or even most, males is like saying that black people should be given the right to kill white people because "some" white people treated them badly in the past.

The most dangerous aspects of this psychologically twisted viewpoint are our unquestioning acceptance of it and our failure to prevent it being taught to our sons and daughters. The lesson should be that because Jody Foster or Catherine MacKinnon says that a view is sane and rational, does not mean it is. We need to become more discerning about which "experts," "world views" and "political viewpoints" we listen too.

In the end, the family is fountain of wisdom we should drink from and not the endless parade of "experts" all claiming to know better than the accumulated thousands of years of family wisdom.

ifeminists.com > home | introduction | interaction | information | about

ifeminists.com is edited by Wendy McElroy; it is made possible by support from The Independent Institute and members like you.