Wednesday, March 19, 2014

An open letter to liberal feminists: girls don’t have it any worse than boys

 Matt Walsh is getting so repetitive that there is no use including the first part of this post. He once again fails to understand the argument that gender is constructed. One does not have to value aggressive behavior to understand the consequences of construing masculinity as aggressive and femininity as passive. On the contrary, one can have one set of values that applies to all genders, and that set of values does not have to include assertiveness or bossiness or whatever. Yes, we can value caring and nurturing - and we can encourage boys to be both!
So now I will skip to the part where Matt Walsh starts telling his sad woe-is-me tale about how terrible boys have it.
Boys — particularly boys in public school – are most assuredly NOT encouraged to be opinionated, assertive, loud, boisterous, or confident.  So we are not making distinctions between characteristics like assertive and confident, on the one hand, and loud and boisterous, on the other? It's all the same? Personally, I love it when anyone is confident, but I'm not a fan of loud children.  Do you know what happens to boys like that?
We punish them.

We label them.

We medicate them.

Their opinions and their personalities aren’t just discouraged – they’re chemically obliterated.

According to the CDC, more than 20 percent of 14-year-old boys have been diagnosed with ADHD at some point in their lifetime. Twenty percentOkay, but are you assuming that the behaviors that result in an ADHD diagnosis are the exact same behaviors that "Ban Bossiness" campaign is referring to?

Boys are 125 percent more likely to be stuck with the ADHD label than girls, and 127 percent more likely to be medicated for it.

I suppose we can chalk this up to a mental disorder that mysteriously discriminates based on sex, or we could contemplate the possibility that we have turned boyhood into a disease. Overall, young males are almost twice as likely to be deemed “learning disabled.” Could boys really be this inherently flawed, or is the system itself flawed?

Whether or not a boy manages to exhibit the “correct” personality traits and narrowly avoid a psychiatric diagnosis, he has a much greater chance of being expelled or suspended from school. In fact, boys make up about 70 percent of the suspensions from grades K – 12. They’re also five times more likely to be expelled from pre-school.

And it’s not just that young males tend to “misbehave” more; it’s that we’ve defined “misbehavior” in a way that unfairly targets them. The news is rife with stories of kids suspended or expelled or arrested for making a pretend gun with their fingers, or a Poptart, or a keychain, or a pencil. I don't know if "rife" is an apt word, but... (see next comment)

These are healthy and normal games of imagination and fantasy — games that boys, not girls, usually play — and we’ve literally made a criminal matter out of it. Question for you Matt. I know you're not a fan of abortion. I would assume you think shooting a human being is not LESS abhorrent? Well, how would you feel about children pretending to give each other abortions? Would you also characterize that as "healthy and normal games of imagination and fantasy"? So why the inconsistency? Why is there nothing wrong with pretending to shoot each other? Why is it "healthy and normal" for children to act out the most grave mortal sin?

Yes, there is a difference between boys and girls here. Boys are socialized to be violent. Obviously not all boys/men are (because people react to socialization differently), but it is boys who receive the training. It is a major problem, it has real consequences (including those you mention above - like expulsion), and it harms females as much or more than males (see, for example, rape).

Also, regarding those consequences, you may have forgotten the context in which these expulsions have occurred? The one that involves regular shootings at schools?

But no, the broad cultural framework in which our society reproduces gender roles, including male violence, certainly is not to blame here. The problem is definitely feminists who are trying to destroy men.

Boys are frequently kicked out of school and sent hurtling on a path towards delinquency and failure, even for minor instances of physical aggression. Does it make sense to treat a kid like a dangerous psychopath just because he got into a minor shoving match or — horror of horrors — a fist fight? No, not a sociopath. But maybe it does make sense to treat violence at a young age as a problem. Maybe it does make sense to take action and intervene. This is how boys often express their aggression. But it is a terrible, terrible way of expressing aggression. Actually, expressing aggression in general is not healthy or beneficial. (See also:  men are not inherently aggressive.) Girls express it in more damaging and traumatizing ways. Someone likes to hate on the ladies.They spread gossip and rumors, they shun and ostracize other girls, and these acts can reverberate through a child’s life much further and deeper than getting pushed into a locker or punched in the nose. You don't think boys are emotionally damaged by being bullied? And what if the child who is enacting that "healthy and normal" violent behavior ends up raping a few women when he gets older?

But typical male aggression leads to expulsion, while typical female aggression usually leads to, at most, a stern lecture from the guidance counselor.  Well, what you have defined as "typical female aggression" is not as easily detectable... To make matters worse, we’ve banned and outlawed the healthier outlets for a boy’s energy and rambunctiousness. Schools have increasingly prohibited tag, and kickball, and dodgeball , and football.

Of course, the plight of the American male is far more serious and tragic than a ruined recess.
Feeling abandoned, angry, hateful, and confused, ...why, because they can't pretend to violently murder each other and break each other's noses without getting yelled at? guys are about 4 times more likely to kill themselves than girls. It’s true that females attempt suicide at a higher rate, but males are at an exponentially greater risk of completing the horrible deed. So what? If females attempt suicide at a higher rate, then wouldn't a greater number of women feel abandoned, angry, hateful, and confused? The fact is that you, Matt Walsh, do not have the expertise or contextual knowledge to draw any valid conclusions about the fact that males are more successful at completing the deed. (Recall, Matt, that you often complain when Secular Liberal Godless Progressives use statistics inappropriately.)

And the story doesn’t end there. While (if) these boys grow into men, it is much more probable that they will become alcoholics and drug addicts. And women are more likely to be single mothers and burdened with all the costs of child care. Also, that very article you link to says that the gap keeps narrowing.  The article also mentions that women have a higher rate of prescription drug abuse. And, incidentally, prescription drug abuse has reached very troubling proportions. Finally, the article ALSO says that women's psychological symptoms are more severe than men's when they are using drugs. So, women, it would seem, do not turn to drugs quite as quickly. That doesn't mean they have it better.

Everyone knows that men are infinitely more likely to go to prison, but did you know they even receive longer sentences for the same crimes? Indeed, women convicted on the same charges are twice as likely to avoid incarceration altogether.

Is this what you call “male privilege”?

Privileged to be drugged as a child, expelled from school as a teenager, and incarcerated as an adult?

Privileged to bad grades, a psychiatric diagnosis, and an early death?

Let me ask you a question, Matt. How many times during the week do you encounter these "oppressive" facts related to incarceration rates, psychiatric diagnoses, explusion, early death? How likely is that you, on a given Tuesday, will become addicted to drugs?

My guess is that you do not have to worry about any or most of these things. A woman, however, encounters on a regular basis:  inappropriate remarks about her appearance, gestures that imply her physical weakness, unrelenting pressures to be thin and not eat enough, sexual advances, lowered expectations related to her intelligence [yes I have had these things explicitly verbalized to me] and her emotions (they're out of controlllll!)], etc. etc. etc.

The oppression that women face is subtle, multifaceted, nuanced, ubiquitous, and built in to the fabric of every institution and every interaction. It is a daily lived experience.

Sure, you can argue your case by throwing around the same old misleading statistics. Nope. I don't even need statistics to make my case. And in fact, it is YOU who is throwing around misleading statistics. How much money does a woman make for every dollar a man makes? Is it 77 now? 81? It doesn’t matter.  Says you. It adds up over a lifetime, and it matters to me. Better question: how did you arrive at that figure.

[And now Matt gets into the same old arguments that I have already I will skip ahead]

Here’s the good news: if you want equality under the law, you have it. You’re done. You can legally do everything a man can do. Welcome to modernity, thanks for coming. Legal equality is not what I want. I mean, I guess it's better than not having the legal equality, but that is not the aim. I want to live in a society where assumptions are not made about me and my abilities based on gender stereotypes. I wanted to be treated on a day-to-day basis by the people around me just like a man would be treated.  I do not want to fear rape, and the consequences of rape (victim-blaming). So sorry, Matt. The work is not done. We are just starting.

The bad news is that we still do not live in a perfect society, and we never will. There are still people who need helping, flags that need hoisting, and battles that need fighting. We're trying to help you, Matt, but you're just so damn resistant. Unfortunately, you’re often on the wrong side of these efforts. Right.....

But there’s still time to change.

I hope you do.

We could use your help.  You are clueless Matt. Totally clueless. You are the one who needs help.

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