War Against Boys

by Ted Kyle

Surly, angry young men... school dropouts…Ritilin the "drug of choice" to quiet energetic youngsters-particularly boys…claims of sexual harassment lodged against boys on flimsy or fabricated grounds…and lately word that males in several Western nations are held to be sexually arrogant because they do not sit down while urinating. What is all this? Is there a connection, a pattern?

Yes, there is. But it took a woman to provide the framework which helped me to understand what is happening. She is Christina Hoff Sommers, and she has written a book we all should know about: The War Against Boys.

But first, about the "sit-downers": Columnist John Leo brought to light that particular thrust by rampaging feminism. It seems young women in Sweden, Germany, and Australia-some of them, at least-are campaigning to wipe out the masculine "advantage" by forcing them to empty their bladders the same way women do. The old chauvinistic way is supposedly "degrading to women" by standing upright-deemed by some to be "a nasty macho gesture."

By itself, this would seem to be just an arrant bit of silliness. But taken as part of a much larger whole, it becomes another facet of a war on maleness that threatens the rising generations of boys. As Mrs. Sommers documents, it is a war to make boys behave like girls. Do girls like to play with dolls? Then boys should be made to play with dolls-and not G.I. Joe dolls, either. Are girls the "softer sex"? Then boys should be softened to conform.

Why? Because-according to questionable and perhaps even non-existent "research" (see page 102 of Mrs. Sommers' book)-girls are threatened and seriously disadvantaged by having to live in a male-dominated world. This is a cause which feminists, liberal politicians and the popular media have adopted en masse, and they are campaigning vigorously to end this male dominance.

Never mind that boys are far more at risk in today's culture. The author documents that "girls, allegedly so timorous and lacking in confidence, now outnumber boys in student government, in honor societies, on school newspapers, and even in debating clubs. Only in sports are the boys still ahead, and women's groups are targeting the sports gap with a vengeance."

"Girls read more books. They outperform males on tests of artistic and musical ability. More girls than boys study abroad. More join the Peace Corps."

What categories are boys ahead in? How about suspensions from school? How about being held back? How about drop-outs? "Boys are three times as likely as girls to be enrolled in special education programs and four times as likely to be diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. More boys than girls are involved in crime, alcohol, and drugs. Girls attempt suicide more often, but it is boys who actually kill themselves more often." (For instance, 3,792 males and 701 females committed suicide in 1997.)

Never mind, also, that boys thrive on competition, and indeed need it to spur them to excellence in any endeavor, whether physical or cerebral. But this competitiveness is seen as a great evil by the "sameness" corps. How do they propose to make "perfect gentlemen" of boys? For one thing, take away from them the chance for competition. Take away school playgrounds, as one new school in Atlanta has already done. Cancel recess, also, as Atlanta did in 1998. Other systems, like Philadelphia, have kept recess, but make sure there is no unstructured play.

The sub-title of Mrs. Sommers' book is: "How Misguided Fem-inism Is Harming Our Young Men." She writes from a mother's perspective. She is the mother of two sons, "who are the paradigmatic boys whose cause the book defends." She is also the W. H. Brady Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. Among her writing credits is the book, Who Stole Feminism? How Women Have Betrayed Women.

This courageous lady also draws the obvious conclusion that boys and girls are different. The feminists are convinced that the difference is purely cultural, and would disappear if it were not for ignorant and obstinate parents and other obfuscants.

Mrs. Sommers has a great deal to say in her book about the gender-confusion boys suffer from under the "new ideology," but she fails to make the obvious conclusion that this can be a tremendous factor in turning naturally heterosexual boys into homosexual adults-as gender-confusion has been identified as one of the chief reasons for both male and female homosexuality.