A SCARY TIME FOR BOYS?

A SCARY TIME FOR BOYS?

Recently NowThis Politics posted a song by Lynzy Lab which notes the many reasons it’s scary for women and then mocks “it’s a scary time for boys” in chorus before flipping the script and repeating “it’s not such a scary time for boys.” (Watch The Red Pill if you prefer documentaries.)

Psychological Safety

At first I thought this was cute, funny, and poignant, and then realized its wild impropriety. She does have a valid point about women – according to evolutionary psychologists, women even evolved a predisposition towards withdrawal and agreeableness because there are a lot of dangerous men (and, in the past, beasts, difficult when pregnant). However, her message about men damages psychological safety, and the probability of men speaking up. This silencing hurts the safety and promotion of women by alienating men who are also brave, who speak up, who oppose groups which support men like Kavanaugh. In my field, Organizational Psychology, psychological safety is the number one predictor of team success. It’s the ability of a guy to talk about the ongoing rejection and predisposed fear he encounters from people mistreating him, and the same right of a female colleague to share her mistreatment. Ideally they can then empathize with the other and form a united front to create a positive work culture.

Divinity, Groups, & Data

Jordan Peterson calls this “divinity of the individual” the most important position for the success of modern life. “My situation is worse that your situation” creates in-group out-group dynamics which silence empathy and endanger both men and women. It’s also part of extremist thinking and recruiting, easily studied in the Middle East but more easily seen in American divisions. Partisan thinking is what got us here – it won’t get us out.

Most importantly, Lynzy’s message about men not significantly suffering is false – demonstrably false. Now, I acknowledge my bias (as Lynzy Lab may be) because I was in a physically abusive relationship, having been incorrectly taught that Jesus called us to give up ourselves in love when your enemy hits you (yes, but then run from your enemy). When I came to my senses and spoke out, people belittled, denied, left, or embraced my ex., but the data speaks for itself, separate from my narrative.

Factual Primer

First, it is widely discussed that women experience systemic suppression and victimhood, but male suffering is not widely discussed. Lynzy is right about women. The data show rape at 1/10 and sexual harassment at 1/3 for women. Given the prevalence of this data, I’ll provide male stats only, as an exercise balancing our viewpoint, not a Trumpian counter-narrative – all suffering is real and important. In the psychology field, these stats are referred to as a silent mental health crisis among men. Another way of thinking about this is that women are not at the top of the wage gap or the hierarchy, but the bottom is predominantly men. For the sake of my time, I’m going to avoid source and statistical fidelity and explanation on these points which are conceptually well known in the professional sphere, so assume a margin of error and assume USA stats within the last 10 years. The goal is to balance the narrative.

  • 93% of on the job deaths are men.
  • Men die by suicide 353% more often than women (that’s 3.5x, 35,100 annually).
  • Men receive 63% more jail time for the exact same crimes as women (10 vs 16.3 years).
  • 53.4% of 2014’s domestic abuse victims were men (average for the last 10 years is upper 40s). (US Census data)
  • 50-75% of male US babies are sexually mutilated in the culturally-acceptable male practice of circumcision despite studies demonstrating the physical and psychological harm it causes.

Wages

This is a post of its own. I learned about this from Camille Paglia in a talk with Jordan Peterson: Millennial women have overtaken millennial men in starting and middle wages in cities and the gap is growing – men are also dropping out of college at alarming rates. One stat I read expected the rate of college educated women in LA to outnumber college educated men by 3-1 in 2020. National unemployment is 3.7% but among men it is nearly 3x that, at 11.2%, nearly 18.5 million men. And generally women earn less in comparative jobs because they focus on kids not career, but once they focus back on work they catch up to within a few percentage points. They do earn less in older generations but job for job degree for degree it’s only a few percentage points. Conceptualize this as a pyramid – there are only a few slots at the top for high-earning men, then moving down the middle is women, and the base of low-wage earners is predominantly men.

Takeaway ~ It’s a Scary Time to be Disempowered

The goal was to provide legitimate evidence that men are undergoing significant suffering – it is a scary time to be a man – and assert gender equality has needs on both sides. The men who are doing well are doing spectacularly well, but only 1% of white men ever get to be “Overlords.” Their success does not justify denigrating men or a particular race. Joking “it’s a tough time to be a man” or falsely asserting “it’s not such a scary time to be a man” alienates 49% of potential allies who also experience systemic oppression which operates by dismissing very real personal pain. Many men, traditionally fed to the war machines of history, are now fathers, brothers, and sons, suffering greatly.

The genders ought to ally against oppressive cultural dictums – not each other’s level of suffering. According to psychological and consulting research data, honoring the individual, recognizing suffering, and empathizing with others is the most effective way to move forward in a productive manner. Mocking a different group, be it race, gender, sexuality, intelligence, et cetera creates divisions, war, distractions, sickness, and worse. We can do better. Our peers and organizations will benefit.

~ Dave Wallace, MS Psy

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