Our culture has learned to demonize masculinity in every nook and cranny. In a recent book by Kara Dansky (The Abolition of Sex: How the Transgender Agenda Harms Women and Girls), Dansky writes that the “so-called ‘transgender’ agenda is a misogynistic assault on the rights, privacy, and safety of women and girls—and is being fueled by a massive, vicious, and well-funded industry.” Dansky’s general thesis argues that the “transgender” and sexual orientation movement harms girls and women in many aspects of society by displacing biological reality from law. Dansky specifically mentions the compromised opportunities of female athletes and the dangers female prisoners experience at the hands of the “transgender agenda.” Dansky’s essential thesis has merit and is an important topic. However, some of the rhetoric pushes a particular message; a “misogynistic assault” on women’s rights. Dansky employs the patriarchal, oppressor narrative that galvanizes a particular base, much like Gloria Steinem did with NOW (National Organization of Women) in the 1970s.
In The Boy Crisis by Warren Farrell Ph.D., Farrell (a three time NOW Chair) discusses a pinnacle moment for the National Organization of Women. Farrell and others agreed that children needed their mothers and fathers after divorce and separation, but NOW leaders, against the wishes of people like Farrell, knowingly acted on the side of increasing membership at the expense of children's well-being. Steinem and others feared supporting equal parenting-rights would "undermine its political base" and drive membership away. Politics violated equal rights and subverted the needs of children.
If Dansky believes the “transgender” agenda is misogynistic, one would also have to believe the agenda is misandrist as well, given boys and men are impacted too. Dansky does not need to blame men for the impact the “transgender agenda” and sexual orientation movement is having on girls and women; in part, because she bases her argument, primarily, in biological realities and the corporate greed of the medical industry.
The courts, too, have participated in the marginalization of equal protection for men and their children as well. For decades, the courts have violated the rights of men who have been forced to take on the fiscal responsibility of non-biological children while also violating the rights of fathers who are alienated from their biological children. Custodial battles still continue in the courts to the detriment of children, often leaving families with greater debt, fewer resources for children, and unhealthy circumstances; a plight well documented in Ginger Gentile’s Erasing Family.
So much of the third and fourth wave feminist approach is still mired in a narrative that marginalizes males, particularly white males who account for at least 8.4 million of those living in poverty in the U.S.
But this is not true of all feminists. Christina Hoff Sommers supports equality feminism and has written about the blight of boys. Her book (The War Against Boys) received national acclaim and is a must read by any parent, educator, and policy maker.
“Equality feminism wants for women what it wants for everyone — fair treatment, respect, and dignity. But on today’s campus, equality feminism has been eclipsed by fainting couch feminism…So I think you have to be on the lookout for discrimination and stereotypes holding people back, but you also have to be willing to be open to the possibility that there are innocent explanations for disparate outcomes.”
There is no denying our nation’s men support women. The effort to advance any important cause for women does not need to do so by blaming men. More importantly, policy makers should not advance causes that pit citizen against citizen while violating equal protections; the truest safeguard in any democracy. Policies that send resources to protecting women’s health, improving female educational outcomes, and other areas and services must include males, and policy-makers are entrusted to look equally at the outcomes of boys and men and ensure their rights are not marginalized and violated. And this cannot happen when the male narrative is not part of the public discourse and public policy.
At what point as a nation, did we decide equal protections would apply to some more than others even when circumstances are similar or worse?
The nation cannot deny the blight of black males in America and the lack of fathering in the black community, but we do little in the way of speaking more openly about the topic of fatherhood in America and the importance of family. Although the nation seems willing to take on the challenges of black boys, it is vigorously prepared to minimize the challenges of other boys and men under the auspice of patriarchal privilege. Our policy makers and special interest groups continue to divide our nation and undermine the ability to ensure our nation’s sons and daughters have safe schools, live in safe communities, and have equal opportunities to find success.
Any Asian, black, hispanic, native-American, and white boy who needs to improve reading skills and educational opportunities is floating on the same life-raft of despair and adrift in a potential sea of drug use, criminal activity, and problematic life consequences.
Childhood Uncertainties and the Nuclear Family
Many of the childhood uncertainties in this country happen because of the lack of emphasis on the nuclear family. A new culture has emerged that undermines the importance of the nuclear family narrative.
The increase in out of wedlock births across the nation continues to exacerbate hardships and many of our social ills. In 39 of 50 states, 35% of children are born to unmarried parents, with 26 of those states toping 40% of births to unmarried parents.
National shared parenting rights would go a long way in ensuring the health and welfare of children. Channeling resources away from the family courts and into keeping families together would serve the common good.
But the nation has compromised equal protections and has been enforcing ideological policies at the expense of our boys, girls, men, and women. Grandmothers and grandfathers are alienated from their grandchildren; fathers and some mothers are removed from their children’s lives.
The family structure is under assault because our policies are adhering to special interests and unwilling to ensure equal protections that promote and encourage the single most important element of a child’s life: Family!
Until we heal the equal protections rift on behalf of all citizens, our nation will continue to see the social fallout of special interests. And it will take a new political culture with the backbone to ensure the rights of all citizens are carried out in all aspects of American life.