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Why Males Don't Go to College

By Glenn Sacks, Thursday, October 7, 2004, This column first appeared in She Thinks (11/13/02)

As the percentage of males on our college campuses continues to decline, many observers are finally beginning to ask questions. Much of the discussion has focused on the fact that boys at all levels K-12 have fallen seriously behind their female counterparts, and how our schools are not meeting boys' needs. This discussion of males' educational problems-particularly the problems of low-income and minority males-is long overdue, and boys' sagging educational performance is one of the main reasons for the increasing disappearance of male students from our college campuses.

However, there is another, unacknowledged reason why some males don't go to college-rampant anti-male feminism has made college campuses a place where many males feel unwanted and unwelcome. To use a feminist term, our universities have become "hostile environments" for young men.

To illustrate, let's look at one campus-the University of California at Los Angeles, 1999-2001. Sensationalized lies about men-what dissident feminist Christina Hoff Sommers and others call "Hate Statistics"-were an integral part of the campus culture. The Women's Resource Center (later renamed the Center for Women and Men), the Clothesline Project, and others publicized previously discredited claims such as: "One in four college women has been the victim of rape or attempted rape" and "domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women aged 15 to 44."

Worse, such statistics were repeated ad infinitum and ad nauseam by the campus newspaper, the Daily Bruin , and also by both professors and students. The message behind the lies was clear-men are so powerful and despicable, and women are so helpless and victimized, that men had better not dare to complain about anything.

This hostile attitude towards males is manifest in the classroom as well. I recall, for example, my Latin American folklore class, taught by a woman whom we'll call Ms. Smith. Ms. Smith is a kind, gentle, elderly lady whose bigotry nevertheless rings loud and clear. The sometimes subtle, sometimes slap-in-the-face prejudice which males endured in her class is typical of what occurs in many modern university classes.

Early in the semester Ms. Smith informed the class that all folklore was widely believed to be a code of misogyny that was developed and employed by men to suppress women. Ms. Smith did say she considered this to be a slight exaggeration, yet whenever a folktale contained a negative portrayal of a woman, it was cited as evidence of the rampant misogyny in men's dark souls. What Ms. Smith never explained was why this "misogynistic" folklore contained far more negative portrayals of men than of women.

Ms. Smith also informed us that women largely invented folklore, because it was women who had the "long, tiresome, boring jobs" and thus the motivation to invent it. Unanswered were two questions. One, why would we say that folklore was misogynistic if women had in fact, largely invented it? Two, did we really imagine that the men of that era-or at least 98% of them-did not also have "long, tiresome, boring" jobs?

Most of the males sat in the back of Ms. Smith's class, an arrangement which started to feel more and more like the back of the bus. The females in front were fully engaged, enjoying the class and its anti-male tales. Not surprisingly, many of the males were disengaged, and seemed to be there simply to put in their time.

One day, after an hour or so discussing tale after tale where Ms. Smith concluded that the men involved were always wrong or evil or cruel or stupid and the women were always right and good and kind and smart, Ms. Smith began softly describing a soothing tale of a father and his daughter setting off through the woods to go to the big city. "The father....and his daughter....rode together... as they went through the beautiful Spanish countryside," Ms. Smith said softly. I sat back and closed my eyes. "They...were on their way to the big city....the daughter had never seen the city before.....she was happy that her father was taking her..." I imagined a special, loving, father-daughter bond. "…and then.....he rapes her."

Jolted, I sat up. A male in the back of the classroom pushed his heavy book off of the table and it made a loud, crashing sound. An accident? Or the only protest he could make?

I did sometimes protest in Ms. Smith's class and others, but a 6'2" male confronting a female educator about her bigotry, however politely, is quickly perceived as a sexist bully. In addition, tension and arguing make the days and semesters long and hard, and there were times when it was easier to tune out, as so many other males had done.

Part of the reason it is difficult and unpleasant to be a male college student today is that anti-male bigotry pops up by surprise all the time in the most unlikely places. For example, on my Portuguese final we were presented with some disputes and were expected to discuss possible solutions to them in Portuguese. A couple of the problems were between married couples, and in both situations there was a clear person who was right and a clear person who was wrong. The reader can guess the gender of both offenders without my assistance.

In answering one of them, about a husband who was oppressing his wife by not "doing his share" around the house, I explained that numerous studies have shown that, when all work-both housework and breadwinning-is considered, American men are doing at least as much in their households as women are. I also noted that I was unhappy with this negative portrayal of men.

To her credit, the professor graded me fairly and responded to my objection. She explained that my complaint was not valid because men's control of society versus women' s control is so vast that a man's complaints about anti-male prejudice paled in meaning. In other words, it's okay to say whatever you want about men, no matter how unfair, cruel, or inaccurate, because all the man-hate in the world could never amount to more than tugging on Superman's cape.

In the library after Ms. Smith's class on the day the student dropped the book in protest, I pondered how sad and unfair it was that he and other young men had been branded, stigmatized, and marginalized in the institution which was supposed to enlighten them and set fire to their minds.

I thought of the feminist academics (female and male) who poured their derision upon these college men, knowing that their students could not effectively fight back. I thought of the timid male professors who were so content with their own careers that they were perfectly willing to allow 18 year-old boys to be beat up on rather than jeopardize their own comfort by speaking out. And I asked myself a question which hundreds of thousands of male college students often ask themselves:

"What am I even doing here?"

This column first appeared in She Thinks (11/13/02). It is reprinted with the permission of SheThinks.org, a publication of the Independent Women' s Forum

Glenn Sacks writes about gender issues from the male perspective. He can be reached at Glenn@GlennSacks.com.

Orlando Sentinel

Study denouncing fathers sends danger signals

By Kathleen Parker, The Orlando Sentinel, USA, on July 18, 1999

Now is the time for all good fathers to come to the aid of the family.

But you'd better hurry; your days are numbered. In fact, if you happen to be a heterosexual male (further doomed by Caucasian pigmentation), your days are already over, according to a cover article in the June issue of American Psychologist, published by the American Psychological Association.

In their article, "Deconstructing the Essential Father," researchers Louise B. Silverstein and Carl F. Auerbach challenge one of the core institutions of our culture -- fatherhood. Read More .. less, fathers, as we've known and loved them, are obsolete.

The article makes numerous breathtaking assertions, but basically the researchers state that fathers aren't essential to the well-being of children Read More ...

REPORT: Children Need Dads Too: Children with fathers in prison

Quakers United Nations Office
July 2009

Children are heavily impacted by parental imprisonment and greater attention should be given to their rights, needs and welfare in criminal justice policy and practice. Due to a variety of reasons such as mothers often being the primary or sole carer of children, complicated care arrangements, the likelihood of women prisoners being greater distances from home and a host of factors explored in detail in other QUNO publications, maternal imprisonment can be more damaging for children than paternal imprisonment. However, it is important not to underestimate the damage that paternal imprisonment can have on children.

Children with incarcerated fathers experience many of the same problems as those with incarcerated mothers, including coping with loss, environmental disruption, poverty, stigmatisation, health problems and all of the difficulties involved in visiting a parent in prison. It appears that there are also some difficulties specifically associated with paternal imprisonment, such as a higher risk of juvenile delinquency and strained relationships between the mother and child.

The numbers of children separated from their fathers due to imprisonment is far higher than those separated from their mothers due to the vast majority of prisoners being men (globally over 90 per cent of prisoners are male. To ignore this group would, therefore, be to neglect the vast majority of children affected by parental imprisonment.    Read More ..

USA_Today logo

Hammering it home: Daughters need dads

USA TODAY, June 10, 2003

It's widely recognized that boys benefit from having dads around as role models and teachers about manhood.

But does having a father at home make much difference for girls?

But even in affluent families, girls become sexually active and pregnant earlier if they don't live with fathers, according to the largest and longest-term study on the problem. It was released in May.

Compared with daughters from two-parent homes, a girl is about five times more likely to have had sex by age 16 if her dad left before she was 6 and twice as likely if she stops living with her dad at 6 or older.

The study of 762 girls for 13 years took into account many factors that could lead to early sex, says Duke University psychologist Kenneth Dodge, the study's co-author. Still, there was an independent link between teenage sex and girls not living with their biological fathers.  Read More ..

Divorced Dads:
Shattering the Myths

Dr. Sandford L. Braver and Diane O'Connell

picture book Divorced dads: Shattering the Myths

This is the result of the largest federally funded 8 year study of the issues confronting parents and their children in the United States.

Shattering the Myths. The surprising truth about fathers, children and divorce. Read More ..

Sydney Morning Herald

Children seeing more of their fathers after divorce

The Sydney Morning Herald
February 3, 2005

Divorced fathers are Read More ..volved in their children's lives than conventional wisdom would have it, a new study shows.

It shows surprisingly varied and flexible care patterns among separated families, with "every other Saturday" contact giving way to Read More ..ild-focused arrangements.

Australian Institute of Family Studies research fellow Bruce Smyth has produced the first detailed snapshot of parent-child contact after divorce anywhere in the world. Published today in the institute's journal Family Matters, the analysis has implications for children's emotional and financial wellbeing.

Other research indicates children of separated families do best when they have multifaceted relationships, including sleepovers, sharing meals and doing schoolwork, with both parents.   Read More ..

Fatherlessness

Fathers 'have key role with children' after families split

The Telegraph, London, U.K.

Researchers say they found a direct relationship between children's behavioural problems and the amount of contact they had with their natural father.

The effect was more pronounced in single-parent families, particularly where the mother was a teenager. In such cases, children were especially vulnerable emotionally if they had no contact with their father.   Read More ..

Where's Daddy?

The Mythologies behind Custody-Access-Support

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When 50 percent of marriages end in divorce and 43 percent of children are left with one parent, everyone is affected: uncles, aunts, grandparents, and friends, but mostly, the children. The devastation from our divorce practices is our most public secret scandal. Everyone whispers it, the whispers never acknowledged. It seems that as long as a villain can be created, society is content.

After three decades of research universally pointing to more productive options, why does Custody-Access-Support remain?  Read More ..

Tallahasse Democrat

Research proves that fatherhood really matters