Lionel Tiger is Darwin professor of anthropology emeritus at Rutgers University and author of The Decline of Males.
He takes a look at some of the false data and erroneous assumptions that paint men as members of some vast patriarchy keeping women down.
Almost everyone is aware of the statistics-based morality on race and ethnicity: if any admired group does not contain the correct proportion of African-Americans and Hispanics, bias can reasonably be inferred.
The same bag of statistical assertions which animated much appropriate (and some inappropriate) legal and social change has, of course, migrated over to discussions of sex. The problem here is that there are no real interesting biosocial differences between the races but there are major discernible and definable differences between the sexes. So we have incubated a new, prosperous and irritated industry of people scouring the community looking for any departure from the 51% number of females in the population to the workplace of, say, CEOs, professional hockey players, or lumberjacks.
Everyone from the President on down recites the mantra that women earn only 77 cents to the male dollar. However, a Dept of Labor report in 2010 concluded unambiguously that the principal reason for economic difference was personal choice – perhaps not a free choice but one made by persons in the economy. One huge example: some 85% of women have children and the average mother tends to leave the labor force for 5-8 years and is much more likely than a male to work part-time. Both lead to reduced income. Add that males take the higher-paying jobs such as commercial fishing, which are dangerous and lead to much higher fatality and injury rates, and we begin to derive a picture different from the conventional statistician’s view that if there’s a discrepancy it must be imposed not chosen.
A consistent failure of the school system is reflected in its failure to educate males and females equally effectively. If the problem category were race or religion it would be politically intolerable. But boys and men–no problem. Where, for example, is the White House Council on Boys and Men, still non-existent years after the nifty one on girls and women was proudly brandished? Presumably lost somewhere in electoral politics and some dingy acceptance of payback for that vaunted 5000 years of patriarchy.
We can do better.
The Problem of Males on the Feminized Campus - Short Takes (Minding the Campus)