• Douglas James Troxell

The Problem with Boys


There’s been a lot of discussion in the wake of the Florida Parkland school shooting ranging from gun control to mental illness to arming teachers (terrible idea, by the way), to whatever. You name it, it’s been discussed.

One discussion that got a lot more attention than it probably should have was comedian Michael Ian Black’s comments about boys being broken in America.

His interview with NPR can be found here.

I don’t agree with everything he says in the interview, but I whole-heartedly agree with his hypothesis.

There is a problem with boys in this country.

The problem with the role of males in modern society is that there is no role. We have a feminist movement burning through society and popular culture (which is great and I fully support), but it’s dangerous to grow that movement at the expense of an entire generation of young men.

I have a young son and a toddler daughter and I am much more concerned about my son’s future than my daughter’s.

Young women are being told they can be anything. They are encouraged to be strong, independent, and to value themselves. Young men…aren’t being told much of anything. They’re an afterthought. The prevailing thought seems to be that males have had it pretty good for most of human history so they’ll be fine. The problem with that thought is that you have an entire generation of young men who never got to enjoy the perks of those centuries of dominance. Like any young generation, they’re looking for guidance, for inspiration, for someone to show them their place in the world. And we’re failing them.

You know what happens when you tell an entire group of people (like white males) that they’re not important anymore? You get President Donald Trump.

I always look at things through the lens of a writer. When I’m researching agents, there are dozens looking for books with “strong female protagonists” or books with “diverse female characters”. These are books for girls. The number of agents looking for “boy books”?

Zero.

None. Boys aren’t trendy. Besides, “boys don’t read.” Well no shit if no one is publishing books for them! It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. In a truly terrifying trend, intelligence is becoming a “girl thing”. Girls are encouraged to be intelligent; boys aren’t. Intelligence is not a masculine quality. We see this trend in the numbers as well. Females account for around 60% of all college graduates. Women enter college at a higher rate than their male counterparts and they are less likely to fail out.

So if males aren’t intelligent, then what are they?

Violent.

Destructive.

Homicidal.

This is a dangerous road we’re traveling. We can’t leave boys out of the gender revolution in this country. Boys need to feel valued as well. They need worth. We need a human revolution and everyone needs a seat at the table.

Where do we start? Books for boys. I know it’s small in the overall scheme of things, but it’s a start. Don’t let boys think being dumb is ok. There is nothing more dangerous than stupidity. Need proof? Turn on the news.

#socialcommentary #problemwithboys

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