Feminists say their movement is about equality, yet they often ignore inequalities where women do better than men.
Inequalities such as: Men die 5 years earlier than women, have more dangerous jobs, and are often passed over for custody of kids. Boys are two times more likely than girls to commit suicide. Boys are 29% less likely to get a college degree than girls.
Warren Farrell was once a feminist movement leader. But now he says, “I don’t agree with the part of feminism that says, ‘men are the oppressors and women are the oppressed.’ That part of feminism is sick,” Farrell tells Maxim Lott, Senior Producer of Stossel on Reason.
Lott asks Farrell about the fact that men have more influence in government and business, and tend to make more money. Farrell answers that a big reason men make more money is because they are filling social expectations to become a family breadwinner.
“Our dads and our grandpas, they made sacrifices … to make more money, and then the feminist movement turned all of that sacrifice on the part of men against men,” Farrell says.
He adds: “[Feminists] haven’t said, ‘You were discriminated against, men, in your own way. You were obliged to earn more money, or we wouldn’t even be thinking about marrying you. We wouldn’t be thinking about having children with you.'”
In The Boy Crisis, Farrell notes that both sexes struggle. He says that the feminist movement’s single-sided focus on women’s inequalities has led to at atmosphere that harms boys.
Boys’ worse outcomes in college and suicide are often ignored, and so is a dramatic increase in fatherless households — which Farrell says is largely responsible for boys’ problems.
Study after study finds that having both a mother and father is best, at least for straight families. (Gay families may do just as well; Farrell notes that the overall evidence is inconclusive.)
“Even when we control for the amount of money a father and mother earn, children with dads still do much better,” Farrell notes.
The rate of fatherless households has increased partly because of welfare programs that, says Farrell, “tear the family apart by giving the money to mothers when fathers are absent, and not giving money to mothers when fathers are present.”
Lott asks why would fatherless households hurt boys more? “Boys tend to not have as many skills at developing friendships, at developing emotional connections,” Farrell says. “So when the family connection breaks apart, it affects them more profoundly than it does their sisters.”
Why would lack of a father cause problems? Farrell says fathers are critical for several non-intuitive reasons. One is roughhousing, which teaches kids boundaries. Fathers roughhouse more than mothers, and when they do, “the father is creating a bond with the child, so the children don’t mind discipline… the discipline is the price they pay for more fun with dad.”
Many people think that mothers tend to be better parents because women are, on average, more empathetic and pay more attention to a child’s needs. But Farrell says that by itself is not enough, because, “an empathetic parent does not create an empathetic child. An empathetic parent is someone who’s always thinking of the children’s needs, which teach the children to always have his or her needs thought of.”
Requiring a child think of others’ needs is what actually build empathy, Farrell says.
Finally, Farrell says that mothers are more likely to express their love for a child by doing things like homework for the kid. They’re more likely to engage in “helicopter parenting”, which leads to overly-dependent kids.
Those are some reasons why fathers are critical.
The solution to “The Boy Crisis”? Farrell suggests that society offer more respect to men who focus on fathering, rather than career success. He wishes there were more men in classrooms, and schools would bring back things like recess.