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Book Review: THE BOY CRISIS
Raising boys to be well-balanced men
Without calling it such, the authors of THE BOYS CRISIS take a modern masculinist approach to what they see as the roots of many of the issues facing parents, boys, and men. That is, they put boys front and centre in their narrative and analysis. Topics involving boys’ healthy development are often met with a well intentioned “yes but” from those in our society who have been taught that the real problems we have are attached to the oppression and suppression of girls and women. While there is significant truth to that statement, the need of decision makers and influencers to stay feminist centred is a constant road block to the problems evolving for boys and men.
The advancement of women’s rights and feminist approaches to societal issues has produced significant side affects such as contempt and indifference to the members of what is seen as the opposing group. Feminist theory, when applied in a divisive manner, has had misandric effects. These areas of contempt, indifference, or hatred towards boys and men is not a hidden secret.
The authors here attempt to provide a comprehensive volume that covers observations and ideas for the raising of boys to be well balanced individuals who are neither weighed down by archaic forms of masculinity nor feminist rhetoric. Instead, the book takes the approach of speaking to men with men at the centre. What happens to men who are raised in matriarchal environments? How do you become a man who is not a slave to other people’s ideas of who you should be?
Covered are issues such as the Dad Gap - the gap between “boys who are dad deprived and boys who are dad enriched.” The authors explore the consequences on boys who grow up without a father and a positive male role model. What are the effects of being raised with the toxic beliefs that boys are flawed in their biology of simply being male? How is it that somehow the maleness in our leaders and historical figures has lead to atrocities in human history? Not their flaws as human, but that they were men. Boys who are taught that they are flawed because they are male, either literally or subconsciously, develop self-loathing that produces men who are less capable of functioning in the world on a high level, contributing to drug abuse, violent behaviour, and suicide.
THE BOY CRISIS seeks to address the missteps in our dealings with boys, fatherhood, and the way men find their way in the world. Authors Warren Farrell and John Gray explore topics from a male-centric perspective while taking pains to keep the content accessible to women and mothers. When examining the hero archetype, the authors discuss the “social brides” that we make to our sons historically and how we can help boys become better men by altering those incentives - by “filling their purpose void”. In other words, boys will adopt a more healthy attitude towards their future when we stop preparing boys to offer themselves up for slaughter on the battlefield or for an unchallenged assumption that they, and not their female counterparts, will do the risky - life threatening actions in life. A future where a boy’s longevity matters as much as their sisters.