The problem with The Problem With Men

What started with the branding effort of "Toxic Masculinity" has now turned into an outright campaign deeming masculinity to be eradicated.

David French has a great piece this week at the National Review, carving up the official guidelines issued by and for psychologists working with dudes:

along comes the American Psychological Association with its first-ever “Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Boys and Men.”  The APA sees the challenges facing young men and rightly seeks to  overcome those challenges, but then diagnoses the wrong cause. As  Stephanie Pappas notes on the APA website,  the new guidelines conclude that “traditional masculinity — marked by  stoicism, competitiveness, dominance, and aggression — is, on the whole,  harmful.”

The guidelines themselves argue that “traditional masculinity  ideology” — defined as socializing boys toward “anti-femininity,  achievement, eschewal of the appearance of weakness, and adventure,  risk, and violence” — has been shown to “limit males’ psychological  development, constrain their behavior, result in gender role strain and  gender role conflict,” and negatively influence mental and physical  health.

Or, as Heather Wilhelm asks: "Who is going to kill all my spiders?"

This week, the American Psychological Association delivered some sad  news for fans of “traditional masculinity.” According to the  organization’s new “Guidelines for Psychological Practice with Boys and  Men,” the “harmful” ideology of masculinity — marked by “stoicism,  competitiveness, dominance, and aggression” together with  “anti-femininity, achievement, eschewal of the appearance of weakness,  and adventure, risk, and violence” — has got to go.

Here I imagine a mournful, windswept cowboy — preferably Val Kilmer from Tombstone, or maybe Harrison Ford from Indiana Jones, but wearing a ten-gallon hat — riding  off into the sunset, slumped and grim, dragging a sad cache of uneaten  rare steaks and unused power tools behind him. Farewell, traditional  masculinity! You are too toxic! The APA told us so! Don’t let those  swinging Old West barroom doors hit you on the way out, causing the  old-timey piano music to abruptly stop and all the dust-strewn poker  players who may or may not have tuberculosis to turn and stare at you in  shock and dismay!

Reader, I don’t know how you feel about all this. I, for one, find it  very upsetting, for one simple and selfish reason: Who is going to kill  all the spiders that make their way into my house?

This is precisely why Dr. Jordan Peterson has become an international guru of sorts (although he rejects any such title).


If you believe (as I do) that there are intrinsic differences between men and women, then you have a partial explanation for what is happening in our society with purposeless young men. 

Of course, this is not the modern, popular, or chic opinion. But it does provide some clarity, whereas the APA guidance simply creates even more confusion:

After all, the very idea of “boys” and “men” is quite gendered and  outdated, is it not? As the APA’s own new guidelines remind us, “it is  critical to acknowledge that gender is a nonbinary construct that is  distinct from, although interrelated to, sexual orientation.” Gender,  argues Ryon McDermott, a psychologist who assisted in writing the  guidelines, is “no longer just this male-female binary.”

So why even bother writing a report supposedly targeted at only boys  and men? Who knows? Who cares? Oh, logic, you feckless, roaming  tumbleweed! In any case, the guidelines aren’t really designed to  discuss boys or men at all. Their main intention, it seems, is to hammer  home the belief that everything gender-related is a social construct,  that biology doesn’t matter until we want it to, and that we are all  bound like helpless mummies under intersectional layers of oppression  that are primarily generated by — surprise! — patriarchal men.

Pete's Prep Sheet: Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019

Pete Kaliner

Pete Kaliner

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