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February 03, 2005

Comments

bmmg39

"Yes Laura Bush' comments troubled me as well...it appears to be once again rewarding boys for 'breaking the rules' and ignoring girls because we are less like to do so..."

Mmmm...nooooooooo. More like someone is finally addressing a group that's gotten the short end of the stick for some time now, all because some people seem to believe that we can't help girls without denigrating or outright ignoring boys. When boys outperform girls on a certain test, we're told that the test must be biased. When girls outperform boys, we're told by the same people that girls must obviously be smarter...

zuzu

Does anyone else think it odd that Bush would appoint a woman to head a program for troubled boys? I mean, ignore the fact that it's his wife. Why not put a man in charge, perhaps a man who'd pulled himself out of trouble as a young man, someone who could be an example?

mythago

When boys outperform girls on a certain test, we're told that the test must be biased

And then we're told that clearly it's a genetic difference and that we're just too PC if we think otherwise.

I am cautiously enthusiastic. Whenever this adminstration says 'churches and other groups', I somehow don't think that the money is going to be fairly distributed.

Pseudo-Adrienne

When boys outperform girls on a certain test, we're told that the test must be biased

Yeah.....I'm that paranoid and hysterical whenever the guy sitting next to me in any given classroom "outperforms" me on a test.

Perhaps he studied harder than I did and that's why he earned a better score. Or, in the case where I earn a better grade him, it's probably because I was the one who studied harder. There's nothing genetic or biological about it.

I don't go running around screaming "patriarchal conspiracy" whenever I earn a lower score on a test or paper than some guy sitting next to me in class. And NEITHER do I in the cases where I earn a better score than the guy run around with glee shouting "grrrl power". I celebrate my academic successes by going back to my dorm to watch SpongeBob or the Daily Show.

Anyway, I echo mythago's comment on being cautious in supporting this push by the Administration. I have NO problem in mentoring young men so they'll grow up to be decent and upstanding citizens of society, but I'm a little bit worried about the choice of words from the First Lady.

NYMOM

"Mmmm...nooooooooo. More like someone is finally addressing a group that's gotten the short end of the stick for some time now, all because some people seem to believe that we can't help girls without denigrating or outright ignoring boys. When boys outperform girls on a certain test, we're told that the test must be biased. When girls outperform boys, we're told by the same people that girls must obviously be smarter...:

Sigh...

The eternal victims' advocate speaks...

NYMOM

"I celebrate my academic successes by going back to my dorm to watch SpongeBob or the Daily Show."

Has it been diclosed yet if SpongeBob is gay...or maybe a gay pro marxist-feminist sponge?

Perhaps boys and MRAs should not be allowed to watch him...as he could demonstate pro-marxist-feminist leanings and bias against them.

FP

Hugo:"Thanks, NYMOM. I'm convinced most of the MRAs are good men, just misguided. Call it my intense optimism about human nature, and my firm belief that we can all manage to be civil even in the face of great temptation to be otherwise."

Thanks Hugo. I'm all for civil discourse and call me a cockeyed optimist but I tend to think pro-feminist men are good men, just misguided. ;)

As for "Bros before Hoes", its a term meaning not to let a women get between two guys' friendship or an honor code of not sleeping with your buddies girl etc.. Not that men are innately superior to women or whatever nonsense. I think something similar for women would be "grrl power" or the "sisterhood" (ya-ya?).

rabbit

I think that whether boys needs are being addressed is not a question of whether boys get more funding in this or whether girls get more funding in that but what the funding goes do. There is more money in social programs for girls, but less money in activities (sports, etc.), and vice versa for boys, but think this could be reliant on the social construction of girls as emotional creatures and boys as physical. I think that instead of looking at this as 'more money for boys who are being ignored! I tell you' like the chicken-littling of the MRAs, and the 'but girls need it more!' chicken-littling of feminists we should look at this as a shifting of focus as to what boys need and not really more or less of anything...which seems like what Hugo advocates (I've only been reading this blog for a month or so, so I can't claim to understand all of his positions). It is not often that boys are looked at as having problems that are rooted in emotions and needing role models. Much work with role models with girls is done to show them role models who are strong and succeeding, because they don't get that from popular culture. Boys didn't have work put into that because strong and succeeding men are all over popular culture. But what boys don't see is good, responsible, caring men who respect women and themselves and love their families as something to aspire to...its all action stars! sports stars! businessmen! what emotion? stifle that. Boys need to do little to be labeled as a wimp, and no one was very seriously advocating to change boys attitudes. I think our culture is begining to value qualities in men that are more emotional, and I know that many boys really need role models with those qualities (especially in the inner-city, where fathers are often absent) because they don't see them in the culture they are exposed to. So I think before MRAs declare victory that they're shifting funds away from 'overhelped' girls (and I think that its silly to say that girls don't need the affirmation that it is okay and right and possible to succeed, and that girls don't need an extra push to learn to respect their bodies and their worth as a person in a culture such as ours) and before feminists decry such a shift, that we should stop looking at it as a shift away from girls and look at it more as a shift amung the priorities for boys. And this is a good thing. Kids and teenagers need positive role models. Not girls, not boys, but kids. I'm not far enough out of adolescense to forget the constant emotional drama and confusion and desperate search for my role, and I benefitted a lot from those girls programs that connected teenage girls with successful women. But I also saw my male friends struggle with trying to balance their sensitivity with their need to be masculine and often become really conflicted and confused and act out in odd ways because of it.

stanton

Hugo: As I said in my very first post here after the Sacks show, I believe that we all want the same thing: justice and human dignity. I even grant that NYMOM wants this. The anti-male slant of her words lead me to doubt that she would concede that I and my fellow MRAs want this. (I believe she was joking when she said that Gandhi would attack me if he were alive and heard me express my admiration of him and my determination to follow his example - but I felt genuine malice behind her joke.)

Where the problems arise is in the identifying of these injustices, along with their causes and solutions. For example, I believe that Mary Pipher's work is one of the reasons that Laura Bush's work is needed today. You would disagree, but, due to your closeness to the situation, you see that those misguided MRAs have a point in this one case, and boys are in need of attention and assistance; that this assistance (which has been flowing to girls via numerous Pipher-inspired private and public programs) must be provided to boys for the good of all. This is a very positive thing, and I respect you for it.

However, consider other men and women who are close to other situations in ways that you are not: bmmg39 and his familiarity with domestic violence, for example. Might he know some things about the situation that you do not, you having accepted the common wisdom of our time? If he were a feminist who just happened to have gotten involved in the work he does, due to life circumstances, he would be critcizing you for your masculist views of boys!

Or if you had been working with fathers who have lost access to their children while being pauperized by the family courts, you would understand the incredible injustices of this system, as well as the severe harm it is doing to children. But as a feminist, you would consider
bmmg39 (and any Hugos out there supporting Laura Bush's work in behalf of boys) to be misguided.

I know you aren't an uncaring person, Hugo, as I know that most feminists are not. Can you possibly consider that you just might be pooh-poohing a lot of genuine human suffering and injustice? I mean just allow that possibility to simmer for a few days, and listen to some of the less angry MRAs from that mindset. Can you do that?

La Lubu: I'm glad you are feeling better. And I am so sorry to hear about your cousins, and I pray that they get it together. And that sister of theirs deserves some major kudos - perhaps she can inspire her brothers. I send love and positive energy to all of them - and to you!

Mythago: "'When boys outperform girls on a certain test, we're told that the test must be biased'

And then we're told that clearly it's a genetic difference and that we're just too PC if we think otherwise."

Mythago, may I ask who is saying this, other than ideologues attempting to ridicule those they perceive to be their opponents? You are certainly intelligent enough to know better than to try to lay such a thing on Lawrence Summers, who said nothing of the sort. So - please give me the names, Mythago. Or else I ask that you consider that your anger may be wrongly directed at a straw man that has been erected to keep males in their place.

Jeff

Mythago:

I am cautiously enthusiastic. Whenever this adminstration says 'churches and other groups', I somehow don't think that the money is going to be fairly distributed.

Agreed. I have a feeling that what this is going to be is trying to "reform" these boys by preaching at them (I know they do more than that, but in the programs I've seen one can't really take the help without taking the religion too). And while society may be better off with people joining churches rather than gangs, giving governmental support to these programs (which already have too much coercive potential for my taste) sets off warning bells.

stanton

Agreed, they will probably not use the money in the most effective way, but the very existence of the program is an admission of a problem and the beginning of attempts to address it. The shift in midset that this required is what gives me hope - not any expectation that the program itself will achieve any radical improvements.

NYMOM

"As for "Bros before Hoes", its a term meaning not to let a women get between two guys' friendship or an honor code of not sleeping with your buddies girl etc.. Not that men are innately superior to women or whatever nonsense. I think something similar for women would be "grrl power" or the "sisterhood" (ya-ya?)."

Thanks brother for explaining what you meant by this...I feel soooooo much better now, that you have shown your good will...

However, the comment "girl power" or "sisterhood" would NOT equate with yours...any way you look at it...as yours includes a slur against women...whereas "girl power" or "sisterhood" is NOT a slur against men...

Sorry to have to tell you...

NYMOM

"I even grant that NYMOM wants this. The anti-male slant of her words lead me to doubt that she would concede that I and my fellow MRAs want this. (I believe she was joking when she said that Gandhi would attack me if he were alive and heard me express my admiration of him and my determination to follow his example - but I felt genuine malice behind her joke.)"

The malice as you call it is directed against a group of privileged men trying to claim Gandhi and Martin Luther King as their own icons...acting like they are victims and deserving of the same sort of civil and human rights campaigns which were led by these men...and it's an insult, not just to the memory of those men, but to all the people who put their lives on the line to follow them and assist people who were REAL VICTIMS...

REAL VICTIMS...not MRAs...fighting the two marxist-feminists left, probably residing in the East Village somewhere...

I mean your 'enemies' if you want to call them that are people like Maureen Down and Hillary and Bill Clinton...I mean comeon...surely you cannot compare what goes on with them and your group to what went on in this country for centuries against African-Americans, a campaign of enslavement, terror, denial of civil rights even 100 years AFTER Emancipation...

Can't you see how angry you are going to make a LOT of people if you continue painting yourselves this way...I mean even this F4J group, in no way, faces what any group faced here in the 60s, just trying to register voters in some states...

Most people either support F4J or, at worse, think they are idiots and laugh at them. They certainly don't try to hurt or kill them...

Are there men like Bull Connor waiting to attack the men in F4J when they pull their stunts with dogs and clubs and firehoses...

I don't think so..

So quit trying to paint MRAs in the same category as the civil rights movement...it's simply NOT...

FP

"Thanks brother for explaining what you meant by this...I feel soooooo much better now, that you have shown your good will...

However, the comment "girl power" or "sisterhood" would NOT equate with yours...any way you look at it...as yours includes a slur against women...whereas "girl power" or "sisterhood" is NOT a slur against men...

Sorry to have to tell you..."

Then I didn't explain myself clearly enough. There aren't terms or a general feeling out there of "sister solidarity" or whatnot? Women let guys get between their female friendships? Not from my experience. I've seen women fight over a guy and I've seen them not let a guy get between them. I guess there just isn't some silly rhyming term like "bros before hoes" to define it...

stanton

NYMOM: I did not ever try to say that the cause for which I am passionate is the same (or better, or stronger, or anything else) in comparison to any other cause. I did say that Gandhi's fight for justice and human dignity is the MRA fight, and you are welcome to disagree. But one does not have to measure up to some scale of relative suffering and oppression in order to earn the right to admire and identify with great persons.

I am unapologetic in my admiration for Dr. King, Mohandas Gandhi, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Alice Paul, and many others whom you probably feel I have no right to admire. Yes, I wish to emulate their methods, and I aspire to their courage in the face of rage and ridicule, some of which I get from you, NYMOM. I thank you for the opportunity to practice in the face of it, and I wish you peace and relief from whatever drives your anger.

Pseudo-Adrienne

Has it been diclosed yet if SpongeBob is gay...or maybe a gay pro marxist-feminist sponge?

Oh hell, probably. There's a "Marxist-Feminist Conspiracy" behind everything....whatever.

If anything, boys could learn the meaning of close, good friendships from SpongeBob and Patrick Star. Though the two characters are always doing silly, "wacky" things, still I think the only subliminal message behind the pairing is how best friends are a very beneficial thing in developing the ability to interact with others in society a positive manner.

But I could see how some over zealous and paranoid MRAs would take their pairing as some kind of evil 'marxist-feminist' propaganda machine to turn young boys into feminine, sensitive, metrosexual 'male fembots'. Oh well. I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that most MRAs don't think that way.

stanton

One other thing, NYMOM. You said: "I mean your 'enemies' if you want to call them that are people like Maureen Down and Hillary and Bill Clinton...I mean comeon..."

I'm not sure where I used the term "enemies" to describe anyone, and certainly not Maureen Dowd or the Clintons. If I did I was wrong, because I do not consider anyone my enemy who has not declared this to be the case. I believe that part of the problem is that people think too much in terms of "us and them" - the allies and the enemies. I disagree with some (not all) of the politics of the three you mention. I have never called any of them my enemies. Nor are the elements of disagreement between myself and their type what constitute the injustices against which I fight.

craichead

"NYMOM: I did not ever try to say that the cause for which I am passionate is the same (or better, or stronger, or anything else) in comparison to any other cause. I did say that Gandhi's fight for justice and human dignity is the MRA fight, and you are welcome to disagree. But one does not have to measure up to some scale of relative suffering and oppression in order to earn the right to admire and identify with great persons."

I'm glad you brought up Gandhi because there's a famous quote by him that guides many of my views:

"The means are the ends in progress."

It drives my libertarian influenced ideals and is a big part of my criticisms of contemporary fameinism and the social class struggle paradigm. So to bring it into the concrete, what I'm getting at is that if we use government -- legislation, family court, threats of jail, undermining of property rights -- to bring about the social liberty we ALL want, what we're doing is actually only bringing about a bigger and more poerful government. If our means are a stronger more dominating judicial branch, that too will be our ends.

But if we bring these things about as a PERSONAL mission, the means of the personal mission become personal and freeing in the ends.

Hugo -- this is what Jesus meant: he wanted us all to take these things on as a personal mission.

"Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's, render unto the Lord that which is the Lord's."

"The sabbath was made for man, not man for the sabbath."

zuzu

You are certainly intelligent enough to know better than to try to lay such a thing on Lawrence Summers, who said nothing of the sort.

Actually, unless something's changed that I missed while my computer was crashed, nobody really knows exactly what he said, since he's refused to release the transcript of the talk.

stanton

zuzu: "Actually, unless something's changed that I missed while my computer was crashed, nobody really knows exactly what he said, since he's refused to release the transcript of the talk."

I read that he declined to release tapes of the talk, and one has to wonder why. My guess would be that upon replaying, he discovered that what he said sounded a lot worse than how he meant for it to sound - but as you say, we will never know unless someone leaks it. But in any event, not even the nauseated Nancy Hopkins claims that Dr. Summers expressed the sentiments that Mythago ascribed to some as yet unidentified bad guys.

Hugo Schwyzer

Craichead, I like the Gandhi quote. Indeed, one tenet of consistent-life movement types is that ends and means must always be radically congruent.

The virtue of a cause can often be determined by the tactics its adherents use to achieve it.

stanton

Hugo - While I agree with you in general about the virtue of a cause being determined by the tactics of its adherents, it is also true that when you are dealing with large issues touching entire societies, then you will find tactics that cover the entire spectrum from Gandhi-like to terrorism. I would not judge the virtue of your anti-abortion cause by the actions of those who bomb clinics and murder doctors. By carefully selecting the adherents to hold up as exemplars of a cause, any cause can be discredited. You need to be careful here.

yami

NYMOM, FP: The female equivalent of "bros before hos" is "sisters before misters". I've also heard "chicks before dicks" but it's not as common in my circle.

Hugo Schwyzer

You're right, Stanton -- I'll qualify that. As a pro-lifer, I've spent so much time explaining that I'm "not like those wingnuts on the right" that in my head I've conveniently forgotten that we have anything in common at all.

mythago

Mythago, may I ask who is saying this, other than ideologues attempting to ridicule those they perceive to be their opponents?

I never attempted to claim Lawrence Summers said this, so I'm not sure why you seized on it. Please put the strawman back in the barn for the moment. (Though some of his defenders have in fact rushed into scold others about PC and suppressing dissent and so on; there was a column in the Washington Post about it this week, as I recall.)

bmmg39, not I, made the comment that if boys outperform girls on an unnamed test, "we are told" that the test must be biased. If you're content to allow bmmg39 to make an unascribed, passive-voice pronouncement of that sort, why should it bother you if I do the same?

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