Forget Women’s Studies, We Need Men’s Studies

Jan 27, 2014 by

Matt Amaral –

Women are taking over the world.

Or at least the United States. That is what you’ll see if you look at today’s college campuses. Women took the ball from the civil rights movement and have been officially running with it for decades now. We let them vote, we let them into careers, we even stopped calling them such derogatory names as “Secretary”. We created Women’s Studies classes, and even majors. We still aren’t giving them equal pay, but like gay rights, it is only a matter of time.

So what will be the next defining movement of the next generation? Drugs are an interesting issue, just look at Colorado and Washington. But will our right to get high really define the 21st century? Probably not. LGBTQ citizens are making wonderful headway, and decades from now our children will look at us in our old age and ask us why we hated the gays so much in the first place. Immigration reform seems to be taking center stage, especially because our government proves again and again, after our weekly shootings, that nothing will be done about guns. If there is one thing we can be certain of, the world never lacks for important issues that need addressing.

But what if there was something we haven’t thought about? Better yet, is it possible for society to come full circle with a revolution to a point where those who were once the dominant culture are now marginalized?

Women now dominate our college campuses, but evidence of their prowess is even more apparent in our public schools. Our schools are a wasteland for boys. The AP classes have nothing but girls in them, and the sheltered classes are sausage-fests the likes of which Oscar Meyer would be envious . It is officially time to start worrying. This begs the question: What has happened to the men?

When I talk to my students now about homework, or their home lives, I don’t even bother to assume they have two parents. Instead I’ll say this, “Okay, have your mothers sign the syllabus tonight for homework.” Any reference to an actual father is met with confused looks. The fathers are gone. Real men seem to be going extinct, and this might be the biggest fraying of our society no one is talking about.

Thirty years ago, 75% of Latinos who made it to college were male, and only 25% were female. Today the inverse is true, 75% of Latinos who go to college are actually Latinas.

So I propose this: We need to raise the alarm, call Jesse Jackson, tweet out some SOSes, and bring the focus back to MEN.

What we need in our public schools today is not more sheltered (i.e. boys) classes for Math and English (BTW, I’ve never seen any data that shows that giving struggling students an EXTRA math or English class as part of their school day improves their math or English, have you?). Instead of cramming our struggling boys into these rooms that are set up for failure in every way, we should be doing this: Send them to Men’s Studies.

We need Men’s Studies in our public schools like we need computers that work. It is essential to the future of our next generation. Our boys aren’t doing so well, and that is being nice about it. To tell you the truth, our boys are ghetto, lazy, dangerous, and ignorant. Bless their little hearts. Though the reality of it, where the marginalization comes in, is that the reasons for this are rarely in their control. None of them have fathers. Their mothers have been abandoned and work extra hard on their own to make ends meet. Few of their teachers are males, and of course we live in a society that celebrates manhood as being a fighter, an athlete, a driver of cars, a reality star, a weed-smoker, a singer—nothing that will actually help them succeed in school or real life.

So they come to school and are expected to sit quietly, read, write, discuss something other than sports, share their thoughts, work with others, and not be high. Ask a teacher—boys are not good at these things.

We need to show our boys what it is to be a man (we need to remind men what it is to be men as well, but this is a blog about education in our public schools). Maybe we should start in our schools. Our boys need to be taught what a man is supposed to be, especially if they don’t see it at home.

They need to learn what it is like to shake a hand. They need to know how to sit still and focus on something, like a book. They need to understand they will not be a professional athlete. Or a rapper. They need to have a backup plan. They need to learn how to respect women. Texting isn’t talking. Sexting isn’t dating. Porn is not sex. They need to learn about chivalry. They need to be taught virtue. In short, they need character.

Men’s Studies would study real men, like Women’s Studies looks at real women. These studies will not include Kanye West or Honey Boo-Boo’s mom’s boyfriend, just like Sharkeisha and Kim Kardashian do not appear in any Women’s Studies texts.  Martin Luther King Jr. is the obvious place to start, but while an historical understanding of manhood will be central, so will an understanding of man’s character. We need to work on character, if you don’t believe me read Paul Tough’s book How Children Succeed: Grit, Curiosity, and the Hidden Power of Character.

The hardest thing about being a teacher is not educating immigrants. Girls are doing pretty good from what I can see. At the ground level what we really struggle with is teaching the American male. It is a species of which I can be critical because I am one, and I am tired of having endless conversations about the 49ers playoff chances. I am tired of awkward silences when I bring up politics, or economics, or education. I’m tired of dudes driving Camaros who live with their parents. I could give a f$#@ about your stereo, or the amount of weed you smoke. Whoopty-doo for you.

What we need are men, and it looks to me like this is an idea that needs to be taught.

via Forget Women’s Studies, We Need Men’s Studies | Teach4Real.

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