Summary: would apply to adults, not young boys.

Summary:

            In
Boys at the Back, Christina Hoff
Summers addresses an issue that is not talked about very often in media or in
general, the lagging behind that is affecting male students in elementary,
middle, high school, and even college currently. The problem stems from the
boisterous behavior of young men that causes them to get worse grades than
their female counterparts even if they have the same test scores. Teachers are
giving them less proficient grades as a response to their typical male behavior
that is brandished as delinquency. Which might be acceptable in high school for
example, but in earlier grades, it’s a natural result of being male. She
addresses the sort of “too bad” criticism that states it’s their fault and that
“the classroom is no more rigged against boys than workplaces are rigged
against lazy and unfocused workers,” (2) by saying that that logic would apply
to adults, not young boys.

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            Summers
then shows examples of solutions that have been created an how successful they
have been for helping young boys do better in school. One example was how in
Britian, Canada, and Australia, schools are creating programs to make boys more
focused in class rather than punishing their behavior. They are going with a
more positive reinforcement technique than negative. She then talks about a
specific vocational school, Aviation High School in New York City, that rewards
students with doing what they enjoy as they do better on their schoolwork.
Instead of forcing students to do work they don’t enjoy for 7 hours a day, they
do their required schoolwork like history and math, and then get to work on
projects more about aviation, which they enjoy. It gives them an incentive to
work hard in their general classes, and judging by the evidence it has clearly
worked. “The
New York City Department of Education has repeatedly awarded Aviation an “A” on
its annual school progress reports” (3). The school has incredible attendance,
graduation, and transfer to college rates that are unheard of.

            The
last thing that is addressed is the attitude that women were behind for so long
that the struggle of young men is deserved. She rebuts this by basically saying
that previous injustice is not a justification for more injustice, swung in the
other direction. Summers is a 2nd wave feminist and a lifelong
democrat, and doesn’t appreciate the reversal of injustice. She has long been
an opponent of male chauvinism, and believes that simply shifting the
“oppression” in the other direction is not the solution to the previous
injustice. Equality is about forgetting past differences and working from here
on to have an equal playing field.

Response:

            I
have followed some of the work of Summers, from her talks on college campuses
and even up to the point that I recently purchased her book called “Who Stole
Feminism.” I don’t agree with her on everything but on this specific topic I
agree with everything she has said. There are some things I think she should
have mentioned that she didn’t, such as even the standardized tests being
mainly modular instead of linear, a system which favors girls. There’s also the
aspect of women being given awards and prizes like scholarships, while the idea
of programs to help men is unheard of. Milo Yiannapolous, who I am not a huge
fan of, talked about this in a talk he had at the University of Bristol. The
basic premise is that men are discouraged at every step of their journey in
education, while women are encouraged at every step. There’s tons of pressure
to hire women in STEM fields, putting men at a 2 to 1 disadvantage in those
fields. Universities are primarily female now, with women making up around 1.5x
more of the associates, bachelors, and masters degrees.

            But
I also think there is a bigger underlying problem that isn’t just about
academia. Jordan Petersen was doing an interview and the interviewer addressed
that the simple thought of the number one killer of men under 45 being suicide
brings him to tears. He says that he has met hundreds if not thousands of men
that have told him that they had not heard a single word of encouragement from
anyone around them their entire lives. It’s hard to even imagine that, and it
cannot be healthy from a societal standpoint or a personal standpoint. The
reversal of the injustice against women that previously existed has now been
swung back at men. I have been asked many times if I thought men and women were
equal under the law. And my answer to that is no. We have overshot the age of
gender equality and the members of the millennial and Z generations are going
to be the victims of this.

            Another
issue that was addressed slightly in the article is the effect that the attack
on young boys has had on minorities in particular has been astounding. I don’t
believe in affirmative action as I believe it is no different than the pendulum
swinging back at men, but that doesn’t mean we should just sit back and let
these men fall out. People who tend to support affirmative action and call anyone
who doesn’t a racist are the same ones that will ignore these issues as they
don’t fall in line with their agenda. There is another underlying problem that
I think is the reason minority men are falling behind even further than white
men. That problem is the lack of a father figure. The single motherhood rate in
the black community is somewhere around 70%. Single motherhood is a cycle and
without a father figure, the issue of sporadic behavior of young men will
continue through adolescence. This is why, despite all of the programs for
minorities and affirmative action, minority men are still far behind the curve
when it comes to education.

            I’ve
long been a fighter for the rights and issues of men and boys, and think that
Summers is entirely correct in trying to address these issues. There have been
people who have trashed Summers for supporting the fight for men, saying she isn’t
a real feminist. But if you go by the definition that feminists love pointing out,
there is nothing she is doing that isn’t feminist. She has a history of fighting
injustice wherever she finds it, regardless of gender, and I think she is completely
right in doing so.