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Boy Crisis / Man Crisis

Many have cited a “boy crisis” in U.S. society, evidenced by lower participation in college by boys than girls and higher school drop-out rates. By way of explanation, the authors of a National Endowment for the Arts study noted that “in 1980, students were commonly assigned books by Ernest Hemingway or John Steinbeck. Today, students are more likely to be assigned books by Toni Morrison or Julia Alvarez.” Dead white-male authors telling of wars and such things have been out of favor politically and their works have been removed from the literature courses. But it seems that male students respond more positively to them than to Morrison or Alvarez. This and other attempts to reshape the male identity have succeeded mainly in turning boys off to the educational experience. One-third of young men in the United States between 22 and 34 years of age still live with their parents - a 100% increase in 20 years.

 

A related phenomenon has to do with church attendance. The book, Why Men Hate Going to Church, by David Murrow contends that the culture of mainstream Christian churches in the United States caters to the sensibilities of women and, as a result, alienate men: “The watershed moment came over a simple disagreement. Murrow had proposed serving coffee in the sanctuary for an adult group meeting, an idea that upset some members. The pastor ruled against serving the coffee. Murrow said he realized that the pastor saw his job as keeping people happy and not taking any chances.” This, said Murrow, illustrates “the feminization of the church.” The goal is to achieve group consensus. Church seminaries teach pastors to be “facilitators”, not leaders. Murrow contends, however, that men would prefer that church leaders take principled stands on issues. Men, he said, “don’t follow religion, philosophy, or ideas .. Men follow men,” Jesus being a prime example. Finding the church a threat to male identity, the author of this book is trying to convince congregations to develop men’s ministries or otherwise adapt to their needs..

 

 

Cho Seung-Hui, the Korean-born student at Virginia Tech who on April 16, 2007, killed 32 students and faculty members before killing himself, fit a typical profile of a mass murderer according to criminologists - "a friendless figure, someone who has been bullied, who blames others and is bent on revenge, a careful planner, a male. And someone who sent up warning signs with his strange behavior long in advance ... He was accused of stalking two women and photographing female students in class with his cell phone. And his violence-filled writings were so distrubing he was removed from one class; professors begged him to get counseling. He rarely looked anyone in the eye and did not talk to even his own roommates."

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