America leads the world in fatherless families. With 5% of the world’s population but 25% of it’s prisoners, the U.S. incarcerates a higher percentage of it’s population than any other nation on earth. According to the Clinton and Bush administrations, fatherlessness is so strongly correlated with crime that adjusting for family configuration ELIMINATES the relationship between race and crime AND the relationship between low income and crime. When the geographic regions that produce less than 50% high school graduation rates are identified and marked, fatherlessness is more strongly associated with these regions than is poverty. The absence of an involved father radically increases rates of juvenile delinquency, teens running away, teen pregnancy, out of wedlock births, academic failure, drug abuse, addiction, and many other serious problems.
So why can’t we find a respectable father in prime time?
According to a recent Junior Achievement survey, girls in grades 6-12 most often wish to be doctors when they grow up, with teaching a close second. Not supermodels or Hollywood stars, but doctors and teachers. Yet by a large margin, boys most often aspire to be… professional athletes.
Is it any wonder that boys set their sights on glory and celebrity status so often, rather than setting meaningful goals that provide a realistic path to prosperity and the future well being of their families? After all, the professional athlete role is one of the few male roles that isn’t regularly denigrated in the media. Perhaps this is because it’s one of the few forms of male excellence that isn’t perceived as a threat to the advancement of American womanhood.
We’re teaching our girls to strive, fostering their achievement in every career discipline, spending increasing billions on female only scholarships and celebrating the female roles that will serve them well. But attempts to do the same for boys are regularly opposed by many in the education establishment. It’s time for that to change, and it’s time for the media to start using it’s cultural influence more responsibly.
chart source data: http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d05/tables/dt05_246.asp
2007 data: http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d07/tables/dt07_258.asp?referrer=report
Boys ARE in crisis in America. The media has gone to great lengths to deny this fact, largely parroting the talking points they’ve been handed by feminist organizations such as the American Association of University Women, who’s spokespeople claim without hesitation that the chart above is NOT indicative of a problem. To see just how serious the problem is, check out this extensive data on how boys are doing in comparison to girls. Here are some of the highlights.
• For every 100 girls in grades 10 to 12 that drop out of high school 121 boys drop out of high school. http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/school.html
• For every 100 girls ages 12 to 14 years enrolled below modal grade there are 129 boys enrolled below modal grade. http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/school.html
• For every 100 girls ages 15 to 17 years enrolled below modal grade there are 137 boys enrolled below modal grade. http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/school.html
• For every 100 tenth grade girls who read for pleasure one or more hours per day 81 boys read for pleasure one or more hours per day. http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d04/tables/dt04_138.asp
• For every 100 girls diagnosed with a special education disability 217 boys are diagnosed with a special education disability. http://www.iteachilearn.com/uh/meisgeier/statsgov20gender.htm
• For every 100 girls diagnosed with a learning disability 276 boys are diagnosed with a learning disability. http://www.iteachilearn.com/uh/meisgeier/statsgov20gender.htm
Let’s think long and hard about the kind of men we want our society’s boys to become. Let’s think about how future generations of underachieving American men will influence the institutions of marriage and the family, and broader society in general. Let’s evaluate the real costs of deconstructing our culture’s concept of manhood and male excellence in deference to the advancement of women.
There’s a lot that could be said about the way husbands, fathers and men are depicted in advertising. Boston advertising giant Arnold Worldwide has based nearly all of their work for Fidelity Investments on contemptuous depictions of men. With millions to spend on campaigns like these, you’d think they’d be able to come up with something a little more inspired and a lot less hostile, especially when the ads are supposed to convince people to hand over their life savings.
But this is a time when the ads will speak better for themselves.
A 2007 survey conducted by FathersAndHusbands.org shows that men in prime time television are viewed far more often than women as sources of marital discontent, as inadequate parents, and as “corrupt” and “stupid”. Respondents to the February 2007 survey indicated by a factor of over 11 to 1 that wives are portrayed more often than husbands as “justifiably dissatisfied with” their spouses and by 17 to 1 that men are more often portrayed as “corrupt”. Women were significantly more likely to be seen as intelligent (5 to 4), good looking (7 to 1), and inspiring (5 to 1). In two categories women received all the favorable responses as not a single respondent indicated that men are more often depicted as “good parents” or as “honest”.