Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Cool Newness; The Trouble with Boys

I changed my masthead. Got tired of the fire truck (a picture I took way back in the last millennium) and replaced it with this shot of Alcatraz I took in March. The print has such a cool grain that I thought it looked like an old postcard, so I kinda sorta made it postcard-like.


Esquire magazine had an article recently about why boys are more fucked up now than ever before. It was pretty powerful. Here's a particularly sobering section:

    Here's the deal if you are a boy in this country right now: You're twice as likely as a girl to be diagnosed with an attention-deficit or learning disorder. You're more likely to score worse on standardized reading and writing tests. You're more likely to be held back in school. You're more likely to drop out of school. If you do graduate, you're less likely to go to college. If you do go to college, you will get lower grades and, once again, you will be less likely to graduate. You'll be twice as likely to abuse alcohol, and until you are twenty-four, you are five times as likely to kill yourself. You are more than sixteen times as likely to go to prison.

The overall thrust of this article, which I wholeheartedly agree with, is that this is not because "boys will be boys." We've spent the past few decades -- rightfully so -- focusing on elevating girls. Teaching them self-confidence. Opening up to them career and educational opportunities. Telling them it's okay to want a career. And telling them it's okay to want to stay home and raise the children. While there is still most definitely inequality, particularly in the business world, women have made enormous strides. It's as it should be.

The problem is, boys have been neglected, even demeaned, because of what men did before them. See the difference? Men have been sexist and misogynistic, but that's not a boy's fault.

Imagine the reaction if a teenage boy had a "Girls Suck" sticker on his car. Concerned parents would be lining up to tell the principal he should be expelled. Yet I've seen plenty of these:

I know, I know. "Lighten up, Jeff. You men are so sensitive!" Maybe so. But the reality is that there is a crisis among boys, and those boys are going to be men someday.

And looking at some of the horrible fucking things men have done lately, I think we might want to start paying a little more attention to our boys.


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