headshoot of a teen boy

Rosalind Wiseman calls for society to “Listen to boys”

Sometimes within a group, the focus can be so intense on events within its own immediate focus that it can miss an event that constitutes progress, especially if there is no direct nexus to the group and its idioms.

As we busied ourselves battening down the hatches for the  20/20 assault starboard, and simultaneous Daily Beast port side approach, we can be forgiven for missing the neutral merchant boat behind us, willing to provide us much-needed supplies if we only asked. That boat was the release of Rosalind Wiseman’s book, Masterminds and Wingmen, and more importantly, the tone of the discussion about our boys it demands.

On October 17, on the Al Jazeera-America program Consider This, educator and author Wiseman and host Antonia Mora discussed the book, which centers around how parents, siblings, teachers and educational staff (3 of the 4 being mostly women) miss opportunities to meaningfully communicate with our boys, in favor of simplifying them as “simple creatures” who just “move on” from emotional trauma and daily difficulty, thus isolating them to their own “deeply emotional lives” that certain sectors of society presume don’t exist. She points out, among other things, that we “box boys in” to always looking for a sexual angle with women (predator paradigm), and that we erroneously label almost all taunts and calls for physical tests as “bullying” behaviors, when they are usually bonding exercises that boys should not be shamed out of. Many of the same bullet points are discussed in an interview by Hope Reese in The Atlantic and this piece by Bonnie Miller in the Chicago Tribune.

The most impressive part of Wiseman’s method? In compiling the research, she took a revolutionary approach. She actually sat down with 200 boys and listened to them, even allowing them to vet her information for accuracy.

The part of the Al Jazeera interview that left me most impressed was when Wiseman observed that while we have armed girls with the vocabulary to combat toxic messages, we have not similarly armed boys. Of course, we have been endeavoring for years as a movement to create and foster that idiom, particularly how to combat shaming language, so we share common cause and common ground there.

This is not to say that the pieces were not without their hiccups. Like several Al-Jazeera shows, Consider This has interactive element, and the junior co-host Hermela Aregawi repeated a nugget from the comments section of  the Atlantic piece, from a male sycophant named David, trotting out the well-worn “in this male dominated society, its hatred of women, not of men, that inhibits boys” trope.

Rosalind Wiseman is, of course, not affiliated with the MHRM. Indeed, as an accomplished martial artist, she wrote a book entitled Defending Ourselves about defense tactics from, and recovering from, date rape. Her book Queen Bees And Wannabees, which took on the problematic social dynamics of teen girl culture, was the basis for the 2004 film Mean Girls. She approaches her subjects from the perspective of an educator, counselor, and most of all, a mother of two sons approaching adolescence. But therein lies the pleasing paradox; some of our most valuable allies are those unaffiliated with our movement, whose research  or experiences independently reinforce the basis for our advocacy. We don’t have an “industrial complex” churning out rubber stamped clones and hacks like Mary P. Koss parroting our party line. Folks Professors Denise Hinds, Emily Douglas, and Sonia Starr, Researcher Elaine Zahnd, Justin Vacula, John Quinones ( he who hosted the 2006 “What Would You Do” piece on how we respond to public displays of female-on-male violence) and others who do not self-identify as MRAs come to their conclusions independently, and thus are anodized to a large degree (though not completely) from ad-hominem attacks on their findings and views.

You can read the pieces and the book and judge for yourself what she gets right and wrong. What can’t be denied is that Wiseman has poked a new hole in Pandora’s Box, and the discussion on our suppression of boys’ basic humanity is now part of the popular discourse.  Let’s help it spread, by both encouraging host Mora and Ms Aregwani to expand the discussion, and thanking Ms. Wiseman for her contribution.

Sources:

Rosalind Wiseman website

Mora Twitter

Consider This Twitter

Hermala Aregawi Twitter

About Ty Henry

An original, pre-internet combatant in the campus rhetorical wars against victim feminism as a student columnist on the campus that is an original hub of the Sexual Hysteria Industrial Complex, The University Of Arizona. I'm back in the game, for keeps, to use my platform and inside knowledge from studying these issues since I was a 18yo college freshman in 1990, and having been on the ass-end of false accusations culture. My blog focuses on athletics and how the gender issues intersect with them.

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  • Robert St. Estephe

    Thank goodness we have media in the Middle East to help us learn about what is going on in the West (that Western media regards is heterodox in nature and undeserving of attention).

    • Bluedrgn

      I’ve noticed that often the best news stories come from Al Jazeera or RT (Russia Today).

      Our traditional news sources are all owned by big business and motivated mainly by profit. They report on things based on what ratings it will bring in, or things that will further their parent company somehow. They have no regard for (or interest in) informing or educating the public.

      • Robert St. Estephe

        And that is why I will whatever I can to assist in impoverishing these scumorporations.

  • Mike Brentnall

    Good article, Ty.

  • nick

    Very good article and its amazing to me that people not associated with the mens movement through their own studies have found the truth. That our culture and education system ( at least in the U.S. where I live) IS biased against little boys. To me it should be a crime related to abuse to fill a young boys head with self shame. I know. I was one. There are many issues related to this such as why is physical ed being taken away? Why is recess becoming a thing of the past. Boys are told to read feminized books in class and discuss our “feelings”. Boys are built differently than girls, yet are taught to think like a female rather than dealing with things in an appropriate male response. Instead what is pushed is males are rapist, males are criminals and its only a matter of time. Males are disposable thus the creation of the mangina. Think about what our girls are being taught at a young age in how to deal with males. Connections anyone? I remember in 7th grade we had to read a book called “Zalatas diary”. It was a good book but from the perspective of a girl. “What about boys” I remember thinking. A lot if not most activities in school are there for girls more than boys.

    Most teachers in school are female ( except math and science) at least when I went to school that’s the way it was( late 8o’s to early 90’s). And the dumbing down of our boys by giving them awful drugs to sedate them into something a women can control is beyond destructive and unfair. I know. I was one. Remember Dexedrine And Ritalin. I was on a plethora of pill cocktails when I was a young boy up until high school when I rebelled and threw my pills away or sold them to “normal” kids. Funny thing was I remember my childhood well up until 2nd grade when the medicating started. my middle school years were pretty much a blur until high school when I stopped taking these drugs. One thing I noticed is that I took school more seriously. I hunkered down and was able to finally learn. Diagnosing every boy as hyperactive is just stupid. Sure some people need these meds and it does help them. But to be diagnosed hyperactive just because we are male is plain stupidity.

    One thing That interests me greatly about this article is teaching our boys the proper language to combat the feminized self shaming. Its a goal with my 2 yr old boy to give him the self confidence he DESERVES. To teach him how to deal with our extremely feminized culture and for the time being he is going to have to work harder than anyone before him just to have a fair chance. So many men out there who have the proper credentials for a career but get pushed aside by a female who did not work half as hard as the male did to EARN that job.

  • Hg_CNO_2

    “She points out, among other things, that we “box boys in” to always looking for a sexual angle with women (predator paradigm)…”,

    Right there is an a priori problem. The association of male sexuality with predation on a very basal axiomatic level. I say, so what if sex is all an adolescent boy is after? Sure he may be disappointed and is better off in this gynocentric culture for not becoming too set on expecting it, but I look at the other side: why can’t we expect women to ‘put out’ more, almost as a duty/responsibility? This, BTW is NOT traditionalism (as in, “You just expect us to be baby factories!”). I simply assert that women act (and society ‘enables’) the attitude of being hyperbolically ‘put out’ when requested for sex in the first place. I mean really, with changing attitudes and more openness about sex, prophylactics so on and so on, the fact that most of them just lay there or are ‘acted upon’ during the intercourse, the fact that even bad sex can still be enjoyable, how PUT-OUT can they really be? Instead, we are asked to put ourselves in their literal place, instead of a gender-translated equivalent: “How would you feel if you had some hairy, burly GUY was always grabbing at you and expecting sex from you?” sounds worlds different than “How would you feel if you had some petite feminine, sexy chic was always teasing you with upskirt shots?” OK, frustrating in its own right to some guys but you would be hard pressed to find a guy that thinks this is a huge burden or put out. It just isn’t that kind of thing, and shouldn’t be for women, either.

    I mean, technically it puts me out to say, give blood, and it takes a few days for my body to replenesh it. I am not really paid or compensated for it. Furthermore, I could hide behind the “I don’t HAVE to do it” bullshit. But you would never hear someone say “The Red Cross and Blood Banks (and the patients they serve) should NEVER, EVER, EVER, feel entitled to the blood of someone unless they get their express consent!” or “Can you believe those creepy, perverted disgusting Blood Drives, wanting to penetrate me with a needle and take MY precious body fluids (note Dr. Strangelove reference)?!” It is recognized that someone has to give and someone has to take and there must be advocacy for such things in our society. I say enough of this phony outrage and demonization about being solicited for ‘services’.

    But alas, control of the sex act has direct implications for political control. Like religions of the past setting kosher behavior, what is shameful and what is not, modern feminism has taken a page right out of that book, haven’t they? What is shameful is what you have no control over: being born into a lower class and in possession of a penis. All lower class penis is hereby compensated and rectified by a tiny minority of worthy high class penis. All other such ‘religious’ injunctions of the religion of feminism are derivative of this fact. Female is the default human.

    “…and that we erroneously label almost all taunts and calls for physical tests as “bullying” behaviors, when they are usually bonding exercises that boys should not be shamed out of…”

    I would like to add that this applies to ‘throwing bricks of logic’ and isn’t just physical competition.

    Great article though.

  • http://shiningpearlsofsomething.blogspot.com Suzanne McCarley

    Thanks for this article,Ty. So much of our work here involves illustrating the extreme polarization that feminism has created in modern society, and sometimes it becomes overwhelming. I find it encouraging to see examples of objective sanity coming from well-informed people who simply CAN’T be dismissed by ideologues as EvilmisogyisticpatriarchalMRAs!

  • Aimee McGee

    I had a tough day today. My second (male) patient was suicidal and was by standardised assessment at moderate risk of acting on his feelings. Because in our previous two consults I had been caring enough to listen actively and work collaboratively to devise a treatment plan, he chose me to disclose the dark and tormented thoughts driving those feelings.

    Hearing him grope for words to describe his pain and suffering was truly heartbreaking. Hearing the self-loathing for his natural masculine mental processes, because his partner felt that he should be dealing with the issues facing them in a particular (feminised) way. Hearing him describing his confusion about the pattern he had identified in his relationships where he now felt he saboutaged them to avoid the pain of rejection from younger experiences, and while wanting to change not knowing how.

    This is why we must confront misandry. This is the unheard boys as they become men. They are the suicides, the road traffic incidents (autocides) and the deaths through substance abuse.

    I spoke to him with compassion. I listened and made sure I understood. Through my words I showed him that he was still a valuable human being despite his own self-loathing. I acted to make him safe by getting urgent assistance. I asked he text me once he had seen the doctor.

    Tonight and for a while when I pray for those who suffer, he will be the face in my mind. I may even shed tears as I tell those who I worship with.

    This is why the MHRM matters.