Laurie and Debbie say:
Ampersand has a deeply felt and thoughtful post commenting on on Michael Kimmel’s article, “The Boy Crisis and Anti-Male Ideology.” Kimmel’s analysis of masculinity always brings a much-needed perspective to an issue that is too often presented as a narrow-minded sexist lecture (He wrote the introduction to our own Familiar Men: A Book of Nudes.)
Kimmel doubts that this crisis exists at all.
Why donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t the critics acknowledge these race and class differences? To many who now propose to Ã¢â‚¬Å“rescueÃ¢â‚¬Â boys, such differences are incidental because, in their eyes, all boys are the same aggressive, competitive, rambunctious little devils. They operate from a facile, and inaccurate, essentialist dichotomy between males and females. Boys must be allowed to be boysÃ¢â‚¬â€so that they grow up to be men.
It is not the school experience that Ã¢â‚¬Å“feminizesÃ¢â‚¬Â boys, but rather the ideology of traditional masculinity that keeps boys from wanting to succeed. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The work you do here is girlsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ work,Ã¢â‚¬Â one boy commented to a researcher. Ã¢â‚¬Å“ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s not real work.Ã¢â‚¬Â
And Ampersand adds his own personal experience:
I was one of the boys who failed all the Ã¢â‚¬Å“masculinityÃ¢â‚¬Â tests; I was gentle, overly sensitive, and could no more catch a ball than I could catch a jumbo jet plane. I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t imagine how I would have survived the kind of schooling Gurian wants to shove boys into. But because wimpy boys donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t fit into the biological-essentialist worldview, their needs are never considered by the boy-crisis mavens. Their allegedly Ã¢â‚¬Å“pro-boyÃ¢â‚¬Â reforms are really only about helping the jocky boys; all other boys can go hang.