White House Council on Boys to Men
Two years ago President Obama created a committee by executive order to advise and focus exclusively on the needs and welfare of the American woman. Feminists cheered the creation of a White House Council on Women and Girls but others questioned, why – when women and girls are outperforming men by nearly every empirical measurement – create a council for women but not for men?
Upon being approached to advise the Council by White House on Women and Girls by boards and commissions director Joanna Martin gender psychologist, Obama supporter, and former National Organization for Women – New York board member, Dr. Warren Farrell pointed out that the council left out a significant portion of the population: men. With Martin’s promise that she would help Farrell bring attention to a proposal for a council on men and boys, Farrell began a two year task of bringing together experts and composing a proposal.
Despite Martin’s promise, Farrell has been trying to get substantial traction for such a council, but to no avail.
“Joshua Dubois, the White House director of Faith-based and Neighborhood initiatives, has said his office cannot take responsibility for moving this through,” said Farrell. “The reason he gave us was that he was focused on fulfilling what he was already assigned to do, which was to focus on fatherhood and marriage, proposals that Obama has suggested for funding as of last Fathers Day.”
Farrell’s proposal currently is sitting in Obama’s Chief of Staff William Daley’s office.
“They have acknowledged that they have received the proposal plus about 35 letters of endorsements from organizations such as the Boy Scouts,” Farrell said adding that the administration has been silent since.
The White House’s disinterest has frustrated some who see the crisis facing America’s boys as a serious issue.
“The White House has yet to agree to even a meeting on this topic,” council proposal commission member and American Enterprise Institute scholar Christina Hoff Sommers marvelled.
The proposal identifies five major components of the “crisis” facing boys: education, emotional well being, fatherless homes, physical health, and employment.
“The Commission concludes that our sons face a profound crisis in education, work, and their physical and emotional health. Respected publications such as The Atlantic have seen the symptoms and predict ‘The End of Men.’ If the symptoms are ignored, and our sons see the ‘end of men’ as their future, they will have little inspiration for life’s journey,” the proposal reads. “A White House Council on Boys to Men can co-ordinate the nation’s best efforts to parent, mentor, and teach each of our sons to discover who he is. It can end the era of boys and men as a national afterthought. It can provide leadership to raise young men that our daughters are proud to love.”
While American boys obviously are struggling, Farrell surmises that this is not a priority for the administration for two reasons: feminist opposition and the numerous items already on the Obama agenda.
“At the very top of the administration there is a fair amount of feminist orientation and there are two feminist views. One is that the patriarchy has dominated the system, that men succeed at the expense of women, and that things done for boys and men would dilute the emphasis on women and girls. The second feminist view, more what I express in the proposal, is that we are all part of the same family boat,” said Farrell. “It appears that the feminists in the White House [fit the first view].”
Farrell is skeptical of the second possibility – that the administration is too busy to take up the issue.
“My objection to that answer is, the reason we have asked for a council is that it could be done by an executive order,” Farrell said. “It would not need to go through Congress. Second, it is very bipartisan. If there is anything that President Obama can do to give something to the Republicans – who are very pro-family – to to say, ‘I am pro-family too, here is somewhere we can both agree, we ought to be supporting everyone in the family.’”
Commission member and men’s health expert, Tom Golden told TheDC that nobody knows whether the administration will actually move forward with Farrell’s proposal.
“It is anybody’s guess at this point. As anything with men and boys, it is a toss up,” said Golden “Warren [Farrell] has done an incredible job bringing together a huge diverse group – if you look at the bios on this panel – it is really a broad group, from Christina Sommers to Michael Thompson, the differences in the theoretical frameworks of these people are large….I think everyone believes this is a problem that we need to do something about.”
While many see that boys are falling behind girls by substantial numbers in almost all areas, Sommers points out that the feminist juggernaut will be hard to overcome.
“Soon after Obama came into office, the women’s groups wanted a cabinet office on women’s issues. He agreed to a council and it is blatant favoritism to women,” Sommers said. “Now we have this council on women. We have nothing for men!…The White House has gone along with the agenda of the AAUW [American Association of University Women] and the National Women’s Law Center and they don’t realize that those groups are highly partisan and averse to all things male.”
Kay Hymowitz, Manhattan Institute scholar and author of “Manning Up: How the Rise of Women has Turned Men into Boys,” told TheDC that a focus on men and boys is long overdue.
“When boys drop out of school in large numbers, when they are not going to college in large numbers this has a terrible impact on women,” she said. “It means that there are fewer marriageable men, it means there will be more single mothers, it means that more girls in the future will face the same problems. That is the vicious cycle. There is a tendency among feminists to see this as a zero sum game. either we are helping girls or we are helping boys, and that is just not the case.”
Despite Farrell’s Obama allegiance and self-proclaimed liberalism, his proposal is politically balanced.
“It is bipartisan, with liberals conservatives libertarians that say as long as you are going to be creating all these programs for girls, somebody has got to be speaking up for the boys,” said Sommers.
It will remain to be seen whether the Obama administration jumps aboard the boy bandwagon.