Now for some fiskin' ...
Lauren says ...
But when we talk about gender and leadership, we may have been leaving out one crucial fact of contemporary life: Regardless of what we say we think about women and leadership, when it comes to college-aged and 20-somethings, women are leading in all sorts of areas.With all due respect, we've had more than enough of the anecdotal from women who write about the sexes, but anyway ...
Let me offer two examples — one anecdotal and one backed up by hard research.
The anecdotal example comes from just about every church I've visited in the last year. Ask church staff, especially staff in charge of young adult ministries, who steps up to the plate when something needs doing, and you are likely to get the answer, "women." ...No, I'll tell you "what's going here." A lot of churches in the Anglosphere are nothing more than social clubs for blue-haired ladies and their richer donors. There is no spiritual depth. The men who have a stake in institutionalized Christianity usually grew up in it. The men who haven't are probably not going to go for it, or if they do, they might find down the road that they have been taken for a ride. Here's what institutionalized Christianity thinks about socially marginalized men ...
"What's going on here," one of my friends tells me, "is not just volunteering or service, but real lay leadership. I'm thrilled to have so many active, vibrant women working with me, but I do wonder why the guys are so slack — why men who regularly attend Sunday worship and come to all our single's group social events can never be counted on to help out with anything. And I probably perpetuate things, because now, when I really need something done, I often don't even think to ask any guys. I go to the women who I know can get things done."
"I have no sympathy for those pushing churches to cater to the unregenerate man as a way of drawing him in. The fact that a beer guzzling, Nascar watching, porn-viewing, minimum-wage earning loser thinks that church is not for him; well, he is right." -- Debbie MakenJust substitute a few words with the phrases "tax collectors" and "sinners," and you'll understand my ire. But, hey, at least Debbie Maken is honest. Why would Joe Six-Pack darken the door of any place that treats him like a recovering child-molester, a useful idiot that pays and obeys, or scandalized object of pity (such as someone dying of AIDS). This is why books are being written by fellows like David Murrow and Paul Coughlin. 21st century Christendom in the West, liberal or conservative, is about as relevant as 1st century Judaism, Sudducean or Pharisaic.
Continuing on with Ms. Winner ...
"It's not just in the ranks of church volunteers that women are outshining men. According to a recent cover story in The Chronicle of Higher Education, women are outpacing men on college campuses, too. More women than men are attending college, and once they get there, women get better grades and devote more time to civic activities and serving in leadership positions in campus organizations. At graduation time, women also bring home more awards and honors than men.What's the problem, madam? Isn't this what you girls wanted? Higher education has been the hotbed of misandry and gynocentrism for the longest time. Women have had all sorts of entitlements and handouts from various social, educational, and legal institutions to engage them. Men haven't. Why would a man want to go into debt in the first place, just so he can sit in some English class and listen to some middle-age woman drone on about Margaret Atwood's book The Handmaid's Tale? When I was in college, I sat at the feet of "those oppressive white men" who were Ivy League-trained and read works written by "those oppressive white men." A lot has changed now and a college degree has, in many respects, become a joke. Young men know this.
"What are the guys doing while women are studying, running the sorority charity drive, leading a Bible study and heading up the school debate team? Playing Lost Planet and The Legend of Zelda. Seriously. According to the Chronicle article, that's one area in which male students do significantly best women: Men devote far more time than women to playing computer games. Men also exercise more and watch more TV, and are more likely to oversleep and miss class."
Experts have been scratching their heads about this trend, but no one seems to have any solutions. Should colleges accept male students with lower GPAs, with the aim of having a student body that is roughly half men and half women? Should classroom standards be radically retooled and made more "boy friendly"? For example, should teachers accommodate students' differing learning styles by no longer asking them to sit still?Sorry, Lauren, but I caught you. Nice rhetorical move on your part, but you've been outed. You are attempting to marginalize the concerns that others have about anti-male discrimination by characterizing these concerns as being "strange" etc.
(Again, I'm not making this up. As strange as it may sound, a colleague recently suggested to me, in all seriousness, that the real problems begin in the fourth and fifth grade when boys were forced to "act like girls" by sitting still to learn.)
Let me quote from the Catalog of Anti-Male Shaming Tactics:
Charge of Fanaticism (Code Brown) - The Brown Shirts ChargeAnyway, moving right along, Lauren says ...
Discussion: The target is accused of subscribing to an intolerant, extremist ideology or of being devoted to an ignorant viewpoint. Examples:
* "You're one of those right-wing wackos."
* "You're an extremist"
* "You sound like the KKK."
* "... more anti-feminist zaniness"
Response: One should remember that the truth is not decided by the number of people subscribing to it. Whether or not certain ideas are "out of the mainstream" is besides the point. A correct conclusion is also not necessarily reached by embracing some middle ground between two opposing viewpoints (i.e., the logical fallacy of "False Compromise").
I was discussing the college gender gap with a group of honors college students at a Christian college a few weeks ago (and, notably, this honors class had far more female students than males). The students agreed that student leaders on campus tended to be women, and that women applied themselves more enthusiastically to their studies.Well, sweetheart, maybe the guys think you and your hobbies are boring, or maybe they think you are a bit of a control freak. I dunno. Why is "the problem" always with the men? Get over yourself, ladies. If you want to marry up and have a knight in shining armor, then "get back in the kitchen." Men want to marry women who are attractive and have a great personality. They don't necessarily need a rocket scientist, or even a liberal arts professor. They want a helpmeet, not a competitor that reminds them of their boss and every other unpleasant authority figure they've known in their lives ...
"You know what's really lousy about this?" said one gal. "There's no one to date. I mean, I want to date someone who is my equal, who challenges me, and who likes to spend his time doing some of the same things I do. I want to date someone who values the same things I value."
So maybe that's the way to get men to take their studies more seriously — by pointing out that if they don't, they'll have a hard time catching the eye of an accomplished and interesting woman.I'm so scared. Pass me the game controller, dude.
Are the two trends — the slack computer-gaming of male college students, and the seeming dearth of male volunteer leaders at churches — related?Yes, because we are all now weekend statisticians that confusion correlation with causality. You know, folks, articles like this are all too predictable. If men are disengaged, well, it must be their own fault. They must be, like um, playing too many video games or looking at porn, or something like that, don't cha know. They need to grow up, man up, and be "Real Men(tm)!"
I'm guessing they are. After all, college is a formative period, and (as your parents are endlessly telling you) "the habits you establish now will be with you for a lifetime."
What should the church's response to this be? Well, I hope it's two-fold: First, women should get some applause for the wise way they're stewarding time and all the contributions they make to church and civic life. At the same time, we all need to encourage even young boys to devote more time to civic engagement and less to computer gaming.I've asked before. I'll ask it again: Why should men care about a society that doesn't care about them? Pass the game controller, dude.
What we should not do is buy into a discourse that pits men against women, takes competition for granted, and tacitly assumes that only one group — men or women, but never both — can excel in college or take responsibility in church life.Whistling past the graveyard, aren't we, Lauren? Now boys and girls, Ms. Winner has instructed us to not say anything about the 300-pound gorilla in room that's urinating on the carpet. Mind your manners, now. But seriously, she might as well tell us to not think about pink elephants. Lauren needs to stop trying dictate the terms of the debate. Her suggestion comes off naive at best and condescending at worst.
All too often, discussions of any kind of "gender gap" polarize conversation. That is, people respond to the news that women outnumber men in college classrooms with panic and decide they need to devote all their attention to helping men out.
The discussion was polarized from the start!! The polarization started when some ideologues decided the "personal" was the "political." It has been the feminists and their lackeys in government, academia, media, etc. who have elevated women by keeping men down. Young men have no positive mentors in their lives because their fathers are removed by homewrecking mothers or Nanny State functionaries. Education has become a "hostile and intimidating environment" for male student and male teacher alike at the elementary, secondary, and postsecondary level. Women must take their share of the blame for this mess.
I believe Lauren Winner doesn't know any better. She has grown up in the wake of feminism and has spent her life in elite institutions where one can expect her gender to be coddled and pampered. She now teaches at one of those elite institutions. That doesn't make her a bad person (and I don't want to diminish her accomplishments), but I do believe her background poses some potential barriers to having a better understanding of the issues men face today. A lot of educated women have make their bed with the entitlements. Now they have to lie in it.