DISPARAGING THE ENTIRE MALE GENDER IS NOT ONLY THE LAST SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE PREJUDICE, IT’S A NATIONAL PASTIME.
Englar-Carlson, Ph.D., a professor of counseling at California State University at Fullerton. “Would this research describe me? Would it describe
my friends? Are we doing a disservice if all we educate people about is
this dark side of masculinity? Does it create a bias against men?” James
O’Neil, Ph. D., a professor of family studies psychology at the University of
Connecticut, says there is no question about it: “Sexism is as bad against
men as it was against women.” O’Neil started out in the 1970s struggling
to get men to admit that they had problems. But these days, together
with a handful of other mental-health providers, he’s trying to show men
that positive masculinity is not a contradiction in terms.
So let’s go back to that question: Is there anything men do well? Or as
Florida State University psychologist Roy F. Baumeister, Ph. D., phrased it
in the title of his recent book, Is There Anything Good about Men? Baumeister says the answer may depend on what drives each gender in life.
“Some differences in motivation are linked to the fact that women can
become pregnant.” And reproduction is a highly sensitive arena in which
women have traditionally succeeded far more consistently than men.
Ask yourself a simple question: What percentage of your ancestors
were men? Since everybody who ever lived had a mother and a father,
you might reasonably think it’s half. But recent DNA analysis indicates
that we are in fact descended from about twice as many women as men.
That’s because for much of our evolutionary history, simply being a
woman was almost a sure ticket to reproduction; perhaps 80 percent of
all women who ever lived became mothers. But a man had to acquire
power and status to attract a woman and father her children. A much
smaller share of all men—perhaps 40 percent—managed to win the race,
often becoming not just serial monogamists but serial polygamists.
These Big Daddies turn up repeatedly in the family tree (meaning fewer
total male ancestors). Meanwhile, the majority of men died childless,
evolutionary dead ends.
So far this doesn’t sound so good for men. But Baumeister calls it “the
single most underappreciated fact about gender.” The message to women
was “Play it safe, be like everyone else, don’t blow a sure thing.” And to
men? “Take chances, play hard, stand out: It’s your only hope.”