The Problem of Males on the Feminized Campus

Almost everyone is aware of the
statistics-based morality on race and ethnicity: if any admired group does not
contain the correct proportion of African-Americans and Hispanics, bias can
reasonably be inferred.

The same bag of statistical assertions which
animated much appropriate (and some inappropriate) legal and social change has,
of course, migrated over to discussions of sex. The problem here is that there
are no real interesting biosocial differences between the races but there are
major discernible and definable differences between the sexes. So we have
incubated a new, prosperous and irritated industry of people scouring the
community looking for any departure from the 51% number of females in the
population to the workplace of, say, CEOs, professional hockey players, or lumberjacks.

Everyone from the President on down recites the mantra that women earn only 77
cents to the male dollar. However, a Dept of Labor report in 2010 concluded
unambiguously that the principal reason for economic difference was personal
choice – perhaps not a free choice but one made by persons in the economy. One
huge example: some 85% of women have children and the average mother tends to
leave the labor force for 5-8 years and is much more likely than a male to work
part-time. Both lead to reduced income. Add that males take the higher-paying
jobs such as commercial fishing, which are dangerous and lead to much higher
fatality and injury rates, and we begin to derive a picture different from the conventional
statistician’s view that if there’s a discrepancy it must be imposed not

Now the statistical moralists have a problem
they are eager not to see: the perception that males are not doing well in the
system of education. Allie Grasgreen in Inside Higher Education reviews a book
published by the Russell Sage Foundation, certifying that women outpace men in
college action in a ratio of 1.4 to 1. Grasgreen delineates the conclusion of
the authors (Thomas diPrete and Claudia Buchmann) that there is inadequate
gender integration in higher ed and that males are unrealistic about what they
need do to become effective men. But there is also a cultural problem here: the
now conventional anti-male attitude on campus. I know from my own teaching
experience that the pervasiveness of this attitude, launched on the first day
of class with a stark rape seminar, causes males, especially of blue-collar
origin, to flee a community they quickly come to see as suffused with the gender-studies
rebuke of men now built into college life.

A consistent failure
of the school system is reflected in its failure to educate males and females
equally effectively. If the problem category were race or religion it would be
politically intolerable. But boys and men–no problem. Where, for example, is
the White House Council on Boys and Men, still non-existent years after the
nifty one on girls and women was proudly brandished? Presumably lost somewhere
in electoral politics and some dingy acceptance of payback for that vaunted
5000 years of patriarchy. We can do better.

Lionel Tiger is Darwin professor of
anthropology emeritus at Rutgers University and author of The Decline of Males and The Pursuit of Pleasure.


  • Lionel Tiger

    Lionel Tiger is Darwin Professor of Anthropology Emeritus at Rutgers and the author of many books, including "The Decline of Males."

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8 thoughts on “The Problem of Males on the Feminized Campus

  1. The “woman earn 77% of what men do” is nothing short of dishonest. Fact: It is against the law in the United States to pay two people doing the same exact job different wages. Signs to that effect are posting in countless work places. Not a single person can identify a single job at a single company or organization where a women and a man have the exact same qualifications, do the exact same work, for the exact same number of hours, with the exact same experience and get paid differently for it. No such work place exists in America. If any women actually gets paid less for the exact same job—go get a lawyer, immediately—you’re about to become rich and can then quit your horribly discriminating job.

  2. The answer is obvious, if maybe unpalatable.
    The legal and social culture of many higher education institutions has made them very unattractive, even unsafe (in the legal sense) for men. Young men need the information to be able to make an informed choice of the risks they take, both in legal, and academic terms, by attending those institutions.
    This is nothing new, and is part and parcel of properly valuing the total worth of higher education, the institutions, and the majors that are offered, as a whole.

  3. I was a blue collar kid who went to a state school- sure- the school made it clear that they felt a need to indoctrinate me away from my incorrect thinking. I specifically remember talking to a dean about a charity event we were involved in- I casually referred to some of the females involved as “girls”- I was ostracized as if I had used the n word (probably not- that would have resulted in a suspension)
    While that was frustrating- the main problem with college is that it is too damn expensive for blue collar men. After tuition few of us can afford cars (registration requirements make the junker a thing of the past) or have any pocket money for dates or even beer.
    I knew kids who dropped out to take construction jobs- can’t think of any dropping out because of PCism.
    Frankly- its all about money.

  4. I agree with the broad points. I have a son in college; I’m glad he’s socially awkward because it reduces the chance of him dating and being accused of things I doubt he would do.
    A quibble: there is no conventional statistician’s view that discrepancies are imposed rather than chosen. The conventional statistician reports the discrepancy and asks for information on possible causes. The conventional social scientist or politician assumes a cause and tortures the data into confessing, but not the conventional statistician.

  5. I’m not a student but I work at a university. This very day I went into the washroom to take a leak and when I stood at the urinal there was a poster right in my face. It was taped to the wall and asked for students who identified with a “dominant group” to volunteer for a study about how they saw themselves in a classroom built around “anti-oppression.”
    Sometimes you can’t even relieve yourself in the men’s room without being shown what you are thought of.

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