Author Richard Reeves explains why he thinks terms like “toxic masculinity” are “profoundly unhelpful”
By Mary Elizabeth Williams, Senior Writer, Published September 16th, 2022, 4:00PM (EDT)
Our men and boys are in trouble. In the U.S., nearly four times more likely than women to die by suicide. They have more emergency department visits and deaths due to overdoses.
They are less likely to receive treatment for mental health issues. They have a lower rate of participation in the workforce. They are more likely to be diagnosed with ADHD and autism. They are more likely than females to drop out of high school, and the ones who do go on to college are less likely than their female peers to graduate. They are barraged with constant and conflicting messages about what it means to be a man, and the consequences of failing to live up to other people’s ideas about modern masculinity can be severe. And all of this is difficult to talk about because the simultaneous culture of misogyny and the war on women’s rights is so intense, it has created a zero sum game expectation around our basic humanity.
But acknowledging the crisis in males takes nothing from the ground women are fighting to gain. And accepting that gender is only one element in a social strata that is also incredibly unbalanced around race and class is the only useful way forward for all of us.
In his provocative new book “Of Boys and Men: Why the Modern Male Is Struggling, Why It Matters, and What to Do about It,” Brookings Institution senior fellow Richard V. Reeves peels back the misconceptions that are holding back meaningful gender equity, shows how both liberals and conservatives have made existing divides even worse, and offers simple, practical solutions for a brighter, more balanced future for all of us and our kids.
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