Contrary to feminist assertions, a boy in school today is at an automatic disadvantage. As many “Women’s Studies” graduates end up in teaching, feminist theory has filtered down to the high school and elementary levels. Because feminist ideology requires that boys be educated in the same manner as girls, a boy’s natural tendency to be more active and outspoken will always be a “problem.” While boys thrive in learning environments that emphasize physically connected hands-on activities, they are confined to sitting quietly for hours at a time. Some schools have even eliminated recess and any kind of active games. 

Such insensitivity to the learning needs of boys has contributed to the following:


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  • Boys are three times as likely to receive a diagnosis of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder as girls. They are also more likely to be drugged as a result of these diagnoses.
  • Boys at all levels are far more likely than girls to be disciplined, suspended, held back, or expelled. 
  • By high school the typical boy is a year and a half behind the typical girl in reading and writing, and is less likely to graduate from high school. This is despite the fact that special attention to girls’ needs have eliminated the advantage that boys once enjoyed in math and science.
  • Boys are now less likely than girls to go to college.

This disparity in boys’ educational performance carries through to the college level:

  • Males now represent only 43% of university students (and the Department of Education predicts that this gap will continue to widen).
  • Among black university students, only 33% are male.
  • Men who enter college or university are less likely to graduate from college or go to graduate school.

Part of this difference may be due to the fact that the less than friendly school environment that boys face becomes a hostile environment for young men when they enter college. Some instructors feel free to make disparaging remarks about men in class, while campus newspapers routinely carry articles with an anti-male bias. Consequently, some young men may leave college, rather than stay in an environment where they feel devalued or even despised.

Title IX is a related educational issue which started out as an attempt to guarantee equal opportunity for women in athletics. This has evolved into a system of rigid proportionality between sports participation and enrollment for women. As female enrollment has increased, institutions of higher education are required to increase the proportion of female sports participation in order to meet their required target. This has resulted in many athletic programs for men being cut, while it is questionable that women even want the levels of participation in sports that are required. As with other gender issues, differences in participation rates should reflect individual interests and abilities, rather than an arbitrary quota system.

School violence has been an area of particular concern for boys. Unfortunately, recent school shootings have been carried out mostly by boys, resulting in violence prevention material that targets boys in particular. Overly repressive zero-tolerance policies have probably stigmatized many innocent boys unnecessarily far more than they have helped to prevent violence. While schools should take reasonable precautions against school violence, it would be better if the root causes were also addressed (e.g. bullying and anti-male attitudes by teachers and administrators).



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© 2003 by Steven G. Van Valkenburg.  Adapted from “What is the Men’s Movement” by Trudy W. Schuett.  Content used with permission of the author.