Of Boys and Men by Richard V Reeves: Males face bigger issues than ‘toxic masculinity’

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Richard Reeves sent his sons to a schoolhouse with a “culture of toxic masculinity”, apparently. The rich, wide schoolhouse successful a Washington DC suburb, with its attentive devotion to the close sex politics, whitethorn person seemed a harmless prime for the parents of its privileged pupil body. But successful 2018, an incidental brought perceived disgrace upon the schoolhouse by embroiling it successful the benignant of hot-button ungraded that American newscasters truthful emotion to feast on.

asically, immoderate boys had been caught compiling a database that ranked the girls successful their people by their attractiveness. In the frenzied nationalist quality sum that followed, Reeves recalls however NBC’s Today amusement described the incidental arsenic a “reckoning connected intersexual harassment”.

What those boys did was bad, nary uncertainty astir it. It was objectifying and sexist. But Reeves takes contented with however this 1 incidental astatine a schoolhouse was decreed with small situation arsenic an illustration of “toxic masculinity”.

Reeves, the acclaimed writer and student and writer of Of Boys and Men, argues that “toxic masculinity” has morphed from the wonky world word of a decennary agone to a caller catch-all presumption to usage erstwhile 1 finds the behaviour of immoderate antheral violative oregon unpleasant.

The crushed this matters, Reeves argues successful a publication that brings uncommon airy to a taxable that generates acold excessively overmuch heat, is that it is harmful to men. While the near is usually empathetic capable to spot the structural problems and failings that whitethorn origin harmful oregon antisocial behaviour, Reeves believes the aforesaid latitude is ne'er fixed to men.

While immoderate feminists mightiness reason that toxic masculinity is so a structural occupation calved from a patriarchal society, Reeves says that the mode the word “toxic masculinity” is utilized often suggests that men’s problems are their own. It is excessively often portrayed that the toxicity is astatine an idiosyncratic basis, oregon that the occupation stems from wrong each idiosyncratic man.

It is 1 absorbing statement that Reeves makes portion taking connected the unenviable task of penning a publication astir the problems faced by boys and men successful the modern world. The publication is good researched and heavy referenced, but inactive spends an inordinate portion of its connection number pre-emptively defending itself from criticism.

The anecdote astir the incidental astatine his children’s schoolhouse is from a section explaining however the progressive near successful the US has failed men by, among different things, presuming that arguing for the rights of men and boys would automatically mean rolling backmost women’s rights oregon denying the beingness of misogyny. But it seems that the aforesaid section is instantly ‘balanced out’ by a succeeding section that sets retired each the ways the American close has misused the precise existent problems faced by men and boys arsenic a mode to disguise their regressive ideas astir women.

For this reason, an Irish assemblage whitethorn conflict done the galore parts of this publication that are devoted to defending itself from each the huffy quirks of a profoundly polarised American governmental system. But it is worthy enduring, due to the fact that beyond its defence mechanics is simply a precise thoughtful and incredibly absorbing polemic against the acquisition and economical systems that stay truthful apathetic to the struggles of men.

Reeves explains portion the labour marketplace has traditionally favoured men, it has go evident that the acquisition strategy has favoured women. Without denying the beingness of heavy societal sexism and misogyny, 2 wrongs bash not marque a close and 1 tin code 1 contented without undermining the other.

The information that girls bash amended than boys astatine schoolhouse is not a feminist plot. Reeves explains that actually, acquisition has ever been designed successful a mode that favours girls’ abilities but it is lone done the accrued information of women successful acquisition that it became obvious. One of the astir compelling and well-made arguments successful the publication — though immoderate of america mightiness beryllium initially uncomfortable with the proposition of it — is for boys should commencement schoolhouse a twelvemonth aboriginal than girls.

And adjacent successful the satellite of work, wherever men person traditionally had greater opportunities, they are besides present struggling. Reeves makes a beardown intersectional statement for men, explaining that portion the astir privileged radical successful the satellite thin to beryllium men, that does not mean that each men are privileged. He explains that the top spread successful the labour marketplace is not betwixt men and women, but betwixt the precocious earners and everyone else.

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Men, helium says, are much astatine hazard of losing their jobs to automation. And portion nine has made large efforts to redress the sex imbalance by attracting much women to industries specified arsenic science, technology, engineering and mathematics, the aforesaid effort has not been made to gully men towards fields specified arsenic health, education, medication and literacy.

The astir affecting parts of the publication delve into our modern knowing of fatherhood and marriage, and however men whitethorn person been near feeling mislaid oregon useless arsenic accepted roles person changed.

Some of the things Reeves discusses whitethorn rankle with people, oregon make a nervousness. That is astir apt because, arsenic helium explains himself, self-professed proponents of the rights of men and boys person truthful often been radical misusing antheral struggles arsenic a mode to antagonistic pistillate progress. But astatine its core, this is simply a publication that smartly and serenely articulates a increasing interest that galore person had for boys and men, but whitethorn person felt it was excessively perilous to speech about.


Of Boys and Men by Richard V Reeves

Of Boys and Men by Richard V Reeves

Of Boys and Men by Richard V Reeves

Non-fiction: Of Boys and Men by Richard V Reeves
Swift Press, 352 pages, hardcover €26; e-book £11.39

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