Feminism is no longer considered to be just a theory. Most politicians in democratic countries around the world take feminist ideas to be facts, and have these ideas influence public policy in a very real way. In the US, UK and Sweden, feminist thinkers are advisors to the government and directly influence legislation and other decisions.
Feminism has even spread to schools, where boys now are shamed simply for being boys. Nobel prize winner and feminist Doris Lessing, described this phenomenon as early as 2001 in The Guardian:
“I was in a class of nine- and 10-year-olds, girls and boys, and this young woman was telling these kids that the reason for wars was the innately violent nature of men.
You could see the little girls, fat with complacency and conceit while the little boys sat there crumpled, apologising for their existence, thinking this was going to be the pattern of their lives.”
Feminist Christina Hoff Sommers has also written about the same tendency; in her book The War Against Boys she exposes how feminist ideas and sloppy research have attacked boys in US schools and turned boyhood into a disease.
So why is this such a big issue? Can’t boys see the wider picture here, and understand that the teacher is trying to correct past wrongs? No, this is exactly what children of a certain age are unable to do.
Children aren’t born with the cognitive capacities of your average adult, and before the age of 11, most children are simply unable to perform abstract reasoning or understand nuances when having a discussion. Instead, children below this age generally see things in either-or scenarios, and divide the world into dichotomies of “good or bad”, “wanted or unwanted”, etc.
The cognitive development of children was described by famous Swiss scientist Jean Piaget, and the fact that children and human beings develop in stages has later been verified by Harvard researchers such as Susanne Cook-Greuter and Robert Kegan, and Theo Dawson who did her research at Berkeley.
The effect of teachers bringing feminism into the classroom, whether they are feminists themselves or simply instructed to do so, is that young boys hear the message: “Girls are good, boys are bad.” Due to their cognitive development, this is the natural interpretation of feminism for young boys (and girls). This creates a sense of shame at a very deep level, and could quite conceivably affect the self-esteem and healthy development of these young boys.
I personally consider it an outrage that young boys are shamed in the name of feminism. First of all I consider feminist ideas to be a very unbalanced take on gender issues, and therefore I don’t even recommend them for adults. However, imposing these ideas on young boys who cognitively cannot help but be shamed and deflated is dangerously close to child abuse.
Let’s have a passionate gender debate amongst adults, but leave children alone, and stop telling them that there’s something wrong with them simply because they were born male.
Generation X, Y and Z
Those of us who are men and around 45 years old or younger, quite probably grew up (or are currently growing up) with feminism around us in one way or other, at least in The West. Being raised with feminist ideas floating around in society, in our schools and possibly in our own families, means that we have all experienced the shaming I describe above.
As long as we are children who are cognitively immature, we simply don’t have the capacity to argue against feminism or put up any effective psychological defenses, and hence the shaming takes place.
As sad as these dynamics are, I also believe that Generation X and Y will be the generations that change the gender discourse forever. We’ve seen first-hand how destructive and imbalanced feminism can be, and aided by men from previous generations and by women who are sick and tired of feminism, the time has come to speak up and have our voices be heard.