What’s up with men? Are you following #yesallwomen? Or, #menpr?

This entry is part 1 of 5 in the series What's up with men?
Twitter hashtag yesallwomen

A sampling of photos recently tweeted via #yesallwomen

NOTE FROM DR. WAYNE BAKER: This week, we welcome back our popular contributing columnist Terry Gallagher for the first of a number of summer series in OurValues.

Each new outrage against women like what happened in Isla Vista, California, in May raises questions about men and how they got this way.

In the Isla Vista case, a toxic mix of mental illness, hatred of women and access to weapons resulted in mass murder. One of the responses has been the Twitter phenomenon with the hashtag #yesallwomen, a platform providing women the opportunity to share examples of misogyny, discrimination, harassment and violence. Overall,  the hashtag is seen as a response to the lame male alibi: Not all men are guilty of such abominations.

On the other hand, men have found themselves looking at the world in new ways over the last two or three generations—and many are not liking what they see. For a lot of them, the response has been to withdraw, to retreat, to take themselves out of the mix, to stop participating.

The National Public Radio program All Things Considered is running a series this summer on men in America, with the premise that “today’s men have to reconcile old ideas of masculinity with new economic realities.” (The Columbia Journalism Review just reported on this convergence of conversations, headlined “In the summer of #yesallwomen, #menpr seeks to join the conversation.”)

So far, the NPR series has included some great stories about role models, new models of parenting, and objects men equate with manliness today, including motorcycles, chainsaws, and a “man pan,” a cast-iron skillet.

How do those fit your ideas of manhood?

Are good men really that hard to find?

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS THIS SUMMER: Terry Gallagher will write four OurValues series in the summer of 2014. He also is working on a book-length collection of his reflections on American culture and values. In recent years, he has written about a wide range of topics: baseball, generosity, friendship, death, the Catholic church and home-made soup. You can read more than 100 of his past columns by clicking on this link. Email us at [email protected] with suggestions for Terry. And Please, we always invite you to comment (below) or to share this column on Facebook (use the blue-“f” icons).

What’s up with men? Where are the men in higher education?

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series What's up with men?

College graduate studentsNOTE FROM DR. WAYNE BAKER: This week, we welcome back our popular contributing columnist Terry Gallagher. This is the second column in this series …

Where are the men? Don’t look for them in college.

These week, we’re asking: What’s up with men? Why are they failing to adapt to the changes our society has seen in the last couple of generations?

The numbers are pretty stark: Young women are much more likely to finish high school, to go to college, complete bachelor degrees and go on to graduate and professional schools.

According to 2011 data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 32 percent of 27-year-old women have completed at least a bachelor’s degree, compared with fewer than 24 percent of men the same age.

In the professions, the trends are significant, and growing. Since 2003, women have represented just about half of medical school enrollment in the United States, up from just 9 percent in 1969.

Women are earning about 60 percent of the master’s degrees awarded by American universities and more than half of the doctorates.

The gender gap in education is leading to an employment gap, as jobs require more skills and education. The unemployment rate among men over 16 is 6.3 percent; among women it’s 5.9 percent, not a trivial difference.

“The education deficit could increasingly leave men on the economic sidelines,” according to Yahoo economic columnist Rick Newman. “Meanwhile, with more men at home—or somewhere other than work—women may increasingly call the shots in the economy. Maybe they can find new ways to convince men college is worth it.”

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS THIS SUMMER: Terry Gallagher will write four OurValues series in the summer of 2014. In recent years, he has written about a wide range of topics; you can read more than 100 of his past columns by clicking on this link. Email us at [email protected] with suggestions for Terry. And, we always invite you to comment (below) or to share this column on Facebook (use the blue-“f” icons).

What’s up with men? Do our boys face more dangers than our girls?

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series What's up with men?
US Dept of Health and Human Services report on dangers boys face

CLICK THE IMAGE to read the entire report.

NOTE FROM DR. WAYNE BAKER: This week, we welcome back our popular contributing columnist Terry Gallagher. This is the third column in this series …

Remember “Take Your Daughter to Work Day”?

I know it was expanded more than a decade ago to “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day.” And its current mission is to “inspire a future generation of girls and boys by helping bring them into the workplace to explore the many life choices they have.”

But the original impulse for the annual event, created by the Ms. Foundation in the early 1990s, was “designed to specifically address self-esteem issues unique to girls,” according to a Wikipedia entry. And that is still a very worthy cause. Because, despite their strong gains over the last two generations, women are still underrepresented in leadership roles in business, government and other sectors.

But what do we do about the boys? It’s pretty clear that adolescent boys are much worse off than girls the same age. They’re more likely to drop out of school, to be incarcerated, to abuse drugs and alcohol.

Boys are more likely than girls to be the victims of violent crimes, five times more likely to be victims of homicide. The suicide rate for teenage boys is three and a half times that for teenage girls.

Overall, the mortality rate for boys 15 to 19 is 2.4 times that for girls the same age.

Teenage boys are really suffering in our society today. When we wonder how men got the way they are, we ought to look at how they lived as teenagers.

Do you think taking them to work one day a year will make a difference?

Want to know more about the “talking points” concerning boys that I’ve listed today? Click the image, above, to view a printable PDF version from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS THIS SUMMER: Terry Gallagher will write four OurValues series in the summer of 2014. In recent years, he has written about a wide range of topics; you can read more than 100 of his past columns by clicking on this link. Email us at [email protected] with suggestions for Terry. And, we always invite you to comment (below) or to share this column on Facebook (use the blue-“f” icons).

What’s up with men? Why are men shunning volunteerism?

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series What's up with men?

NOTE FROM DR. WAYNE BAKER: This week, we welcome back our popular contributing columnist Terry Gallagher. This is the fourth column in this series …

MLK_service_obama

Volunteer in Chief: One of the nation’s biggest cheerleaders for volunteerism is President Obama, who rolls up his sleeves each year on holidays like Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday.

Yesterday’s post discussed some of the risks and challenges facing teenage boys today—in short, they’re far more likely to die than girls the same age.

And if our society wants better men—men who are more productive, and especially less violent—we really need to do something to help our boys grow up.

But who’s going to set the examples and do the mentoring and role modeling that will be necessary? Who’s going to coach the boys’ soccer teams and run scouting programs?

Sad to say, it might not be adult men. Men are far less likely than women to serve as volunteers, according to data released earlier this year by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. While volunteerism declined for both women and men last year (continuing a decade-long trend), women still showed a decided edge: 28.4 percent of women compared to 22.2 percent of men.

“Women continued to volunteer at a higher rate than did men across all age groups, educational levels, and other major demographic characteristics,” according to the report.

Actually, men might be hurting themselves by shunning volunteerism, according to a spokesman for a federal agency that was one of the sponsors of the BLS survey.

“By giving back, volunteers gain new skills, expand professional networks, stay connected to their community, and experience physical and mental health benefits,” she said. “As the federal agency dedicated to this issue, we hope to find ways for all Americans to get involved in service.”

Hear that, guys?

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS THIS SUMMER: In recent years, Terry Gallagher has written about a wide range of topics; you can read more than 100 of his past columns by clicking on this link. We invite you to comment (below) or to share this column on Facebook (use the blue-“f” icons).

What’s up with men? What would you put in your man cave?

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series What's up with men?
Man Caves Prehistoric Mark Twain Frank Lloyd Wright Ernest Hemingway

MAN CAVES (from top): Prehistoric man cave in the mountains of Crimea now in dispute between Russia and Ukraine; Mark Twain’s third floor man cave, which he called his billiard room; Frank Lloyd Wright’s private room in his home near Chicago; Ernest Hemingway’s man cave in Key West as currently displayed for visitors. (Photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)

NOTE FROM DR. WAYNE BAKER: This week, we welcome back our popular contributing columnist Terry Gallagher.

In this week’s posts, we’ve been looking at how men are adapting to new economic realities, and finding that many of them are becoming more detached and less engaged in their communities.

The male unemployment rate has been climbing for decades, and now men are more likely to be unemployed than women. A smaller fraction of men are going to college these days, and they’re not filling the extra time by volunteering in their communities.

The percentage of male voters decreased in every national election from 1964 to 2008.

And while men are spending more time on housework than they used to, reflecting the growth in paid employment for women, they’re definitely not doing their fair share: women still do about two-thirds of the housework.

So where the men? I have a theory. A lot of them are just hanging out.

And more of them are hanging out in their stylish “man caves.”

Google’s Ngram Viewer—a fascinating online tool that searches more than 5 million books for the frequency of a phrase across periods of time—shows that use of that phrase has more than tripled since 2002, and the shelter magazines are full of advice on how to decorate and outfit your “man cave.”

“Man caves . . . . are a place to be alone, to be away from women and from female sensibilities,” according to Wikipedia. Some mental health professionals believe it’s important for men to have an area to which to retreat, a refuge from stressful surroundings, the entry noted.

So if you have a man cave, does that make you a cave man?

And, tell us: What is essential to transform a room into your man cave?

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS THIS SUMMER: Terry Gallagher will write three more OurValues series in the summer of 2014. You can read more than 100 of his past columns by clicking on this link. Email [email protected] with suggestions for Terry. And Please, we always invite you to comment (below) or to share this column on Facebook (use the blue-“f” icons).