School Success by Gender: A Catalyst for the Masculinist Discourse
By J. Steven Svoboda...
School Success by Gender: A Catalyst for the Masculinist Discourse By Pierrette Bouchard, Isabelle Boily and Marie-Claude Proulx funded by Status of Women Canada an official Canadian government bureau http://www.swc-cfc.gc.ca/pubs/0662882857/200303_0662882857_1_e.html
The Canadian government has seen fit to underwrite one of the most misleading, libelous works ever written about the movement for genuine gender equity (the “men’s movement”). Pierrette Bouchard, Isabelle Boily and Marie-Claude Proulx are the authors of “School Success by Gender: A Catalyst for the Masculinist Discourse,” which was funded by Status of Women Canada to the tune of $75,000 and can be found at
Let me just hit a few of the many lowlights: Page 46: the authors complain of articles that dare to mention children’s need for fathers, “insinuating that the mother’s model is not enough.” Of course, the truth is that no “insinuation” is necessary; the very different and equally critical roles played by Dad and Mom have been unarguably established by decades of exhaustive social science research. The authors attempt on page 56 to obscure rightful concerns that our feminized schools are failing our boys by noting that “for the most part, boys are doing well in school” [emphasis in the original], adding that “some girls are having serious problems.” This disingenuous, clumsy obfuscation of the truth proves almost precisely nothing. The inconvenient fact that cannot be made to disappear by any feminist sleight-of-hand is that as a group, boys are doing significantly worse than girls in school, and for reasons directly related to boys’ different needs that are not being met by the, yes, feminized school system. It is the worst sort of red herring to attempt to obscure this important problem by noting, in effect, that more than half of all boys are doing OK and at least one girl in Canada is having academic problems. The writers’ subsequent accusation that “masculinists” (presumably they mean “masculists”) misrepresent data are nothing short of laughable. On page 59, the writers complain of several suggested educational interventions to benefit boys, each of which has been proposed by feminists to be employed in favor of girls. It is clearly the worst sort of bad faith for the troika of writers to suggest that they are objecting to the measure itself when it is in fact the sexual equipment of the group to be benefited that draws their wrath.
Hilarious moments do periodically crop up in this astoundingly inept piece of gender propaganda, as when Bouchard and company ominously intone regarding the Internet, “It is no accident that this medium is being used by those on the extreme right, pedophiles and pornographers.” Well, guess what? Every medium is used by each of these groups. The authors’ citation of the Internet’s use by “masculinists” proves precisely nothing except possibly their own paranoia. Regarding the allusions to “pedophiles and pornographers,” talk about guilt by association! The writers complain of “masculinist spin doctors” and then proceed to present mind-bogglingly one-sided and fallacious numbers, such as when they trot out the old salary comparison complaints without mentioning the very different lifestyle choices made by men and women regarding work. Also, the hidden premise in their complaints of men’s greater income that men’s income stays with them rather than often flowing to women and children is of course egregiously false.
Then come the tough issues. Life expectancy (page 81). How will they work around this one? Simple. “The real question we should be asking is what has caused women’s life expectancy to stop rising over the past two decades.” In other words, ignore the whining of those men upset because they live 6-8 years fewer than women. Instead, let’s worry about why women aren’t even further ahead of those useless males. Even more stunningly, the next paragraph notes, ”We cannot assume that a longer life expectancy means a higher quality of life.” Outrageous. Women are alive though, naturally, by the time of relatively old age they are on average in poorer health than when younger (no way around that, even for feminists). Meanwhile, men have a “slightly” more serious health problem: They are dead. And yet we must concern ourselves, yet again, with females, and ignore any plight those pesky males claim. And if we can’t cover up a male disadvantage, we’ll blame males for it, with an apocryphal suggestion that the huge longevity gap may be explained by “the poor eating habits of some men or their reluctance to consult specialists.” (page 82) Evidently, sympathy for gender socialization only runs in one direction.
Wait, it gets even better, I mean even worse. Suicide. What can the authors say, right? The numbers are irrefutable. So they resort to a combination of victim-blaming and crypto-illiterate non sequiturs. Page 80: “Socially, should attempting or committing suicide create some hierarchy of concern? Can death or the desire to take one’s life—man or woman—be ranked on a scale of importance?” It is hard to be sure exactly what the authors are saying in this virtually incomprehensible passage, but they seem to be suggesting that men should be barred from complaining about the shockingly greater male suicide rates because each individual female suicide is as important as each male suicide. Well, uh sure, but there is the slight detail that men kill themselves four times as often as women. I wonder why when they have all the advantages according to Bouchard et al. In the next paragraph the authors allude to “the question of what responsibilities social actors have to bear in these phenomena,” factors they seem to forget about when discussing areas in which society has supposedly disadvantaged females. Men’s problems are men’s fault; women’s problems are society’s fault. Sound familiar? The only difference is that in this case Canada’s tax dollars are funding this appalling misandry.
When the truth doesn’t work, the writers aren’t above resorting to half-baked hocus-pocus, as with their suggestion that World Health Organization policies on non-communicable diseases “invalidate the masculinists’ approach.” Rattling on later (page 85) against male violence, they conveniently ignore the established fact that mothers commit the majority of child abuse. While calling on “masculinists” for better documentation of their claims, on page 87, in the closing paragraph of the report’s main section, they baldly assert with no documentation whatsoever (understandably, as none exists): “Women do not lie about sexual assault.” A truly phenomenal performance. I must admit, they do have a talent for (unintentional) comedy, as when they almost incoherently complain on page 82 that men’s movement activists for greater equity between breast cancer and prostate cancer funding “turn cancer into a gendered illness by reducing it to only two of its dimensions.” Presumably, based on the incontestable but irrelevant fact that other cancers also exist (virtually all of which, incidentally, strike men significantly more often than women), they are questioning an eminently reasonable comparison between the main gender-based cancer affecting men and the main one affecting women. Since breast cancer and prostate cancer occur with approximately equivalent frequency, the comparison is particularly apt. It presumably draws the authors’ disfavor only because of the inconvenient conclusion it points to about society’s lack of concern with male health.
This is really execrable stuff. The mind boggles at the karmic load I assume is being accumulated by these three writers, who take the well-meaning struggles for fairness by decent, hard-working, underappreciated men and women, and twist them and portray them as misogynistic, cynical “hate”-filled acts. This is the big lie of the women’s movement: that any position opposing theirs must be “hate.” Even more ominously, the writers call on the Canadian government to monitor these “hate” groups and maintain an updated list of them. This report underscores is why I must regretfully agree with a central conclusion of David’s from Everyman’s controversial issue of a few years back: feminism IS evil. Mindful that saying this may land ME in the category of purveyors of “hate,” I must say that three genuine faces of hate may be found in Pierrette Bouchard, Isabelle Boily and Marie-Claude Proulx. On a practical note, New Zealand activist Darryl Ward (Taliesin@paradise.net.nz) has recommended that concerned readers of the report send Status of Women “secretary of state” Hon. Jean Augustine (email@example.com) a message thanking her for providing such a useful directory of men’s movement resources. Ward may be right that this could be the best way of forestalling future renewals of the blacklist.
©2002 J. Steven Svoboda